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We Test The Red Bull X1 Prototype


In every form of motorsport there are rules and regulations. A set of guidelines of which competitors must abide or face disqualification. There purposes vary from driver safety to these days of cutting budgets. Either way these do’s and don’t limit even the top tiers of racing in terms of performance. So what would happen if there was no rule book? Would hell break out onto the surface of the Earth and devour every living thing? Well yes, something along those lines.

Someone who has dared to dream of a machine focused entirely on performance with no limitations what so ever is Red Bull chief designer Adrian Newey. He has been likened to Leonardo Da Vinci in Formula One circles as he is responsible for the success of the current world championship winning team Red Bull Racing. This man certainly has the credentials to design such a car and armed with his imagination he did just that. Named the Red Bull X1 Prototype this car is one of the mostaerodynamically efficient shapes on the planet. It also uses a piece of technology that is banned from motorsport purely because it gave cars such a great advantage; a fan that creates a vacuum under the car allowing for high levels of downforce at all times. This means that cornering speeds are so great that 8G is an easy achievement. The X1 is powered by a 3.0 litre V6 with a turbocharger. It will rev to over 15,000RPM and has 1,483BHP! Top speed is in excess of 270MPH. Now many of you may be thinking that these are all just fanciful numbers but Newey says they can be achieved with todays technology but the budget would have to be huge. Oh and the only other issue is that the car accelerates, decelerates and changes direction so fast that it may kill the driver. Enter the gamings most prestigious simulator, Gran Turismo 5.

Think what you will of the games latest incarnation but there is no doubting that the physics are spot on. GT5 approached Newey and built the car in a virtual reality to every minuscule detail. They even got Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel to set the car up! So now without the possibility of dying, not from lack of blood to the brain anyway, it was our turn.

Driving out the pits and onto digital track the cars sheer volume is what hits you first. The never ending high pitched fury of the thing launches this missile to over 200MPH by the first corner, but that was where i found my next surprise. A good stomp on the breaks stops the X1 near instantly, the sort of action that would no doubt kill the occupant. Nevertheless as I picked up pace it could be used to great effect stopping for very tight corners immediately. This also carrying the previously mentioned fan technology also allows for continuos acceleration through a corner. Mr Vettel did this to such great effect that he lapped many tracks 20 seconds faster than his F1 car.

Though in the right hands feasible the X1 for now remains in the virtual world. It’s a shame as it has really opened my eyes to what is possible when law and order are thrown out the window and productive chaos takes hold.