Automaker McLaren has unveiled a Formula One concept car stuffed with next-generation technology.
The car has been dubbed the MP4-X, and is only a marketing exercise at this point. However McLaren says that the technology featured in the car could one day be used on real vehicles, writes Laurence Edmonson for ESPN.
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Formula One concept cars provide a window into future of sport
McLaren has now joined Ferrari in giving the world a glimpse into the future of Formula One. The Italian brand released its own concept car earlier this year.
The MP4-X uses similar energy recovery technology to that found in today’s F1 cars, but McLaren claims that the vehicle would have a “new approach to the internal combustion engine” as well as “thin batteries” built into the body of the car.
In a nod to renewable energy the car would also boast solar panels that would contribute to its energy needs. In terms of safety, the MP4-X features a canopy to protect the driver, unlike today’s F1 cars. The issue of crash safety has received far more attention in motor racing following the death of Justin Wilson in an IndyCar race this year.
McLaren addresses safety concerns of open-cockpit racing
“I was one of many drivers who said, ‘This is open-cockpit racing, it should stay as open-cockpit racing,’ but I think we’ve had enough now,” McLaren driver Jenson Button said. “We’ve got to get a canopy on the car of some sort, because we can’t have these sorts of accidents happening as much as they have over the last few years. It’s not the 1970s any more, we should know better. Canopies probably are the way to go, but obviously that takes time.”
While other areas of the car may feature new technology, the MP4-X also features ideas previously banned in F1. Ground-effect aerodynamics were outlawed from the sport in 1982, but the MP4-X revives the technology.
Thanks to the smaller engine and fuel tank, the car has ample space for huge Venturi tunnels on the chassis. These tunnels create a “powerful aerodynamic effect” and the chassis could even change shape to adapt to different situations.
McLaren has also thought about the commercial side of Formula One, with digital billboards built into the bodywork to transmit tailored sponsor messages to the audience. “Just like the webpages you view, the adverts are chosen specifically for you — meaning that the car will look different to everyone,” McLaren claims.