RED Bull’s Formula 1 star, Aussie hero and all-round great guy Daniel Ricciardo, will soon have a mental new company car. Aston Martin has taken the wraps off its secret AM-RB 001 road car, built in conjunction with five-time F1 World Constructors Championship winners, Red Bull Racing.
You can’t fault Aston Martin for lacking ambition. It has just launched the new DB11, its AMG V8-powered Vantage replacement will be along shortly, it is working on an EV crossover that will be constructed in an all-new factory – and now it casually announces that it is also set to build the world’s fastest road car.
The partnership was announced just four months ago, in Melbourne, and now we’ve seen what the production AM-RB 001 will look like when it arrives in late 2017 or early 2018 with what is set to be the most aggressive aerodynamic package ever put on a street-legal car.
Behind the scenes work has been going on for some time, both in terms of the formal partnership – which began 14 months ago according to Aston’s chief creative officer Marek Reichmann – and in the head of the man with the original vision, Red Bull design genius Adrian Newey, who admits he’s been thinking about road cars since he was six.
“From time to time you’re sitting bored on a beach or whatever and start doodling and then throw those doodles into a pile,” Newey told us when we spoke to him about the car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June. “It’s taking some of those and embodying them in one vehicle…
“There’s a continuity going from Formula 1 to the Playstation X-1 car [a virtual racer done for the GT5 game] to this – there’s a loose lineage there, but if you put the cars together you could see the evolution from chimpanzee to homo sapiens.”
Although we’ll have to wait for the final specs, we know that the AM-RB 001 will use a mid-mounted atmo V12 engine driving the rear wheels, possibly in conjunction with a KERS-style hybrid assistance system.
“The honest truth is that we are still evaluating a whole load of potential solutions,” Newey said.
“What I can say is that central to the concept is that the car should be small, light and efficient.”
Two versions will be sold, a track-only variant and a fully legal road car. Reichmann suggests that total build will be about 100 cars, with 25 of these likely to be the track variant.
There’s no official word on price, but we’re told to expect it to be between £2m and £3m. With the pound the way it is, we won’t even bother converting that. Fair to say that, if you need to check the currency, you can’t afford it.
The stripped-out version will, Newey promises, offer equivalent performance to an LMP1 race car around a lap of Silverstone, but he’s keen to say that the road-going version will be almost as fast.
“Many parts will be common, but obviously it will have an interior in it and won’t have quite the big wings of the track car.”
To hit its target, the 001 will have to be about 20 seconds a lap quicker than the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1.
Despite that, Newey is adamant the car is not built to chase numbers, getting in a dig at the Bugatti Chiron.
“It’s not just about the statistics, it’s about how you feel in the car, the pleasure in driving it. If we take the [example of] the manufacturer that’s chased the very high top speed, then it’s arguably not a terribly involving car to drive.
“We want to try and produce a car that will put a smile on your face whenever you drive it.”
Quite a few have had a punt at how the AM-RB 001 will look, with varying degress of success. Wheels’ gun graphic designer Brendon Wise had a crack in the May 2016 issue (left). We think he wasn’t far off. fe 00 succes lef