This is an Espace with a difference. This is not a car that you would want to use to take the kids to the local shops – though you would certainly get there quickly!
Like the McLaren two-seater of the late nineties the Matra-Williams-Renault Espace was a publicity tool, giving demonstration runs, such as at the British Grand Prix in 1995.
The Espace F1 is the product of a unique partnership between Renault, Williams Grand Prix Engineering and Matra Automobile, which builds the road-going Espace for Renault.
With a top speed approaching 190mph, a zero to 125 mph sprint time of under seven seconds and lateral cornering forces of between 1.5 and 2.0G it is definitely not a normal Espace.
Under the skin is a 1993-vintage Williams FW14 grand prix car, minus the self-levelling suspension and plus a few modifications to help maintain a better balance with the bodywork’s higher centre of gravity; the 3.5-litre V10 Renault RS5b Formula 1 engine pushes out 800 horsepower and is mated to a Williams six-speed semi-automatic transmission, operated from the steering wheel via push-pull levers.
The whole is clothed in a lightweight plastic body, bearing the silhouette of Renault’s pioneering multi-purpose vehicle; originally conceived as a four seater, the delicate balance of the finished product dictates a passenger limit of one petrified soul.
Eric Bernard, the former Larrousse and Liger F1 driver entrusted with developing the Espace F1, confides that it has a tendency to operate best, in terms of grip, when cornering on two wheels!
Passengers included Frank Williams who has endorsed the project and the involvement of his specialist technicians, admitted that the first-hand experience made him appreciate the skill and stamina involved in handling a grand prix car all the more.
|Production Start||Prototype||Manufacturer||Renault / Williams / Matra|
|Powertrain Layout||Mid Engine / RWD||Wheelbase||2715 mm / 107 in|
|Length||4430 mm / 174 in||Width||2050 mm / 81 in|
|Height||Not Available||Front Track||Not Available|
|Rear Track||Not Available||Engine Type||40-valve V10|
|Brakes||Ventilated Carbon Discs||Weight||1300 kgs / 2860 lbs|
|Top Speed||310.4 kph / 194 mph||0-60 (mph)||2.8 sec|
|Horsepower||800 BHP @ ???? rpm||Torque||705 Nm/520 ft lb @ ????|