Red Bull first announced its plans to build the RB17 hypercar back in the summer of 2022, though since then, it’s been pretty quiet on the project. Now, however, Adrian Newey, the Red Bull F1 Team’s chief technical officer and the man responsible for the design of the most dominant F1 car in history, has revealed a host of details on the car on Talking Bull, the team’s official podcast.
The big news is that somewhere along the way, plans for what will power the car have changed. The RB17, which is being developed by Red Bull’s Advanced Technology engineering offshoot, was originally announced to have a V8 engine and hybrid drivetrain, producing a combined output of over 1100bhp. Now, however, Newey says the car will in fact feature a naturally-aspirated V10 making 1000bhp which, combined with electric motors, will lead to a peak output closer to 1200bhp.
The real attention-grabbing figure, however, is the engine’s rev limit of 15,000rpm. “We all remember the high-revving [Formula 1] V10s of the ’90s, and they sounded amazing,” says Newey. “We wanted to recapture that.”
Some of the other numbers Newey mentions are just as impressive. He says Red Bull is targeting a weight of under 900kg, and that it will be producing its own weight in downforce at 120mph. At 150mph, downforce will peak at 1700kg. “The car, if driven by a professional driver, is capable of Formula 1 lap times,” claimed Newey. To try and achieve this, the car will have aero features including a blown diffuser of the kind that caused a stir during the 2009 F1 season, and active suspension that Newey says “will give a very stable aerodynamic platform while maintaining reasonably sensible spring rates.”
Despite all this, Newey is adamant that the RB17 will be a reasonably approachable thing to drive. “We don’t want it to be intimidating, so we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the systems and how we can make it user-friendly for a wide variety of driver abilities.” That said, he does caution that “if you don’t have much track experience, training is definitely a good idea.” Tuition, including on Red Bull’s in-house sim, will be part of the £5m purchase package. The RB17 will also be a two-seater, giving owners the option of having a coach alongside them on track.
Elsewhere, Newey gives some details on the car’s origins, saying he “got a bit bored” during Christmas 2020 and started sketching out ideas. He also mentions experience gained with the Red Bull X2010, a virtual ‘no-limits’ racing car originally designed for Gran Turismo 5, and the Aston Martin Valkyrie, which was co-developed with Red Bull before the two companies parted ways. He calls the RB17 “our first all-Red Bull hypercar.”
Finally, we’re given a rough timeline of when we can expect to actually see the RB17. Newey says that a reveal of a full-scale model is coming “at some point in the summer,” before we see (and hear) the real thing on track in 2025. The first customer deliveries, meanwhile, are slated for 2026. What still isn't clear is whether the RB17 will be road legal, but it sounds like we won’t have a long wait to find out more about what might be the wildest member yet of the ultra-exclusive hypercar club.