Usually, a concept car is an illustration of the direction that an automotive brand intends to take in the near future with its vehicles. However, the prototype 9 was the exact opposite. Borne from the premium brand, Infiniti, it was revealed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’-Elegance this past weekend was meant to embody what an electric Grand Prix car would look like during the late 40s.
Some of the Past, Some of the Future
Not to bash Infiniti, but it does not have the same experience as other European brands. It does not have the same gravitas born from a storied racing heritage of engineering greatness. As such, one might say there is no reminiscing of a past that did not exist in the first place. That being said, the prototype 9 falls into the old Nissan tradition of reimagining the past but with Japanese technology at the helm. The concept started with the idea of a forgotten race car in a barn in the Japanese country and this resulted in a design sketch inspired from roadsters and aircraft during the post world war era. The project then moved to the Nissan Research Center in Opamma, where the same team that works on the GTR set upon its construction. They literally beat the bare metal steel panels around a steel ladder frame with a 106.3-inch wheelbase. They did, however, incorporate next generation electric powertrains from the high EV department to give it a futuristic setting.
Prototype 9 Features
The powertrain consists of two electric motors to develop 148 horsepower and 320 nm of torque along with a 30 kWh high voltage battery. It is a rear wheel drive and will be able to go 0 to 60 within a time of 5.5 seconds which is quite quick considering the power class outage and would mean quite a powerful petrol alternative had it truly from the era. It is weighing in at 1962 pounds and is going to have a top speed of 105.6 mph. However, the capacity means a quick burst of power for a short time; at least 20 minutes under the heavy track. This would not be much good during a Grand Prix in the 49s which consisted 30 laps around an 8-mile circuit. For the interior, the team has chosen the best materials, tailoring them in order to bring out the best attributes. The Takumi decided on black leather that had red contrast stitching and sewed Japanese flags into the seat, totally ignoring the fact Japan was an enemy during the era.
Overall, the Prototype 9 is an embodiment of the current and future design language that comes off quite well in this perspective especially. Even though the brand does not have the experience of the era to which it now provides a representation, it is still a whimsical evolution of the 30s and 40s scenario especially pertaining to Italian race cars. Thus with a brazen style and cheeky humor, the Prototype 9 encourages thought to a particular fantasy which is quite viable especially to a rapidly changing market with dynamic tastes.