Like a red rag to a bull
Topping 450km/h, the X1 is virtually unbeatable, writes Paul Gover
FERRARI, Lamborghini and even Bugatti have all been trumped in the race to create the world’s fastest road car.
Red Bull Racing, the team that has dominated Formula One this year with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, is claiming the prize with its X1 Prototype.
The X1 has a top speed of 450km/h and can generate eight times the force of gravity during cornering, a figure that rivals frontline jetfighters. But there is a catch. The X1 Prototype is not real. Instead, it’s an ultimate dream machine spawned from the fertile imagination of Red Bull’s chief designer and former McLaren and Williams championship winner, Adrian Newey, to run in Gran Turismo 5.
‘‘ It is about devastating speed coupled with real handling control,’’ says Newey.
With an RB5 racecar, a classic Jaguar E-Type lightweight and an original Ford GT40 in his garage, Newey is a regular in major historic races.
He accepted a challenge from Polyphone Digital to create the X1 and the virtual car has been through virtual tests at the virtual Suzuki F1 track with real-world Vettel as the driver.
Red Bull even used Hangar 7, the toyshop of its owner Dietrich Mateschitz, for the virtual unveiling of the X1 Prototype.
Newey’s team says the starting point for the car was a low-drag, single-seat wing car with a glass canopy and covered wheels, powered by a forced induction engine.
The early results included 1100kW of power at 15,000 revs and six Gs of lateral cornering grip.
But then Newey got involved, bringing ideas for fan-forced aerodynamics — banned from F1 in the 1970s after early successes by the Brabham team — to suck air from beneath the car.
‘‘The results were thrilling,’’ Newey says.
‘‘X1 is about evolution, delivering the optimum combination of tested technologies in a single integrated design.
‘‘This would be the future of racing were we not bound by regulations, but one that is achievable today.’’
Testing of the virtual car at Suzuki, with Sebastian Vettel handling the driving duties, proved the X1’s pace with a lap time a full 20sec under the track record.
According to Kazunori Yamauchi, the X1 joins the virtual and real worlds.
‘‘The X1 Prototype Project has been motivated by curiosity and passion, powerful forces that brought together the best in design, physics simulation, racing car product technology and driving,’’ he says.
The X1 Prototype is one of more than 1000 cars that are included in Gran Turismo 5 and, though the game is running late, it is expected to be fastest of all.
Gran designs: Adrian Newey and Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi discuss the X1 (above with driver Sebastian Vettel).