What chance of Aston’s hypercar coming to New Zealand? One local brand fan might already be on the start line.
COMMENT about Aston Martin’s most ambitious project raises prospect of one finding a home in New Zealand.
Created in conjunction with Red Bull’s Formula One team and expected to be the world’s first hypercar with F1-like dynamics and performance, the AM-RB 001 will come into production in 2018.
Aston Martin unveiled the latest design yesterday in the United Kingdom; not an actual car but a styling buck showing how it will shape. Deliveries of the actual car begin in 2018.
Who’s in line for it? The brand has consistently said buyers of its most recent opus, the ultra-rare Aston Martin Vulcan, have priority status among the 370 people who have already signed up.
The select group with preferred status would seem to include Tony Quinn, the multi-millionaire businessman, motorsport magnate and avowed Aston enthusiast.
His Vulcan, the only one in the southern hemisphere, arrived in April and has become a headline attraction at his Highlands Park racing circuit at Cromwell.
Quinn could not be contacted today. He has just returned from the United States, where he took on the annual Pikes’ Peak climb in another extreme race car.
A cited value of $4.2 million and ability to achieve more than 300kmh tags his Vulcan, engineered exclusively for extreme performance on-track, as the fastest and most expensive Aston Martin in the world – but that’s just a fleeting status, lost once AM-RB 100 hits the road.
A lovechild of champion race-car designer Adrian Newey and Aston Martin chief designer Marek Reichman and named because it’s the start of what might be an ongoing collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, the hypercar will be so much more expensive, more explosive and more extravagant.
Aston has suggested one reason for the Vulcan’s existence is that is serves to act as a stepping stone to their ultimate offer, which will pitch against Porsche’s 918 Sypder, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari.
The maker has commented: “The new car will be a rewarding high-performance model, and owners who take it onto the track will have to build up experience of driving it at high speeds.”
Vulcan owners do not have sole dibs on the AM-RB 100 for the simple reason that the buld count will be six times greater than the Vulcan’s.
Whereas just 24 Vulcans are in existence, Aston Martin says it will create up to 150 examples of the AM-RB 001 (just a temporary tag, a proper name will be conceived by launch). That count includes prototypes and 25 track-only examples.
A larger owner club won’t degrade the exclusivity, given that the car will cost around $6 million.
Quinn is undoubtedly proud of his Vulcan, commenting on its arrival: “Highlands is all about providing out of the box experiences for everyday people – the team work hard to ensure that we provide unique experiences for our visitors, and the arrival of Vulcan is a further example of this.”
The AM-RB 001 would look good beside it, and not just because it continues as a naturally-aspirated V12 monster, potentially with a new 5.2-litre engine tuned to create around 745kW - or 1000bhp. That meets aspiration for it to meet the promise of a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, as the car is expected to weigh 1000kg.
To make this possible, the car is built entirely around a carbon fibre structure.
The transmission is a brand new one designed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies and Newey, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer and the world’s most successful F1 designer. The suspension was also designed with Newey’s help.
The car's development has been as fast-paced as the world in which it will live: The plan was started in January. By March Aston and Red Bull had signed and agreement to produce it. Aston has been a sponsor of Red Bull's F1 car.
In a statement, the collaborators have described the AM-RB 001 as “a car engineered to be entirely useable and enjoyable as a road car, but with the capability to perform like no road car before it on a race track”.
The partners also say Newey’s technical design focused on “radical” underbody aerodynamics so that Reichman would be free to craft a styling-driven topside.
Newey says of the project: “I’ve long harboured the desire to design a road car. The formation of Red Bull Advanced Technologies brought me a step closer to realising that ambition, but I believed we should work with an automotive manufacturer.
“Aston Martin was at the top of my list. The synergy between Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin is clear.
“I knew Red Bull Racing had the ability to handle the pure performance aspects, but Aston Martin’s experience of making beautiful, fast and comfortable GT cars is of great benefit to the project.
“I’ve always been adamant that the AM-RB 001 should be a true road car that’s also capable of extreme performance on track, and this means it really has to be a car of two characters.
“That’s the secret we’re trying to put into this car – the technology that allows it to be docile and comfortable, but with immense outright capabilities.”