Futuristic Nike One 2022 Racing Car has been designed for driving simulator Grand Turismo 4. Phil Frank, the principal of Phil Frank Design, LLC explained that Nike One 2022 boasts dramatic and futuristic technology of Nike One with its athletic focus, stretched surfaces and less-is-more philosophy, just like the principles from Bill Bowerman, Nike founder. Since Nike is an athletic company, this futuristic vehicle was designed and developed from that perspective, instead of building just another fast car, the design team took the inspiration and learned from the human body, its motion and dynamics.
“The wide and narrow track widths of the car for instance are directly inspired by a sprinter in the starting blocks” explains Asano, one of Phil Frank design team, “even the asymmetric tire profile comes from the human form”. “All these design elements are there for a functional performance reason” adds Frank, “right down to the dynamic motion control of the suspension”. The Nike ONE’s innovative suspension mimics tension in the muscles and takes advantage of the asymmetric tire profile to have extreme negative camber in a straight line for minimized rolling resistance on the motorcycle like section and then maximum positive camber when cornering or breaking.
“You don’t just drive this vehicle, you are a part of it,” explains Frank. “There is much more required to master this vehicle than being a great driver, it is just as important to be at peak physical performance”. “The driver’s position is akin to a stretched out motorcycle rider’s, but with the added efficiency of clip-in pedals,” says Frank, “to accelerate/decelerate the athlete uses the large muscles of the leg and arms, thus the physical training that is needed to master the vehicle”.
“An athlete training to drive the Nike ONE uses a physical resistance simulator, that mimics the vehicle’s large muscle controls, along with the digital simulation within GT4 to train their muscles and mind for specific tracks and competition scenarios,” explains Frank, “it’s the ultimate in convergent technologies”. Asano adds “there is much more thought put into this project than most people would realize, this is how we approach all of our projects”.
“Nike is always looking to the future”, mentions Mitch Morse, “so we decided an appropriate year for the car and its technologies would be the company’s 50 year anniversary 2022”. “You never know what Nike is capable of in that amount of time,” adds Asano. “The innovative drive train, HMAW Hubless-Motor-As-Wheel, AST Asymmetric Section Tires, Carbon Fiber-Titanium Weave Venturi Chassis, all leverage the near future,” explains Frank. “When you are working in a blue sky environment it is always important to have one foot in reality and the other one as far forward as possible” he adds.
Once the conceptual idea and aesthetic design of the Nike ONE were underway, Frank developed the 3D data for the car in the CAD program Rhinoceros. This data was used to create a number of 1:18 scale physical models for evaluation off of the computer screen prior to final sign off. This data was then given to Polyphony, where they began programming the dynamics of the car down to its 750kg weight, 8 stage drive train, active aerodynamics, suspension geometry, acceleration and braking.
The talents of 2003/2004 Japanese GTC Champion Satoshi Motoyama were enlisted for the hours of tuning of the vehicle, another first in virtual product development. The Saleen S7 was used as the competitive benchmark for handling performance, but at the same time the vehicle was tuned to be a great car for mastering the fundamentals of sports car driving. “It is tuned for agility,” explains Asano, “Motoyama is able to beat his Saleen S7 lap times at Fuji Speedway in the Nike ONE”. “But it does take time to achieve these levels,” adds Frank, “the secret is the more you train with the car the faster your potential”.
“The incredible thing about the Nike ONE is that it is the first virtual “real” concept car”, points out Asano, “a huge amount of development time went into this endeavor, just like a real car”. “From the concept sketches, to the CAD, to the models, to the testing, the only thing that separates this car from reality is that it is we haven’t made one yet”, notes Frank. “Well that and 20 years”, he adds with a laugh.