Looking to the future of top-tier motorsport

Formula 1 has always been a bastion of the high-tech, a series where futuristic ground-bound spaceships boom by at terrifyingly high speeds, challenging what we think is possible when a human pilot takes the helm on four wheels. For the past 40 years, Renault has taken part in this orgy of speed and technology, and now, we’re getting a peek at the French automaker’s vision of things to come. Long story short, expect even more of the heart-stopping pace we know today, plus more excitement, higher levels of spectator engagement, reduced costs, increased safety, and even a dash of environmental responsibility as well.

You gotta love it when a press release kicks off with the line “the year is 2027,” so I was keen to dive into the specifics as soon as I saw this thing roll across my desk. And while these sorts of design studies don’t always nail it in terms of predicting the real future, they almost always come with a nice set of interesting ideas that could gain some traction (in one form or another, at least) in the years to come. Not only that, but the aesthetic-driven renderings are a surefire way to light the imagination and set you off on a little sci-fi day dreaming…

Updated 09/18/2017: Renault R.S. 2027 Vision made quite an appearance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Hit the "Pictures" tab to see it on the auto show floor.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault R.S. 2027 Vision.

Exterior

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The styling mimics some of the elements seen on the Renault RS01 from 1977, also known as Renault’s very first Formula 1 car.

The basic form of the Renault R.S. 2027 Vision is meant to recall the shapes and cues of the modern Formula 1 car, including basics like a “long, slender nose, side pods and four open wheels.” Indeed, from afar, the racer has the purposeful stance of a pure motorsport machine, plus a generous dollop of Tron-esque gloss spread evenly over the surface.

Still, there’s no denying this is a Renault, as evidenced by the copious number of Renault and Renault Sport logos added across the exterior. In addition, you’ll also find angular C-shaped LEDs added to the front wing, as well as a brightly lit Renault diamond badge on the nose, both of which allude to Renault’s lineup of street cars.

Renault R.S. 2027 Vision Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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There are LEDs mounted in the wheels that project various stats to keep onlookers informed, including things like the car’s current race position, the amount of life left in the racing slick tire, and “the car’s remaining energy reserves.”

Speaking of lights, the active lighting system helps to engage spectators in a variety of ways. For example, there are LEDs mounted in the wheels that will project various stats to keep onlookers informed during the action. Info includes things like the car’s current race position, the amount of life left in the racing slick tire, and “the car’s remaining energy reserves.”

That’s all well and good, but what about exterior enhancements for the car’s performance? Well, as you might imagine, there’s some serious aerodynamics going on with this thing, all designed to keep the racer glued to the pavement at a variety of speeds. What’s more, all the wings and various aero enhancements are mobile and active, which means enhanced downforce when you need it (such as in the corners) and minimized drag when you don’t (such as on the straights). Of course, this harkens back to current technology like DRS (Drag Reduction System), and it would be nice to see it take a more prominent and efficacious role in the future.

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Meanwhile, the styling mimics some of the elements seen on the Renault RS01 from 1977, also known as Renault’s very first Formula 1 car. The rear wing and livery design scheme both take cues from that car, while the yellow and black coloring was taken from the Espace F1 seen in the mid-‘90s. The yellow also gets a snazzy gold leaf added, while the whole thing is covered in a metallic finish.

Interestingly, Renault points out that in the future, the actual body shell will hopefully be 3D printed, which will likely help to cut down on costs. Further cost reduction will come with the proposed restrictions to aero development, with only the front and rear wings, engine cover, floor, and diffuser subject to changes from engineers, plus a restriction to just three separate configurations for the whole season (think varying levels of downforce depending on the track).

Interior

Renault R.S. 2027 Vision Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Fans will be able to see your expressions and reactions thanks to a transparent helmet.

One of the biggest changes we see with the Renault R.S. 2027 over modern Formula 1 cars is the inclusion of a transparent cockpit cover. No longer will the driver’s head sit out in the open airflow, as the intention is higher levels of safety and protection without hampering overall visibility. The cockpit covering will be made from polycarbonate and be resistant to both impact and fire. In the event of a rollover, a duo of protective bars made from titanium will pop out in milliseconds to add an extra layer of safety for the driver.

If you happen to be lucky enough to be piloting the R.S. 2027 Vision, you’ll be pretty comfortable, as the 3D printed body and cockpit will be perfectly tailored to your shape, molded in such a way as to offer perfect support for attacking the corners. Fans will also be able to see your expressions and reactions thanks to a transparent helmet, while a digital display mounted inside the steering wheel will relay all the pertinent info needed to drive the car, including flag signals like blue and yellow warnings.

