Aston Martin’s most radical road car yet; co-developed with Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey

Mostly known for its V-12-powered grand tourers and the race cars based on them, Aston Martin isn’t the kind of automaker you’d go to in search of a supercar. There is one exception though. In 2009, the Brits launched the One-77, a coupe that was powered by the most powerful, naturally aspirated engine at the time, was loaded with state-of-the-art features, and built in extremely limited numbers. Come 2016 and Aston Martin unveiled its first full-fledged supercar. Called the AM-RB 001, it was developed in collaboration with Red Bull Racing and will hit public roads in 2018. Although the full details on the car aren’t out yet and the preliminary photos show a prototype that will be further revised before the official launch, Aston Martin promises that the AM-RB 001 will be "an unprecedented fusion of form and function" and a vehicle that will be "entirely useable and enjoyable as a road car, but with the capability to perform like no road car before it on a race track."

These claims are mighty brave, but not surprising given the fact that the supercar is a joint effort with F1’s Red Bull Racing, which is headed by Adrian Newey, arguably the most successful Formula One designer. The F1-derived technology, Newey’s extensive knowledge about aerodynamics, and Aston Martin’s vast racing experience should make the AM-BR 001 quite the insane supercar. The car’s projected performance is "in line with that of today’s LMP1 Le Mans sports prototypes," which sounds spectacular to say the least. The task of engineering the AM-RB 001 will be shared between Q by Aston Martin Advanced and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, with production taking place at Aston Martin’s Gaydon facility — the exact same factory that was built for the One-77. A track-only version is also on the table, but until we find out more about that, let’s have a closer look at the prototype that previews the road-going model.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin AM-RB 001.

Exterior

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Aston Martin had very little to say about the AM-RB 001’s exterior. What we do know so far is that the body will be built around a carbon-fiber structure and that the aerodynamic kit will deliver "unprecedented levels of downforce in a road-legal car." Also, the British firm said that much of this downforce is generated through underfloor aerodynamics, which probably means that the chassis is derived from Red Bull’s Formula One design.

As far as styling goes, the AM-RB 001 is very similar to an LMP1 Le Mans prototypes. It has a low-slung silhouette, a short nose, long rear deck, extremely short overhangs, muscular wheel arches, and a canopy-like roof that extends above the engine. The front end has very little in common with current Aston Martin models outside the badge and the headlamps. The same goes the rear and pretty much every other element of this car. This is not surprising, however, as the AM-RB 001 is supposed to be an Aston Martin like no other.

It has a low-slung silhouette, a short nose, long rear deck, extremely short overhangs, muscular wheel arches, and a canopy-like roof that extends above the engine

Making the prototype that much more interesting is its Formula One-style underbody. Although it looks like a conventional supercar, the chassis is actually based on the open-wheel design of F1 cars. This is most visible if you look in the area between the nose and the carbon-fiber splitter, as well as the open area just under the doors. Around back, instead of the traditional diffuser that goes all the way to the ground, the AM-RB 001 sports a tunnel-like element that channels the air that comes from under the nose. The nearly flat fascia, the low-slung rear section of the roof, and the thin wing also suggest that Newey designed an intricate aerodynamic system that seems to blend knowledge from both Formula One and Le Mans.

On the other hand, the prototype is about 80 percent production ready, which means that certain modifications will be made to the exterior before the final version breaks cover. You can find out more about that in our 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie (the car’s production name) review.

Interior

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The bespoke seats seem to have been built for hardcore racing

When the AM-RB 001 was first unveiled, there were no photos of the interior. Actual pictures came once the updated Valkyrie was showcased and as expected, its cockpit is a carbon-fiber shell with motorsport-inpired design cues and features. The dashboard is as clean as they get, but it includes a large display in the middle. In addition, two smaller screens placed at the bottom of the A-pillars show images from the rear-view cameras placed in the outer flanks.

