Aston Martin Red Bull hypercar is go! Adrian Newey exclusive on the £2m F1 road car

17 Mar, 2016 10:33am Steve Fowler

Project AM-RB 001 will hit roads in 2018 combining “ground-breaking aerodynamics and stunning beauty” Adrian Newey speaks out

Aston Martin has confirmed that it’s working with Red Bull Racing and its Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey on a ground-breaking new hypercar, codenamed Project AM-RB 001, to be launched in 2018. We've spoken the Aston Martin's CEO Andy Palmer and Adrian Newey to get the lowdown on the car.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said. “This is a no excuses halo car – the most luxurious car in its class, but also the quickest and the fastest.

“This car will be able to lap Silverstone as quick as or quicker than an F1 or LMP1 car. But it’s a race car that’s capable of going on the road.”

The two-seater hypercar is likely to feature a version of Aston’s new V12 engine, boosted by an F1-style KERS hybrid system. Although the image gives very little away, it’s expected to look like a radical LMP1 car that’s smaller than a Porsche 919. 

And according to Palmer, the focus is on aerodynamics and building a car that will be quick around a circuit, rather than trying to take on the Bugatti Chiron in a straight line. 

“The aerodymanics are truly ground-breaking,” said Palmer, “Combined with spectacularly beautiful looks, it’s deeply an Aston Martin. It’s a beautiful thing.”

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“Adrian Newey will give us the sleekest car, Marek Reichman will give us the most beautiful car and Dave King [Aston’s Director of Special Projects and Motorsport] is responsible for making sure it’s road legal.”

The two companies have been working on the project for the past three months and the car is set to be revealed at a unique event in a few months’ time. It’ll combine the two firms’ expertise in aerodynamics, use of composites and manufacturing, will probably be limited to around 100 cars and, according to Palmer, will be “very, very expensive” – we’d expect it to be close to £2million.

Adrian Newey has long harboured a desire to build a road car, saying that it was an ambition that he’d had since the age of six. “The opportunity to develop and realise those ideas with Marek and the team from Aston Martin is tremendously exciting,” he said. “It allows us to translate the technology we have developed in F1 into a new arena."

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The relationship between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing won’t stop at project AM-RB 001. The hypercar is said to be one of a series of cars that will benefit from F1 technology including aerodymanics and the use of lightweight composites. Red Bull and its Advanced Technologies division will also learn from Aston Martin’s manufacturing expertise.

Awareness of the Aston brand, especially in the growing Chinese market, will also be boosted with the Aston Martin wings logo on the Red Bull Racing cars, driven by Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, throughout the 2016 Formula One season.

Hypercar Q and A with Adrian Newey Red Bull chief technical officer

Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, Adrian Newey and Fernando Alonso

What does it feel like to be involved with Aston Martin?

“I think most enthusiasts i know all have pictures of the Countach or Miura or whatever it might have been, and those are the sorts of cars you dreamed of - and in my case, also dreamed of designing.

“Now we’re in a position where I think there’s a very good match  … [Aston’s] designer and styling and industry input, plus experience with all the homologation and things that we don’t know about, combined with our Formula One knowledge of how to make a car go faster. I’m very excited."

You’ve dabbled in other disciplines, notably yachts. But have you always wanted to design a road car?

“It’s been a long time coming. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for very many years – when I was six it was more the racing, but certainly from the teenage years I’ve been involved in designing a sports car, a road car. I’ve been doodling various sketches over the years, and this is the confirmation of it.”

Is designing this car harder than designing an F1 car?

“It’s different. Very different. 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.

“We’re responsible for the package of the car; the overall layout, the dynamics of the car. And then really it’s working with Marek [Reichman] 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.”

Will it be recognisable as an Aston Martin?

“Hmmmm. You’ll have to wait and see… will it be recognisable as an Aston Martin? Yes, there will be cues to it. Will it be different to anything that’s around? Yes, I would say so.”

Will this project distract your from your F1 efforts?

“It’s a dual role, which I’ve wanted to do for a while - to be involved in other things. For me it’s a fantastic opportunity. I think we’ve developed a very strong and deep technical team on the Formula One side which allows me to not be involved every day.

“Yes, Formula One’s still great, but I promised myself that I would not spend my whole career solely in motor racing.”

Are you excited about Aston Martin's partnership with Red Bull? Let us know in the comments section below...