Big news out of Melbourne earlier this week: in the run-up to the 2016 F1 season, Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin announced a long-term partnership that will not only see the winged logo of Gaydon adorn the RB12’s of Ricciardo and Kvyat, but the two companies collaborating on a road car. Not just any road car, either: Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s CTO (and designer of 10 World Championship F1 cars), will be working closely with Aston designer Marek Reichman on a range-topping hypercar.
Codenamed “AM-RB 001”, the only image released thus far is the simple profile sketch seen above. Numerous keen-eyed Gran Turismo players have been quick to point out the similarities to Aston’s submission to the Vision Gran Turismo project, the DP-100. It certainly isn’t a stretch to compare the two:
Check out the long, graceful curve of the roofline. Note the abrupt, semi-floating front arches, and the powerful rear haunches. Look at the pinched lower bodywork, the dramatic removal of visual weight adding tension. The DP-100 was a harbinger of future Aston Martin design cues: the Vulcan track-only car borrowed the elaborate pin-like LED taillights, while the new DB11, launched earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show, features a toned-down version of the Vision GT car’s roof rail design. Perhaps it was looking even further into the future than we might have first thought.
Red Bull’s involvement has important ties to Gran Turismo as well. Along with the Citroën GT, the Red Bull X-cars are arguably Vision Gran Turismo cars before the project was ever officially christened. The original X2010 was Newey’s digital, no-holds-barred answer to the question of what a racing car could be without the suffocating rules and regulations of modern racing. With roughly double the horsepower of contemporary F1 cars, a fan-powered ground effects package, and advanced aerodynamics, it was comfortably faster than anything else on the track.
Lap times are the subject of one of the project’s bolder claims, too. In an interview with Autocar, Aston CEO Andy Palmer set his sights right at the top of the board. “We’re saying it could be faster than an F1 car around Silverstone”, he said, before adding “We’re not commenting on the configuration beyond saying it is mid-engined and extraordinarily powerful.” This marks the first time a road-going Aston will place the engine behind the driver. Of course, the DP-100 was a midship design too…
Palmer talks of a legitimate cross-over of technology from F1 to the AM-RB 001 project, specifically about a KERS-style energy system. He’s also keen to stress that this is only the first fruits of this partnership, with items like carbon construction, batteries, and the afore-mentioned KERS system all in various levels of discussion.
The project has a planned 2018 on-the-road date, with a production run of “around 99 cars”.