Carmakers often talk of how their racing activities help to bring new and more advanced technology to the cars they sell to the public. Working under the high-pressured conditions of intense competition, engineers may find new solutions which can give an edge in a race and these solutions might also benefit everyday motoring.
Drawing on F1 racing, Nissan’s Infiniti division has developed Project Black S, an engineering testbed exploring how Renault Sport Formula One Team-inspired dual-hybrid powertrain technology could be used in a road car. The Project Black S development prototype unveiled this week in Paris represents the maximum level of performance, dynamic capability, effective aerodynamics and intelligent energy management offered by Infiniti.
Moving on from the Geneva 2017 design study of the same name, the Project Black S prototype now boasts many developments. These include weight reduction, a motorsport-inspired interior, an aero-effective and purposeful bodywork update, and significant powertrain advancements with a world’s first energy recovery system that harvests energy under braking and acceleration.
The result of Infiniti’s Alliance partnerships, Project Black S represents an ongoing learning venture between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team, exploring the potential for motorsport-inspired products and processes.
The world’s first dual-hybrid technology is derived from Formula One and engineered specifically for the road to create a potential new performance flagship. A testbed based on the Q60 RED SPORT 400 and its 400 bhp VR30 twin-turbo V6 engine, the F1-inspired dual-hybrid system combines supersport performance with smart energy management. Recuperating heat and kinetic energy, the system could transform the performance of the brand’s road cars.
The development prototype builds on the organic, artistic design of the Q60 RED SPORT 400 sports coupe, giving it greater aerodynamic efficiency and high levels of downforce, as well as a functional motorsport-inspired look.
“Infiniti has reached another milestone on its road to electrification. Building on the strength and success of the electric vehicle expertise of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Infiniti is showing the Project Black S, a high-performance prototype with F1 technology resulting from collaboration within the Alliance,” said Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti. “A collaborative venture between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team, the Project Black S prototype is a testbed for new ideas and technologies, demonstrating how our Alliance partnerships could make our ambitious visions a reality.”
The team behind Project Black S is truly global. The initial brief and overall management for the project was issued by Infiniti’s global headquarters in Hong Kong, with the Renault Sport Formula One Team in the UK tasked with designing the car. The team worked alongside Renault Sport Racing in France, where Infiniti and Renault engineers developed the unique dual-hybrid technology. The UK team also worked with Infiniti Design London to incorporate the motorsport-inspired aerodynamics and develop its design using lightweight materials.
Infiniti’s R&D centre in Japan played an important role, having developed the donor Q60 RED SPORT 400 upon which Project Black S is based. The facility also assisted in the integration of the powertrain technology, advising on engineering proposals from the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
“Through the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, we have been able to draw on the deep technical knowledge and spirit of innovation within the Renault Sport Formula One Team. Our eyes have been opened to the potential of rapid design and development, and a shorter gestation period for the creation of bespoke, highly advanced technologies. This partnership is as much about exploring efficient new production processes as it is about creating ground-breaking new powertrains,” said Francois Bancon, Vice-President Motorsport and Connected Vehicles at Infiniti.
The next stages of the project – through 2019 – will see the prototype’s development shift from digital and dynamometer environments on to the track, for performance testing and validation in a range of real driving conditions. Following the conclusion of Project Black S, Infiniti believes that elements of the prototype’s highly efficient development and validation process could be incorporated into development programs for future road cars, reducing their time-to-market.