Red Bull X1 – 2010
OK, this one's not real, just a virtual reality machine for the PlayStation Gran Turismo 5 game. But it was designed with the input of Newey and its theoretical performance – around 20sec per lap faster than a current F1 Red Bull – has been derived from Red Bull's simulation tools.
The X1 is essentially what a Formula 1 car of 2010 would look like were it not for the layers of restrictions the rulebook has imposed over the years in order to keep lap speeds in check. Enclosed wheels (banned since '61) and cockpit ensure a massively better drag figure than the comparatively brick-like open-wheelers. It is powered by a 3-liter, direct-injection turbo V6 – the optimum trade-off between physical size and sheer power – which gives it a theoretical 1,483hp at 15,000rpm.
Engine speed is relatively low, but the trade-off is a massive 527lb-ft of torque – around two-and-a-half times the low-down grunt of a current car.
Designed in conjunction with the Gran Turismo game inventor Kazunori Yamauchi and the GT coders Polyphony, Newey has specified a full ground effect chassis – the rear view shows vertical venturi outlets from the sidepods – with a fan-assisted underbody sucking the car to the ground. The diffuser is full-height/full-width.
Sebastian Vettel spent a while re-programing his head when trying the car on the simulator but once he'd done so, found he could lap the Nurburgring in 1min 04.853sec (real-life lap record 1m 18.354sec) while at Suzuka he knocked 20sec off his own pole position time from 2010! Sure, it's make-believe but the numbers are derived from F1 simulation, the accuracy of which pretty much guarantees this is precisely how the car would perform. To see Vettel's virtual lap of the Nurburgring translated into an outside view, see that breathtaking grip into the turns and to know that this is all totally feasible using current technology is to realize the level Formula 1 would naturally have reached if left to its own technical devices.
Aside from that, the car is achingly beautiful. Yamauchi says of his collaboration with Newey: “He did not seem like a hard-headed engineer type. Rather, he was an artist. The communication between Adrian and myself was very smooth and exciting. It was something like an improvisation between two jazz musicians.”
• For the full version of this feature article, plus much more, check out the February 2011 issue of RACER magazine. CLICK HERE to subscribe.