Infiniti Le Mans 2030 Concept envisions autonomous night driving during the 24-hour race. Realistically, Le Mans could be considered as the hardest race for specialty race vehicles and production race vehicles. Quite a number of brands have boosted their image as well as credibility by taking part in this 24-hour event. As such, many car designers consider Le Mans as one of the world’s most open and relevant racing events in the world.
Thus, the theme for 2017 Michelin Challenge Design was “Le Mans 2030: Design For The Win.” This competition was conducted in collaboration with the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO), organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hour race. This year’s competition allows designers to present their vision of the future.
After a strenuous selection process, the jury for the 2017 Michelin Challenge Design picked the design entered by Tao Ni of Wuhu, China -- the “Infiniti Le Mans 2030.”
The Infiniti Le Mans 2030 concept is a futuristic Infiniti race car that is not only faster, but also safer than current Le Man’s prototypes. As envisioned, the Infiniti Le Mans 2030 concept would be driven by a human pilot during the day part of the race. When the night falls, the concept’s autonomous driving capability should allow it to continue the race. This means, that Infiniti’s Le Mans drivers would suffer less fatigue during the race. In addition, the race itself would be much safer, if the carmaker’s autonomous systems are already advanced enough to push through such a competitive event.
In terms of design, the Infiniti Le Mans 2030 concept looks more advanced than any race car of the present. Its aerodynamic bodywork completely covers all four wheels, with advanced air tunnels placed under its skin for more downforce. In addition, the Infiniti Le Mans 2030 concept features several wings, fins and air intakes.
Tao Ni, designer of the Infiniti Le Mans 2030 concept, earned his bachelor degree in industrial design from Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 2013. He became an intern and a designer at Volvo Group Shanghai Design Center. Tao Ni then studied vehicle design at the Royal College of Art in London and earned a masters degree in July 2016.
Tao believes that technology is an extension of human abilities. He also believes that human, machine and computer should work and support each other.
The 2017 Michelin Challenge Design had 1,600 registrants from 80 countries. Three winning designs, seven finalists and 10 honorable mentions from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, India, Portugal and Russia were picked by a jury of top auto designers and industry experts in the world. First place was awarded to Tao Ni, and was followed by Daniel Bacelar Pereira of Vila Real, Portugal (Bentley 9 Plus Michelin Battery Slick). Third place went to Kurt Scanlan of Toronto, Canada (Cierzo C1).