Concept Flashback – 2001 RINSPEED Rone – Single-Seater Debuted Dynamic Cockpit Control

rinspeed rone

This is a pretty cool one from the RINSPEED back catalog: the Rone, or R-one.

Racing One is the name, and also the ethos of the single-seater with origins in the Audi TT.

Ultra-low and lean is the name of the game for this sporty vision: the Rone is is just 38-inches off the ground at its highest point. This is a cool 15-inches below the roof of the Audi TT — and it gets even better.

The single-seat layout in the center of the Rone is part of a very innovative Dynamic Cockpit Control Concept — a flying center cell for the driver that leans into corners like a motorcycle. This DCCC also sinks the driver to a maximum reclined depth at speed, or can rise to easier entry. The real thrill of having the cockpit and all controls lean into corners is that it lets drivers push harder. Where normal centrifugal forces push your body out and into the seats of a normal car around corners, the tilting DCCC of the Rone presses the driver’s body down into the seat. Less lateral force on the driver should, in theory, let you push harder around corners than otherwise possible.

The idea is very cool, but yet to see the light of day in production form from any carmaker.  One obvious issue — and opportunity — is safety and crash testing. Without rigidly mounting the seat, the worry might be that it would come untethered in a crash.  Of course, this could also be an advantage: the safety cell could flip to a safe mode when it senses a crash is imminent, like leaning away from a side impact, for example.

2001 Rinspeed Rone

2001 Rinspeed Rone

Lean and clean

World Premiere at the Geneva Motor Show 2001
Innovation backed by tradition – RINSPEED DESIGN of Zumikon, Switzerland continues to demonstrate its expertise in the design, development and implementation of new technologies. At the first Geneva Motor Show of the new millennium, the creative vehicle builder is presenting the Rinspeed RoneThe challenge : guilt-free pleasureFor RINSPEED developers the goal was clear: create a strikingly designed, down-to-earth sports car that offers tons of unique driving fun with exemplary environmental friendliness. The Rone with its height of only 97cm (38”) is the lowest automobile and the first sports car in the world that runs on biofuel made from kitchen and garden waste. 

The design : straight from pit lane

The roots of the Rone are unmistakable even at first glance: Pure motor racing. The well-balanced combination of Formula 1 and LeMans racecars results in an unusual, highly aerodynamically efficient design with the driver at its center. The car’s body lines are reinforced by longitudinal air inlets in the shape of shark gills. The rear view mirrors have been replaced by three color cameras whose images are transmitted to LCD monitors in the cockpit.

Lean : the dynamic cockpit

The most striking characteristic in the cockpit of the Rone is the central and extremely low seating position of the driver. As in earlier Rinspeed concept cars (Mono Ego and E-Go Rocket) the driver sits in the middle and – at least while driving – remains alone.

The almost reclining position of the driver allows for an extremely low body profile. The overall vehicle height is just 97cm – low enough that a stunt driver could pilot it underneath a flatbed trailer.

To improve visibility in city driving and facilitate parking, Rinspeed specialists developed the

“Dynamic Cockpit Control Concept (DCCC)”.

This new and unique system allows dynamic positioning of the cockpit. Height and inclination of the cockpit – and with it the driver – are adjusted electronically according to vehicle speed: Up to 40 km/h the cockpit is automatically in the highest position. Beyond 75 km/h the cockpit is lowered by about 30 cm into its lowest position.

The cockpit also leans into turns in motorcycle fashion, governed by the centrifugal forces created by turning speed and radius. The result is a completely new turning sensation. Says Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht, 45: “This unique combination of automobile, motorcycle and racecar cries out for the endless hairpin curves of Mediterranean coastal roads – a truly special thrill and treat.“

Clean : forward-looking biofuel

The Rone with its bivalent drive concept (gasoline/biofuel) is the cleanest sports car in the world.  Even fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG) the environmental advantages are impressive: Exhaust emissions are 60 to 95 percent below today’s stringent emission limits for gasoline or diesel vehicles.

