Gran Turismo 5's Red Bull X1 Prototype Officially Revealed

Had all gone according to plan, we'd be playing Gran Turismo 5 -- and driving the wild Red Bull X1 prototype -- on our Playstation 3 consoles next week. Instead, we're waiting for the game's launch yet again, and scoping the latest details on the X1.

As had been previously reported, the X1 is indeed a flight of fancy, but it is somewhat rooted in reality. After pondering what a race car, freed of all regulations, would look like, Polyphony Digital rung up the Red Bull F1 team, and challenged aerodynamicist Adrian Newey to create the ultimate racer.

Although we've seen the sinewy shape for a while now, new information from Polyphony Digital reveals the X1 generates downforce in a very active manner. As was the case with the Chaparral 2J Can-Am and Brabham BT46B F1 "fan cars," the X1 actively draws air out from underneath the body, creating a partial vacuum and helping the car adhere to the road surface. This, coupled with the wild spoilers and wings, theoretically allows the car to pull a maximum lateral acceleration of 8.25 g.

Newey's team simultaneously worked hard to reduce aerodynamic drag as much as possible, which would help push the X1's top speed into the stratosphere. As a result, the front and rear wheels are fully enclosed with aerodynamic fairings, and the cockpit is enclosed underneath an elongated canopy.

Previous reports speculated the X1 design utilized a gas turbine powerplant, but Red Bull and Polyphony Digital have officially denied that fact. Instead, the car calls for a direct-injection, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, which reportedly is capable of delivering 1483 horsepower at 15,000 rpm and 527 pound-feet of torque at 12,000 rpm. We still don't know what gearbox that engine is mated to, although we suspect further information will emerge closer to GT5's debut.

That power, coupled with the slick aerodynamic work, allows the X1 to theoretically return some eye-popping performance metrics. Polyphony Digital says the Red Bull X1 can sprint from 0-60 mph in 1.4 seconds, 0-100 mph in 2.8 seconds, and 0-200 mph in 6.1 seconds. A top speed has not been disclosed, but we're told the X1's maximum velocity is north of the 280 mph mark.

After wringing the X1 on a digital version of the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit, Red Bull F1 driver Sebastian Vettel came away thoroughly impressed with the car. His very first lap in the X1 was 20 seconds faster than a real lap in his current F1 car. Vettel achieved a similar feat with the X1 on the Suzuka circuit, where he was able to blast around the virtual track 20 seconds quicker than Kimi Raikkonen's 2005 lap record.

For now, the X1 is a pipe dream -- and, for that matter, so too is playing Gran Turismo 5. Sony originally promised to ship the game this coming Tuesday, but now says it will be delivered sometime this holiday season. In the meantime, enjoy the new X1 game trailer released earlier today.

Source: Sony, Red Bull

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