Infiniti has revealed its stunning race-inspired concept ahead of its debut at the prestigious 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance.
‘Prototype 9’ reimagines what a 1940s Grand Prix car designed by Infiniti, Nissan’s premium brand, would have looked like.
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s design guru, said the sleek open-wheeled electric prototype “celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan, on whose shoulders we stand today”.
From humble beginnings as a sketch, to the dynamic example presented at Pebble Beach, Prototype 9 has been brought to life as an after-hours endeavour by a passionate and enterprising team of employees from across the Nissan Motor Corporation.
The rear-wheel drive car is powered by a prototype electric motor and battery from Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department.
Prototype 9 is the first Infiniti to use the new EV powertrain – a 30kWh high-voltage battery paired with a prototype electric motor not yet seen on a production vehicle.
Producing 120kW (148hp) and 320Nm (236 lb ft) of torque via single-speed transmission, it has a top speed of 170kph (105.6 mph), and sprints from 0-100kph (0-62mph) in 5.5 seconds, with a maximum EV range of 20 minutes under heavy track use.
This nod to the future contrasts with the traditional materials and techniques applied for the Prototype 9’s manufacture, including panels hand-beaten by a team of Takumi – Nissan’s master craftspeople.
Finished in a bare sheet-metal skin, Prototype 9’s bodywork is made from steel body panels wrapped around a steel ladder frame.
Panel beaters incorporated Infiniti’s signature design elements, such as the double-arch grille, ‘shark gills’ behind the front wheels, a single-crease hood, and sharp lines that stretch from front to rear.
The cockpit is wrapped in black leather with contrast red stitching, sewn and finished in such a way as to echo earlier single-seater racers. Subtle Japanese flags are stitched into the integrated headrests of the deep single bucket seat.