Who: Aston Martin
What: New Valhalla and Vanquish
When: 2021 and 2022
Why: To take the British brand into direct combat with Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.
Think Aston Martin and two things will pop immediately to mind. James Bond and front-engined grand tourers.
That's what the brand has been synonymous with for decades, with iconic models such as the DB5 and more recently the DB11 and Vantage. But times are changing, with super sports car buyers flocking to ever faster mid-engined machines like the Ferrari F8 Tributo and Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
So Aston Martin is making the leap into the unknown and will unleash not one but three mid-engine cars by 2022; the Valkyrie, Valhalla and Vanquish. And how better to help with this transition than Formula 1's leading designer for the last three decades – Adrian Newey.
Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer leveraged his company's sponsorship with the Red Bull Racing team to allow Newey to fulfil his long-held ambition of designing a road car. The car in question is the Valkyrie, an uncompromising hypercar that is targeting F1 lap times in a bid to prove Aston can make a proper mid-engine car.
Powered by a 6.5-litre V12 engine built by Cosworth producing 746kW (1000hp) and backed up by a 160kW electric motor the Valkyrie should have little trouble demonstrating the British brand can build a super fast car.
But it will be built in strictly limited numbers, and it's believed all have already been accounted for even before production of the car has begun. Which means it has already served its purpose of changing the way people look at Aston Martin.
The next step will be to make a slightly more attainable model, which will further demonstrate Aston Martin's bona fides. It will be called the Valhalla and it's due to arrive in 2021.
The Valhalla (originally codenamed AM-RB-003 in deference to the link between Aston Martin and Red Bull Technologies) will be powered by a turbocharged V6 engine, with an F1-inspired hybrid system developed by the two companies.
Like the Valkyrie, it will be built around an expensive carbon fibre monocoque, in another link to F1 design.
While it won't be quite as rare as the Valkyrie, don't expect to see a Valhalla on every street corner, with Aston Martin saying it will be a limited run model.
Once those two cars have started to convince Ferrari and Lamborghini customers to look at Aston Martin in a different light, the new-generation Vanquish is due to hit the streets in 2022.
While it takes its name from one of Aston's more famous front-engined models, the new Vanquish will move its motor to the middle.
The company previewed the new model with the Vanquish Vision concept early in 2019 and let slip on a few details.
The engine in question is expected to be the same turbocharged V6 from the Valhalla but instead of the carbon fibre tub, the Vanquish will be built around a bonded aluminium frame.
It will be the first full volume mid-engine car the company will make and Palmer believes the arrival of the Vanquish will herald a new era for Aston Martin.
“Our first series production rear mid-engined supercar will be a transformational moment for the brand, for it is the car that will propel Aston Martin into a sector of the market traditionally seen as the heartland of luxury sports cars,” Palmer explained.