There are several ways an automaker can get into Formula One racing. It can start its own team from scratch (like Toyota did in 2002), it can buy an existing team (like BMW did with Sauber in 2005) or it can supply engines to other teams (as so many manufacturers have done over the years). Infiniti chose another direction and opted to sponsor the world-champion Red Bull Racing team.

Infiniti has undoubtedly poured millions into its partnership with Red Bull since it started in 2011, but aside from the Sebastian Vettel edition FX (which technically emerged from the company's sponsorship of the driver as separate from the team), the tie-in has yet to translate into a Red Bull-tuned (or at least -inspired) Infiniti for the road. But that's just what Nissan's premium brand has in store for us at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January.

Well, almost, because the concept just announced is still a step or two away from reaching your local Infiniti dealership, but here it is just the same. It's called the Q50 Eau Rouge, and it's based on the company's latest tech-laden sports sedan. It takes its name, of course, from the famous uphill section of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit where Sebastian Vettel won the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this year, but Infiniti isn't telling us much more than that.

The concept is said to incorporate "aerodynamic styling treatments and design elements that are influenced by the company's partnership with Red Bull, and from the solitary teaser image above, we can see a new front air dam and side mirrors crafted from carbon fiber, and some sort of protrusions from the top of the hood at the base of the windshield. We'll have to wait to find out more, but we hope the modifications prove to be more than skin-deep.
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Dec. 5, 2013
Infiniti to Reveal Formula One Inspired Concept at Detroit Show

Hong Kong – Infiniti will reveal a Formula One inspired concept car based on the Q50 premium sports sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The concept car represents Infiniti's design vision of a high performance variant of Q50. Called 'Q50 Eau Rouge', the car is named after the world-famous corner at the Formula One track in Spa-Francorchamps, a corner which requires extraordinary strength, courage and commitment; it has seen some of the most incredible driving feats in Formula One history. For Infiniti, the Q50 Eau Rouge concept blends road car technology and a thoroughbred motorsport vision.

The Q50 Eau Rouge features aerodynamic styling treatments and design elements which are influenced by Infiniti's partnership with Formula One world championship-winning team Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

"Performance is a key pillar of Infiniti's DNA and this car expresses a deepened design interpretation of that. The Q50, with an abundance of technologies, provides a great basis for an extreme performance version, embodied in the design of Q50 Eau Rouge," said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's Executive Design Director.


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        jonnybimmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        Knowing the pains some people have had tuning/swapping the VR38DETT and its transmission/diffs, dropping in the GTR drivetrain might be a bit too much (yeah yeah Juke R, but remember those cost £400,000!). That said, they definitely need to step up their IPL program if it's to be taken seriously against the German (and Cadillac) performance houses. This means stop hyping the car up with badges and aero and drop some serious power into the car. People don't take AMG seriously because of the extra skirts, they take them seriously because of the very real speed increases. Infiniti (Nissan) need to take note. Lexus did (IS-F, TMG LS650)
        • 1 Year Ago
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          • 1 Year Ago
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      Dwight Bynum Jr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Am I the only one that thinks it'll just be another disappointment like IPL G Coupe / IPL Q60 coupe? I fail to see how the same brilliant minds that produced the GT-R can't produce ANYTHING on the level of what comes from the AMG or ///M.
        zizixx89
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dwight Bynum Jr.
        Well you must dont see the hood is bulged out a little
        Judah Richardson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dwight Bynum Jr.
        Ditto Acura and Lexus. Save for the CTS-V, zee Germans have gone practically unchallenged in the performance sedan category.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks so much better than the Mustang.
      Ben Lee
      • 1 Year Ago
      New Mustang?
        Judah Richardson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ben Lee
        You realize this car's been in production before the 2015 Mustang was even announced, right?
      data1399
      • 1 Year Ago
      Agreed. Their engines and transmission are antiquated by today's standards. I just ended my 39 month lease on a G37S coupe. It has the power but lacked the refinement of a modern engine. I took a hit on power in moving to an A5, but the driving experience is lightyears ahead. It is more fun to drive. The Q50 is a promising step, but they need to modernize that engine or at least provide a true performance upgrade on their IPL line, not just another 22 hp or whatever it is.
        zizixx89
        • 1 Year Ago
        @data1399
        Ewww an A5?? Wouldnt you wait for the Q60 coupe to come before you say anything
          data1399
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zizixx89
          That's part of the problem. They are not in lock step with the competition in terms of new models. I spoke to the GM at the Infinti dealer when I turned my car in and he said it's probably two more years away. I'm actually okay with the delay because I think it will mean a better coupe in the end. My lease was up and I had to go with something. Btw, the A5 is all s-lined out, sport suspension. The HP is 220 but it drives faster than the numbers would indicate. Never underestimate the power of a good transmission.
        Bernard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @data1399
        You have to be nuts, the A5 is a front heavy 4 cylinder FWD biased Voltswaggen. It may look nice, but the power and handling characteristics cannot touch a G37S coupe, and I say that as G37S coupe owner. Maybe you don't like the sound of the engine, but at 4k RPM it sings. People call the VQ rough, but it is still the most powerful naturally aspirated V6 engine (in 370Z tune) in the production car market. The only N/A six cylinder engine with more power comes in a flat configuration from Porsche in a $131,000 GT3. You cannot call that antiquated, it is still ahead of the entire market. Sure they had to sacrifice some NVH for that power, but no one else is offering that kind of power to begin with.
          data1399
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bernard
          Also, for what it's worth, I have the 8 sp Quattro...I'm not talking about the front wheel drive CVT they offer.
          FIDTRO
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bernard
          @over9000 Shouldn't be so bad since Audi is in the top 10 list on Consumer Reports for reliability. The A6 is even on their recommended list. Have a marvelous time spewing your uninformed opinions.
          data1399
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bernard
          Power isn't everything. Btw, have you driven a late model A5? Everything from fit and finish to transmission is an upgrade. Try slamming the doors on both. The difference is immediate, and I believe most would agree. The VQ may have the hp advantage, and I get what you're saying about the naturally aspirated aspect, but fundamentally the engine has not matured in the last 10+ years, is thrashy, and returns subpar mpg by today's standards for a V6 (this is from someone who commutes 300 miles a week for work on the interstate). Yes I know the auto was upgraded to 7 speed a few years ago, but there is no comparison. That said, if they put out an impressive coupe next go around I will take a look. Without a doubt the G (Q60) is one of the best bangs for the buck on a lease. Also, I immediately noticed the Infinti infotainment controls are more intuitive and overall require less steps than the Audi.
          FIDTRO
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bernard
          You're docking the A5 (which is based on the A4, that has its own unique platform to VW) when the Infiniti is just a tarted up Nissan?
          over9000
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bernard
          ^ The A5 is a FWD based Volkswagen. What's your point? Have a marvelous time after the warranty is out.
      zizixx89
      • 1 Year Ago
      I knew somthing was up when i seen a different bumper on it
      sniperhunter2001
      • 1 Year Ago
      Exposed air dams...and bulging hood? Turbo power, anyone? :) Pretty please?
      Judah Richardson
      • 1 Year Ago
      This should one hot looking car, considering the Q50's inspired styling. Not expecting much in the way of actual performance benefits, though.
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