Gran Turismo 5 test-drives the future with the Red Bull X1 Prototype

Sony Computer Entertainment today lifted the lid on a fantasy racing car designed using technology and expertise from Red Bull Racing. The X1 Prototype, seen here in Hangar 7 at Salzburg Airport, is the answer to the question ‘What if you designed a racing car where its performance was not restricted by any sporting rules or regulation?’

Forged by Polyphony Digital, working with world-class racing car constructor Red Bull Racing and aerodynamics expert and racing car design genius Adrian Newey, the result goes far beyond the startling new look.

As with all ultimate designs, the Red Bull X1 has been through several iterations. The starting point was a low drag single seat wing car with a glass canopy and covered wheels, powered by a forced induction engine. The result was a startling set of figures: 1,483hp at 15,000rpm, a top speed of 400km/h and up to 6G of lateral G-force.

However under the expert eye of Newey and driven by his passion to realise the dream, the initial concept then took a big step forward. He proposed the use of ‘Fan Car’ technology – last seen and rapidly banned from F1 in the late 70s – where a fan is used to force air out from underneath the car, lowering the air pressure creating a huge amount of downforce.

Game designer Kazunori Yamauchi, CEO of Polyphony Digital and Red Bull Racing’s chief designer came together at Newey’s offices at Red Bull's Milton Keynes Factory in the UK. Yamauchi threw out the rulebook to give the car designer a blank canvas on which to create a virtual machine that would push the very boundaries of motorsports.

A redesign of the car showed its value on the track where traditional low speed corners could be taken at significantly higher speeds. The new figures showed a maximum lateral G force exceeding 8G, pushing the limits for the human body, and a top speed of more than 450kmh. The killer combination of low air resistance due to body styling, glass canopies and full tire cowlings; increased low speed down-force courtesy of the fans; and stability at high speed due to front and rear wings and rear diffuser, are what brought about this result.

For a nervous design team the last stage of the journey was the shakedown test. Enter Sebastian Vettel who, on his first run, slashed more than 20 seconds off the course record on the Suzuka Circuit.

“The results were thrilling. X1 is about evolution. Delivering the optimum combination of tested technologies in a single integrated design,” explained Newey, Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing. “This would be the future of racing were we not bound by regulations, but one that is achievable today.

“And as Sebastian has shown, it is about devastating speed coupled with real handling control. Today thanks to PlayStation®3 and Gran Turismo we can test drive the future.”

Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital Inc and creator of the Gran Turismo series, said: “X1 sees the marriage of virtual and real worlds as we explore the boundaries of our technology and aesthetic senses.

“The X1 Prototype Project has been motivated by curiosity and passion, powerful forces that brought together the best the world has to offer in design, physics simulation, racing car product technology and driving.”

Welcome to the personification of the Dream for Speed, to the marriage of imagination, of expertise and of technology. Welcome to a unique combination of Gran Turismo and Red Bull realised in the X1 Prototype Project.

Gran Turismo 5 will contain more than 1,000 perfectly recreated cars ranging from the latest supercars to the cars of NASCAR and WRC. Standing proud will be the fastest car in the game – and one of the fastest to ever leave the drawing board – the Red Bull X1. Earn your chance to drive the Red Bull X1 when Gran Turismo 5 goes on sale before the end of this year.