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Pirelli and Renault to Collaborate on INFINITI’s Q60 Project Black S

Italian tire maker Pirelli is expected to custom built tires for the well liked INFINITI Q60’s Project Black S version

Carmaker INIFINITI and tire manufacturer Pirelli are getting together for ‘Project Black S’, a new INFINITI performance grade featuring unique technology inspired by Formula One. As part of the project, IFINITI’s popular Q60 variant, a successor of the INFINITI G-series, will undergo some radical changes to become the Q60 ‘Project Black S’ version, one of which includes the modifications done by Pirelli. In addition to Pirelli, the INFINITI team has also worked in close collaboration with Renault Sport Formula One Team in areas pertaining to performance and dynamics of the Q60.

Pirelli’s major interest in the project derives from the ‘track-to-road’ technology transfer that was part of the project. As per Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director, “We were fascinated with ‘Project Black S’ since INFINITI unveiled it at the Geneva motor show earlier this year - we simply had to get involved. Project Black S is the ultimate expression of innovation and cutting-edge technology transfer, which is in our DNA, so we couldn’t let this opportunity go by. We are thrilled to be a part of it and to support INFINITI on this project.”

Pirelli’s efforts to expand, diversify and innovate come at a decidedly tough time where conventional tire giants increasingly are finding themselves straitjacketed by competition. As per TechSci Research report “Global Tire Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2022”, all top tire companies will be forced to cede at least some ground top their lean mean Chinese competitors. Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental etc. have all been forced to tear up their overall global strategies and start afresh to combat this relatively new Chinese threat. Michelin has been ahead of the curve, in this regard; the French tire company recently is all set to acquire NexTraq, an American fleet telematics service provider, to boost innovation and make better quality, more durable and longer lasting tires.

The INFINITI-Pirelli deal suggests that the Q60 Project Black S will be equipped with lightweight wheels (in this case a 21-inch set) and wider performance tires that could be deployed for greater traction. Given that a hybrid model of the Q60 is in the works, the tires will also have to offset somehow the increased weight of the heavier hybrid engine. For this project, Pirelli was asked to develop dedicated tyres for a car that features outstanding performance coupled with extreme aerodynamics; Pirelli is also expected to walk a thin line balancing safety issues and performance vis a vis the Project Black S. Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing had this to say about the collaboration “It is great to have Pirelli involved in Project Black S. We believe in the potential of this project, and the work we have done with INFINITI on it so far is very promising. Working with the best partners is vital, and Pirelli is a great addition to Project Black S; having their experience and expertise on the tire front will make this project not only more comprehensive but even more exciting too.”

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