Luciano D’Ambrosio, founder of LDA Design style centre, issued a challenge to his team’s creatives: imagine a vehicle with innovative styling solutions for motor racing. “The opportunity came during the coronavirus lockdown, a time when we had more time to reflect on out-of-the-box projects”, explains D’Ambrosio. The idea came instantly: “Design an SUV for Le Mans. It started out as a game, but then the challenge got really serious”. The thought may seem bizarre, but it is not as far from reality as we might think: “Today the market offers SUVs of all shapes and sizes, some of them with marked sporting personalities”. Here are the projects (complete design story on Auto&Design no.246).
In LDA’s fantasy championship, the competition will be fought out between drivers with different skills, including track and off-road specialists and gamers, who will drive prototypes able to change shape in just a few seconds depending on the terrain. The table, above, shows the qualities of individual vehicles depending on the track.
This project was created by observing skiers. The vehicle has two side skids with the cockpit taking shape between them. The skids make it possible, as if they were skis, to change the wheelbase and slope on bends, even increasing the track in the most extreme sections. The rubber crawler that forms the wheels can change height, thus also having an effect on the height of the vehicle, thanks to an internal piston capable of changing shape.
The trick with the Zon-R is in the wheels. Each of them contains an electric motor and their shape allows the release of additional blocks that are perfect for low-grip surfaces, such as snow, ice or gravel, or where there is a risk of the ground subsiding, such as sand. The variable trim ensures optimal Cx, while the batteries that power the engines are easily replaceable during a pit stop.
This vehicle is driven by a hybrid engine whose power is controlled by an all-wheel drive. The car presents a number of elements typical of high performance road vehicles such as side skirts, extractors and spoilers that can be replaced with off-road-specific add-ons. The BR-1 also has a variable suspension.
The Kngroo is powered by a twin electric motor providing power and drive on all four wheels. The battery pack, easily replaceable in seconds, is located at the rear of the car, while the variable geometry spoiler ensures adequate downforce in various situations. The Kngroo can be raised and lowered depending on the racing terrain.
The Atom’s hydrogen propulsion is not its only distinctive feature. The car has a load-bearing carbon outer shell with integrated rollbar, features that allow the cockpit to float and remain in neutral position while the rest of the chassis follows the ground movements. The advantages for the driver are innumerable given the total absence of vibrations.