Mercedes have placed an F1 engine in a sports activities automotive – however Renault did it to an MPV | F1 historical past


The F1-engined Mercedes AMG Challenge One is a very daring automotive. Nevertheless it’s now not the primary time a street automotive has been supplied with a Method One engine. The Renault Espace F1 used to be arguably an much more radical advent.

The 3-pointed superstar has became a whole Formulation One energy unit with its bleeding-facet hybrid generation right into a ‘typical’ street automotive. It has a price ticket to compare too, now not that there are any examples left to shop for.

On the other hand Components One engines haven’t simply discovered their approach into -seater sports activities automobiles. The Renault Espace F1 – the arena’s quickest MPV – for sure ranks as probably the most outlandish of those machines.

Within the mid-nineties Renault used to be on the lookout for new tactics of the use of its massively a success F1 engine programme to advertise its street automobiles. The French producer hit on an impressed concept. Having popularised the multi-individual car with the Espace, introduced in 1984, Renault marked its 10th anniversary by way of equipping one with its up to date F1 name-profitable engine.

Renault took any such…
Williams FW15C, Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2011
…and brought this.

Developing the Espace F1 used to be now not the paintings of a second. The aerodynamic shortcomings of the slab-sided automotive intended best surgical operation used to be had to settle for its radical transplant: a three.five-litre usually aspirated V10 Components One engine plus the semi-automated gearbox and rear suspension. Those have been all as discovered within the 1993 Williams FW15C, which gained the constructors’ championship and took Alain Prost to his fourth and ultimate name.

Former F1 constructor Matra, who synthetic the usual Espace for Renault, took at the process of fusing the 2 underneath the steerage of former F1 fashion designer Gerard Ducarouge. Bespoke entrance suspension used to be created along side many of the bodywork under the window line. Carbon fibre used to be used widely to enhance the frame and shape the huge rear wing which stored the beast at the floor.

The automobile used to be evolved on the Paul Ricard circuit (which returns to the F1 calendar this yr) by way of Eric Bernard, who had abundant revel in of the force teach because it additionally powered the Ligier he raced for so much of 1994. At that yr’s Paris Motor Display Renault pulled the covers off Frankenstein’s circle of relatives automotive and took it to a chain of occasions for demonstrations.

Despite the fact that the seven-seat configuration of the unique Espace may just now not be retained there used to be nonetheless room for 3 passengers along with the driving force. The rear couple sat each side of the screaming V10 and may just peer down at it thru clear plastic.

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Prost used to be amongst folks that took the chance to pressure it. Some of the so much well-known passengers of the automobile used to be Frank Williams, who used to be taken for decent laps through his then-motive force David Coulthard.

Renault Espace F1 interior, 1994
The Renault Espace F1 powerplant used to be on show

The Espace F1 presented supercar ranges of efficiency in a system which appeared adore it belonged at the faculty run. The shriek of an F1 engine has without a doubt by no means sounded extra incongruous than while it got here from this one-off advent.

For F1 drivers used to a low-slung cockpit, being perched top within the Espace used to be a abnormal sensation. Unsurprisingly the unwieldy frame form and top centre of gravity made for very tough dealing with.

At 1,300kg it weighed -and-a-part occasions up to a recent F1 automotive. However with smartly over 700bhp on faucet the Renault Espace F1 coated the zero-60mph dash in 2.eight seconds and crowned out at 317kph (197mph). That’s the type of street related generation we will be able to all revel in.

In fact in contrast to Mercedes, Renault didn’t create a manufacturing model of the Espace F1. Like Ford’s Supervan, this used to be strictly a prototype, and the only instance now is living within the Matra museum.

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Renault Espace F1, 1994
Renault Espace F1 rear, 1994

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