Another day, another race car! This one is from Renault’s soon to be revived Alpine brand and is called the Vision Gran Turismo. It is the latest concept created for Gran Turismo 6 racing game developed by Polyphony Digital for PlayStation 3.
Presented as a full-scale model at the Festival Automobile International in Paris yesterday, the brief to its designers included one specific stipulation in comparison with their usual creations. The key focuses of the concept car needed to be the rear end and the cockpit, simply because they are the most popular views in motor sport video games.
“The design needed to contribute to the lightweight feel and convey an impression to the driver of being at one with the machine,” says Antony Villain, Alpine’s design director. “The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo features the brand’s timeless hallmark agility and elegance borne out of efficiency and ingenuity. We even took advantage of the exercise to subtly conceal several details that are directly inspired by the future Alpine which will see the light in 2016 — but I can’t give any more away about that…”
Though it’s purely a virtual concept — save for the full-scale model — a 450hp V8 engine that generates 428 lb-ft of twist at just 2000rpm powers the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo. Weight distribution is an ideal 47/53 front to rear, and weighing in at just 900kg (1984 lbs), top speed is claimed to hover around the 200mph mark. Not bad.
The front of the car bears a striking resemblance to the A110, with a sloping V-shaped hood enhanced by a central crease and, in another nod to the 1960s, cross-shaped LED lights that recall the black tape used to protect the additional lights fitted to the berlinette rally cars. These references to the past blend in with a modern aerodynamic package that includes a splitter designed to channel airflow along the body sides. It also provides a glimpse of the suspension wishbones. Openings in the hood expose the orange struts, which are located horizontally at the top of the chassis.
The car’s profile awakens other memories. Large air intakes direct the flow that escapes behind the front wheels and accentuate the narrow form of the body, while long, lateral rear fins call to mind the A210s and A220s that emerged victorious in the 1966 shone Le Mans 24-hour race Efficiency Index class. The wheels are also fusion of present and past. The design of the rims — inspired by those fitted to the A110s — is open just enough to reveal the impressive brake calipers, painted in orange or blue, depending on the version.
A butterfly door facilitates access, enabling the driver to slide into its open cockpit. The driver sits on the right, a design typical of sport-prototype cars given that the majority of circuits — not least of which Le Mans — run in a clockwise direction. Inside, the visible stitching of the leather seat is redolent of the famous cross pattern, complete with blue thread. Digital instruments crown the almost rectangular steering wheel, of the sort seen on the endurance racing prototypes. Indispensable in fast-and-frenetic races, the rear view mirrors have been replaced by a high-definition camera.
The rear-end design represents an unmistakable highlight of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo. The flat bottom that runs beneath the car terminates in arched form, while a lower wing links the wheel arches to the stern. As at the front, the bodywork exposes the double wishbone suspension. A second integrated wing yields even more aerodynamic downforce.
The most striking characteristics of the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo become apparent under braking. Integrated into the profile of the tail, the hydraulically activated airbrakes can be deployed in an instant, while at the same time revealing the brake lights.
Gran Turismo allows players to choose between three personalized colors: White and blue (the livery chosen for the full-scale model of the car); Orange and blue, which draws inspiration from the Alpine A450; and matte black.
The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo will be made available as part of a free update of Gran Turismo 6 in March 2015.
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