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.

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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.