Renault R.S. 2027 Vision Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Additional car telemetry will be broadcast on the Internet to keep fans up to date on the overall race strategy, while virtual racers will get a chance to go wheel-to-wheel with the star drivers in a real-time video game environment. Furthermore, a “fan ranking” system will grant speed to the most popular drivers, as enhanced social media interaction (more tweets, more likes, more posts, more mentions, etc.) will send the popular driver a power boost towards the end of the race. Guess it’s time to build those followers.

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Various onboard autonomous systems will help keep things safe.

And although it might seem weird, various onboard autonomous systems will help keep things safe. No, Renault isn’t talking about adaptive cruise control. Rather, the autonomous system will only engage during safety car periods and yellow flags, thus enforcing speed limits and no passing rules.

Further tech enhancements include vehicle-to-vehicle systems that increase driver awareness with regards to track position of the other cars, thus reducing collisions when visibility is low. The systems will also assist in pit lane with a collision warning to prevent any early release of the car.

Drivetrain

Renault R.S. 2027 Vision Drivetrain High Resolution
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Renault is predicting a move to AWD in the future. Cue purist outrage.

Renault says the R.S. 2027 Vision takes after the make’s first Formula 1 car, the RS01, in that it equips a turbocharged V-6 powerplant for motivation. However, this is ten years into the future we’re talking about, and thus, it should comes as no surprise that the gasoline power is assisted by a hybrid electric system.

Renault says the plan is to use Formula 1 as a test bed for tech destined to trickle down to its passenger vehicles, and that’s pretty exciting when looking over the specs. For starters, the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is still in play, offering up as much as 500 kW of juice, far more than the 120 kW we see today. Two separate ERS-K units are installed, one in front and one in the rear, both of which feed a higher-energy density battery (Renault predicts twice the energy density of the current F1-spec pack). The energy will reach the wheels by way of two 250-kW motors, one in front and one in back, which means Renault is predicting a move to AWD in the future. Cue purist outrage.

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Regardless, the R.S 2027’s exterior lighting will change from white to blue when the car is engaged in its full-electric mode – a strategy that makes sense during yellow flags or warm-up laps. Further 3D printing of parts will help to reduce waste.

Finally, the fuel tank in this single-seat racer is reduced to 60 kg, a considerable downsize compared to the current 105-kg tank used in today’s cars. Renault hopes to see shorter, more exiting racing as a result (down to 250 km from the current 300 km length). This could be divided into two separate race sets, including a long race and a very brief sprint. Additionally, less available fuel will also make the option to switch to all-electric power as a potential fuel saver add another wrinkle to the overall race strategy.

Suspension And Chassis

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Formula 1 cars have always boasted an impressive power-to-weight ratio, and the R.S. 2027 Vision is no different – try 1 megawatt (1,341 horsepower) of power for just 600 kg (1,323 pounds) of weight. Yep, these machines should be mighty quick indeed.

Keeping them glued to the road will be loads of downforce, plus an active suspension system that’s controlled by the driver. What’s more, a four-wheel steering system will keep it nippy, a necessary element if Renault is thinking about going AWD. Gotta keep that turn in nice and sharp.

Conclusion

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While this new design study certainly looks pretty cool, Renault is also bringing a few interesting ideas to the table as well. I like the additional spectator and fan interaction, with more available data and specs provided to engage folks who don’t want to keep a spreadsheet open during the race. The social media boost is also interesting, but obviously ripe for abuse – maybe we should keep the popularity contests out of it?

Either way, Renault seems to be on the right track. Lowered costs and greater technology development feel like smart moves, and hopefully, we’ll see something as interesting in the real world as this vision.

  • Leave it
    • * Social media probably shouldn’t influence anything during the race
    • * AWD? Really?
    • * Can we push the tech even further?

References

Alpine GT6 Vision GT Sports Car

2015 Alpine GT6 Vision GT Sports Car Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the Alpine GT6 Vision GT Sports Car.

SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo

2015 SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 632385

Read our full review on the SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo.

Press Release

Renault’s vision of Formula 1, ten years from now, places people at the centre –one of Renault’s core values– as a vital cornerstone of F1 experience. Propelled by a high-powered engine, the driver can showcase qualities as a top athlete for the pleasure of fans. More attractive, Formula 1 also becomes safer, to better protect participants, and takes more active responsibility towards the environment.

The year is 2027. At every Grand Prix, the competition is fierce. With a weight / power ratio never before reached in the history of Formula 1 (1 megawatt on the whole for a weight limited to 600 kilos), human performance is at the heart of the sport. To make Formula 1 more captivating, fans benefit from a closer connection to the driver, whether they are watching trackside or on television. Thanks to its transparent cockpit, the R.S. 2027 Vision concept provides the best-ever view of the driver at work. This resistant, lightweight shell is 3D-printed, with forms tailored to the driver’s body, mirroring how the design of Renault’s road-going models is directly inspired by the human body.
The helmet is also transparent, enabling fans to see the driver’s face and expressions. Active LED lighting incorporated into the wheels displays a range of information, including the driver’s position and the car’s remaining energy reserves, making it easier for spectators and television viewers alike to understand how the race unfolds.

