a dream based in reality
With 1,483hp on tap and
massive downforce from its
rear-mounted suction fan, the
Red Bull X2010 concept has
been shattering virtual lap
records wherever it has run.
Kazunori Yamauchi has a lot of ideas. One
of them, the massively successful Gran
Turismo racing sim series for PlayStation,
has earned him a lot of money. And
another has led to one of the most
extraordinary racecars you’ll never see.
The Red Bull X2010 of, yes, 2010 was a
dramatic answer to a simple question: if you
were to throw all of the current regulations
away, what would a racecar built purely for
optimal performance look like?
Yamaucho took his idea to Red Bull
Racing chief technology officer Adrian
Newey. The car that they came up with has
a 3-liter V6 engine that produces 1,483hp
at 15,000rpm, has a top speed of 280mph,
and will go from zero to 120mph in 2.8sec.
Some of that performance is derived from
a modern interpretation of the rear-mounted suction fan that distinguished the
Chaparral 2J and Brabham BT46B.
“If we didn’t have regulations, then the
opportunity would exist to make a car that
would be obscenely quick around a lap,”
said Newey at the time. “Although it would
be pretty uncomfortable to drive, just
But that hasn’t stood in the way of ongoing
development of the car: a new version, the
X2014, was released this year. Nor has it
affected its popularity. A run of 1: 18 scale
die-cast models sold out almost immediately.
Chances of the car taking on a more
tangible form are limited by budget. In
Newey’s estimation it would cost “an order
of millions” to actually build an X2010 and
have it run a lap. And then, of course, you’d
have a major problem finding a category
that would permit you to race it.
But in a world where F1 teams like
McLaren run their simulator in real time
during grand prix weekends as a virtual third
car, a concept doesn’t necessarily need to
take on a physical form to prove a point.
And when Sebastian Vettel tested the
X2010 on Gran Turismo 5’s Suzuka layout,
he broke the simulated F1 track record by
20sec. For an encore, he backed that up
with a 1m04s lap of the Nurbugring.
As much as it was an exercise in fun, the
X2010 is also a glimpse of how racecars
might look, had the rules evolved differently.
That alternate reality is scary…and awesome.
The Red Bull X2010 concept was a no-holds-barred concept, yet all based on plausible and existing tech.
because the G-forces would be so high.”
Indeed, the limitations of the human body
are the primary reason that the X2010
wasn’t even faster – maximum forces under
acceleration were estimated at around
8.75G, fighter-plane maneuver levels.
The downside? Outside of the virtual world
and some concept mockups, it doesn’t exist.
Adrian Newey, the brains behind the
no-holds-barred Red Bull X2010 concept,
is reducing his role in F1 partly due to the
constrictive nature of the current rules.