Red Bull is coming off two absolutely dominant back-to-back Formula 1 seasons, sweeping the driver's and manufacturer's championships both times. Now, Red Bull and its Chief Technology Officer Adrian Newey want to take their racing expertise to the world of track-focused hypercars by placing that title-winning knowhow into the hands of 50 very deep-pocketed customers.
In a new interview, Newey talks about the upcoming RB17, which Red Bull team principal Christian Horner calls "Adrian Newey unleashed." The RB17 will be a track-only vehicle designed to give owners the ability to experience F1-caliber lap times themselves. The idea came after Newey worked with Gran Turismo creators Polyphony Digital about 15 years ago to design a fictional race car called the X2010, free from the constraints of F1's regulations at the time.
Afterward, Newey worked with Aston Martin on the Valkyrie, but admitted that partnering with a different brand presents challenges with such projects. So he and Red Bull decided to create their own hypercar purely for the circuit, rules be damned, and Newey was given carte blanche to design it as he wanted.
What happens when you give one of the world's greatest automotive minds the freedom to create a regulation-free track car? You get a sub-2,000-pound beast with a naturally aspirated V10, inspired by '90s F1 titans, that revs to an eardrum-shredding 15,000 rpm. That's better than the also naturally aspirated Cosworth V12 in Gordon Murray's 12,100-rpm T.50s hypercar. Newey says the engine will make 1,000 horsepower on its own, but will be aided by a 200-hp electric motor which will double as a starter, move the car from a standstill, and even handle reverse. And since the free-breathing, high-revving engine might lack Newey's desired torque low in the rev range, the motor will fill in the gap, as well as smooth out gear changes.
Being a hardcore track machine unfettered from road car rules, the RB17 should be capable of around 3,600 pounds of maximum downforce. Active aero and suspension will be required to handle that burden but Red Bull can't go any higher than that, as the tires wouldn't be able to cope.
Such an extreme car will surely be a challenge for anyone unfamiliar with that level of performance (read: almost everyone), but Newey wants it to be accessible for a wide variety of drivers. So the RB17 is said to be an approachable car despite its performance capabilities, and Red Bull will also allow customers to get acclimated to it before they put their butts in seats. Part of the package when buying one will be a visit Red Bull's facility to experience the machine on a sim rig. There, clients will be able to set the car up how they like and get to know it better before taking to the asphalt.
Only 50 will be made (likely 49 will be sold, as Newey will have one set aside for himself) and each one will cost around $6.3 million. That's even more expensive than the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro. Production is planned for 2026, though the public may get a look at the car as early as this year. It will be interesting to watch the RB17 develop and see whether Red Bull decides to build a street-legal version, similar to the standard Valkyrie. Could this be Red Bull's jumping off point into eventually making road cars?
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