Monterey Car Week typically features displays with classic racers alongside cutting-edge concept cars. This year, however, Infiniti brought a car that is a combination of the two.
Infiniti debuted the Prototype 9 on Friday at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The retro open-wheel concept was inspired by the Prince R380, which won the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix, but incorporates a prototype electric motor and battery designed by Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department.
The Project 9 was unveiled as a dynamic concept, though it originally wasn’t intended to be functional. After seeing the design sketch for the concept, Nissan and Infiniti engineers reportedly decided to work after hours to bring the car to life.
“It started as a discussion: What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s?” Infiniti’s vice president of global design, Alfonso Albaisa, said in a statement. “If one were to imagine an open-wheeled Infiniti racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like? The sketches were stunning and the idea so compelling that we had to produce a prototype. As other departments became aware of this, they volunteered their time to create a working vehicle.”
Infiniti’s Prototype 9 isn’t the automaker’s only connection to Grand Prix racing. It also is involved in a partnership with Renault Sport Formula One Team that it’s using to develop technology for its future road cars.
Thumbnail photo via Infiniti