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What do you get when you combine Formula One racing expertise with Infiniti's exclusive design team?

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05 September 2012

It all began with a casual conversation. A simple exchange of words fuelled by curiosity as two experts from very different backgrounds commented on a product – Infiniti’s FX crossover.

Two-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel owns an Infiniti FX. This particular model being 0 one of the many models designed by Shiro Nakamura, Infiniti’s Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. In March 2011, the partnership between Infiniti and the Red Bull Racing team provided the opportunity for a meeting. They soon got talking, realizing that they shared more than just a car; they shared a passion for performance. This passion set the wheels in motion for a dynamic new endeavour. As Vettel put it, they “let racing inspire the road car.”

The plan was for a new high-performance model. Nakamura carefully studied his notes and sketches from his encounter with Vettel. Their work with Red Bull Racing goes much further than a pure sports collaboration, and so when development of the new vehicle seemed to have reached an impasse in April 2011, at Infiniti’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, the RBR team were able to pull out an ace card, namely Vettel’s F1 RB7 vehicle. The Infiniti engineers and designers studied this model, thus becoming truly inspired." The next few months at Infiniti were buzzing with tests, studying airflow, downforce and weight.

By July, the team had created a prototype, though it was still far from finished. As Nakamura insisted, “this car has to be performance-oriented.” This meant carbon fibre details, such as mirrors and console, ergonomic seats hand-crafted in luscious black suede with stitching in Infiniti purple, and unique F1-inspired rims. The concept for this car was a high-end crossover with F1 performance and Infiniti’s superior design. It is 46 kilos lighter, and boasts 5% less air resistance, with respect to the original model. The wing mirrors are specially shaped to increase downforce.

Unveiled to Vettel and the rest of the world for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel caused quite a stir in the air. Vettel himself was not immune to the excitement. “It’s a very special car for me. It means a lot because I’ve been there since the beginning and it’s the first time I’ve been involved in a story like that, and to see it all finished is really something.”

This year the prototype has been travelling around the globe. A series of just 50 cars will be built for this model. Ten have already been sold and will be delivered in early 2013. If you'd like to get a taste of pure thoroughbred racing performance, head to your nearest Infiniti dealer and check out the ultimate ‘F1 inspired’ crossover. May the downforce be with you!

Further reading:
Inspired performance by Infiniti