Has Aston Martin just unveiled the fastest car of all time?
John McIlroy is Deputy Editor of Auto Express and Carbuyer. The views expressed here are solely his own.
Bored with your Bugatti? Got a glaring gap between the Ferraris and Lamborghinis in your garage?
Aston Martin has just unveiled what could be the car for you -- the AM-RB 001, a track-focused hypercar conceived in conjunction with the Red Bull Formula One team.
It may not have the catchiest name, but this revolutionary car is guaranteed to boast extreme styling and even more radical performance when it starts arriving in the multi-car garages of its well-heeled buyers in 2018.
It's also likely to come with an equally radical price tag -- when queried on a guide for the expected cost of an AM-RB 001, Aston Martin sources trotted out an age-old proverb.
"If you need to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it anyway."
Turbocharged 900 bhp
At the heart of the AM-RB 001 will be a mammoth V12 engine that eschews turbocharging but still manages to produce as much as 900 brake horse power (bhp) -- that's more than modern Formula One cars.
Hybrid technology is also likely to feature and Aston Martin is making some bold claims for the vehicle.
"This is a no-excuses halo model," says the company's boss Andy Palmer, who has overseen a remarkable transformation in Aston's prospects over the past 18 months. "It will be the most luxurious car in its class, but also the quickest and the fastest."
That's a bold statement indeed, though in truth Aston will probably split production into two versions -- a hardcore, stripped-out track car which, it is claimed, can lap circuits as quickly as an F1 racer, and a slightly softer version that's tuned for road use.
Either way, we'll have to wait a little longer to judge the cabin quality. The first photos of the car are said to give a "good representation" of the final creation's design but there's no sign yet of the interior.
We do get a good look at the exterior styling though, and it reveals a car that has complex surfaces, plenty of curves and features that appear to be designed to channel air and create maximum downforce, sucking the car down onto the road.
This attention to detail should come as little surprise, for the AM-RB 001 is the work of Aston Martin designer Marek Reichman and the dominant F1 technical director of the past decade, Adrian Newey.
The connection between the multiple F1 champions, Red Bull, and one of Britain's most renowned luxury sports car manufacturers is likely to be a major draw to collectors and wealthy enthusiasts who will buy an AM-RB 001.
The last time a top-line motorsport designer got involved in a road car project was probably in 1990, when McLaren employed Gordon Murray to come up with a new supercar -- the iconic F1.
Newey's name is no less appealing than Murray's, and perhaps even more attractive given that the Englishman's Red Bull cars delivered four world titles in a row for Sebastian Vettel between 2010 and 2013.
Still, Newey has been looking away from the F1 grid for a while now -- the Aston design lured him from another side project involving America's Cup racing yachts.
The numbers count
No more than 99 shining examples of the car are likely to be produced, and you'll probably need to spend at least $2.6 million (£2 million) to get one of them.
That sounds like an extraordinary figure but it is unlikely to bother Aston Martin, which has picked up on an increasing trend for ultra-high-end vehicles. Bugatti's Chiron for example -- the $2.4 million successor to the Veyron -- has already racked up around 180 orders.
Aston itself has already dipped its toe into this market with the Vulcan, another V12-engined special edition that cost $2.3 million and sold out in a few months.
The AM-RB 001 will almost certainly follow suit and, if it does succeed, expect the use of a number in the car's name to be ever more significant.
After all, what's the point of 001 if you can't take the series up to at least 007?