Even more environmental friendly is the operation with resource-conserving Kompogas. It is produced by fermenting organic waste – mostly kitchen and garden waste – and is therefore CO2 neutral. With the energy extracted from 100 kilograms organic waste the Rone will cover 100 kilometers without contributing to the so-called greenhouse effect.

This new technology is a development of the Swiss Kompogas AG in Glattbrugg. It is already in use in numerous plants around the world. Among the licensees and interested parties are companies from Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, Japan, USA, Brazil and Australia.

A Kompogas plant with a yearly capacity of 20 000 metric tons produces the energy equivalent of 1.4 million liters (370,000 US gallons) of gasoline. If all organic waste were recycled in Kompogas plants a considerable part of individual transportation could be accomplished using CO2 neutral fuel.

: Audi Individual

Contrary to many concept cars by other tuners the Rone is not just a mere showpiece. It is a cradle for new ideas and technologies and a first glimpse of the new exclusive tuning program Audi Individual of Rinspeed GmbH, which also debuts at the Geneva Motor Show 2001. On the Rone Rinspeed GmbH for the first time presents its original split-rim 8.5 x 19-inch wheels with their unmistakable styling. The Remus tailpipes in design also make their debut on the Rone.

The technology : lightness of being

The rear-mounted bivalent 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (16V) produces 120 hp at 5,500 rpm and delivers its maximum torque of 165 Nm at 3,000 rpm. Power is transferred to the rear axle via a five-speed manual gearbox.

The body of the Rone is made from rarely used Pre-Preg composite and lends the Rinspeed Rone extraordinary stability at extremely low weight. Thanks to this exemplary lightweight design the Swiss “shark” weighs in at a mere 750 kg. The resulting power-to-weight ratio is enough to set hearts racing _ even among pilots of exclusive Italian sportscars. Performance is correspondingly impressive: The Rone accelerates from 0 – 100 km/h in less than six seconds and has a top speed of 205 km/h.

The two-piece 19-inch wheels are independently suspended using custom-developed Eibach springs. The ample tire dimensions of the brand-new SportContact 2 by Continental (235/35 in front and 255/40 in rear) guarantee safe grip at all times. Together with the extremely low center of gravity of the vehicle, the tires allow extraordinary high cornering speeds. High-gloss chrome plated tailpipes by Remus further emphasize the sporty nature of the Rone. The cross drilled brakes disks from Derendinger guarantee safe stopping.

The interior : envy of formula pilots

The sporty interior is a captivating blend of technical functionality and creature comforts. An innovative hi-fi system by Sony delivers musical pleasure. Engine and vehicle data is displayed by two large round gauges as well as by two futuristic head-up displays from in.pro. Despite the relative confines of the interior an exclusive carpet from Rieter Automotive Systems and choice upholstery material from X-Mobil create a comfortable atmosphere. Foliatec contributed many sharp styling elements for the interior and the exterior. The conspicuous paint job by Standox in the ‘Exclusive Line’ hues Standox “Imola Ice“ and “Catalunya Splash“ changes color from blue and silver to red depending on the light angle.

The development : 100-percent Swiss

Frank M. Rinderknecht used highly advanced technology and a Swiss-based network of automotive specialists for his project. Although there is no automobile production in Switzerland to speak of, there is a very active automotive supply industry there. Many highly innovative prototypes have been developed and manufactured in Switzerland.

The Swiss engineering company Esoro was hired as general contractor for the entire project, including for project management, engineering, design and manufacturing of the Rone. Esoro completed the challenging task on schedule with the help of three of its best Swiss-based suppliers. Protoscar oversaw the design and animation on a sophisticated 3D CAD system. Logos manufactured the moulds and composite parts and Schwaller Movement Engineering – a supplier of the Sauber Formula 1 team – did the metal work. The team translated initial sketches into a fully functional prototype in just four and a half months.

