The £2.5m Aston Martin that's faster than a Formula One car - and you can drive it to the shops

Aston Martin AM RB 001 launch Gaydon 040716
Stunner: Marek Reichman of Aston Martin, Adrian Newey of Red Bull and the F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo unveil the AMRB 001 at Gaydon Credit: Getty Images

Aston Martin has unveiled its collaboration with Red Bull, the AM-RB 001, which it says will be faster than a Formula One car, despite being road-legal.

The AM-RB 001 sees Aston gunning for the title of world's fastest car, although the Gaydon-based company stresses that it is prioritising lap times over top speed.

The AM RB 001 has been developed with Red Bull's F1 know-how, particularly the aerodynamics Credit: Getty Images

The car manufacturer, which is also set to launch the new DB11 this year, confirmed back in March 2016 that it is working with Red Bull Racing and its chief designer Adrian Newey on what Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner described as "the ultimate of all road cars." 

The new car will be powered by a high-revving V12 engine, which makes do without turbocharging, and is mounted in the middle of the two-seat car.

Newey is working on the project alongside Aston's chief designer Marek Reichman and its chief special operations officer Dave King, who runs the company's Special Operations department that was also responsible for the track-only Vulcan hypercar.

The AM RB 001 could be as fast around a circuit as a Formula One car

Newey's job is to ensure the car has "unprecedented high levels of downforce in a road-legal car", which he is said to be achieving through underfloor aerodynamics, leaving Reichman to shape the car's body panels.

It will then be up to King and his team to build the cars at Aston's Gaydon plant, with production limited to between 99 and 150 examples, including 25 track-only versions that are said to have the performance of an LMP1 Le Mans racer.

Speaking to Telegraph Cars at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, Aston boss Andy Palmer said demand for the AM-RB 001 was "three times oversubscribed".

Newey, said: “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.

The AM-RB 001 will generate much of its downforce thanks to clever underfloor aerodynamics

"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”.

King, meanwhile, described the working on such a car as a "once in a lifetime opportunity"

Aston has said that the AM-RB 001 will cost in excess of the £1.8 million it charged for the Vulcan. In reality, the final figure is likely to be nearer £2.5 million. Deliveries will begin in 2018.

Aston Martin is working with the Red Bull Formula One team on the new car

It is still not clear precisely how the AM-RB 001 will achieve what will unquestionably be the biggest leap in road car capability. To give some idea of the disparity between road and F1 car performance, a 2min 15sec lap of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit would require a phenomenally fast road car and an unusually skilled driver. By contrast Lewis Hamilton’s pole time for last year’s Grand Prix was 1min 32.2sec.

For this extraordinary gulf to be bridged will require not just a four figure power output but, far more importantly, all the aerodynamic know how of a man whose cars have won 10 F1 Constructor’s Championships, making him the most successful designer in F1 history.

Look closely at the front wing and you can see how radical the AM RB 001's aerodynamics are going to be

He is however helped by not having a rulebook to limit his ambitions. Even so it seems certain that the car will need to dramatically transform itself to work on both road and track, using street tyres and sensible ground clearance in public, and racing slicks and as close to zero ride height as can be achieved for circuit work.

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The car to which the AM-RB 001 is most likely to be compared is the McLaren F1 of 1994. The first road car built entirely from carbon-fibre, it was also the brainchild of a highly successful F1 designer – Gordon Murray – and at the time by far the most expensive and fastest car ever to go on sale.

Deliveries of the AM RB 001 will begin in 2018

The crucial difference is that while the F1 was a pure road car that Murray had to be persuaded to turn into racing car, the AM-RB 001 will be designed primarily for track work, but will be sufficiently comfortable for road use.

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