Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing collaborate on road-going hypercar for 2018

Published: 17 March 2016

► Aston Martin hypercar codenamed Project AM-RB 001
► Grand Prix designer Adrian Newey at the drawing board  
► F1-influenced aerodynamics and extreme performance   

Aston Martin has confirmed today it is collaborating with the Red Bull Racing F1 team on a new high-tech hypercar, codenamed Project AM-RB 001 and due to reach the road in 2018. Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey (designer of umpteen F1 championship winning cars for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull) is heavily involved in the car’s design.

The end product will be branded an Aston Martin, and should look like one too – Aston’s chief designer Marek Reichman is part of the car’s core design team. According to a source close to the project, the new machine will be ‘based on F1 tech, but with the Aston Martin signature design language to produce an amazing hypercar.’

How fast will the new Aston Red Bull hypercar be?

CAR is told the new car’s performance figures are projected to be in line with current F1 and LMP1 Le Mans car figures – no small claim. It’s understood that the car will feature a new powertrain (with a hybrid system likely), but using an engine developed from a current Aston road car powerplant – quite possibly the turbocharged V12 currently berthed under the new DB11’s bonnet.

Advanced aerodynamics will play a key role in the new car’s performance. Newey is an aero specialist, and Red Bull owns a state-of-the-art wind tunnel site at Bedford. It’s no coincidence either that the abstract sketch released to accompany Aston Martin’s announcement makes much of the aero flow around the low-lying car’s silhouette.

Aston Martin has been working with Newey for around three months, with the initial design said to be finalised.

‘We are in the process of developing a hypercar that combines the latest in aerodynamics from F1 and the design language of an Aston Martin sports car,’ says Aston design director Marek Reichman. ‘Unconstrained by F1 regulations, we have a unique chance to create a car in its most efficient form that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology.’

Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing become ‘innovation partners’

Aston Martin has announced an ‘innovation partnership’ with Red Bull Racing, with aerodynamicists, composite experts and manufacturing specialists pooling knowledge between both companies.

As part of the agreement, the Red Bull RB12 F1 cars racing in the 2016 season will display Aston Martin branding on the car’s bodywork, albeit in a fairly subtle form – you’ll need to look quite closely to spot it.

‘Formula One offers the ultimate global stage to build wider awareness of the Aston Martin brand,’ says Aston CEO Andy Palmer. ‘However, this partnership will deliver even more than that when the hypercar that Aston Martin and Adrian Newey are in the process of developing hits the road.’

Newey has himself commented that: ‘from the age of six I have had two goals in life – to be involved in the design of racing cars, and to be involved in the design of a supercar. Whilst the former ambition went on to form my career to date, the latter has always bubbled away, resulting in countless sketches and doodles over the years. The opportunity to now develop and realise those ideas whilst working with Marek [Reichman] and his colleagues from Aston Martin is tremendously exciting.’

The new hypercar is one of the models in Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer’s second-century plan, along with the new DBX crossover (for which a new factory will be built in Wales), a successor to the Lagonda saloon, and the newly unveiled DB11. Palmer told CAR’s Ben Oliver in the August 2015 issue that alongside the core models, ‘every year, we’ll do two special cars. They’re not a distraction…they’ll become the provenance cars of the future.’

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer