Car news

04 August 2014

Meet Dunlop's racecar of the future

Electric power, no brakes, active aero and shape-shifting tyres: someone make this NOW

Vijay Pattni
Car image



If you culled the collective consciousness of TopGear to dream up the perfect racing machine, you'd likely end up with a space-framed monster packing a 20,000rpm V12 and the mother of all rear wings. Oh, and an instant self-destruct button on hearing the phrase ‘for sure'.

Thankfully, Dunlop did not cull the collective consciousness of TopGear to dream up the image above, which offers a hint at the tyre firm's vision of the racecar of the future.

Pooling the opinions of motorsport enthusiasts, the ideas were then handed over to GP and Le Mans racecar designer Sergio Rinland (designer for Williams, Brabham, Sauber and Bennetton), who set about sketching the perfect racing machine of the future.

And it's incredible. The Future Race Car features four electric motors (one in each wheel), powered by a small hydrogen fuel cell generator and an even smaller lithium ion battery acting as a power buffer.

Why a power buffer? Because batteries are heavy, and the FRC, we're told, would feature an induction charging pad. The racing circuit would then be electrified, meaning the cars wouldn't ever require batteries, instead drawing their power from the trick track surface. Would certainly make Martin Brundle's pre-race grid walk interesting...

Then there's the active aero that changes the shape of the body thanks to piezoelectric materials in the laminate. This allows the FRC to reduce drag on the straights, increase downforce in corners, and automatically turn the radio off when you know what you are doing and don't need to be told all the time etc etc.

The tyres have in-built sensors that send data to the suspension, power and brakes, with the rubber capable to shifting shape at different points in the lap: cornering, accelerating along straights and braking.

And as for the brakes... well, there aren't any. Instead, stopping force comes courtesy thanks to energy recovery systems.

"You would like maximum performance from minimum use of resources," Sergio tells us in the video below. Which sounds great, though at this point we'd like to point out the FRC is NOT REAL. And likely won't ever be, sadly. Still, if it ever does make it to reality, we'd love to see it square up to Adrian Newey's Red Bull X2014...

 

Tags: racing, dunlop

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