Spa Francorchamps Eau Rouge Comparison Essay

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Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge: Muscular, purposeful, refined
- Q50 Eau Rouge concept provides a glimpse of Infiniti's design prowess for high-performance vehicles
- Exterior features Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One design influences
- Q50 Eau Rouge hints at future powerful product line

Detroit / Hong Kong – The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, revealed at the 2014 NAIAS Detroit Motor Show, is a concept car that expresses Infiniti's design vision of a high-performance Q50 premium sports sedan.
The Q50 Eau Rouge embodies the arresting design features of the Q50 premium sports sedan – infused with the enticing spirit of Formula One.

Featuring bespoke aerodynamic carbon fiber bodywork, Q50 Eau Rouge is lower and wider, possessing genuine road presence. This striking design is inspired by muscularity, aerodynamics, refinement, and understated power.

"If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500hp and 600lb/ft of torque. Through our various alliance partners we have access to a range of engines featuring this performance capability which, with a fair amount of engineering effort, can be developed to exhibit Infiniti character and accommodated within the Q50 engine bay. The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction.

I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this," said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Company Limited.

Hints at powerful intent

The Q50 Eau Rouge was born out of competition at the very pinnacle of motorsport, mirroring components from the successful RB9 race car.

Almost every exterior panel is bespoke to the Q50 Eau Rouge, with only the front doors and the arch of the roof pillars retained as standard components.

Q50 Eau Rouge visibly hunkers down with menace and intent. New front and rear fenders extend the current Q50's already broad-shouldered stance by 20mm, while a larger deck lid spoiler creates air-pressure downforce. All of this dynamic width is wrapped in a tailored coat of customized red paint.

Framing the paintwork across the Q50 Eau Rouge's athletic physique is dark- chrome detailing to replace the chrome bright work of the production Q50, darkening the concept's demeanor dramatically.

Q50's signature double-arch front grille too takes the dark-chrome's matte finish, as do the glasshouse surrounds, door handles and deck lid accents. The curving hood is double air-vented as a further suggestion of the capability and purpose of the Q50 Eau Rouge.

"From our shared passion for performance with Infiniti Red Bull Racing grew a collective desire to produce an ambitious and powerful Infiniti Q50 design study. The overall design creates a feeling of refined muscularity," said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's Executive Design Director.

"The design has a number of distinctive Formula-One inspired touches. In particular, the sculpted front wing assembly and the rear aerodynamic packaging take their cues from the RB9 race car. The rear fog light packaging is unmistakably Formula One.

"The Q50 Eau Rouge is a combination of the seductive lines of the Q50 but with a fiercer design urge in keeping with a high-performance vehicle. The Q50 Eau Rouge is Infiniti to the power of four; like a bull with its shoulder muscles flexed, a bull in Infiniti clothing."

Part of the concept's exterior treatments include lightweight 21-inch forged alloy wheels which fill the wider arches.

Premium interior. Sporting inspiration

Further underlining the sporty character of the design study, the interior was designed to offer command and comfort.

Further precision control is afforded by a high-grip sports steering wheel and Formula One-style paddle-shifters.

Red-infused carbon fiber detailing to the doors and center console complement the exterior style, and dark-chrome again replaces silver-chrome in the red cockpit.

The breadth and depth of capability is self-evident; the Q50 Eau Rouge is a design concept that clearly indicates what Infiniti could achieve if it was to build a performance version of the Q50 sports sedan.

"Performance is a key ingredient of Infiniti vehicles such as the Q50 sports sedan. Our involvement in Formula One provides inspiration and excellence to our designers and engineers. Q50 Eau Rouge provides not only a glimpse of the design language, but also the performance capability of a future special series," de Nysschen added.

“Compared to an F1 car, the first things you notice about an LMP1 car are the extra weight and the higher centre of gravity. It tests the driver and is perhaps a wee bit more challenging to drive. Certainly at Spa, Eau Rouge in an F1 car is easy flat, but you have to hold on to the 919 a bit more and our speeds are about 20-30kph down through the quick stuff.

“Where we have advantage is in the slow corners. An F1 car stops better, and the line and trajectory aren’t much different, but we maybe want to get the car turned in sooner, so we can get back on the power. And then what we have in our favour is 4WD and fantastic Michelin tyres - we can really lean them, they’re so much better than the tissue paper we had in F1. So out of La Source, we can really give an F1 car a run.

“It would be really interesting to take the 919 somewhere like Barcelona, which is mostly slow-speed corners, because I reckon we’d be pretty competitive against an F1 car there.

“The biggest thing to get used to when I moved from F1, besides the weight of the car, was the traffic and range of conditions in a WEC race. You know, low sun, the rain, the dark and, most of all, the other cars, which maybe don’t have such experienced drivers and might be travelling much slower. So you need the car to give you confidence, be really consistent and predictable.

“And where you see F1 cars backing off and having to manage fuel reserves, we never have to do that - we’re flat out, all the way. And the 919 is just awesome, the most advanced car I’ve driven, without a shadow of a doubt.”

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