INFINITI Project Black S
The INFINITI Q60-based Project Black S

THE Renault F1 team and its star Nico Hulkenberg have signed off on track testing for the unique high performance dual-hybrid power train in INFINITI’s Project Black S prototype, based on its Q60 performance car.

But as big as that news is, the fact the company has confirmed it will decide before the end of this year whether to push the go button and send the Project Black S to limited production, is huge.

Seen as a key part of any potential production for the car, the development work was signed off at Salzburgring in Austria, where two prototypes were put through their paces as part of testing.

An evolving collaboration between INFINITI and Renault F1, the Project Black S prototype has served as a test-bed for development of the new F1-inspired engine technology, with a focus on potential use in a high performance road car.

Having first been revealed some years ago, the latest version of the Project Black S broke cover in Paris in Autumn 2018, with the development program also providing insight into how INFINITI can work hand-in-hand with partners on developing new projects.

“The work that has gone into Project Black S represents a milestone in INFINITI’s road to electrification,” deputy chairman Mike Colleran said.

“This test-bed for new ideas, and rapid development, represents everything INFINITI hopes to achieve with its electrified cars in future, such as smart energy management from advanced high-performance power trains, a thrilling drive, and a performance aesthetic.”

For Renault and its Formula One team, the project represents an opportunity to co-develop innovative dual-hybrid systems.

“The Black S project now gives us a rare opportunity for the direct transfer of genuine F1-honed technology back into a road car,” Cyril Abiteboul from Renault F1 said.

“Making this leap, from circuit to road, is something we are incredibly excited to be involved in.”

Currently, the dual-hybrid power train is capable of producing up to 418kW – 40 per cent more than the prototype’s donor car, the INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400. Uniquely, it provides sustained performance, delivering electrically assisted acceleration, lap after lap.

The prototype offers drivers complete control over how the power train uses this energy, with three Formula One-inspired drive modes – Road, Quali and Race – each altering the way in which the power train harvests and discharges power.

“There is still work to be done. Now we have two completed prototypes we will fully evaluate the production potential of Project Black S,” Mike Colleran said.

“It is still too early to predict the outcome as we need a solid business case, but the latest rounds of testing have proved its unique performance and underlines our pursuit of electrified performance. This is an exciting phase of the process.”

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