The race-inspired steering wheel also includes a screen, which displays information about water and oil temperature, fuel, battery, rpm, speed, and gears, among other functions. The bespoke seats seem to have been built for hardcore racing and enable the occupants to sit in a reclined, feet-up position similar to that of modern Formula One cars and Le Mans prototype racers.

Drivetrain

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The V-12 has "the potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio"

Under the hood of the AM-RB 001 will lurk a high-revving, naturally aspirated V-12 engine. In a market that’s slowly moving toward turbocharged powerplants and hybrid drivetrains, this is excellent news for gearheads. Although Aston Martin had nothing to say about the output, it did mention that V-12 has "the potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio," which translates to one PS per kg of weight. This is not unprecedented in the supercar industry as Koenigsegg has already achieved it with the Koenigsegg One:1, but it’s a rare and tremendous feat to accomplish. Even though there are no specific figures to run by, this power-to-weight ratio should return sub-three-second 0-to-60 mph sprints.

The V-12 engine will be backed by a race-spec transmission conceived by Adrian Newey from a clean sheet and and developed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies. Also penned by Newey, the suspension system will feature "innovative technology and employ principles honed over his thirty year career." It might not be much as far as information goes, but it sounds very exciting.

Conclusion

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It’s been nearly five years since Aston Martin discontinued the One-77 and it turns out that the Brits are ready to launch their third modern supercar. It’s a bit unexpected given the company’s recent financial problems, but it’s great to have yet another brand tackle the hypercar segment. But, while both the One-77 and the Vulcan are amazing cars, it seems that Aston Martin wants to take things up a notch and offer a world-beating hypercar that will be faster and more aerodynamic than anything else available on the market. It’s definitely too early to make predictions, but given Red Bull Racing’s involvement in the project, the Valkyrie should be a spectacular supercar. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little longer to get a hold of the juicy details behind it.

  • Leave it
    • * Not many details available
    • * Likely very, very expensive
    • * Very limited production run

Update History

Updated 07/07/2016: We’ve created a new video highlighting the details of the Aston Martin AM-RB 001 as it is now. Click play to watch the video!

Updated 07/05/2016: If just a few hours ago we got the first details on the upcoming AM-RB 001 hypercar, now is time to take a closer look at it thanks to the first official video released by Aston Martin. Hit "play" to watch it!

Press Release

Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing are today revealing their ground-breaking hypercar; codenamed AM-RB 001.

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The product of a unique Innovation Partnership between the British luxury brand and eminent F1TM team, this ambitious, uncompromising and wholly extraordinary collaboration combines the vision and skills of two world-leading brands to create a road car the like of which has never been seen before.

The three men charged with realising this shared vision are Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer and the world’s most successful F1TM designer, Marek Reichman, Aston Martin EVP and Chief Creative Officer and David King, VP and Chief Special Operations Officer. Together they spearhead a formidable alliance. One that combines more than a hundred years of specialism – both with heritage, making some of the world’s most beautiful and charismatic GT cars, and with technological brilliance and relentless pursuit of speed and efficiency that has seen Red Bull Racing excel in the ferociously competitive world of Formula One.

Reichman and Newey are working closely on all aspects of the project, striving to ensure the AM-RB 001 is an unprecedented fusion of form and function: a car engineered to be entirely useable and enjoyable as a road car, but with the capability to perform like no road car before it on a race track. For those who crave an even more intensely focused driving experience, a track-only AM-RB 001 is also in development, the projected performance of which is in line with that of today’s LMP1 Le Mans sports prototypes.

Built around a lightweight carbon fibre structure, the AM-RB 001 boasts truly radical aerodynamics for unprecedented levels of downforce in a road-legal car. Thanks to the genius of Newey’s design much of this downforce is generated through underfloor aerodynamics, leaving Reichman free to craft a pure yet breathtaking dramatic form that elegantly expresses both the AM-RB 001’s cutting-edge dynamism and the unmistakable essence of Aston Martin.

