2018 Pebble Beach Concours: Infiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldProper Progression
One year ago, Infiniti wowed Pebble Beach crowds with the beautiful Prototype 9 — a modern take on a vintage open-wheel race car with a completely electric powertrain. This year Nissan’s luxury brand has taken the next logical step with the debut of the Prototype 10 — an entirely different but equally stunning futuristic sports car.

© Rod HatfieldPrototype 10
“The INFINITI Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of early speedsters,” said Infiniti’s Executive Design Director Karim Habib. “This period saw the creation of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterized by the simple love of driving.”

© Rod HatfieldBack to the Future
Whereas the Prototype 9 is based on an alternative history where Infiniti built 1940s race cars, the new Prototype 10 — although inspired by past designs — is looking purely to the future. “Prototype 10 provides a link between where INFINITI stands now, and where we are heading,” added Habib.

© Rod HatfieldSleek Lines
With a long, low hood, open cockpit and dramatic fin behind the driver’s seat, the Prototype 10 has the look of a proper sports car. Up front a large Infiniti badge is integrated into the bodywork, while slashes at the base of the hood reveal ultra-thin headlights. A black chin spoiler not only contrasts nicely with the silver bodywork, it provides additional downforce on the front wheels for better handling.

© Rod HatfieldDriver Focused
To emphasize the driver-focused approach, the Prototype 10 is a single seater. The interior features a clean and minimalist design with a 4-point harness, brake and accelerator pedals and a race-inspired steering wheel mounted on carbon fiber struts. With an electric powertrain there would be no gears to shift, further simplifying the cabin and driver experience.

© Rod HatfieldLow Seating Position
The driver’s seat is fitted with black leather featuring contrasting red stitching that matches the center of the steering wheel. The seat is mounted low in the cabin so only the driver’s head is visible — which is why Infiniti designers refer to the cockpit as the “bathtub.”

© Rod HatfieldWorldly Designs
The Prototype 10 is the first project completed by Infiniti’s new Executive Design Director Karim Habib, providing a look into the future design direction for the brand. But this isn’t simply one person’s idea — the Prototype 10 project was overseen by Infiniti’s Japan design center, designed digitally in the UK, and handcrafted at Infiniti Design San Diego in California.

© Rod HatfieldElectrified
Infiniti has previously announced plans to have some level of electrification in its entire production line by 2021, and the Prototype 10 confirms that the brand plans to generate excitement around these new powertrains. “We all feel a certain degree of passion when talking about roadsters and speedsters,” said Infiniti President Roland Krueger. “We are equally passionate about the potential that electrification holds for the future of our cars — a daring speedster is the perfect study for our designers to explore an electrified future and ignite such excitement,” Krueger noted.

© Rod HatfieldDesign Study Only
Infiniti is quick to point out that the Prototype 10 is purely a design study at this time, so no specifics are available regarding its electric powertrain. However, the ducts and vents could be used to cool a battery pack, and the flat floor could indicate motors at the axle(s). “Prototype 10 shows how an electrified powertrain could fit within a lean, lightweight and daring body, and this enabled us to rethink the fundamental layout of the car,” said Habib.

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti Prototype 10

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