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Aston Martin-Red Bull hypercar given name of the Gods: Valkyrie

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The Red Bull Racing-designed Aston Martin hypercar formerly known by the project code AM-RB 001 has officially been given a name: Valkyrie.

Red Bull and Aston Martin entered a partnership last year that would see the two parties combine to create a new hypercar, including heavy influence from esteemed Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey.

The car was officially unveiled by Aston Martin last year, with 150 set to be made for the road and a further 25 track-special editions to be produced. Customer deliveries are set to begin in early 2019.

On Monday, Aston Martin announced that the car would no longer be referred to by its code name, instead becoming the latest in a long line of V-christened cars to come out of Gaydon: the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

“Aston Martin model names have deep meaning. They need to inspire and excite,” chief creative officer Marek Reichman said.

“To tell a story and enrich a narrative that stretches back some 104-years. The Aston Martin Valkyrie is an incredibly special car that demands an equally remarkable name; an uncompromising car that leaves nothing in reserve.

“The connotations of power and honour, of being chosen by the Gods are so evocative, and so pertinent to a car that only a fortunate few will ever experience.”

As per Aston Martin: “The Valkyrie – literal translation from Old Norse being “Chooser of the slain” – are female figures who select who may live and who may die in battle. The Valkyrie then bring half of those slain on the battlefield to Valhalla; the afterlife governed by Odin, Ruler of the Gods.”

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.