Red Bull re-work Infiniti
FORMULA one champions Red Bull Racing is set to work its magic on Infiniti’s road car range.
The F1 squad that runs world champion Sebastian Vettel and Aussie Mark Webber and the Nissan-owned luxury brand signed a multi-year sponsorship arrangement earlier this year. Now, according to reports in the UK’s What Car?, the two organisations are set to take their partnership to the next level.
The pair has admitted they are looking into the possibility of producing a high-performance version of an Infiniti road car specially-tuned by the Red Bull Racing engineers.
Infiniti is Nissan’s answer to Lexus and the European prestige brands Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. The Japanese brand already offers its own in-house Infiniti Performance Line (IPL) but any effort from Red Bull is likely to be a limited edition with a focus on maximum performance.
Although Infiniti has already ruled out putting its branding on Red Bull’s Renault F1 engines – despite the close ties between Renault and Infiniti – Simon Sproule, Infiniti’s motorsport manager, said a road car would be a good way to leverage the sponsorship.
“Our relationship with Red Bull is only five races old, but the trajectory for it is to move on and work more closely together,” Sproule said. “One way of doing that is on a road car project.”
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner was also supportive of the idea and believes the team’s engineers are as capable as any working on high performance roads cars.
“There's no reason not to be involved,” Horner said. “We have proved that Red Bull can take on the likes of Mercedes in F1 despite their heritage and a natural evolution of that would be to use our expertise we have in road cars.”
The most likely candidate of a Red Bull Racing makeover is the G37 Coupe. The IPL version already features a 3.7-litre V6 engine that is capable of 260kW and the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox; components largely shared with Nissan’s 370Z.
Nissan Australia has confirmed that the Infiniti brand will begin selling locally in late 2012. The G37 Coupe and Convertible, M large sedan and FX SUV are expected to be the launch models.
Red Bull has dominated the 2011 F1 season to date with reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel winning four of the first five events and Australian teammate Mark Webber sits third in the championship standings.