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Aston Martin, Red Bull plot hypercar

Hyper reality: Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner (left) and Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer at the announcement of a new co-developed hypercar in Melbourne.

Red Bull Racing to help design Aston Martin road car faster than an F1 racer

18 Mar 2016

ASTON Martin will team up with Red Bull Formula One Racing to develop and produce a “ground-breaking” hypercar that could become the fastest car on the planet, at least on a race track.

Red Bull Racing design whiz Adrian Newey has drawn the ground-effect aerodynamics for the next-generation hypercar, which is part of a technical partnership that will see Aston Martin’s flying wings badge emblazoned on the Red Bull Formula One cars this year.

Only 100 of the super-quick hypercars will be built, with previous Aston Martin buyers being given preference, according to the British sportscar-maker's chief executive officer Andy Palmer who revealed the partnership between the two companies in Melbourne last night.

Mr Palmer gave no details about the specifications of the car, currently known as the AM-RB001, except that it would be the company’s first mid-engined design.

He said the main design criterion was that the car had to be able to lap a Formula One track as fast, or faster, than a current F1 car.

First deliveries are expected to start in the second half of 2018. The price has not been set yet, but is expected to be comfortably more than the £1.8 million ($A3.4m) charged for the low-volume Vulcan.

“Aston Martin has never done a mid-engined car and we thought about who we would like to design this piece of history for us and we thought about getting only the best, and the best is Adrian,” Mr Palmer said.

Mr Newey started work on a road car project about 12 months ago and Mr Palmer and Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner began talking about a collaboration between the two companies three months later.

Mr Newey said he had always wanted to design a road car but admitted that he had to refer back to some of his earliest work to bone up on ground effect aerodynamics, which was banned in Formula One in 1983.

“My final-year project at university was about ground effect aerodynamics applied to a sportscar, a road car,” Mr Newey told GoAuto.

“So I actually, when I first started thinking about this project, I dragged out that uni project from 1980 and referred to it.” He said the proposed Aston Martin hypercar would be able to match or beat Formula One lap times because it would be able to utilise unrestricted aerodynamics.

Aston Martin chief designer Marek Reichman gave a few clues about the aero technology Mr Newey would bring to the project.

“The underside of the car is incredibly complex,” he said. “It’s a series of very, very interactive surfaces, not moving surfaces, but surfaces that guide the air to develop the downforce and push the car through the air.

“That’s Adrian’s bit and on the upper surfaces, that’s Aston Martin design, that’s me.” Mr Reichman said the project was in the final design phase.

“The proportion is set, the layout is set. We’re probably within five to 10mm of freezing the surface language.” Mr Reichman said the AM-RB001 would be unmistakable as an Aston Martin from every angle although it will not be predictable.

“It’s about creating something that is unearthly in many ways. It’s something we haven’t seen. It’s a language that you’ll recognise but it is not currently of this planet.” He said he had established a brilliant working relationship with Mr Newey.

“We have very similar thought patterns. Adrian is a purist. He’s a designer that wants to find a technical solution. I am driven by beauty, the purity of beauty.” He said that, despite the hypercar’s need for extreme downforce, it would be as beautiful as any Aston Martin and not encumbered by large aerodynamic spoilers.

“If you look at the DB11, we’ve just proven you don’t need a wing to have perfect aero.

“We patented a system on the DB11 called the Aston Martin AeroBlade, which is a blade of air that comes out from the back of the car and generates a spoiler without drag, a spoiler generated with air.

“This car will not have massive wings. It will be very pure, very simple.” Mr Palmer would not confirm that the drivetrain would be a hybrid, although he did say “we expect to see a lot of crossover of technology from Formula One”.

Current Formula One rules stipulate that a car must have a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor or motors plus battery.

He said the engine would not be sourced from Daimler, which holds a five per cent stake in Aston Martin and will be providing some engines and key electronics for other Aston Martin models in future.

“We have a (power) target very much in mind, but we are not declaring it today. We just need to work out how we engineer an engine that is capable of it.

“All I can tell you today is it’s an awesome engine,” Mr Palmer said.

Mr Horner was confident the car would meet the expectations of Aston Martin customers.

“This car will be seriously, seriously quick. Initial indications that we have had indicate that it generates more downforce than any car we have ever produced.” Mr Palmer said the market for ultra-expensive cars was small, but added that the people who wanted these cars were happy to pay top dollar.

“They tend to split into three categories: the collector that will buy every Aston Martin that is ever produced, the guy that would like to buy the race package that goes with it and then the guy or the girl that would like to drive it on the road.” “In this kind of run, you see our competitors doing 500, 900 units, that kind of level, so restricting it to 100 puts a lot of scarcity into the whole discussion.

“We’ll privilege any Vulcan customers to have first dibs on the car. There’ll be 99 cars, and it’s first come, first served. Hopefully we will have a few banging at the door.”

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