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I meant to write and post this article in time for New Years Eve, but I had difficulty getting hold of the car. I could not go through the usual channels, since this car only exists in the virtual world of Gran Turismo 5 on Playstation, and as such I had to actually physically win this version. I was aiming to buy the car in orange or matt black, and at 20,000,000 credits I had enough money, but I was not at level 40 in the game yet, so I was not allowed to buy it. Instead I won it by reaching level 35. It was really tough and hard work, so I hope you appreciate my effort in getting this here for you.
All kidding aside, there is a good logic behind me wanting to feature the Red Bull X1, recently renamed to Red Bull X2010 (hinting there might be a 2011 car in the making). The Red Bull X1 is an extreme car, an F1 car sans regulations, taking the boundaries and possibilities of F1 to the limits it never reached after banning the Gordon Murray designed Brabham BT48 fan car.
Red Bull chief designer Adrian Newey and his team built the ultimate F1 car, one with a closed cockpit, of course with carbon fiber everywhere, a 6 cylinder turbo engine, since it was compact and lightweight, covered front and rear wheels for optimized aerodynamics, and to boot equipped it with a fan system at the rear that sucks the air from under the car, and thus provides it with phenomenal road holding capabilities. Indeed, I must say, I went and drove the car on the famed NÃ¼rburgring Nordschleife, and managed a fastest lap of 5:45:076..!!!! It is the scariest experience in driving you can ever have, surrounded by guardrails, trees, really slow competitors, and a vast array of corners that come at you at blistering speed. With training I am sure someone can go a lot faster, but this was enough for me.
We feature plenty of concept cars on these pages, and all have a design language, try to set a trend, and most are actually thinly veiled disguises of actual production cars coming next year or the year after. We used to have concept cars that were pushing the boundaries, shoot for the sky, reach beyond what was achieved, and embraced new technologies to the extreme.. Those days seem so long ago. We seem to be satisfied by “inventing” yet another way to put a line in sheet metal as enough of an “invention” to award us permanent fame.
And here comes a game manufacturer asking a Formula 1 aerodynamicist/engineer to create something unique.. and he does..!! He actually shows us where we should be going..!! Gran Turismo has in the past asked designers at Citroen to come up with a special car, the GT, which was first show in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Sadly, that car was an embarrassment for our profession. The Citroen designer created something that looked wild, and that probably was the sole purpose of the exercise. But fundamentally it did nothing. It was to tall with too high a center of gravity to be a race car. It was too low and too highly powered to be a rally car, and it was too close to the ground to do any off road racing.. It was a pure waste of time and effort.
I am really glad GT asked Adrian Newey, and am glad Adrian accepted the challenge with as much seriousness as he did. There are so many lessons to be learned from this exercise, that I hope we all will!