The best and most competitive automotive engineers invariably gravitate towards Formula 1, so it is perhaps inevitable that they would push to the limit in all activities, including spin-offs such as the yachting and cycling projects a number of F1 teams have embraced. The same applies to their hypercar designs: applying best practices to the design, development and manufacture of the world's most desirable passenger cars.
Legendary race car engineer Gian Paulo Dallara was instrumental in the design of what is considered by many to be the first supercar, the mid-engined 1965 Lamborghini Miura. In 1993, Brabham and McLaren F1 engineering legend Gordon Murray - with three constructor and five world driver titles on his c.v. - created arguably the earliest hypercar: the centre-seat (with passenger seats either side) McLaren F1 road car.
The South African has since followed up with his eponymous GMD T.50, which moves the hypercar needle up a few notches by incorporating a grounds effect fan as per the Brabham BT46B fancar.
Not be outdone by the McLaren F1, Murray's compatriot, Rory Byrne, whose designs won seven each driver and constructor championships with Benetton and Ferrari via Michael Schumacher, provided crucial design, packaging and composites expertise for the hybrid 963bhp LaFerrari (literally THE Ferrari), whose power unit is derived from F1 tech.
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Using F1 as a test lab
Red Bull's engineering chief, Adrian Newey, who penned cars for seven World Champions, had long harboured road car ambitions: "I've been sketching road cars ever since I was at university. My first and foremost passion is racing but I've always had an interest in road cars," he told RacingNews365.com last week – and first found an outlet with the GranTurismo Red Bull 2010X1 video game concept car.
His designs morphed into the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar, a joint RB/AM project currently in the early stages of delivery to customers. However, Newey believes Valkyrie was too constrained by the twin need of road legality and creature comforts. Hence RB17, which he designed to provide owner-drivers and their passengers with the ultimate track-day experiences while being (relatively) easy to set up and maintain.
In the process, Newey has incorporated many of the technical gizmos and innovations that delivered no fewer than a record 10 world constructor championship-winning designs for the likes of Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing. F1 truly has improved the hypercar breed.
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