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Uncompromising in all respects, the AM-RB 001 is a bespoke machine from the tyres up. It will be built by David King and his team at Gaydon, in the purpose-built facility created for Aston Martin’s original hypercar, the One-77. More details of the AM-RB 001’s technical specification will be revealed in due course, but its heart is a new, mid-mounted, high-revving, naturally aspirated V12 engine with the potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio; 1 bhp per kilo of weight.

To cope with the extreme aerodynamic loadings at high speeds yet deliver the on-road usability and comfort levels that sit at the heart of the concept, the AM-RB 001’s suspension system will feature innovative technology and employ principles honed by Newey over his thirty year career. Likewise, the transmission is a clean-sheet design conceived by Newey and developed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

While boundary-pushing performance is clearly of paramount importance, so too is exceptional efficiency and packaging. Newey’s unrivalled knowledge has enabled the AM-RB 001 to be extremely light and compact, yet offer genuine comfort and space for driver and passenger and house a V12 engine.

Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer, says of the AM-RB 001 project: “I’ve long harboured the desire to design a road car. The formation of Red Bull Advanced Technologies brought me a step closer to realising that ambition, but I believed we should work with an automotive manufacturer. Aston Martin was at the top of my list. The synergy between Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin is clear. I knew Red Bull Racing had the ability to handle the pure performance aspects, but Aston Martin’s experience of making beautiful, fast and comfortable GT cars is of great benefit to the project. I’ve always been adamant that the AM-RB 001 should be a true road car that’s also capable of extreme performance on track, and this means it really has to be a car of two characters. That’s the secret we’re trying to put into this car - the technology that allows it to be docile and comfortable, but with immense outright capabilities.”

David King, Aston Martin’s VP and Chief Special Operations Officer, adds: “Working at Aston Martin means you get to be a part of some truly special projects, but the AM-RB 001 is a dream - a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Of course it’s a huge engineering challenge, too, but the game-changing objectives of this programme have a uniquely energising effect on everyone involved. We have world-class people and facilities at Gaydon. We’re all motivated to achieve great things and take Aston Martin to the absolute pinnacle of road car performance.”

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Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer, says of the AM-RB 001: “Working so closely alongside Adrian and an organisation like Red Bull Racing is a fabulous experience. By definition the objectives we’ve set for the car ensures there has never been an Aston Martin - or any car, actually - quite like the AM-RB 001. The shared challenge has been finding that magical tipping point where we achieve the most efficient engineering solutions and the most beautiful styling solutions without any compromises. My personal challenge has been expressing the AM-RB 001’s extraordinary performance and the unique way in which it delivers that performance. Its style reflects its revolutionary nature, while possessing the form and beauty that makes it unmistakably an Aston Martin.”

Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President and CEO, commented: “The AM-RB 001 is a truly remarkable project and something of which I’m extremely proud. To have Aston Martin working alongside Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing and the invaluable assistance of project partner AF Racing AG is an extraordinary creative collaboration. One that unites the very best of road and race car thinking. As the project gathers pace its clear the end result will be a truly history-making hypercar that sets incredible new benchmarks for packaging, efficiency and performance and an achievement that elevates Aston Martin to the very highest level.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing said: “Red Bull Racing has always steered an innovative course in our ongoing development of a competitive Formula One car. The conception and modus operandi of Red Bull Technologies has been to apply our expertise to truly progressive projects and partnerships. Our relationship with Aston Martin and the realisation of the AM-RB 001 is pioneering and borne of our synergies and desire to break new ground. The AM-RB 001 is the inspirational product of this collaborative spirit.”

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Continuing the on-going Innovation Partnership, the task of engineering the AM-RB 001 will be shared between Q by Aston Martin Advanced and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, with production taking place at Aston Martin’s Gaydon facility. Total volume will be between 99 and 150 road cars inclusive of all remaining prototypes and 25 track-only versions, with first deliveries commencing in 2018.

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