With its aggressive, ground-hugging silhouette, the AM-RB 001 looks very much like an extraordinary car from the future or a video game. But it is absolutely road-legal. Look again and its passenger compartment calls to mind the racy world of motorsports, while its sinewy curves is clearly a hyper-realised rendition of the Aston Martin aesthetic.
A collaboration between the Brit automaker and the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, the AM-RB 001 delivers approximately 900bhp, yet has unprecedented downforce that keeps it pinned to the ground even at speeds that some say could earn it the title of the world’s fastest street car. “[It] combines the vision and skills of two world-leading brands to create a road car the like of which has never been seen before,” says Marek Reichman, chief creative officer and design director at Aston Martin Lagonda, of the partnership that was only announced on the eve of the Melbourne Grand Prix this year.
Already, Aston Martin has recorded unprecedented customer demand and by some accounts, the AM-RB 001 is said to be more advanced than the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918, or the McLaren P1. Powered by a naturally aspirated, mid-mounted, high-revving V12 engine, the beast is crafted from a lightweight carbon fibre structure and will be built in a purpose-built facility created for the marque’s Special Projects.
“The car embraces cutting-edge F1 technology with Aston Martin’s signature design language and will be capable of Formula 1/LMP1 levels of performance, due to its uncompromised design,” says Reichman, who was in town for the car’s local unveiling at the marque’s Leng Kee Road showroom on the eve of the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“By definition, the objective we’ve set for the car ensures there has never been an Aston Martin — or any car, actually — quite like the AM-RB 001,” Reichman adds. A shared challenge for both him and Adrian Newey, chief technical officer at Red Bull Racing, was finding that “magical tipping point” where the most efficient engineering solutions and the most beautiful stylings are achieved without any compromise.
“My personal challenge has been expressing the AM-RB 001’s extraordinary performance and the unique way in which it delivers that performance. Its style reflects its revolutionary nature, while possessing the form and beauty that makes it unmistakably an Aston Martin,” he adds. Sure enough, that’s exactly what has been accomplished, with roughly 150 units to hit roads starting 2018.
The hypercar is only just one of the many designs that Reichman has worked on for the marque since joining in 2005. The first was the 2007 edition of the V12-run grand tourer, the DBS. “It was a proud moment to see the car launched in the Bond film Casino Royale in 2007,” he recalls. Since then, the designer has been credited with models including the Vulcan, Vantage GT12 and Aston’s much-awaited-for two-door SUV, the DBX Concept — “We now have both funding and a new factory identified to bring the car to production before the end of the decade,” he reveals — and the DB11 that was released at this year’s Geneva show in March.
With such a long and esteemed career, which began in 1991 at Rover, how does the Industrial Design graduate from Teesside University in north-east England keep the creative juices flowing? “My creative process is really one of subconsciously taking in all the influences that I have. That may come from anywhere — a journey, an exhibition, a conversation, something online, staring into space on a plane journey, listening to music…” he says.
“With the AM-RB 001, for instance, it was about understanding what is ‘incredible’. And what is incredible is its 1:1 power ratio. It was clear that I must show that power-to-weight relationship in the form you see.”