Apr 20, 2017 | By Benedict

French automaker Renault has used this week’s Auto Shanghai event in China to showcase the R.S. 2027 Vision, a concept for a future Formula 1 car. The entire cockpit of the car is 3D printed.

Earlier this year, we heard that Renault Trucks, once part of Renault, was using 3D printers to make their engines lighter and more efficient. And while Renault Trucks left Renault for the Volvo Group in 2001, Renault itself is now keeping pace with its former subsidiary in terms of 3D printing innovation. Trucks? How about 3D printed Formula 1 cars!

Auto Shanghai, officially the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, is a biennial car show that gives automakers the chance to show off their latest creations. Started in 1985, the event is now one of the most important in the industry, having almost equal footing with car shows in places like Detroit and Frankfurt. Several automakers, including Renault, are present at this year’s event, which opened yesterday and runs until April 28.

Renault has used the event to present R.S. 2027 Vision, its vision of future Formula 1 racing. The unusual concept focuses on safety, driver engagement, and entertainment, and contains a fleshed-out vision of how Renault cars might look in 10 years.

The R.S. 2027 Vision vehicle presented by Renault at Auto Shanghai is a bit of a beast, boasting 1 megawatt of power and a weight of 600 kilos, equivalent to 1,300 horsepower and 1,300 lbs. A hybrid V6 engine powers the concept car, while a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) would produce up to 500kW, around four times the output of today’s systems.

Perhaps most exciting is the 2027 Vision’s 3D printed cockpit, which Renault says could be printed in recycled materials to fit snugly around a driver. A transparent polycarbonate canopy would cover this 3D printed cockpit, one of several features aimed at increasing spectators’ ability to keep an eye on their favorite drivers.

Renault also says it could make transparent helmets for its drivers, so you could hypothetically see the emotion on the face of a 39-year-old Nico Hülkenberg.

And literally seeing more isn’t the only way that fans could soon get a whole lot more involved with the racing, according to Renault. As part of its R.S. 2027 Vision project, the automaker has suggested that driver telemetry could soon be accessible to fans via the internet, allowing racing lovers to fully geek out over technical data.

“One role of Renault Sport Racing is to anticipate the future of Formula 1 so that it draws a maximum number of fans in an environment consistent with Groupe Renault’s objectives,” said Cyril Abiteboul, managing director of Renault Sport Racing. “We look forward to generating inspired conversations with the racing community, fans, and enthusiasts through this concept that highlights our ideas and desires.”

Of course, Renault is far from the first car company to incorporate 3D printing into its Formula 1 vehicles, with Ferrari and McLaren having already put 3D printed parts into their racing cars.

 

 

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