Renault tabs F1 KERS system for electric car concept

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Formula One machines and road cars may look as if they’re worlds apart, but Renault is making an effort to bring those worlds closer together by utilizing the kinetic energy recovery system — or KERS — for its Twizy F1 electric concept car.

A collaboration between RenaultSport’s production car team and RenaultSport’s F1 department (which supplies engines for a number of F1 squads including Red Bull Racing), the Twizy F1 is a lightweight, rear-wheel drive single-seater that, thanks to KERS, has a claimed 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds.

In case you’re new to F1, the KERS system collects the kinetic energy that’s present in the waste heat created by the car under braking and converts it into power that can be used for acceleration. For the Twizy F1, KERS raises the car’s power from 17 horsepower to 97 (although the boost is only available for 14 seconds). After being stored, said energy is activated by a pair of paddles that are on the car’s steering wheel, which is taken directly from the Formula Renault 3.5 racing machines.

The Twizy F1 also boasts a body kit that mimics its Grand Prix brethren, coming complete with front and rear wings, a rear diffuser, and a set of slicks.

“We always said we wanted to create F1-derived technology that was road relevant,” said Jean-Michel Jalinier, RenaultSport F1 president and managing director in a press release. “Hopefully, this car will make a few people smile while also making a serious point…I’m not sure we’ll be seeing many of these cars on our roads, but it does show that the same principles we see on the race track can be filtered down to the road car range – this is just the evil elder brother!”

Renault has attempted to apply F1 technology to a production vehicle before. In 1994, it unleashed the four-passenger Espace F1 concept, which featured a carbon fiber body, six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, and last but not least, an 820-horsepower V10 engine as used in Williams’ 1993 challenger, the FW15C.

The Twizy F1 will make its public debut this weekend at the World Series by Renault event in Aragon, Spain.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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