The AM-RB 001 could change the way we define supercars

This week, Aston Martin gave us a preview of the AM-RB 001 which, in 2018, will become the brand’s quickest and most radical road-going supercar. It’s also the company’s first-ever mid-engined vehicle and the first to result from a collaboration with a Formula One constructor. Although details are still scant, the exterior is not yet ready for production, and most of the drivetrain is still a mystery, the AM-RB 001 has everything it needs to revolutionize the supercar market.

That’s a daunting task in the 21st century, when high-profile makers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren have adopted pretty much every new technology available. A while back I stressed how the McLaren F1 was the last truly innovative supercar and why the likes of the Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari LaFerrari are no match for it. Now that Aston Martin has uncovered the AM-RB 001, I’m positive that the true successor of the F1 will also come from Britain.

Granted, this opinion is based on more theoretical facts than actual figures right now, but based on Aston Martin’s recent work, including the track-ready Vulcan and the fact that Red Bull Racing is also behind the project, I think that the AM-RB 001 will shake up the hypercar market in a big way.

Keep reading to find out why.

Designed with Red Bull Racing

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It’s no longer a secret that car makers often go to race car specialists (such as Dallara) to have certain components built to track-ready specifications. And, if history is any indication, all great supercars incorporate technology developed by shops that do not make road-going vehicles. Not surprisingly, the AM-RB 001 is being developed on the same recipe, but what makes it truly special is that the team behind it is none other than Red Bull Racing. In Formula One since 2005, Red Bull has created some of the greatest chassis setups in motorsport. The Austrian team has been fighting for the championship on a regular basis since 2009 and won four constructors’ championships between 2010 and 2013. Making things that much more exciting is that AM-RB 001 is not just another supercar with "some sort" of F1-derived technology, but its chassis is very similar to a single-seater.

Newey, Adrian Newey!

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Red Bull Racing would be nothing without Adrian Newey. With Red Bull since 2006, Newey has been designing Formula One cars since the late 1980s. He started with March in 1988 and joined Williams in 1991, where he created his first championship-winning chassis. Newey brought Williams five titles until he signed with McLaren in 1997, where he snatched yet another constructors’ championship with the MP4/13. Not only a brilliant engineer, he’s also an avid sports car collector.

More importantly, he has been tasked with designing the AM-RB 001’s F1-inspired chassis and radical aerodynamics, which will most definitely result in a unique, never-before-seen configuration on a road-legal car. If you’re disappointed that Gordon Murray no longer designs supercars, you’ll probably forget about it once Newey is done with the AM-RB 001. His ability to bend the rules and push the boundaries to their limits is stunning and the AM-RB 001 will probably mirror just that.

Innovative Transmission

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The gearbox is arguably one of the most important pieces in a supercar puzzle and Aston Martin and Red Bull want to take things up a notch. Although logic dictates that the AM-RB 001 should get a quick-shifting dual-clutch, Newey is not very fond of the concept. The standard dual-clutch weighs around 330 pounds, which would be more than 15 percent of the supercar’s curb weight. What’s more, Newey finds dual-clutch units to be too big and has set off to design his own gearbox. Given the small size and low weight of the AM-RB 011, the transmission will be unlike anything else available right now and will probably render most high-performance gearboxes obsolete in terms of size and weight. And, given it will most likely feature a high-degree of F1 know-how, it should be pretty quick too.

F1-inspired Design

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This isn’t a new concept, being implemented in cars such as the McLaren F1 and the Ferrari Enzo decades ago. It also doesn’t mean much nowadays with plenty of automakers claiming to use F1 technology in all sorts of design features or drivetrain components. But, Red Bull is taking the statement a lot more seriously, and a quick look at the AM-RB 001 prototypes shows why. Much like an F1 car, the supercar’s chassis is built around a tunnel that channels the air from the nose toward the rear much more efficiently. Also, the additional cutouts underneath the doors give aerodynamics a new meaning and bring what was previously seen only on concept cars only to the street. If the AM-RB 001 will be as quick as Newey claims, it’s only a matter of time before all automakers adopt this design and drop the more conventional wings and winglets.

All the Creature Comforts You Need

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An extreme supercar wouldn’t be new to the market, but one that offers all the creature comforts you get in a standard vehicle would revolutionize the concept. Granted, both Ferrari and McLaren offer convenience features on their range-topping hypercars, but Aston Martin wants the AM-RB 001 to hit dealerships with significantly more. A proper infotainment system and air conditioning are already on the table, as are all the luxurious features you get in a road-going Aston Martin. Newey wants the AM-RB 001 to act as a supercar and be as comfortable as a daily driver. Given his career achievements, only a fool would doubt his claims.

What do you think?
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