The top two teams in Formula One are about to take the battle out onto the streets.
We’re talking about Mercedes AMG and Red Bull Racing, which are using their F1 knowhow to help develop world-beating road cars.
Mercedes AMG is working with the Mercedes-AMG skunkworks to develop the car and has promised it will feature an engine borrowed from Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 championship-winning F1 car, albeit with some modifications for road use.
Red Bull is working with Aston Martin and has already revealed the basic design of its car, which is code-named the AM-RB 001. The man overseeing the design is Red Bull’s master aerodynamicist Adrian Newey. He’s the guy that designed the team’s four championship-winning race cars (2010-2013), and he’s now revealed some of the secrets of the 001 in an in-depth interview with The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
He’s revealed that there could be as many as 175 examples, broken down into 150 road cars and 25 more extreme track cars. The starting price will hover around the $3 million mark and the first examples should be delivered in early 2019.
Aston Martin AM-RB 001
Power will come from a V-12 engine, most likely working in concert with some form of hybrid system to deliver approximately 1,000 horsepower. The final figure is significant, as it is expected to match the car’s weight in kilograms in order to achieve the impressive one-to-one power-to-weight ratio. That’s the dry weight, though it still means the car will weigh less than 2,500 pounds with fluids and driver onboard. (A McLaren P1 tips the scales at 3,075 lb.)
But the numbers become even more bonkers from there. Accelerating to 200 mph will take around 10.0 seconds and coming back to a stop will take you just 5.0. That’s 0-200-0 mph in around 15.0 seconds! The current record holder is Koenigsegg’s One:1, which needs 14.3 seconds to reach 200 mph and 6.4 seconds to stop again, or a total of 20.7 seconds for the combined feats.
And we haven’t even got to the track car yet. According to insiders, the track car with its unique suspension and aerodynamic package could generate around 4,000 lb of downforce and a maximum 4 g of lateral acceleration, commonly referred to cornering force. Companies like Koenigsegg and Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus boast 2 g for their own creations, while maximum lateral acceleration of a modern F1 car is between 5 and 6 g.
The result is that the 001 will make current hypercars seem downright pedestrian in comparison. Aston Martin predicts the track car will lap Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps in under 2:00. The P1 with a good driver needs about 2:38. The record for the track’s current format is 1:47.263, as set by Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull F1 car in 2009.
The key is the downforce-generating shape of the car itself as well as an active suspension system that can lower and raise the ride height as needed. Aston Martin and Newey are keeping the details secret for now, though they have confirmed that less radical forms of the technology will end up in future models, helping to improve their stability at high speeds.