Red Bull’s RB17 is ‘Adrian Newey off the lead’ | CAR Magazine

Red Bull’s RB17 is ‘Adrian Newey off the lead’

Published: 15 July 2024

► Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar has arrived
► V10 hybrid develops 1183bhp; weighs under 900kg
► Engineering mastermind Adrian Newey behind the project

Red Bull’s track-ready hypercar, the RB17, is ‘Adrian [Newey] off the lead’ says Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner.

The super streamlined hypercar was unveiled at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed in a reveal event that marked 20 years of Red Bull Racing.

RB17 has been created from the ground up by engineering mastermind Adrian Newey as well as Red Bull Advanced Technologies, with the hypercar promising ‘F1-equivalent lap times.’

‘I had been mulling around the idea to take on the challenge to design our very own hypercar from concept to delivery,’ says Newey. ‘It has been a magnificent project and journey.’

Fast, I take it…

Oh absolutely. Right at the heart of the RB17 is a 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V10 that redlines to 15,000rpm as well as an electric motor. Total system output of 1183bhp, with all of that power being sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed transmission made out of carbonfibre and a hydraulically-locking active differential. Red Bull says the RB17 is capable of speeds beyond 217mph.

Different drive modes are available to help get the best out of the car, and Red Bull also says the RB17 is designed to be durable to do a 24-hour endurance race without any servicing required.

It also looks very slippery…

Indeed it does. Given Newey worked on the Aston Martin Valkyrie, you can see similarities in the silhouette and the wild aerodynamics. Red Bull says the RB17 has active aerodynamic elements within the front and rear wings and diffuser allowing for the best aero possible for the driving situation.

The whole car is made from carbonfibre, features a motorsport-spec ‘survival cell’ and is designed to Le Mans Hypercar safety regulations. On top of that, it’s a two-seater – allowing you to scare the life out of someone on track. Or, more sensibly, have someone with you training you.

Full carbonfibre 18-inch wheels with full slick Michelin tyres are included, with a 20-inch option using a treaded tyre option. Pushrod suspension features here, with active ride height control and adjustable dampers, as well as a nose lift mode to get over speed bumps. The steering, interestingly, is hydraulically-assisted (not electric, like most modern cars) and carbon carbon (yes, they exist, and are used exclusively in motorsport – including on the Ferrari 499P) brakes are included.

And Red Bull did all of this itself?

‘Everything is in-house,’ says Newey. ‘We’re using the same suppliers as we did in Formula One, so it’s the same build process we’d do if we were building an F1 car. That’s the reason we’re limited to 50 cars – [if RBAT made more] then we wouldn’t be able to manufacture it in the same way.’

Red Bull is more than happy to point out that it has the means, money and engineering capacity to do it, with Horner throwing shade at Aston Martin’s Valkyrie (which Newey had a significant part in developing in). ‘It nearly sunk Aston Martin, even if it did add a lot to their share price,’ says Horner. ‘With us, we said that we were going to do this project the proper Formula One way and do it properly with all the applications on how do we build it – but then it’s going to come with a price tag comparative with that technology.’

And if I’m lucky enough to own one?

Well you’ll need to be very wealthy first, with prices for each of the 50 RB17s being made pushing north of £5m a pop, and that’s before an expected £1m+ when it comes to customising it. ‘There are no FIA constraints and therefore no cost cap,’ says Horner, ‘so that’s the reason why it’s so f***ing expensive!’

While a the reveal event of the RB17, we spotted celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay rubbing shoulders with Red Bull’s elite.

For that hefty price tag, though, you get wined and dined by Red Bull from the moment of order to a point way past delivery. Red Bull says it’ll bring you to races, as well as ‘a range of activities and events’ to welcome [you] to the Red Bull family.’ That includes events surrounding Red Bull Racing’s upcoming 20-year anniversary, F1 race and test entry and, of course, time in a simulator to prep you for your RB17 arriving. That’s on top of the entire step-by-step process of designing your RB17.

And then, when you have it, Red Bull says it will host track driving events and training for you to get the most out of owning one.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches