Infiniti Project Black S: F1 tech meets coupe road car
Search Driven for for sale
If you like it, Infiniti might build it
There’s a good chance your first exposure to the Infiniti nameplate came about when you saw their logo on the sidepod of a Red Bull Racing Formula One car in the early 2010’s.
Infiniti sponsored the championship winning squad for five years with great success. But last year Infiniti went after a new challenge, joining the Renault Sport Formula One Team as a technical partner.
This enabled the company to tap into the wealth of knowledge and development within the team and potentially open an avenue to take that technology from the track, to the road.
Now, the first fruit of the technical partnerships labour has been presented in the form of the Project Black S concept, unveiled for the first time at Geneva International Motor Show.
Based on the Q60 production car – Project Black S is a reinterpretation of what their two-door coupe could become with some new performance parts and powertrain additions inspired by F1 technology.
Designed within Infiniti’s London studio under management of the Global Design Center in Japan, the Project Black S concept (finished in grey for some reason) features a new aerodynamically optimized design utilizing components, technology and materials originating in F1.
“Infiniti is the premium car manufacturer within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and a technical partner to the Renault Sport Formula One Team, so it is natural that we come together to explore the possibility of bringing innovative high-performance hybrid technology to our customers.,” said Roland Kruger, President of Infiniti.
At the heart of Project Black S is the addition of an ‘energy recovery system’ (ERS) to the powertrain.
“With Project Black S we are looking at how a unique performance hybrid energy recovery system could be adapted from Formula One for use on the road,” said Francois Bancon, Vice President, Global Product Stratergy, Infiniti.
Infiniti engineers worked alongside the Renault F1 team during the development of their dual-hybrid powertrain that's currently used, and a similar system is being proposed for road use. With the F1 car, there are two ERS generators used to collect energy.
A MGU-K (motor generator unit) that harvests kinetic energy from braking, and an MGU-H fitted to the turbocharger, harvesting heat energy from exhaust gases.
Fitted to Infiniti’s 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine, engineers calculate a performance hybrid ERS system could increase output by approximately 25 per cent.
Beyond the powertrain Infiniti are also exploring the use of light-weight F1 materials. The Project Black S concept sports a large front splitter, rear diffuser, fenders, side skirts, hood and rear wing all constructed with carbon fibre.
Lightweight 21-inch wheels and a high-performance titanium twin exhaust system add to the weight savings.
This is all just a concept at this stage – but the debut of Project Black S will be watched by Infiniti very closely. The company openly admits it's using Geneva to ‘gauge potential interest’ for high performance variant's of their vehicle's.
Any car company that decides to jump head-first into BMW M4 coupe territory should be taken seriously, and with a Formula One testing ground in Infiniti's back pocket, the result could be spectacular.
The whole recipe sounds very promising. But now, only time and reaction will tell if the Project Black S concept is a new beginning one of the latest additions to New Zealand’s new car market.