Since scoring victory in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, Germany auto racer Sebastian Vettel has rocketed to auto racing’s hottest sensation. Debuting with the BMW Sauber team and winning his first race with the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team, Vettel’s move to Red Bull Racing allowed this driver to reach a zenith. Formula 1 competition and observers would take note that Sebastian Vettel’s optimal performance level would be enough to win 18 grand prix events in only 75 starts (most recent victory coming this past weekend at the Italian Grand Prix).
Campaigning with a Renault-engined Red Bull race car, luxury brand Infiniti saw a chance to connect them to the reigning 2010 Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel beginning with this year. As Nissan/Infiniti is corporately partnered with French automaker Renault, the Red Bull Racing team were installed as brand ambassadors to the Infiniti car line-up at the beginning of 2011. The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show unveils the newest effort to cross-promote the Infiniti brand with Vettel. A show vehicle, the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version will premiere in front of the driver’s home nation.
A vehicle receiving direct input from Infiniti brand ambassador Sebastian Vettel, Infiniti’s Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura was entrusted to bring life to a sensational version of the Infiniti FX crossover. Through teamwork of designers and engineers, the Infinti FX Sebastian Vettel version crosses deeply into sports car territory.
Exhibited in a white body shell, the Sebastian Vettel inspired Infiniti FX crossover radiates with racing derived touches. Modifying the crossover vehicle’s aerodynamic profile, the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version features a 20-millimeter (0.79 inch) reduction in overall ride height compared to the standard production vehicle. Carbon fiber exterior trim pieces that include a front splitter as well as a large rear roof spoiler are found on the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version for added racing inspiration and feel. Though the FX Sebastian Vettel version’s shaping features a 5 percent reduction in the vehicle’s drag coefficient, the rear spoiler improves functional downforce for better handling and stability.
A bespoke cockpit accompanies the more premium crossover vehicle’s exterior on the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version showpiece. Real carbon fiber is used to decorate the FX Sebastian Vettel version providing a Formula 1-style feel. Special sport seats featuring quilted suede cloth with topped off with ‘SV’ in purple stitching. For other interior surfaces such as the steering wheel and shifter paddles, Alcantara gives the driver a tactile sense of performance grip.
Compared to an Infiniti FX50S model, the FX Sebastian Vettel version is 46 kilograms (roughly 101 pounds) in overall weight. Lighter thanks to the use of carbon fiber pieces and the 21-inch alloy wheels, the reduction gives the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version improved agility. A stiffen suspension system made from aluminum and dual-flow path dampers are near direct transplants from the current FX50S specifications. Rear Active Steering is integrated into the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version as an additional handling key for the crossover vehicle.
Sharing the 5-liter V-8 powerplant found on the Infiniti FX50S, some tweaks performed to the crossover vehicle engine on the FX Sebastian Vettel version boosts power production up 30 PS to 420 PS (approximately 414 horsepower). Remapping the ECU unit of the 5-liter V-8 and a new performance exhaust is credited for punchier engine behaviour. Not coming close to the 18,000 RPMs produced by the Formula 1 purpose-built Renault race engine, the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version powerplant is likely to run beyond a two-hour continuous grand prix window.
When the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version hits the race track, 0 to 62 mile per hour acceleration is clocked at 5.6 seconds (0.2 second over the FX50S model). The biggest performance enhancement for the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version comes with the removal of the electronic speed limiter. Allowing the 5-liter engine to deliver its full potential power to the pavement, the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel version can reach a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour (186.4 miles per hour).
Even if this special Infiniti FX crossover never leaves the auto show circuit, Sebastian Vettel becomes the latest auto racing hero to have a vehicle named in their honour. During the muscle car era, soon to become auto racing legends Dan Gurney and Cale Yarborough were granted special edition releases of 1969 Mercury Cyclones. NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt would also be connected to desirable versions of the Chevy Monte Carlo built during and after his life. More recently in 2007, a commemorative Ron Fellows edition Chevrolet Corvette C6 bid recognition to the Canadian sports car driver’s part in many Corvette race victories including the Le Mans 24-Hour event.
Enhancements to exterior, interior and performance aspects of the crossover base ultimately makes the Infinti FX Sebastian Vettel version a winning formula Frankfurt Motor Show goers will certainly understand.
Information and photo source: Infiniti Europe