Though it resembled an Espace with substantial bodywork changes, the vehicle had more in common with a Formula One car. The vehicle used a lightweight carbon fibre F1-style chassis in combination with a carbon fibre-reinforced Espace J63-series body (as opposed to fibreglass on the standard model).
Powering the Espace F1 was an 800 hp (upgraded from its original rating of 700 hp) 3.5-litre, 40-valve Renault RS5 V10 engine, as used in the 1993 Williams-Renault FW15C.
As with an F1 car, the Champion’s V10 engine was mid-engined (as opposed to the conventional front-engined layout) and the power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a 6-speed semi-automatic gearbox, also used in the Williams FW15C that had taken Alain Prost to the ’93 F1 title. The engine and transmission allowed the Espace F1 to accelerate from 0–100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, 0–200 km/h in 6.9 seconds and carry on accelerating to a top speed of 312 km/h.
With the use of carbon-ceramic brakes, the Espace F1’s deceleration was no less impressive that its acceleration, and could accelerate from 0–270 km/h and brake to a complete halt in under 600 metres.
The frontage might have looked bluff, but then you see all the aero going on: enormous ducting on the front and sides and a substantial wing on the rear helped keep the thing on the relative straight and narrow.
Frank Williams was a noted passenger of the Espace F1, chauffeured by Williams driver David Coulthard.
The Espace F1 currently resides in the Matra Museum in France.
This version of the Espace was featured in driving simulator game Gran Turismo 2.