Red Bull RB17 hypercar packs V-10 with 15,000-rpm limit

The Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team is working on a hypercar capable of delivering a driving experience true to an F1 race car.

First announced in 2022 as the RB17, just 50 examples are planned. The covers come off as soon as this year. Track testing will run through 2025 and the first deliveries are scheduled for 2026.

While Red Bull originally planned for the car to run a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, the plans have since changed to a naturally aspirated V-10 that screams all the way to a 15,000-rpm limit. The V-10 makes approximately 1,000 hp on its own, but is supplemented by an electric motor that adds 200 hp. The electric motor is used for first and reverse gears, as well as torque fill to help smooth out gear changes.

The information was revealed by Adrian Newey in a video interview posted last week to Red Bull Racing’s YouTube channel. He said the V-10 was selected for its aural presence, and that it sounds very much like the engines used in F1 during the 1990s.

Newey is Red Bull’s star aerodynamicist responsible for the design for multiple championship-winning F1 cars, as well as the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

Adrian Newey

Unlike the Valkyrie, the RB17 is designed for track use only. According to Newey, the RB17 offers more comfort than the Valkyrie, thanks to more space in the cabin, including extra legroom for taller occupants.

The targeted weight is less than 900 kg (approximately 1,984 pounds), or around 200 pounds less than a Mazda MX-5 Miata. Red Bull has also said the car will sport the most advanced ground effects package used on any car sold to the public. This includes features such as adjustable side skirts, and an active suspension to compensate for some of the negative side effects of such packages, like the bouncing and resulting nose lift, known as porpoising, seen on some F1 cars since 2022, when new ground effects design rules were introduced. It also has a blown diffuser, which directs exhaust gases above the diffuser to aid downforce, plus bespoke Michelin tires.

The resulting downforce will roughly match the car’s weight at speeds of 120 mph and eventually hit a peak 3,750 pounds at 150 mph—a limited figure that prevents the tires from being destroyed. The high downforce will be key in helping the car deliver lap times matching those of modern F1 cars, according to Newey.

Handling the development is Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the F1 team’s consulting division. The division will also handle production, which is expected to be at the rate of roughly 15 cars per year, and use the same suppliers as the F1 cars.

When first announcing the project in 2022, Red Bull said the car will be priced at around 5 million British pounds (approximately $6.3 million). Build slots are likely all gone, and one of the future owners will be Newey himself.

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