Esoro is an independent engineering company that delivers solutions for the automotive industry. The company is well known for its innovations in the areas of composite materials, production technologies, lightweight construction and fuel cell vehicles. Esoro’s prototypes are renowned for their originality, quality, design and fuel efficiency.

A word from our most important supporters : our partners

CONTINENTAL : Most motorists say they enjoy being at the wheel of their car and they especially like sporty driving. At the same time the number of more powerful cars is also rising. Continental’s new tyre, the ContiSportContact 2, is specifically designed to meet the demands of drivers of fast cars such as Porsches, the Mercedes SLK or BMW Z 3. And Germany’s leading tyre and suspension specialist expects the market for performance tyres able to handle speeds of up to and over 240 km/h (150 mph) to grow by approximately 40% in the course of the next five years.

EIBACH :  With regard to suspension technology, the company Eibach, one of the leading suspension components manufacturer supported Rinspeed with the „Advantage R one“. The company Eibach which is specialised in suspension technology and works for the most important motorsports teams worldwide – among others also for the most part of the Formula 1 field – developed the springs and the stabilizer bars for the „Rinspeed Advantage R one“. Its suspension developments gave Eibach a first-class name worldwide. Several decades of experience in the world market have enabled Eibach to offer, today, complete suspension systems, that consider the interrelating of the most important suspension components – spring, damper, stabilizer bar- as an interactive function, a very important aspect. The „Rinspeed Advantage R one“ is the ideal platform to demonstrate Eibach’s capabilities.

FOLIA TEC – Innovative partner :  As innovative, dynamic and successful company FOLIA TEC®, the Carstyling Factory of Nuremberg/Germany, is for the second time together with Rinspeed AG of Zumikon/Switzerland, designing a trend-setting concept car: the ” Rone”, which is due to be unveiled during 2001. With its more than 50 employees FOLIA TEC is designing top-selling and highly-profitable branded products which have become trend-setting in the global carstyling industry. In almost 50 countries around the globe FOLIA TEC® representatives are marketing the range of high-quality and sophisticated do-it-yourself products, which includes AutoGlasFilms, Exterior and Interior Design products, Wheel Accessories, Special Effects products and Trendwear. FOLIA TEC’s® biggest customer group are young drivers who set store by an individual outfit for their car. With annual growth rates around 20% and a conclusive brand philosophy the company has established itself among the best in this market.

IN.PRO “Everything that makes cars fun …” : The north German automobile accessory specialist in.pro. is delighted to be providing support to Rinspeed AG for the appointments of the new Concept Car. in.pro has stood for high-quality, innovative automobile accessories in the sectors design, interior, comfort, safety, and fun for more than 20 years. Technology freaks and aesthetes are equally enthusiastic about the more than 4000 in.pro. products, for in.pro.’s highest priority is the joy the customer has with his or her car. To make sure things stay that way, 40 committed employees work at in.pro., continually monitoring and checking products from the first flash of an idea to final production.

KOMPOGAS : The Rone is the cleanest sports car in the world, running on the gas energy derived from green waste. With exhaust gas emissions 60 to 95 % less than those for petrol and diesel vehicles, the environmental benefit of using compressed gas (CNG) as a fuel is impressive. A further environmental gain is the contribution to sustainability through the use of Kompogas. This fuel is obtained in Kompogas plants by the fermentation of biomass – mainly garden and kitchen waste – and is CO2-neutral. This means that the Kompogas-powered Rone releases no additional CO2 and so does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Using the energy from 100 kg of organic waste, the Rone is able to cover a distance of 100 km. The Kompogas system – a development of Kompogas AG, based near Zurich in Switzerland – is in use today in many plants throughout the world, with licensees and potential partner companies in Germany, France, Austria, Japan, USA, Brazil and Australia. A Kompogas plant with an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes can supply the energy equivalent of 1,400,000 litres of petrol. If all organic waste was recycled in Kompogas plants, a large proportion of car traffic could be powered by CO2-neutral fuel.

