Infiniti has revealed an open-wheeled electric retro-roadster prototype at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Prototype 9 is a re-imagining of a 1940s race car and has been designed and built with time-honored, hand-crafted techniques. The Prototype 9 is powered by Infiniti’s new electric powertrain from Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department.
Prototype 9 is the result of an after-hours endeavor by a passionate and enterprising team of employees from across the Nissan Motor Corporation. This nod to the future contrasts with the traditional materials and techniques applied for the Prototype 9’s manufacture, including panels hand-beaten by a team of Takumi—Nissan Motor’s master artisans.
A steel ladder frame underpins the car and steel body panels clad its exterior. The Prototype 9 is a single-seat, rear-wheel drive racer with a single-speed transmission and 120 kW of motor power that produce 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque. Front suspension uses a leading-arm rigid axle with transverse leaf spring; the rear uses a De Dion axle with transverse leaf spring. Steering is non-power assisted.
Prototype 9 has a top speed of 170 km/h (105.6 mph), and sprints from 0-to-100 km/h (0-to-62 mph) in 5.5 seconds, with a maximum EV range of 20 minutes under heavy track use.
Key inspiration for the Infiniti Prototype 9 was the Prince R380, one of the first purpose-built Japanese race cars. The R380 is also being shown at the Concours courtesy of Infiniti.