Last month, a very select group of prospective owners were invited for a sneak preview of Aston Martin and Red Bull’s secretive collaboration project at that most glitzy of locations, the Monaco Grand Prix. Here, a full-scale model of the feverishly anticipated new AM-RB 001 hypercar dropped in to introduce itself to those gathered in the Province. The clay and plastic mock-ups of the beast itself were said to be “70% to 80% there in terms of appearance” by Aston chief Andy Palmer.
Fast forward to today, and speculation is finally at an end as the covers come off this ground-breaking new member of the hypercar fraternity. Unveiled to the world’s press in an exclusive ceremony at Aston Martin HQ in Gaydon, the AM-RB 001 is the result of collaboration between modern day pioneers of automotive design; Aston Martin’s creative duo Marek Reichman and David King and Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer and foremost F1 designer, Adrian Newey.
Fulfilling a long-harboured ambition to produce a road car, Newey brings his legendary expertise to the Aston Martin table in creating the AM-RB 001, “a car engineered to be entirely useable and enjoyable as a road car, but with the capability to perform like no road car before it on a race track”.
So, here’s a rundown of the key details gleaned so far. Following today’s big reveal, a flotilla of prototypes will be dispatched for testing next spring with the strictly limited run of production models officially launched in selected markets in summer 2018. Initially pinned at 99, today’s announcement hints that Aston could commit to producing as many as 150 road-going models, including prototypes. On top of this, there’s the further surprise of 25 no holds barred track only editions, the projected performance of which should emulate that of today’s LMP1 Le Mans sports prototypes.
Word on the street was that the new AM-RB 001 would be powered by an advanced petrol-electric hybrid drive system in line with its contemporary hypercar brethren at McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari. This move would surely have seen a filtering down of the wealth of expertise in performance-boosting electric motors and energy recovery systems developed by Aston and Red Bull in the World Endurance and Formula One championships respectively. However, there was no mention of the H word today at the 001’s international reveal. Instead, we have it confirmed that power will come from a stand-alone mid-mounted, V12 petrol engine.
Precise technical spec is frustratingly thin on the ground at this stage but the combined design team insists that the naturally aspirated power unit will have the potency to hit the magic 1:1 power-to-weight ratio mark. Consider previous comments from the Aston camp, insisting that the AM-RB 001 will tip the scales at slightly more than an LMP1 endurance racer, and we’re looking at a rough maximum output in the region of 950-1000bhp.
One area in which Red Bull, and in particular Newey’s, input has been of paramount importance is in aerodynamics. Boasting one of the lowest profiles of any car in existence, much of the AM-RB 001’s downforce is generated through underfloor aerodynamics. Chief Creative Officer Reichman’s input can be seen in the dramatically flowing and almost wave-like form of the hypercar’s incredibly sleek bodywork, whilst suspension and transmission exhibits the familiar Newey stamp, employing principles honed by the F1 design supremo over his thirty year career.
Engineering responsibilities will be shared between Q by Aston Martin Advanced and Red Bull Advanced Technologies with construction taking place in a purpose-built facility at Gaydon, previously the breeding ground for Aston Martin’s original One-77 hypercar. More technical details are expected to come our way over the coming weeks and months, which may or may not confirm what many observers are speculating; will the AM-RB 001 become the fastest car of all time? We will of course give you the heads up as soon as we know more.
Pricing, on the other hand, will remain a closely guarded secret. Estimates vary between £2-3 million but Aston bosses will deal with each prospectively client on a strictly individual basis. Let’s face it, if you need to see the price tag, you should probably put your wallet away.