When we last reported on the enigmatic Renault Twizy, it was out fighting fires in the French countryside. Now, apparently bored with firefighting, the Twizy team has decided that perhaps Formula 1 is more the vehicle's cup of tea. So Renault went ahead and came up with a concept racer in the form of the Twizy Renault Sport F1.
Renault admits this concept is for fun as part of its ongoing electric program, and to serve as a “bridge between F1 technology and production cars.” Perhaps the Twizy would be more at home going across that bridge to get the F1 a cup of tea.
According to Eric Diemert, Design Director for Renault Sport Range, “Twizy Renault Sport F1 is a simple yet smart vehicle which combines original lines and advanced technology derived directly from Formula 1. Our objective was to reinforce Twizy’s ‘fun’ side by using F1 cues to express its personality. In terms of both its look and performance, the result is quite simply spectacular.”
Twizy’s F1, like any proper F1 car, exists as a single-seat racer and comes equipped with a substantial F1-styled front splitter, aerodynamic side-pods to precisely manage airflow at speed, a diffuser with F1-styled rain light, and one comically huge rear wing to keep downforce in check. All this results in something that looks like a cross between WALL-E and a hobbit’s Formula 1 runabout.
F1 add-ons aside, Twizy’s twin-electric motor configuration brings about significant performance figures. With the help of Renault’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which is identical to that used in Renault’s Formula 1 cars and instantly boosts power six-fold, Twizy’s output goes from 17 to 97 horsepower (72 kW). This boost may only available for 14 seconds but should still make for some serious fun.
Combine this power output figure with the car’s meager 564 kg (1,243 lb) weight, and you end up with a weight-to-power (kg/hp) ratio of 5.8:1, just slightly higher than the 5.2:1 of the Megane RS, Renault’s highest-performing road car. The figure, albeit nowhere close to the F1 ratio of 0.86:1, is still impressive for a winged golf cart.
The Twizy Renault Sport F1’s steering wheel further reinforces the F1 argument. The mufti-faceted wheel is taken directly from that of the Formula Renault 3.5 race car, but with functions reconfigured for the Twizy Sport F1. To recover electricity, Recovery mode can be adjusted via a four-position knob, where power boost of 10 to 60 kW can be adjusted to one of six pre-set levels. Twizy drivers can release KERS stored energy by activating two steering wheel-mounted paddles at the same time. Very PS3.
The Twizy Renault Sport F1 concept car will be shown at major events this year, beginning with its first public appearance at the World Series by Renault meeting at Aragon, Spain, followed by the Barcelona Motor Show.