Vettel drives the new Red Bull X1 prototype

An incredible virtual machine for Gran Turismo 5

By Franck Drui

28 October 2010 - 13:41
Vettel drives the new Red Bull X1 (…)

Polyphony Digtial has today fully revealed the "X1 Prototype", a project in conjunction with Red Bull Racing.

All races that exist in today’s world are restricted by regulations. However the X1 is a machine born from a fantastic "what if" dream of Polyphony; "What would the fastest racing car on Earth, free of any and all regulations look like?"

Initially the X1 prototype was a single seater, canopied prototype wing car with covered front wheels. The performance brought about by the 1500ps direct injection V6 Twin Turbo would have been spectacular as is, with a top speed of 400km/h and a maximum lateral acceleration of 6G. But this concept showed an even greater advancement through the help of Red Bull Racing, who became a partner in this project.

Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer, the genius aerodynamicist Adrian Newey proposed that "Fan Car" technology, a dream that he had held to himself over the years be added to the X1 Prototype.

A "fan car" is a vehicle having a fan mechanism which forces the air out from underneath the car, to reduce air pressure under the car’s floor. The resulting suction draws the car to the ground surface and creates a massive amount of downforce. And because it can create downforce regardless of the vehicle’s current speed, it dramatically raises it’s cornering speed even in low speed corners.

The incredible ability of fan cars has already been proven in history. The Chaparral 2J fan car entered in the 1970 Can-Nam series was so fast that it was banned after just 1 season. Even in the F1, the BT46B fan car entered in 1978 by Brabham dominated the opening round of the series with extreme speed, and was banned just after that single race.

With this proposal from Mr. Newey, the machine was transformed with a large fan added to the rear end of the body. With additional advice regarding the shapes of the front and rear wings and rear diffuser, its aerodynamics became even further refined. As a result, the X1 prototype attained an astonishing level of performance, reaching a top speed of over 450km/h, with a maximum lateral acceleration reaching up to 8.75G. This is a performance level that is at the very limits of what a normal human body can withstand.

The driver who performed the shakedown test of the machine in Gran Turismo 5, was the world famous Sebastian Vettel. In his very first run on the Suzuka Circuit, he shortened the record time of the course by over 20 seconds. And in the test drive on the Nurburgring GP Course, he marked a record time of 1 minute 4 seconds, drawing out the incredible potential of the X1 Prototype.

This is the dream of the fastest racing car on land, brought to life through the collaboration between Polyphony and Red Bull. Witness for yourself the power of the X1 through the in-game "X1 Challenge", the first driving lesson ever in Gran Turismo to be performed by a top professional driver.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer at Red Bull Racing: "The results were thrilling. X1 is about evolution. Delivering the optimum combination of tested technologies in a single integrated design. 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, Polyphony Digital Inc and creator of the Gran Turismo series: "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."

X1 Downforce Specifications

Lets try calculating the cornering G’s of the X1 at 300km/h from the total tire load and coefficient of friction for the tires.

The total load on the X1’s tires at 300km/h is 1142.7kgf at the front tires, and 1432kgf at the rear tires. The coefficient of friction for the tires isμ=1.97. From these conditions, the maximum cornering force that the tires can exhibit can be determined to be 5073kgf. Dividing this by the wet weight of the X1 of 615kg comes to be 8.25, which is the maximum cornering G of the X1.

8.25G greatly exceeds the G’s felt during the launch of the Space Shuttle, and is roughly the same as that of a jet fighter plane at full afterburner. It is a figure at the very limits of what a human body can withstand.

Test Calculation: Cornering G at 300km/h
Total Tire Load: 2575.6kgf (Front Wheel 1142.7kgf+Rear Wheel 1432.9kgf)
Coefficient of Friction of Tires: μ=1.97 (base μ=2.16, model calculates an efficiency reduction to 91.5% under high load)
Cornering force that can be exhibited by tires: 5073.9kgf
Cornering G: 8.25G (= 5073.9kgf / 615kg)

(c) Sony PR


Formula 1 news