Formula 1’s Red Bull will be competing with the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin off the track from 2025, after announcing a £5 million hypercar project to be headed by design guru Adrian Newey.
Utilising ground-effect and a 1100 bhp V8 turbo hybrid, Red Bull are hoping to tune the RB17’s performance as close to their F1 car as possible, with it also being developed for track use.
Only 50 will be made, and it will add to a high-octane lineup of track-focussed hypercars that currently includes the Mercedes-AMG One, Ferrari SF90, McLaren Senna and Aston Martin Valkyrie.
For Red Bull it also marks an important step in their motoring evolution from their first involvement in F1 as title sponsor of Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s Sauber team in 1995.
“The RB17 distills everything we know about creating championship-winning Formula 1 cars,” said Newey, who’s designed ten different Constructors’ Championship-winning cars across F1 three teams.
“It’s a package that delivers extreme levels of performance in a two-seat track car. Driven by our passion for performance at every level, the RB17 pushes design and technical boundaries far beyond what has been previously available to enthusiasts and collectors.”
Another road project for Newey
Newey was heavily involved in the Aston Martin Valkyrie, released in 2021, that came from a joint partnership between Aston Martin and Red Bull. He said at the time that it wouldn’t be his last venture into a road project.
There are also parallels with the McLaren F1, released in 1992. The fastest road car in the world when it was launched, the F1 was the Woking team’s first foray into civilian machines and was the brainchild of legendary F1 designer Gordon Murray.
Murray has since started his own automotive company which is set to release its flagship model, the ‘fan car’ T.50, by the end of 2022, which will be another benchmark for the RB17 to measure itself against.
Beyond the engine specifications, release year and statements of intent from Red Bull, all that’s known for certain about the hypercar is it’ll be a two-seater.
“With this, we’ve taken control of our own destiny. It’s a brave project, but everything that Red Bull does is pretty brave,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“It’s tremendously exciting to be in control of this project from start to finish without being a customer, which we haven’t had to deal with before.
“The RB17 marks an important milestone in the evolution of Red Bull Advanced Technologies, now fully capable of creating and manufacturing a series production car at our Red Bull Technology Campus.”
Alongside last year’s world championship for Max Verstappen marking the team’s return to the pinnacle of motorsport, the team has also taken control of its F1 power unit from this season after Honda’s withdrawal from F1.
Illustrious Red Bull heritage
The RB17 will also fill a gap in the F1 team’s history as the 2021 title-winning machine was the RB16B given its COVID-enforced similarity to the 2020 model, and in 2022 Verstappen and Perez are piloting the RB18.
Horner added: “With this car having true Formula 1 performance, it felt right that it fall in that lineage and have that 17 moniker.
“It’s great to see that Adrian’s enthusiasm is totally undiminished for a project like this. It’s a great project for the whole company as well.
“Applying Formula 1 methodology and timing to it as well, that was one frustration of working with partners and so on, you weren’t in control of your own destiny.”