Cosworth Squeezes Out 250 HP (186 KW) From Naturally Aspirated 3-Cylinder Engine

Aston Martin’s new hypercar called the Valkyrie is by no doubt a true stunner. It gets the hype that it deserves thanks to every single detail that it boasts. There is one component however that contributes immensely to the great car that it is – its engine. Powering the Valkyrie is a Cosworth designed 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 that churns out 1,000 hp (756 kW) at 10,500 rpm. Still, these numbers are not all that’s worth mentioning about the powerplant.

Apart from the scarcely believable power figures that this engine produces, it also has a service interval of 100,000 kilometres. With that now uncovered, there’s one more big detail about the engine that’s worth mentioning, and this is probably the spookiest fact about it – this 1,000 hp (756 kW) V12 atom bomb actually started out in life as a 1.6-litre 3-cylinder unit! Before developing the V12, Cosworth first worked on a scaled version testing power output versus emissions with a naturally aspirated engine.

The scaled version worked out to be a 1.6-litre, naturally aspirated 3-cylinder motor that was not only good for 250 hp (186 kW) but also met all emissions legislation. Starting to make sense why the Valkyrie’s engine exists in the first place? Well it should as this is exactly a quarter of that V12 in terms of displacement, number of cylinders, as well as power output.

According to Cosworth’s managing director, Bruce Wood, the reason why they had to start with the 3-cylinder motor has to do with time management – the first running of the V12 engine from blank screen was going to take as long as a year. The need to deliver such a high amount of power per litre while staying on the right side of emissions regulations was a big challenge, so the team had to find a quicker way to prove to themselves that they had passed the test, without having to wait for 12 to 13 months.

The three-cylinder unit however, also started out as another engine – it is derived from a four-cylinder engine. Cosworth then designed a three-cylinder head that was “an absolute replica of three cylinders of the Valkyrie design.” Five months later, they started development of the V12.

So there we have it, instead of waiting 12 to 13 months for confirmation, the Cosworth got to find out in five months that they would be able to deliver such monumental power figures while meeting emissions legislation. They knew that the 6.5-litre V12 would definitely be possible.

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