Like a red rag to a bull

Top­ping 450km/h, the X1 is vir­tu­ally un­beat­able, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

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).

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