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Infiniti Q60 Project Black S Shows Off F1 Tech on the Road

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Photos Credit: Infiniti

It’s been known for a while that Mercedes and Aston Martin (in partnership with Red Bull) are making street legal cars that will be endowed with some elements from the F1 hybrid powertrain. However, Japanese automaker, Infiniti, could become another company to do so. At the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, which was open to the public until just a few weeks ago, Infiniti showcased “Project Black S,” a concept based on the Q60 Coupe with the F1 Energy Recovery System (ERS).

Infiniti’s Relation To F1

Infiniti is a “technical partner” of the Renault F1 team. Renault, as we know, operates in an alliance with Infinit’s parent company, Nissan. The car group sold nearly 10 million passenger vehicles in 2016, with the United States being its largest market. On its websites, Infiniti says that it primarily provides engineering know-how for the Renault F1 car’s ERS, which makes sense for it to use that technology in the road-going models. Although not related to the Project Black S, Infiniti has been previously involved with the Red Bull Racing team as well. The partnership ended in 2015.

The Base Car - Q60

The Q60 is a two-door sports coupe which was launched at the North American International Auto Show in 2015. In its most potent guise, it makes use of a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that can produce 400 horsepower and 475 Nm of torque. This same engine is seen underneath the Project Black S. Power can be sent to the rear wheels or all the wheels by a 7-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no option for a manual).The Q60 rivals the Audi A5, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the BMW 4 Series.

The ERS System

The ERS comprises of two main systems: the MGU-K and the MGU-H. The MGU-K is an uprated version of the KERS. Here, the car stores the kinetic energy during braking and converts it into electrical energy. This electrical energy can be stored in a battery and used later to give additional power to the engine as the MGU-K is coupled to the crankshaft. Alternatively, the MGU-K can drive the MGU-H. In a F1 car, the MGU-K can give up to 160 additional horsepower during a lap. Meanwhile, the MGU-H is connected to the turbocharger and uses the exhaust gases to produce electrical energy. This energy can be stored and used later. For instance, the MGU-H can help spool the turbo faster during low revs and thus reduce turbo-lag, or the energy can be sent to the MGU-K. Infiniti claims that it can increase the peak power of its V6 engine of the Q60 by 25 percent with the help of ERS.

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Other Modifications

The Project Black S gets some motorsport-inspired carbon-fiber aero elements, such as a front spoiler, a rear diffuser, fenders and a rear wing. Carbon-fiber is known for its lightweight properties and will help offset the additional weight of the ERS.

Moreover, the front air intakes have been enlarged to allow more air to the engine bay and the brakes, which will improve cooling. Meanwhile, the hood vents will facilitate the escape of hot air from the engine compartment. Finally, there are 21-inch forged wheels, a titanium exhaust system and high-performance tires. The production-spec Project Black S model will also get a retuned suspension and a tweaked chassis. The concept car is finished in matte black and grey, giving it a very sporty look.

Mercedes and Aston Martin

As aforementioned, Aston Martin and Mercedes are making road cars with F1 tech too. Aston’s Valkyrie (codename: AM-RB001) is being developed in partnership with Red Bull and is expected to use the ERS in some form.

On the other hand, Mercedes will go further ahead and put the 1.6-litre V6 F1 engine in its forthcoming “Project One” hypercar. As exhilirating that might sound, there is probably a reason why Aston Martin and Infiniti are not doing that. According to Motoring.com.au, the V6 engine in the Project One will last just 50,000 kilometers. After that, owners will have to send it in for “some rework.” Those efforts won’t be cheap unless Mercedes covers the costs. It can be argued that no owner will probably ever drive his hypercar 50,000 kilometers, but the lack of longevity and high associated costs of the F1 engine most likely bothered Aston and Infiniti.

Production

Infiniti says that it will gauge the reaction to the Project Black S before making a decision about whether to put it into production. A coupe with F1 technology shouldn’t have difficulty in finding buyers. However, pricing will be crucial. Mercedes and Aston Martin are commanding between $2 million and $3 million for their hypercars, but it’s highly unlikely collectors will be interested in paying even a quarter of those numbers for an Infiniti. The company will have to price the car so that it’s a lot more accessible. Regardless, we will presumably get to know about Infiniti’s future plans about the Project Black S in the coming months.

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