3.5-liter hybrid engine. The Q70 sedan, equipped with this engine, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest accelerating full-hybrid car. The same hybrid system is also offered on the Q50 sports sedan.
Infinitis expertise will be used by the Renault Sport Formula One Team in Viry-Châtillon as a team of Infiniti hybrid specialists move from Infinitis technical center in Atsugi, Japan, to France to co-develop the Power Units Energy Recovery System. The collaboration with the Renault Sport Formula One Team will benefit Infiniti to drive further performance from its hybrid powertrains for road cars.
Q&A WITH TOMMASO VOLPE
Global Director, Infiniti Motorsport
Why Formula One and why this team for Infiniti?
We enjoyed a very successful five years with our previous team. Infiniti have become one of the most visible automotive brands in Formula One, and this visibility supported our brand awareness and the geographical expansion of our business.
The establishment of the Renault Sport Formula One Team by our Alliance partner Renault provided us with an ideal opportunity to evolve our objectives in Formula One, and to become an active participant.
With a daring decision Infiniti is moving away from a purely sponsorship role with its previous team, moving forward to become a technical partner with the Renault Sport Formula One Team; co-developing the Renault Sport R.E.16 Power Units Energy Recovery System (ERS).
Infiniti will employ its expertise in performance road car hybrid systems to fulfil this highly technical project within Formula One.
What relevance does this technical partnership have for Infiniti road cars?
Infiniti is already widely acclaimed for our exhilarating performance hybrid models, the Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid. Engineered with the Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid® system, these potent performers utilize electric energy recovery and its powerful deployment to add significant surges of torque during acceleration. Our involvement in the co-development of the Formula One ERS will further deepen this knowledge, and these learnings will benefit our road car users with even greater strides in performance.
Many people think of hybrid technology as aimed predominantly at efficiency more than performance. Is this Infinitis philosophy?
It is perhaps true that the term hybrid is most commonly associated with efficiency. Our approach is different. The primary purpose for us is to drive performance, using energy recovery technology to provide torque throughout the rev range and increase power. We first applied high performance hybrid technology to our products in 2011, setting a Guinness World Record for the fastest accelerating full-hybrid car with the Infiniti M35 Hybrid (Q70 Hybrid). Today, this is the philosophy within F1®; using hybrid technology to increase performance on the track.
Q&A WITH FRANCOIS BANCON
Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy
What is the future of hybrid technology at Infiniti?
The Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid® system will be a pillar of the Infiniti model portfolio in the future. Today, Infiniti engineers seek to push this technology consistently to the cutting-edge. A main area of exploration and research is the overall downsizing of the hybrid powertrain, but without any loss in performance or refinement.
There is a critical balance to be found between the power, size and weight of the electric motor and the power, size and weight of the battery required to run it. This is not just a challenge for Infiniti, this is a conundrum for all automotive manufacturers in their pursuit of advances in hybrid technology and safeguarding the performance benefits of that technology.
What lessons can be drawn from the hybrid power units in Formula One?
The Infiniti hybrid road car and the Renault Sport Formula One Team race car feature a gasoline-powered V6 internal combustion engine, backed up by powerful electric motors. In instances of maximum-demand acceleration exiting a tight bend, for example both the road car and the race car deploy electric energy from a battery to power an electric motor, providing instant torque for potent acceleration.
The Formula One ERS packages are not only powerful, but also compact and highly efficient. The smaller Infiniti can make our hybrid packages, the more weight can be saved and performance therefore still further enhanced.
Renault Sport Racing, Managing Director
What does Infiniti bring to the Renault Sport Formula One Team?
The Energy Recovery System (ERS) element of our Formula One powertrain is extremely complex and Infiniti brings significant experience and expertise in hybrid technology to the ERS. The team of Infiniti engineers based in our facilities will be playing a key role in extracting the maximum possible performance from the ERS.
How does the Renault-Nissan Alliance help your team?
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is a truly powerful partnership. From a research and development perspective our partners offer a range and depth of facilities that many other teams cannot match. With a partner like Infiniti, we are able to take learnings gained in the development of their road cars hybrid systems and apply them to the race track. Similarly, we can also share the learnings gained in F1® to drive performance in the Alliances road cars.
To further facilitate Infinitis technical and marketing objectives, we will also welcome the winners from the 2015/2016 Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy to our Enstone factory, fresh from their six-month placements working on Infiniti road car projects. These five, globally-sourced students will bring fresh perspectives. Of course, they will too bring the latest learnings from road car hybrid technology, of which Infiniti is a pioneer.
Driver, Renault Sport Formula One Team
What will Infiniti bring to the team?
Im really looking forward to working with Infiniti. They have been in Formula One for several years and know very well what success looks like at the very pinnacle of motorsport.
With all this experience, their engineers understand a great deal about what we as drivers need from the Energy Recovery System. A powerful and efficient ERS will be crucial for myself and Kevin when it comes to the racing, and were excited to be using the technology that Infiniti is bringing to the team.
Youve been given your Infiniti company car now. What model did you choose and why?
I chose the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid. I love driving on the road almost as much as I do on the track, and while my Formula One car is a very special machine, I have high demands for my road car, too. For me, on the road, I want cutting-edge technology, stand-out styling, and, of course, high performance.
With 360 hp on tap, and more torque than a Formula One car thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the Q50 Hybrid has already delivered driving thrills. As a sports sedan it handles great, too. Its much more comfortable than a Formula One car of course, with a lot more leather, satellite navigation and air-conditioning!
Driver, Renault Sport Formula One Team
Your new Infiniti Q50 Hybrid company car shares some similar hybrid technology to that found in your race car. What are the similarities from a drivers perspective?
