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Here is Fernando Alonso’s “extreme” Aston Martin: the Valiant V12, manual only

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Alonso wanted a more extreme Aston – here it is

Here is Fernando Alonso’s “extreme” Aston Martin: the Valiant V12, manual only

Published: June 25, 2024

Fernando is faster than you. Proof of this immortal lineage comes not only from his two Formula 1 world championships, an untainted talent for speed and a searing cockpit spirit, but also from this great bronze supercar.

Because this big bronze supercar is called the Aston Martin Valiant, and it exists mainly because Alonso wanted something sharper, tougher and racier than the company’s gloriously unhinged and already lightning-fast V12 Valor. ‘last year. Yes, exactly what we thought too.

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But while they broke the mold by creating Alonso, Aston clearly didn’t when it built this Valiant. It looks like Valor. And the Victor before him. And none of these cars are what you’d call “embarrassing, very embarrassing.”

Which means the squared-off aesthetic, you’re looking at me, is carried over wholesale from the Valor, save for a few significant updates. Of course, the inspiration for this whole series of cars comes from one Aston of all things: the V8 Vantage-based RHAM/1 ‘Muncher’ Le Mans car that raced in the late ’70s.

I would have loved to have heard “Nando” on board if he had driven the V8 in those days: the car got its nickname “Muncher” because it flushed brake discs at a frightening rate.

So, scary nickname, scary looks. The Valiant’s entire body is constructed of carbon fiber, with a beautifully angry, almost shark-like nose that cuts a low, wide and unapologetically muscular silhouette. Aston tells us that “every square inch of the Valiant’s impeccably sculpted form serves an aesthetic and aerodynamic function.” We think they went to town on the former and slapped a fender to appease the latter.

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Did you miss it? This is one of the biggest changes from the Valor. This is a fixed wing, of course designed to work with the new front splitter in an effort to muscle the air around it into shapes that would improve performance. But mostly, we think they just gave the impression that they were very angry and hoping for the best.

Further concessions to aerodynamic performance come from the front planes, aero discs on the 21-inch magnesium wheels with special inlets to cool the carbon-ceramic brakes (so technically it’s not a “Muncher” from now on), and a new rear diffuser.

In a neat touch, there’s a one-piece clamshell rear featuring a hinged screen panel that opens up a small space where you can store your helmets and firewalls, or perhaps a nice deck chair if indeed you’ve overcooked the brakes and need a break where you can unleash some more F1 memes.

Speaking of fire, that engine. Wow. It certainly won’t be replaced by a “GP2 engine”, mainly because the GP2 no longer exists and also because it is a real heavyweight. Underneath the Valiant’s carbon fiber skin lies a version of Aston’s 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 producing 735 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. That’s 30 horsepower more than the Valor that preceded it, but 100 horsepower less than the One 77-powered Victor which, don’t forget, was a naturally aspirated V12.

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Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox – a real manual, that’s right – and is harnessed by monstrous carbon-ceramic discs (410mm front, 360mm rear) and special Multimatic “ASV” (Adaptive Spool Valve) dampers. Apparently, these shiny new bits can adjust each shock absorber to “one of thirty-two discrete damping curves in less than six milliseconds.” Clearly, Alonso has already experimented with damper tuning; better for dampers to “try themselves.”

So, an extremely adaptable motorsport-level suspension for one of the most adaptable drivers in motorsport. These ASV dampers forced Aston to recalibrate the Valiant’s driving modes which range from Sport, Sport+ to Track. You’ll notice there’s no mention of “normal” because nothing is normal about this thing.

Yes, it’s based on Aston’s ‘bonded aluminum sports car platform’ (read: what the Vantage uses), but of course hugely modified, with bespoke details. Like a 3D printed rear subframe that saves 3kg. And a magnesium torque tube that reduces the mass in the center of the car by an additional 8.6 kg. The wheels save 14 kg of unsprung mass. Even the Alonso-spec battery: a motorsport unit that alone saves 11.5kg.

So you will be wary of what you ate for breakfast before setting off on a circuit. Not least because Aston has also deployed all manner of lightweight materials inside – satin-finished carbon fiber, Recaros, heck, even “light padding”. You have to admire Aston’s “sense of humor.”

There’s a new, slimmer steering wheel and exposed shift linkage for the six-speed. Oh, there’s also a roll bar with anchor points for four-point harnesses, and bespoke door panels which, again, reduce weight compared to its predecessor.

“Valiant was born from my passion for driving at the limit,” said Alonso, “and I believe we have created a masterpiece.” There will be 38 of these ‘masterpieces’ built and, as you would expect, they have all already been allocated at a price of around £2 million each. Don’t worry if you’re not as fast as ‘Nando in one of these; maybe a career as a cameraman awaits you.

News Source : www.topgear.com
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