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Fernando Alonso’s New Aston Features 3D Printed Rear Subframe

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Aston Martin has revealed its latest sports car, the Valiant. Commissioned by Spanish racing legend Fernando Alonso, the vehicle is both road-legal and track-focused, featuring advanced materials and technologies to achieve a remarkable power-to-weight ratio of approximately 497 hp per tonne. Central to achieving such a design is the vehicle’s 3D printed rear subframe.

Though the company hints at the use of additive manufacturing (AM) in more than one way, the only specific Aston Martin offers with the release of the Valiant is to produce the rear subframe. By 3D printing what is typically a conventionally produced assembly, the firm was able to reduce its weight by three kilograms while maintaining the necessary structural integrity and strength. This weight reduction is critical in enhancing the car’s agility and handling, allowing for more precise control during high-speed maneuvers.

Aston Martin also isn’t specific about who produced the part. However, for the rear subframe of the DBR22, announced in 2022, the manufacturer turned to advanced production firm Divergent Technologies. Divergent typically relies on the 12-laser NXG XII from Nikon SLM Solutions, which it helped develop, to 3D print its complex metal parts. There’s a strong possibility, then, that the Valiant’s part was also made by Divergent. After all, Divergent recently revealed that it produced suspension and chassis parts for Bugatti’s Tourbillon hypercar.

In addition to the 3D printed rear subframe, the Valiant incorporates several other lightweight materials that contribute to its overall performance. The vehicle features a magnesium torque tube, which further decreases the car’s weight by 8.6 kilograms. This reduction in mass at the vehicle’s central point improves its balance and handling dynamics, crucial for both track and road driving conditions.

The wheels of the Valiant are another testament to the focus on weight reduction and performance enhancement. The car is equipped with 21-inch magnesium wheels, which are specially sized to save an additional 14 kilograms. This reduction in unsprung mass improves steering response and overall vehicle handling, making the Valiant more responsive and easier to control, especially at high speeds.

The Valiant also benefits from the use of a motorsport-grade lithium-ion battery, which saves another 11.5 kilograms. This high-performance battery not only contributes to the overall weight reduction but also ensures that the car’s electrical systems are supported without compromising on performance or reliability.

The Valiant’s design leverages the lightweight and robust nature of carbon fiber extensively. The car’s bodywork is predominantly made of this material, which not only contributes to its light weight but also enhances its aerodynamic efficiency. The design includes features like a deep front splitter, multi-layer end planes, and a full-width carbon fiber grille, all of which work together to improve airflow, reduce drag, and increase downforce.

By integrating 3D printed components with advanced materials and cutting-edge design, Aston Martin has created a vehicle that is both lightweight and exceptionally strong. Seeing AM used to produce complex parts of luxury vehicles is one thing, which Divergent has taken to another level. However, once these same features are incorporated into more commonplace cars, the real benefits of the technology will be more widely felt by all.

Images courtesy of Aston Martin.

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