Infiniti Brings F1 Tech to the Road With Project Black S
Who hasn’t imagined having a specially-designed race car as a daily driver? Sure, it may be a little impractical, but there’s no way we would turn down driving that much power and technology. Infiniti seems to think the same as us, as they just put the same dual-hybrid technology as in Renault’s Formula 1 cars in a Q60 sports coupe, and then added some extras beyond the F1 rulebook.
This newest project, dubbed Project Black S, not only has one kinetic harvesting system, like you would find on a Prius, but also two heat harvesting systems, like the ones found on Formula 1 cars. However, F1 rules state that a car can only have one heat harvesting system, making the Project Black S the first with dual heat harvesters. By collecting the heat given off by the twin-turbo and exhaust systems, it is able to collect even more energy. This allows it to generate power while both braking and accelerating—and give all that extra juice to the wheels.
All of that extra power takes the horsepower of the Q60 from 400 to 563 and decreases its 0-60 time to under four seconds. It does this in two ways. First, it acts as an anti-lag system by spooling up the turbos more quickly, allowing for more air to enter the engine to boost power. Second, it sends up to 120kW of power back to the kinetic harvesting system, which is in turn sent straight into the drivetrain.
It even has three separate driving modes, each set to use the electric energy differently: Road, Quali and Race. Road mode is the most conservative, giving the driver a boost energy when needed to pass and helping out with fuel efficiency. Race is the mode in between road and quali, giving drivers a boost of energy with acceleration. This mode is the most similar to the way these systems operate in an F1 car. Quali turns the hybrid supercharging up to 11, both gathering and giving out as much energy as it can whenever it can. We really want to try the Quali mode out on the track.
Since the Q60 wasn’t designed to have all this hybrid tech fit in it, some modifications and concessions had to be made. Hopefully no one driving this needs to put the kids in the back, because the rear seats were removed to make room for the battery and kinetic energy harvesting system. In order to make up for the increased weight of all this technology, Infiniti changed the hood, trunk lid, fenders and roof from steel to carbon fiber, along with removing the moonroof completely. A side benefit of adding the battery system in the backseat is that it gives the Project Black S a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution, and with the weight reductions elsewhere, it’s only a few pounds heavier than the stock Q60.
The striking black with yellow trim throughout the concept comes from Renault’s Formula 1 liveries. The front of the car includes larger air intakes, and while they look good, they serve a purpose, too. The heat capturing system gets quite hot, and an increased airflow to the engine is needed to keep everything cool. There are also other nice touches throughout the car to give it a premium and sporty feel, like a yellow hexagonal graphic on the interior leather and a yellow strip of leather on the top of the steering wheel so that the driver always knows the wheel’s center point when driving on the track.
Typically, we don’t get too excited when car companies announce new cars or prototypes that are a part of their electrification initiatives. They tend to be boring economy cars for the masses. Taking hybrid race technology and giving that to the masses, however, sounds like the right way into the future to us. While we will probably never see a Project Black S on the road, Infiniti says that this car was made to test out technologies they plan to later put into production, so who knows? We just might be able to get that daily-drivable race car in the near future.
Photos courtesy of Infiniti.