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The RB17: Red Bull’s Journey of Making Cars

Written by Gen Flauta, Edited by Megan Hill

Red Bull has been the dominant force of the new era of Formula 1 this season with the RB18, winning 9 out of 17 races during the first half of the 2022 season. 8 of which goes to the reigning 2021 World Champion Max Verstappen. And it’s all thanks to the magic of Adrian Newey, one of the last designers to have an F1 car be designed and drawn by hand.

However, the predecessor was known as the RB16B, which was created as part of the cost-saving measure for the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later won the Driver’s World Championship with Verstappen after a lengthy and feisty battle with the Silver Arrows.

So, where does the RB17 name go instead? A multi-million dollar hypercar, which is set to become Red Bull’s first-ever roadcar. However, the RB17 isn’t the only car that Red Bull has been involved with, as there are other cars they’ve developed in the past.

To know more about the origins of the RB17 and what the new hypercar could possibly look like, let’s dive deep into it.

As mentioned previously, the RB17 will be the first-ever series production car to be produced by Red Bull Advanced Technologies division, which is also where they make championship-winning cars over the past decade.

Christian Horner, Team Principal and CEO of both Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, has said that the new hypercar will “mark 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.”

He also stated that “the RB17 marks the first time that a car wearing the Red Bull brand has been available to collectors.”

This would give wealthy buyers who are Red Bull fans a treat, as they could expand their own memorabilla apart from collecting energy drinks and clothes, through their AlphaTauri brand!

Gran Turismo

While this will be Red Bull’s first own car, they have already been toying with the idea of building its own car without any restrictions. And this was evident by the development of the Red Bull X Series concept cars, which was developed in collaboration with Polyphony Digital, the creator of the Gran Turismo racing game series. The concept car made its debut in Gran Turismo 5 with the X2010 which featured enclosed wheels and a fan attached on the rear to create more downforce while running at mind-boggling speeds, thanks to its twin-turbo V6 powertrain delivering up to 1,557hp.

Along with the X Series recently, Adrian Newey was heavily involved in a couple of hypercar projects with Aston Martin, when it was a former title sponsor to the Austrian F1 Team. The partnership led to the Valkyrie, which featured a bespoke 65° 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine developed by Cosworth. It also features an electric motor for both Coupe and Spider, which produces at around 1,140hp at 10,500rpm and 900Nm of torque at 6,000rpm, while the AMR Pro ditched the hybrid powertrain which capped the output of 1,000hp.

Autocar Magazine

Another hypercar Newey worked was the Valhalla, which was placed below the Valkyrie and was gonna feature a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 developed in-house with only 500 examples to be built, until new management revised the car heavily with a completely different design from what Newey first conceived, and now has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 plug-in hybrid from Mercedes-AMG, which produces 937hp linked to an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. While the striking original design of the Valhalla never made it to the production stage, it managed to gain its own spotlight by being featured in the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die last year.

And that is how the journey began for Red Bull on creating the wildest cars they could possibly dream off, despite making energy drink cans at the start.

When it comes to the performance and technologies on the RB17, neither of the engines from the X2010 nor the Valkyrie will be attached to Red Bull’s new hypercar. But rather, an electrified version of the V8 capable of producing 1,100 hp.

Just like any hypercar, the new RB17 will also feature a carbon-composite tub with “the most advanced ground effect package available in a series production car.”

More details on the technical aspect of this car will come later, when it will begin the production in 2025. However, as it will be an extremely advanced hypercar, only 50 will be ever made. And unlike the Valkyrie and Valhalla, it can only be driven on the track. Despite that, having a track-only configuration could provide tons of freedom for Newey that he may never have had from his previous projects, especially at Aston Martin.

RB17 Concept by Automovision (Instagram: @automovision)

While we may only have the official sketch of the RB17 from the teaser at the moment. However, through my Automovision project, I decided to make a render on what the RB17 could possibly look like. As it is only a track-only hypercar, it is expected to feature a rear-wing, but possibly more extreme than my renderings. And there are elements that I took from the Valkyrie and Valhalla and placed them onto my concept of the RB17.

RB17 Concept by Automovision (Instagram: @automovision)

And here is another render I made with a livery on it this time, mainly with Red Bull Racing’s own sponsors, such as Oracle, Mobile 1 and TAG Heuer. I’ve also included one of the brands, the Valkyrie AMR Pro, such as Toray, which was mainly involved with the front wing of the Valkyrie. As the price will start £5 million, excluding the local taxes, it should provide its first customers a plethora of customization options, particularly with the livery spec, along with the technical support and training from Red Bull’s own staff, which is just like any track-only hypercar that would offer.

RB17 Concept by Automovision (Instagram: @automovision)

For now, we’ll have to wait for a few years until Red Bull unveils the wraps of the first-ever supercar under the brand of an Austrian energy drink maker, and finally hits off the track. This will become a future classic to watch and one that will be remembered as one of Newey’s all-time greats besides racing cars.


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