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The digital display in the centre of the steering wheel informs the driver of his ‘fan ranking’ position, which is determined by spectators’ interaction on social media, rewarding the most deserving driver on the track with an additional boost of power in the last laps. Some of the driver’s telemetry data is accessible to fans via the Internet, enhancing their overall understanding of the race and the strategy. This data also allows connected players to participate real-time in the race and compete against their heroes. In terms of design, Formula 1 evolves to become equally appealing to racing enthusiasts while it attracts new fans. The cars are instantly recognisable as F1 single-seaters, with their long, slender nose, side pods and four open wheels. Their design is both finely-honed and more aggressive. In addition to the roles they play in optimising performance and energy efficiency, the combination of mobile
aerodynamic features and active lighting systems make the cars more ‘communicative’ for spectators and television viewers.

In the case of the R.S. 2027 Vision, bold features like the C-shaped LED front lights and the illuminated Renault diamond on the engine cover provide a visual tie between the racing car and Renault’s road-going models.
To make the show even more captivating for spectators, the colour emitted by these lights switches from a white to a blue hue when the electric mode is activated.

R.S. 2027 Vision: 50 years of Renault Formula 1 drawing from the past, envisioning the future

As Renault prepares to celebrate 40 years of involvement in Formula 1 in 2017, the R.S. 2027 Vision concept envisions F1 at 50. Renault’s design team created it in collaboration with Renault Sport Racing. In addition to all the fundamentals expected from a Formula 1 car, it also features Renault and Renault Sport cues, including the logos and emblems of both brands. The R.S. 2027 Vision concept carries over some of the classic attributes of Renault’s very first Formula 1 car – the RS01 from 1977 – such as its V6 turbocharged engine. Elements like its peripheral rear wing and livery provide similar flashbacks. Like the Espace F1 in the mid-1990s, the R.S. 2027 Vision comes in Renault Sport’s traditional yellow-and-black Formula 1 colour scheme. In this case, the colours are embellished with a metallic finish that enhances the car’s visual appeal. The yellow particularly stands out for its gold leaf effect
embodying quality, technological prowess and high performance. The R.S. 2027 Vision concept not only seeks to pay tribute to four decades of Renault dedication, innovation and success in Formula 1, but also underlines a strong commitment to the future.

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It shows how the passion that drives the brand also applies to its motorsport activities, resulting in the development of major technological innovations. This technology –and the specific design elements born of it– is clearly visible in the concept. Everything about the R.S. 2027 Vision has been conceived to optimise performance and enhance the entertainment value of Formula 1. In Renault’s ‘Cycle of Life’ design strategy, the R.S. 2027 V sion embodies the “play” petal. “The melding of creative energy and technical expertise from Renault’s design teams and Renault Sport Racing has created a visionary yet completely credible and authentic R.S. 2027 Vision; a Formula 1 exercise that puts people at the heart of the sport, and communicates Renault’s view of the F1 future.” Stéphane Janin – Director, Concept Car Design

Safety, always one of Groupe Renault’s chief objectives, naturally remains a priority in Formula 1 in 2027. Numerous decisions have been taken to make the discipline even safer for all involved, notably the drivers. The F1 cars incorporate autonomous driving functions. This delegation of driving duties is automatically activated in the situation of race incidents (safety car, virtual safety car, yellow flags, etc.). In this situation, the mandatory single-file running and accompanying restrictions (ban on overtaking, speed limits, etc.) are managed entirely by the car, minimising the risk of further accidents and ensuring the safety of competitors and track marshals alike. The car’s closed cockpit protects the driver from flying debris and other dangerous objects that have the potential to strike with force. This aerodynamic canopy has been produced in polycarbonate, which is ultraresistant to impact and flames. It is framed by two titanium ‘pop-up’ roll-over bars that emerge from their unobtrusive location in milliseconds should the car overturn, providing the driver –still strapped into the seat– with an essential gap between the
cockpit and the ground from which to escape. These two features were both specifically designed to allow the driver to be able to extract himself from his car in the event of an accident in which their car overturns, and not to hamper the efforts of rescue teams if required.

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Safety is similarly ensured by the ultra-connected nature of these Formula 1 cars –increasingly common features across Renault’s passenger car range. These functions exchange information based on what is happening in the race, seamlessly. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication with the other cars in the race, so that every driver knows exactly where each of their competitors is on the track or in the pit-lane. This feeds information to the pit lane’s
predictive collision warning system, preventing teams from releasing a driver while another car is passing by at speed. Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication with peripheral systems on the steering wheel’s digital screen, including the immediate display of instructions given by the race director, such as yellow or blue flags. A direct link is established with the marshals in the section of the track where each car is running. In Renault’s 2027 vision, Formula 1 also focuses on sustainable technology and systems to gradually reduce its ‘carbon footprint.’ Designing the individual parts of a Formula 1 car now requires less time and tooling thanks to increasing use of 3D-printing. This benefits the R.S. 2027 Vision concept as it previously benefited TREZOR, the Renault concept car unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show that formally launched the brand’s new design cycle. The new materials used by 3D printers to produce parts are more recycling-friendly than many composite materials they replace. These decisions serve to make the cars both safer and cleaner, without detracting from the spirit of singleseater racing.