The current crop of V6 hybrid Formula One cars have far greater reserves of torque thanks to their gasoline / electric hybrid power units than the previous V8-powered race cars with more basic and less powerful Energy Recovery Systems. The way a current Formula One car fires out of a tight bend on a wave of electric torque is far more aggressive than the V8 era. My Infiniti Q50 Hybrid too accelerates with aggression, but also, thankfully, smoothness.
What other traits do you look for in your road car?
"For me its all about the way the car handles. The way that it comes alive in your hands on your favourite roads when youre driving just for the fun of it. My Infiniti Q50 Hybrid has the Direct Adaptive Steering system which uses electronics to streamline the steering mechanism for a more precise feeling, and Dynamic Digital Suspension which cleverly blends ride comfort with quick response and agility.
With this state-of-the-art chassis technology, and, of course, the powertrains high power output, putting my Q50 Hybrid through its paces always brings a smile to my face.
RENAULT SPORT-INFINITI ENERGY RECOVERY SYSTEM
The Energy Recovery System (ERS) underpinning the the Renault Sport Formula One Team R.E.16 Power Unit is developed by Infiniti in conjunction with Renault Sport. The ERS incorporates two motor generator units, the MGU-H and MGU-K, and a battery.
The MGU-K (K for kinetic) is connected to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Under braking, the MGU-K operates as a generator, recovering some of the kinetic energy dissipated during braking. It converts this into electricity for a boost equivalent to 120 kW or 160 hp that can be deployed to the rear wheels throughout the lap.
Acting as a generator, the MGU-H (H for heat) absorbs power from the turbine shaft to convert heat energy from the exhaust gases. The electrical energy can be either directed to the MGU-K for a performance boost, or to the battery for storage for later use.
Infiniti road cars recover kinetic energy under braking in the same way as the Formula One car. As in Formula One, that energy is stored in a powerful battery, ready for instant deployment upon the drivers demand. The instant torque of the electric motor found both in Infiniti hybrid models and the Renault Sport Formula One Team car make for impressive acceleration, with the motors providing the initial forward surge up to the point where the internal combustion engine is making peak torque. An electric-energy turbo boost, if you will.
INFINITI ENGINEERING ACADEMY
Behind technology there are always human talents. The collaboration between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team includes a unique automotive-to-Formula One training program for some of the best young engineers in the world.
The 2016/17 Infiniti Engineering Academy is Infinitis global search for those bright engineering talents to work across automotive and Formula One, on a 12-month placement.
Now in its third successive year, the academy provides a money-cant-buy, life-changing career opportunity for six world-class students to learn from veteran engineers and play an active role in Infiniti's technical partnership with the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
The six winners from the six international finals will benefit from a full spectrum of engineering experiences; working at both Infinitis Technical Center at Cranfield and the F1® teams bases at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon. From aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, the design office, electronics and performance systems, the candidates gain understanding and insight in key engineering principles.
INFINITI Q50 HYBRID
Launched in 2014, Infinitis all-new four-door sports sedan promised high performance delivered with refinement, a luxurious interior space, and the latest driver-focused technology.
Thanks to its potent hybrid powertrain, the Q50 Hybrid makes an attractive proposition for demanding drivers, with a top speed of 149 mph (limited) and 60 mph dispatched in just 4.9 seconds.
These impressive performance statistics can only be achieved with the Direct Response Hybrid® system adding 67 hp and 214 lb-ft (290 Nm) of torque to the cars 3.5-liter V6 engines output, for a full-blooded 360 hp and 472 lb-ft (640 Nm) of torque. It is this abundant torque figure that gives the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid its acceleration speed and quick throttle response.
At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Infiniti revealed an upgraded version of the Q50, a model which has played a key role in the brands sustained global growth in recent years. As well as the powerful all-new V6 engine found in the Q60 sports coupe, making its debut in the Q50 is the companys second-generation Direct Adaptive Steering - comprehensively updated from the ground-breaking first-generation system - and Infinitis new Dynamic Digital Suspension, which gives the sports sedan an optimal blend of ride comfort and class-leading response and agility.
INFINITI KEY PLAYERS
Roland Kruger, Infiniti President
Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President Product Strategy
Tommaso Volpe, Global Director, Infiniti Motorsport
RENAULT SPORT FORMULA ONE TEAM KEY PLAYERS
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing, Managing Director
Frédéric Vasseur, Renault Sport Racing, Racing Director
Bob Bell, Renault Sport Formula One Team F1® Chief Technical Officer
Jolyon Palmer, Race Driver #30Kevin Magnussen, Race Driver #20
INFINITI SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES
Infiniti in Formula One Website:
INFINITI FORMULA ONE GLOBAL PR CONTACTS
Tom Foy, Infiniti Formula One Media Director
+44 7557 203 651
Stefan Weinmann, General Manager, Infiniti Global Communications
+852 3948 0126
Infiniti Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with sales operations in over 50 countries. The Infiniti brand was launched in 1989. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, the United States, United Kingdom and China. Infiniti plans to also expand manufacturing into Mexico by 2017.
Infiniti design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi, near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Beijing.
Infiniti is in the middle of a major product offensive. The brand has been widely acclaimed for its iconic design and innovative driver-assistance technologies.
More information about Infiniti and its industry leading technologies can be found at www.infiniti.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.
For Infiniti Global Communications, contact:
Director, Infiniti Global Communications
Infiniti Motor Company Ltd., Hong Kong
Phone: +852 3948 0217
Mobile: +852 9542 1711
Senior Manager, Infiniti Global Communications
Infiniti Motor Company Ltd., Hong Kong
Phone: +852 3948 0129
Mobile: +852 9447 9705