Geneva Motor Show: Aston Martin AM-RB 003 revealed
The next stage in Aston Martin’s ambitious plans has been laid bare, with the British marque joining the fold with a next-generation hybrid hypercar called the AM-RB 003 which is set to rival the next-generation McLaren P1. Like the Valkyrie that came before, the AM-RB 003 is being developed in partnership with Red Bull Racing, who will shape and sculpt the aerodynamics with an F1-like precision, leaving Aston Martin to take care of manufacturing, chassis development and the powertrain, led by development chiefs Matt Becker and Chris Goodwin.
Although details about the applied powertrain remain thin at this moment, we can tell you that it will be made up from a combination of an all-new Aston Martin designed and developed twin-turbo V6 engine, paired with an electric motor and battery pack. The emphasis Aston Martin will place on the electric element of the hybrid powertrain is as yet unknown, but we can tell you that Aston Martin is aiming for a McLaren P1-rivalling level of performance and capability.
Notes from the Aston Martin Valkyrie project
The chassis will be based on developments made on the Valkyrie project, underpinned by a carbonfibre structure. It is as yet unknown whether the mid-mounted powertrain will act as a structural member of the chassis in the same way as the Valkyrie, but its higher degree of road-bias makes this a less likely scenario. The panels will also be carbonfibre, with shaping and sculpting honed by the aero boffins at Red Bull Racing as previously mentioned. There will be plenty of new tech on offer too, with the proposed world-first road-car application of ‘FlexFoil’ technology integrated into elements like the rear wing, which gently changes shape without the need for drag-inducing joint-lines. A large proportion of the AM RB-003’s downforce will be produced via the underbody though, keeping drag to a minimum.
To allow for more comfortable occupancy inside the cabin, the layout and door openings have been redesigned. The forward opening butterfly doors, like the ones often seen on LMP1 Endurance racers, take with them a section of roof aiding ingress. A rear shelf has also been integrated to accommodate extra luggage-carrying capability, and the centre console has also been widened, giving occupants more shoulder room and increased space for small item storage.
The dash itself is all-new, with a state of the art minimalist design that almost doesn’t look much like it has a dash at all. The steering wheel, pedals and driver display were all designed and developed for ideal ergonomics first, with the multi-function steering wheel itself set to include a small digital interface controlling most of the car’s functions. Although it does without any formal central infotainment system, drivers can attach their phones to a central prong for added functionality – something also offered on cars like the Volkswagen Up.
As the next-step in Aston Martin’s incredibly fast-paced production car development in the last few years, it is not surprising to see Aston Martin pushing new manufacturing methods like 3D printing in the development of new interior components and finishes. One example is the thin centre console, which reduces material use by as much as 50 per cent thanks to the flexibility of 3D printed manufacturing.
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More details as to the model’s powertrain and technical componentry will be revealed as development continues. Aston Martin has indicated that production will be limited to 500 coupes, with first examples reaching customers in late 2021. But as only one step in Aston Martin’s future plans, the AM-RB 003 will be joined soon after by a McLaren 720S-rivalling supercar, which has also been previewed at this year’s Geneva motor show by the Vanquish Vision concept.