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2027: higher-performance cars for more entertaining racing

To put the human factor back on centre stage, Renault’s vision for Formula 1 in 2027 also covers the technical side. In addition to delivering higher performance, cars have taken advantage of the new electrification technologies to become even more efficient. Consequently, they contribute to making Formula 1 a continued test ground for passenger vehicles while helping the race industry follow a responsible approach to costs. Maintaining its role as a platform for Renault’s advanced technology, Formula 1 in 2027 drives innovation efforts towards higher engine and aerodynamic efficiency.

The total amount of power is 1 megawatt and the weight limited to 600 kilos. The level of power generated by the Kinetic Energy Recovery System is now fixed at 500kW (compared with 120kW in 2017) courtesy of two ERS-K units, one at the front and one at the rear. This four-wheel drive configuration delivers unprecedented traction for a single-seater racing car. The car’s very high-energy density batteries, two times the current F1 batteries –a field of intensive
research for Renault’s electric vehicles – are connected to an ultra-high-performance dual-energy recovery system. Thanks to two 250kW electric motors (one at the front, one at the rear), the bulk of the energy
otherwise wasted under braking can be recovered and stored for later use during the same lap. To minimise energy waste due to drag at high speeds without detracting from slow-speed stability, the car’s aerodynamics are now active. Their efficiency is further enhanced by active suspension that optimises handling under the exclusive control of the driver.

In addition to facilitating pit-lane manoeuvres, four-wheel steering makes the cars agile and responsive. Many of these innovations enrich Renault’s technology know-how, some of which are already available in its current range of passenger vehicles, for example, Renault’s MULTI-SENSE system with active damping and the high-energy density batteries of Renault ZOE Z.E. 40. Technology evolutions and performance objectives, while maintaining an energy efficiency goal, reach the balance between power output from the engine and power output from electric motors. F1 hybrid power plants based on a V6 combustion engine incorporating downsizing technologies such as turbocharging and multipoint fuel injection, a configuration that maximises power output while curbing fuel consumption and volume.

The capacity of the fuel tank is just 60kg (compared with 105kg in F1 today), which is the quantity necessary for the shorter, more exciting race formats. Meanwhile, high energy-capacity batteries, two times the current F1 batteries energy density –a similar level to the Formula E batteries that will be used in Season 5–, are used to power the two 250kW electric motors in a sustainable way. They also allow the car to be driven in all-electric mode to save fuel during certain moments of the race, such as the formation lap and entering and exiting the pits.

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Renault’s vision of Formula 1 in 2027 also advocates for a responsible approach to costs. By capping expenditures, the discipline can attract more manufacturers and teams for a long-term commitment. To achieve this, F1 benefits from standard elements, thereby reducing the economic pressure on the teams: all non-performance-differentiating components are provided by a single supplier selected by the FIA.
Restricting development work on the cars’ aerodynamics brings wind tunnel and parts production’s budgets down, too. Only the front and rear wings, engine cover, floor and diffuser can be remodelled, and only three configurations are authorised during a single season. Finally, F1 takes note of more accessible technologies and recovers with a certain pragmatism. For example, ultra-complex hydraulic suspensions give way to simpler active suspensions, but which
could recover the otherwise lost energy. A financially level playing field injects an extra element of excitement into the season, granting all teams an equal opportunity to compete. In response to television audience trends and shifts in broadcasting formats, Renault explores how Formula 1 in 2027 could become a more compelling form of entertainment. So, the format of Grand Prix weekends has been revised to make them more diverse, with exciting new opportunities
to promote the drivers: Sunday’s centrepiece-race shortened (250 kilometres instead of approximately 300 today) and divided into two parts: a long race and a second, shorter sprint known as the ‘Final Sprint.’

A Rookie Night Race, featuring the teams’ reserve drivers and the drivers who are in their F1 rookie year, is organised on the Friday evening of race week, ahead of Saturday’s official practice. With this vision, Renault is sending a powerful message to the sport’s fans about the continued excitement and innovation ahead in Formula 1 racing. Renault is more than ever a key player in the world of Formula 1 and intends to remain so for at least ten more years. Over the course of these ten years, motorsport-honed innovations will continue to be carried over to the brand’s passenger models both in the Renault Sport Cars range, as well as mainstream Renault
vehicles.

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