Reimagining the 1940s Infiniti Grand Prix racecar, the Prototype 9 concept goes back in time to fuse advanced technology with traditional craftsmanship.
The Prototype 9 features a sleek, open-wheeled design powered by a prototype electric motor and battery from Nissan Motor Corp.’s advanced powertrain department. The motor produces 148 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, and it drives the rear wheels via single-speed transmission. On the track the Prototype 9 has a top speed of 105.6 mph, and goes from 0 to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds.
Combining the old with the new, electric power is paired with traditional materials and production techniques, including panels hand-beaten by a team of Takumi — Nissan Motor’s master artisans. Infiniti’s signature design elements, including the double-arch grille — “shark gills” aft of the front wheels, a single-crease hood and sharp lines that stretch from front to rear.
Like most concept vehicles, the Prototype 9 started as a conceptual sketch from an idea. The basis for this concept comes from the idea of finding an unrecognizable racecar, hidden inside a barn in the Japanese countryside. From there the team took inspiration from roadsters and aircraft of the era, molded in new materials and advanced technology.
The racecar’s retro aeronautical look is defined by its smooth, aerodynamic surfaces, long bonnet and short overhangs, an exposed cockpit, and open-wheeled layout. Keeping the racecar on the track are 19-inch center locking wire-spoke wheels fitted with period cross-ply competition tires.
The Prototype 9’s cockpit mirrors the earlier single-seater racers and is wrapped in black leather with contrast red stitching. A subtle design touch includes Japanese flags stitched into the headrests of the deep single bucket seat. The cabin features minimal switchgear, with those that remain modeled on cockpit switches.
Inspired by Japanese motorsports, Prototype 9 has a connection to the record-breaking custombuild Prince R380 from Prince Motor Co., which is considered Japan’s original builder of premium automobiles and eventually became part of Nissan Motors. The legacy of 1966 Japanese Grand Prix winning racecar’s legacy can be traced to Infiniti and its current model line.
Keeping with the traditional “Q” and “QX” nomenclature of Infiniti models, Prototype 9 reads as Prototype “kyuu,” the Japanese pronunciation of “9.”
Nissan Motor Corp. and Infiniti unveiled the prototype at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.
Source: Infiniti Motor Co., Ltd.