300kmh Sebastian Vettel SUV confirmed

JEZ SPINKS
Last updated 14:45 20/10/2011
World Formula One champion stands alongside the Infiniti SUV concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
Reuters

World Formula One champion stands alongside the Infiniti SUV concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Nissan has confirmed it will build a limited number of the vehicle.

Sebastian Vettel unveils, at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Infiniti SUV to be named after him (top) along with a picture of the vehicle from the rear.
WRAPS OFF: Sebastian Vettel unveils, at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Infiniti SUV to be named after him (top) along with a picture of the vehicle from the rear.

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A 309kW V8-powered SUV capable of 300kmh will become the first joint venture performance vehicle created by reigning Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel and Nissan luxury brand Infiniti.

Infiniti, seen as Nissan's answer to Toyota's Lexus, has confirmed the Sebastian Vettel FX soft-roader concept it displayed at September's Frankfurt motor show will go into production. Only limited volume is likely, with pricing yet to be confirmed.

The SUV's design, engineering and aerodynamics have all been influenced by Red Bull Racing's German racing star, who secured his second consecutive F1 title at the recent Korean Grand Prix.

The Vettel FX's ability to generate downforce – the combination of air pressure and gravity that helps push a car towards the road for improved stability – should be effective considering the help from Red Bull Racing. The team is regarded as the current leader in aerodynamics.

Red Bull's racing cars are powered by V8 engines produced by Nissan's alliance partner Renault and both sides have expressed interest in extending their relationship into performance vehicles for the road.

"Doing the FX Sebastian Vettel version for Frankfurt was fun, but it's also a kind of pilot," says Infiniti’s executive vice president Andy Palmer. "It's about our equivalent of [Mercedes-Benz] AMG or [BMW] M cars.

"We wanted to test the organisation and see if it could cope with this type of special version. Sebastian’s FX demonstrates we are able to do low volume specials and the FX Sebastian Vettel version is one of the first that will go to market."

Infiniti announced this week it will expand its F1 partnership with Red Bull next year, including bigger Infiniti logos on the cars raced by Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber.

The car maker said the FX special was the result of a conversation at March's Geneva motor show between Vettel, a global brand ambassador for Infiniti and who owns a regular version of the SUV, and Infiniti’s chief creative officer, Shiro Nakamura.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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