What's all this about?
Renault has outlined its Auto Shanghai motor show stand plans and taking centre stage - alongside the Espace MPV and the gorgeous Etoile Filante - is the R.S. 2027 Vision concept car.
What on Earth is it?!
It's what Renault Sport thinks will constitute an F1 car 10 years into the future. This is neat timing, because Renault first entered F1 40 years ago with the R.S.01 - so it's trying to predict its 50-year-anniversary entrant into the world's highest form of motorsport.
Have we got details on the R.S. 2027's power and so on?
Oh yes. Like the R.S.01, it has a turbocharged V6 engine, but it's augmented here by electric power. The bodywork (featuring a transparent, enclosed cockpit to allow spectators to see how hard the protected driver is working to drive the car hard; hence why the driver's helmet is also transparent, to show facial expressions for greater fan engagement), is actually 3D-printed and the whole car weighs a maximum of 600kg. Power is a megawatt.
A megawatt? How much is that in horsepower?
Well, it's 1,000kW, which is 1,341hp, if you must know - or a power-to-weight ratio of 2,235hp-per-tonne. The current ratio is around 1,500hp-per-tonne, for reference. Autonomous on-board systems take control of the car under yellow flag or safety car conditions, for instance, to ensure there's no against-the-rules overtaking and so on. And the external lights on the car change from white to blue when the R.S. 2027 has slipped into electric mode.
What else is there involved?
Umm... some of it doesn't sound so promising. Like the digital display in the steering wheel that displays the driver's 'fan ranking' live to them; this is determined by how much play they're getting on social media at any given moment. Still, it's not like this is going to actually happen, is it? Is it...?
Probably not, no. So the other exhibits in Shanghai?
Well, the Etoile is the car that averaged 191mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1956, cementing Renault's place in the record books as the fastest gas-turbine car on the planet. It shows the historic link between Renault of the 1950s and the company that came up with the glorious R.S. 2027. The Espace MPV, meanwhile, is there for a far more prosaic reason: it's going on sale in China soon, so the French firm is merely presenting it to an eager public ahead of it hitting the showrooms in the latter half of this year.
Matt Robinson - 19 Apr 2017