Renault boiler lets off steam. Aston Martin brews up something special. And in our hearts the dreams are still the same
All of which lead to team boss Ken Tyrrell referring to the RS01 as the ‘Yellow Teapot’ and the nickname stuck. The new teapot reportedly “takes up all the aesthetic codes of the Renault Formula 1 and plays on the design, the graphics and the colours” and features the official paint of Renault’s new RS17 racer.
Aston Martin brews up something special
But it’s no use rushing out and stumping up the enormous amount of cash that Aston Martin usually squeezes out of its customers for ‘limited’ editions, as this little number will never appear in a showroom near you.
In fact, this super little ‘billy cart’, based on the V8 Vantage GTE, won’t appear anywhere else but in the Red Bull Soapbox Race London where it was just beaten into second place by a Team Brooklands Special. Oh well, better luck next year.
And that improved performance could come from the company’s new, completely street legal Valkyrie AM-RB001, which should look something like this when it takes the chequered flag at next year’s Soapbox Race.
The ‘look’ is the work of Marek Reichman, head clay maker at Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey is responsible for the insane underbody setup that draws as much air as possible over the shapely carbon fibre diffuser through twin venturi tunnels.
It’s the sort of technology and aerodynamic devices deemed too radical for the frustratingly restrictive F1 rule makers, but it brings a number of advantages.
The car develops more than 1.8 tons of downforce at high speed, so the system clearly works, but it also makes for a fascinating profile. There are a lot of interesting cut outs and shapes lurking under the smooth bodywork, but the top of the car is unmistakably an Aston.
The body cleverness extends beyond the underbody, with some beautifully nerdy solutions for saving weight. The headlamps use an anodized aluminum frame to shave between 30-40% from the lightest headlight assembly by AM, and the high-mounted central rear light is said to be the world’s lightest.
A commitment to gram-shaving that borders on the fanatical, results in a badge that at just 70 microns thick is 30% thinner than a human hair.
The seats are mounted directly to the carbon tub and four-point harnesses are standard and the feet-up driving position is reminiscent of modern Le Mans and F1 racers.
Anything that could distract from driving..very, very quickly..has been jettisoned from the dash, leaving three screens and a detachable steering wheel festooned with buttons. Crucial info is displayed on the large OLED screen behind the wheel and compact units on the A-pillars replace conventional rear-view mirrors.
It’s good to see rear-view cameras and screens make the jump from concept to reality, as they offer the sort of all-weather visibility and neat aerodynamics not possible with a regular mirror.
Marek reckons that it’s been a tremendous challenge to make the interior packaging work. “We started from a position where you think something is impossible and work at it until we find a way to make it work. We’ve been fighting for millimeters everywhere, but the battle has been worth it, as it’s been fantastic seeing customers try the interior buck for size.”
Apparently, there’s even room for people in the 98th percentile for height to squeeze in, but no word on how, or if, they can get out. The Valkyrie is set for production next year. Source: Aston Martin
“For in our hearts the dreams are still the same”
Give us a sniff of petrol and it’s back to the Swinging Sixties! Those were the days. When sex sold everything, the pub was full of all sorts of smoke and supercars were really worthy of the name…Well, almost…
Take this magnificent Ferrari 512S Berlinetta Speciale, for instance, which at the time would have drawn such jargon as: Well, Man! That’s Boss! But it didn’t have an engine! So how did it get high above Lake Como for the usual sexist photo shoot? More about that later.
Designed by Filippo Sapino, during his somewhat truncated term at the dancing horse stable, the vehicle both shocked and confused in equal measure when it made its debut at the 1969 Turin Motor Show.
The shock factor came from it being the first Ferrari to receive the ‘wedge’ treatment that became popular in the late 60s; the confusion stemmed from the ‘512S’ moniker, as there was no 5.0-litre V12 to be found beneath the louvres of that rear clamshell.
It wasn’t a 3.0-litre V12 either, despite the Speciale’s underpinnings being rescued from a 312P (chassis #0868) badly damaged in service at the 1000km of Monza. The engine was in fact a 6.0-litre V12 from a 612 Can-Am racer, although even this was sadly an empty block.
Nevertheless, Sapino had made the most of the floor-hugging physique of the chassis, adding some unorthodox surface treatments to visually transform static into supersonic. Flourishes such as the flip-up canopy completed the Speciale’s theatre.
But it was to be another 512S concept that would come to define the wedge-tastic era: Paulo Martin’s Ferrari Modulo of 1970. The Berlinetta Speciale was perhaps more significant for breaking the curvaceous mould of prior road-going Ferraris, while also setting an angluar design precedent for the 365 GTC/4 (also a Sapino design) and the later Berlinetta Boxers.
And that photo shoot? All courtesy of a front end loader and a heap of muscle.
In the words of that other sixties sensation: “Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about. Strawberry Fields forever!”
Now where did I put that can of petrol?