F1 engineers have built a race car for the road. Pic: Supplied.
F1 engineers have built a race car for the road. Pic: Supplied.

Infiniti uses F1 tech in road car good for 0-100km/h in 4 sec

INFINITI has unveiled a prototype sports car that uses dual hybrid technology co-developed with the Renault Formula One team.

The company, a luxury offshoot of Nissan, claims the new hybrid system is a first for a production car, harvesting energy from both braking and acceleration.

Most hybrids use regenerative braking to generate extra power, but the Infiniti prototype harvests heat from the car's twin turbochargers to boost outputs.

The Infiniti Project Black S borrows tech from Formula One. Pic: Supplied.
The Infiniti Project Black S borrows tech from Formula One. Pic: Supplied.

The results are spectacular. The power of the twin-turbo V6 is boosted from 298kW in conventional form to 420kW, allowing the Project Black S, dubbed the Project Black S, to slingshot from 0-100km/h in less than four seconds.

The prototype, revealed on the eve of this week's Paris motor show, is based on the company's Q60 performance coupe. It is a further development of the concept car of the same name unveiled at last year's Frankfurt motor show.

Aside from the engine changes, the new car is lighter and has additional bodywork to improve aerodynamic performance.

A massive rear wing creates downforce. Picture: Supplied.
A massive rear wing creates downforce. Picture: Supplied.

The president of Infiniti, Roland Krueger, said the project was another milestone on the road to electrification for the brand.

Infiniti has announced that every vehicle it launches from 2021 will have some form of electrification.

"The Project Black S represents the very top end of electrification in the Alliance portfolio, and is another example of Infiniti's entrepreneurial spirit on its journey to electrification from 2021 onward.

"Project Black S utilises high power and smart energy management from advanced powertrains, a thrilling dynamic capability on road and track, and a performance-oriented aesthetic," he said.

The project is a testbed for new technologies. Pic: Supplied.
The project is a testbed for new technologies. Pic: Supplied.

The collaborative venture with the Renault F1 team was "a testbed for new ideas and technologies", he said.

The prototype points to a potential new model grade for Infiniti, sitting above its current Red Sport Q60.

The company says the improved engine performance would be complemented by chassis and suspension improvements, as well as aerodynamic and styling enhancements.

The obvious targets for the new line-up would be BMW's M Division and Mercedes-Benz's AMG group.

Managing director of the Renault F1 team, Cyril Abiteboul, said the project would allow the team to make the leap from circuit to road.

The engine’s dual hybrid system is claimed to be a world first. Pic: Supplied.
The engine’s dual hybrid system is claimed to be a world first. Pic: Supplied.

"Infiniti's experience of working with homologated hybrid powertrain technology was instrumental in the co-development of our dual-hybrid system," he said.

The system has three motor generator units - one for braking and two for the twin turbochargers which feed energy into a lithium ion battery pack. The energy is then fed back into the turbochargers to reduce lag and to the rear wheels to increase power.

The car also has the latest brake-by-wire technology to give the driver a more reassuring pedal feel during track use.

The Infiniti coupe is scheduled for track and real world testing. Pic: Supplied.
The Infiniti coupe is scheduled for track and real world testing. Pic: Supplied.

Infiniti says the next phase of prototype development will shift from digital and dynamometer testing to track work and eventually validation on public roads.



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