PRIVATE EQUITY HOLDING AG – managed by the Vontobel Group : Private Equity Holding AG offers institutional and private investors the opportunity to participate in a broadly composed and professionally managed private equity portfolio in a way that is simple in legal terms and optimal in terms of taxation. Besides participating in funds, the company also finances companies directly. This takes place either in conjunction with partner funds or within the context of financing in the run-up to a stock market flotation. Shares of Private Equity Holding AG are quoted in the investment companies’ sector on SWX Swiss Exchange.

REMUS : Stainless steel, laser precision,  optimal performance and the typical REMUS sound, these are the four characteristics that distinguish REMUS sportexhausts.  Through their involvement in motorsports and their close cooperation with world champions like Jacques Villeneuve or Damon Hill, European champions and other champs, REMUS gains important knowledge for the development and production of high quality silencers. High quality comes first for REMUS and it is attained by using stainless steel in combination with other high grade raw materials. Tests have shown  that this combination guarantees  best results under thermal and mechanical stress. The success of the sponsoring activities of REMUS is impressively documented by the readers survey 2000 of the magazine Motorsport Aktuell where REMUS was placed second amongst the sponsoring component manufacturers known by the readers of the magazine.

RIETER AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS – Comfort in vehicles : Rieter Automotive Systems is one of the world’s leading suppliers of noise control and thermal insulation systems in motor vehicles. The division of the Rieter Group is a global systems integrator for the passenger compartment (carpets and floor modules), the trunk, the underbody and the engine compartment on the basis of its core competences of acoustic and thermal management. Rieter Automotive is supplying all major car manufacturers worldwide with its network of some 40 production plants in Europe, North and Latin America and South Africa. The company has 7’300 employees and annual sales of 1.7 billion Swiss Francs ($ 1.1 billion).

SONY : Under the theme ‘be mobile, drive Sony.’, Sony will present several new Car Audio products at the Geneva Car Show: The new X-Plod series for every age as well as the second generation Active Black Panels. While visitors will vainly look for buttons on the world innovation ‘VAP – Virtual Access Panel’, they will focus their attention on the newest digital photo- and video cameras and marvel at the concept of the brand new ‘Mobile Entertainment Phone’.

LUFTHANSA CARGO, the world’s leading provider of transport and logistic services, has flown once more the components of the show highlight of Rinspeed Inc. from Los Angels to Zürich. As for many other products, but also special freight services as for heavy objects, valuables, microelectronic parts dangerous goods or live animals, LUFTHANSA CARGO is also considered as the specialist for the safe transport of automobiles. Not only the modern fleet of airplanes, but also the thorough know how of the staff and the especially developed equipment – as in this case the Car Rack – allow a perfect service to the full expectation of the customers.

Rinspeed Rone

Lean and clean


Technical Data

Length : 3’898 mm
Width : 1’825 mm
Height : 972 mm
Wheel base : 2’305 mm
Track front : 1’453 mm
Track rear : 1’567 mm
Ground clearance : 120 mm
Weight : 830 kg

Top speed : app.205 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h : app. 5.9 sec
Displacement : 1’795 cm³
Stroke : 80.0 mm
Bore : 89.3 mm
Cylinders : 4
Valves : 16 in V
Compression : 10.5 :1
Power output : 120 PS (88 kW) at 5’500 /min
Torque :165 Nm at 3’000 /min
Fuel : Gasoline and Kompogas
Chassis : Aluminum
Body : Pre-Preg-Composite
Seating capacity : 1

Front brakes : 282 mm
Rear brakes : 282 mm
Front suspension : IFS / Stabilisators
Rear suspension : IRS / Stabilisators
Steering : R+P
Front tires : 235/35 -19
Tire make : Continental SportContact 2
Front wheels : 8.5 x 19” / 32 mm

Rear tires : 255/40 -19
Tire make : Continental SportContact 2
Rear wheels : 8.5 x 19” /  8 mm
Power train : RA
Gearbox : Manual
Gears : 5

All data without guarantee

About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.