COSWORTH “RA” V12 ENGINE
When Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced Technologies set about developing a brand new hypercar, they needed to rely on a technical partner capable of challenging the norm, redefining parameters and delivering against an extraordinary brief. This is where we came in. Red Bull’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey personally delivered the brief to us: to create the ultimate expression of the internal combustion engine.
The objective was to develop the most powerful naturally-aspirated road engine to date. At the same time, we had to meet stringent and often conflicting demands in terms of weight, emissions compliance and durability.
It was one of the most complex and challenging briefs we’ve ever received. We have utilised technical knowhow, developed over 60 years, to deliver a unit that sets exciting new standards for road car engines.
Detailed combustion simulation has allowed us to deliver the highest specific performance engine, while meeting the latest stringent global emissions standards. Our experience in road and race programmes allowed us to push the boundaries to new levels.
We built a three-cylinder mule (one quarter of the Valkyrie engine) to develop the combustion system hardware. The engine was running on our dynos within four months of starting the programme, so when the first V12 ran after 14 months it was already well along the development path.
Every aspect of the engine was designed for minimum weight, which sets new standards at just 206kg. The engine has also been subject to durability tests, similar to those used on our high-volume production units, typically 200 hours of hard running that equates to around 100,000km of road use.
No. cylinders: 12
Capacity: 6.5 litre
Aspiration: Naturally aspirated
Rev limit: 11,100rpm
Peak torque 740Nm at 7,000rpm
* Peak outputs are purely delivered by ICE; the engine’s performance figures are boosted by a battery hybrid system.
Components and materials
Over 1,300 unique parts have been designed for the Aston Martin Valkyrie engine, with a total of 5,000 components making up the complete product.
We machine all the major components for each engine in-house including cylinder block, cylinder heads, crankshaft, camshafts and pistons. Each engine is assembled on-site by a team of experienced technicians before being fitted to one of our ten dynamometer cells to perform a break-in and pass-off test.
Material selection has focussed on the best compromise between cost, strength and mass. Titanium is used for the connecting rods, while alloys usually utilised in the motorsport and aerospace sectors are used for the cylinder heads and blocks.
The cylinder block uses our in-house plasma bore coating process, where a layer of iron – barely thicker than a human hair – is sprayed onto the surface of the aluminium cylinder bore. This layer helps to reduce friction and improve the heat dissipation from the cylinder. The technology is in its infancy in road cars, but we have been using it for more than ten years on motorsport engines.
Our focus on continuous optimisation is evident in the billet machined crankshaft. Starting life as a solid steel bar 170mm diameter and 775mm long, it is first roughed out, then heat treated, finish machined, plasma nitrided, gear ground, final ground and super finished. From start to finish, 80% of the original bar has been machined away, leaving a crankshaft that’s 50% lighter than that used in the Aston Martin One-77’s V12.