Somewhat unimaginatively it’s called Turn One, and what it’s just done to my neck is something I’ve never, ever, experienced before. Actually, Turn One itself isn’t responsible, instead it’s the car I’m being driven around it in. The word ‘car’ isn’t quite accurate, for this is the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, a pure race machine that takes the already extreme Aston Martin Valkyrie and ups everything to the next level. Aston Martin’s ultimate expression of performance doesn’t just look sensational, it can also deliver track performance exceeding that of contemporary Le Mans racers and approaching that of a Formula 1 car.
At the AMR Pro’s heart is the 1,000bhp, 6.5-litre, Cosworth-developed, naturally aspirated V12, capable of revving to a heady 11,000rpm. It is possible to select the engine’s outputs via five settings, from 600bhp all the way up to that 1,000bhp maximum. It is coupled with an Xtrac pneumatically shifted sequential racing gearbox, while Carbone Industries, a Formula 1 brake supplier with 250 wins, delivers the equipment to take care of stopping. Aston Martin will build just 40 examples.
The AMR Pro slips in at a svelte sub-1,000kg. At the Valkyrie’s maximum speed of 220mph, the front aero creates 11.5 kilonewtons of downforce and the rear wing another 15.3kN. The AMR Pro lacks the active aerodynamics of the ‘regular’ Valkyrie, mainly because there’s no need to bleed off downforce in order to conserve road tyres. The AMR Pro’s maximum downforce is around double that of its road relation, but the AMR Pro runs on racing slicks that can take and exploit the enormous pressure created by the slipstream. Those forces are now being imposed on my neck — I’m later told that the AMR Pro can generate as much as 3G of lateral acceleration. Racer Andy Priaulx is my pilot today, and he’s happy enough to have me alongside him as ballast for a few laps.
After I’m strapped in tightly, the doors are shut and the Valkyrie AMR Pro quietly starts rolling down the pitlane using its electric starter motor. Only when it’s reached 28kph does that sensational V12 fire, filling the cockpit with gloriously rousing metallurgic notes that you feel as much as hear. The structure resonates with the purposeful buzz that defines racers, niceties like sound-deadening removed in pursuit of performance-giving weight loss. That alone ups the intensity and connection, the awe-inspiring Valkyrie AMR Pro demonstrating a physicality that’s apparent even at pitlane speeds.
Every element of the Valkyrie AMR Pro’s performance comes together, from the sense-scrambling precision of the cornering to the power of the brakes. The V12 plays a central role, delivering whipcrack immediacy and horizon-shrinking pace. That enhanced aero and extended chassis (266mm longer and up to 115mm wider) plant the car to the tarmac, with razor-sharp direction changes and the ability to carry huge speeds into a corner. Not to mention the car’s mind-altering ability to stop. When we finally roll up the pitlane, I ask Priaulx just how hard he’d been trying. “Oh, about seven or eight out of 10,” he says, adding that he had the V12 running at “just” 800hp.
The AMR Pro has even more to give, and it’s not just a case of using all the available power. On a bigger circuit, the aero would have the space to generate even higher speeds — the original design spec called for the ability to lap the 24 Hours of Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe in three minutes and 20 seconds, a time that would comfortably rank as one of the fastest laps in the modern race. If I were ever in the fortunate position to have an Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro in my garage, it wouldn’t stay still for long as I’d take every available opportunity to explore just what this remarkable machine is capable of. However, I know full well that I would always be the weakest link, regardless of the strength of my neck.
This story is an extract from an article featured in the AMXX issue of Aston Martin magazine, out now. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.