IT’S all about the details with Aston Martin’s first hypercar, the AM-RB 001.
With a target of lapping a race circuits like Silverstone faster than a Formula One car, the mid-engined hypercar will team a twin-turbocharged V12 with electric motors for La Ferraribeating performance.
With the first of just 99 global deliveries slated for late 2018, the upcoming flagship Aston Martin’s drawcard will be impeccable aerodynamics courtesy of Red Bull F1 design guru Adrian Newey.
“What we conceived is a car that is as fast, if not faster than an F1 car around a track,” says Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer. “When you imagine that, you start to think about who you’d like to design this wonderful piece of history, and you go to the best – and the best is Adrian [Newey].”
Announced in Melbourne on March 17 ahead of the GP, Project AM-RB 001 will be built, designed and engineered in collaboration with the Red Bull Racing F1 team and its legendary technical chief Newey, who has created world title-winning cars for Williams and McLaren as well as Red Bull.
Underneath is where much of the Newey magic will take place.
“We’re responsible for the package of the car – the overall layout, the dynamics of the car,” Newey said. “And then really it’s working with Marek [Reichman, Aston Martin design chief] and his team on the upper surface styling, the interior obviously, and then all the bits and pieces we don’t really have experience of – door shuts and windscreen wipers and all those sorts of things.”
Newey, who took a step back from the F1 team at the end of 2014 to work on other projects, is part of what both Palmer and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner call a “natural fit”.
Horner said the brand was not planning to follow McLaren into building road cars, instead happy to be involved in the high-tech development and let Aston Martin produce the cars.
“Red Bull and Aston Martin are two of the most iconic brands in the world, and I think that Red Bull Racing as a Formula One team in its own right has achieved some remarkable things over the last 10 years … this is the natural evolution for Red Bull as a technology company.”
And, just as Ayrton Senna helped develop the original Honda NSX, there may be a role for Red Bull’s Aussie hero, Daniel Ricciardo. “We’ll need to drive this car a lot… especially in the French Riviera,” Ricciardo joked at the project’s launch. To which Horner said Dan would have to pay his own speeding fines!
Working alongside Reichman at Aston Martin, Newey has focused his biggest aero efforts beneath the skin. “If you flip the car upside-down, it’s the most intricate, technical surface you’ve ever seen,” Reichman said, singing the praises of the man who penned 10 world championshipwinning F1 cars. “It’s just magical, and it’s not something a [road car] designer would do.”
Palmer told Wheels the car will be powered by an Aston Martin engine – not the AMG-sourced V8 that will soon arrive in various Astons – so expect a development of the new 5.2L twin-turbo V12.
Palmer said the hybrid system will be a development of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) used in F1. “You would expect something derived from KERS,” Palmer told us.
Expect total power output to approach 1000kW, although Palmer insists the goal is lap times, not acceleration times or top speeds; it will not challenge the coming Bugatti Chiron for the title of the fastest car in a straight line. “We’re not drag racers,” Palmer said.
Newey said road cars have more flexibility for big performance and adapting new tech. “Road car regulations are a hell of a lot more open than Formula One regulations, so there’s far more opportunity to do different things than there is in Formula One now.”
For now the only clue to the design of the AM-RB 001 is a profile sketch released by the
British brand. It shows a sleek, curvaceous shape defined by exposed front wheelarches and a low-slung cockpit. But we let our artist loose to provide the comgen images you see here.
As for pricing, Palmer said the AM-RB 001 will be significantly more than La Ferrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 – the closest things to it conceptually.
Palmer hinted it would be closer to the ¤2.4 million ($A3.6m) price tag for the Chiron. So anyone looking to bring one to Australia – the Aston Martin hypercar will be produced in both left- and right-hand-drive configurations – should expect to pay upwards of $5 million once import duty, GST and luxury-car taxes are added.
The F1 lap record around the 5.9km Silverstone GP Circuit (which was modified in 2010) is 1min 30.874sec, set by Fernando Alonso in 2010 driving a Ferrari. That’s an average speed of 233km/h.
Aston Martin and Red Bull say the AM-RB 001 will even faster – yet it will have headlights, airbags, a seat and numberplates. comparison, the La Ferrari, Porsche McLaren P1 hypercars lapped the shorter National Circuit in a little over 58 seconds magazine test. It doesn’t have the GP circuit’s long but the 163km/h average speed is a long way the F1 car’s 233km/h.
Aero is a big part of AM-RB 001’s plan for dominance, and it’ll need big power to achieve F1 speeds; something like 1000kW. In the DB11, Aston’s new 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 makes 448kW but expect that to be ramped up massively, helped significantly by electric motors.
Kerb weight will need to be sub-1400kg, not to mention the stickiest road tyres ever invented.
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