Aston Martin launches gorgeous open-top Volante version of its range-topper
Red Bull’s 1500hp 280mph X1
Just how fast could F1 cars go if genius designers like Red Bull’s Adrian Newey were given totally free rein?
A new virtual Red Bull prototype, called the X1 and created for the soon to be released (really!) Gran Turismo 5, demonstrates just that. And the results are spectacular to say the least.
Designed with input from Adrian Newey and his team at Red Bull, the X1 imagines a world where rules and restrictions have been totally thrown away and designers are free to come up with the most extreme cars they can imagine.
Though never destined to run in the real world, the X1 has been designed with existing technology in mind and is intended to demonstrate what could be possible, given limitless budgets and no rulebook.
Starting with a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo, direct-injection V6 engine with just over 1,500hp and an idea for a single-seat racer with an enclosed, aircraft style cockpit and faired in wheels, Newey and his team set to work.
The results were spectacular but for the final stroke of genius they looked back to the awe-inspiring – and swiftly banned – 70s Chapparal Can-Am and Brabham F1 cars that used fans to suck the car onto the track to create downforce.
The latter car, designed by legendary McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray, proved how effective these devices could be but following the ban the idea was never taken forward, though protests about sneaky ‘active’ aerodynamics continue.
The X1 revives the fan system and, as a result, could theoretically pull as much as 8G in corners – the kind of forces experienced by jet fighter pilots and near to the very limit of what the human body can withstand.
So how fast would the X1 go at the hands of a modern-day racing driver? To put the car to the test Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel took the X1 for a few virtual laps of Suzuka, a track at which he won for real just a few weeks ago.
With the X1 he slashed an incredible 20 seconds off the track’s lap record of 1:31.540, set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2005. In a world where shaving a few tenths off your lap time is big news a margin that big is simply astonishing.
And as the current F1 championship draws to a close and with both Red Bull drivers seeing their title hopes fade after a disastrous race in Korea both Vettel and Webber will be looking at the X1’s performance with more than a little jealousy.
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