Red Bull confirms it plans to unveil its first-ever production car this year ahead of a 2025 production start for the hypercar designed to rival the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Mercedes-AMG One.
Known internally at the company’s Advanced Technologies division in England as the RB17, the radically styled 2-seater is powered by a hybrid drivetrain combining a 200-hp electric motor with a naturally aspirated gasoline V-10 that is said to rev to up to 15,000 rpm and develops up to 1,000 hp.
As well as providing boosting properties to enhance overall performance, the electric motor will act as a starter motor and be able to directly propel the RB17 without the assistance of the gasoline engine in reverse gear, says Adrian Newey, chief technical officer at Red Bull Racing.
The choice of a V-10 is rooted in Red Bull’s desire to resurrect the spirit of 1990s F1 race cars, says Newey.
While primarily conceived for track day driving, the RB17 will be sold with an optional package that will allow it to meet road regulations in various markets.
Just 50 RB17s are planned to be produced at a rate of 15 per year, according to Red Bull, whose Racing division has won seven F1 driver’s championships and six F1 constructor’s championships since its inception in 2004.
Newey, largely seen as the key to Red Bull Racing’s F1 success, was heavily involved in the development of the Aston Martin Valkyrie (pictured, below) and also has contributed to Red Bull Racing’s conceptual X2010, X2011 and X2014 featured in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo video game.
“The Valkyrie is a stunning vehicle, but you’re always learning, whether in Formula One or on the advanced technologies side,” he says. “There’s an awful lot of knowledge that has been built up. This is the perfect project utilizing the skill sets we have, so it will complement our Formula One activities rather than distract from them.”
Apart from an F1-inspired drivetrain, the Red Bull hypercar features a race car-like aerodynamic package with close to 3,750 lbs. (1,700 kg) of downforce. Newey says Red Bull’s first road car will develop peak downforce at 150 mph (242 km/h). It is also planned to have a curb weight of just 1,984 lbs. (900 kg).
“It’s the closest thing to an F1 car,” he adds.
To ensure its tires are capable of withstanding the heady downforce and rigors of public road use, Red Bull has partnered with Michelin for the supply of rubber designed specifically for the RB17.
The RB17 name is derived from the numbering of Red Bull Racing’s F1 race cars. It was originally due to be used on the company’s 2021 F1 contender. However, Red Bull Racing eventually resorted to the RB16B name instead. It then launched an all-new F1 race car in 2022 called the RB18.
Red Bull Advanced Technologies acts as the commercial technology and engineering services arm of Red Bull Racing. Its previous projects include a collaboration with Aston Martin for the design and development of the Valkyrie. It also developed the “aeroscreen” used in IndyCar racing with Italian company Dallara.