Thank Frankel it’s Friday: The Rodin FZED could be the ultimate track day toy

01st November 2019
andrew_frankel_headshot.jpg Andrew Frankel

Last week I found myself having my breath taken away not just figuratively but quite literally by the new Ariel Atom 4. It has three boost levels for its 2.0-litre turbo engine and even mode one where it produces just 220bhp, if you accelerate hard wearing merely goggles rather than a helmet, it will indeed interfere with your ability to respire. In mode 2 with 290bhp it’s acceleration is so stunning you’ll probably forget to breathe anyway and in mode 3, well not even I was so stupid as to try mode 3 without a fully encased noggin. Put 320bhp in a 600kg and the results are simply shattering.


Later that same day, I drove another track day car, this time the Dallara Stradale and after the Atom, I was at least ready for its straight-line performance. But through quick corners on a race track, I got duffed up all over again. On the stickiest of sticky road legal rubber and with enormous amounts of downforce its apex speed near enough beggared belief.

Why all this now? Only because news has reached me of another new track day car, but one likely to make not only the Ariel and Dallara but pretty much anything else ever conceived for this purpose look like a moped.


It’s called the Rodin FZED and it was born from the Lotus T125, which you may remember launched in 2011 as device intended to provide as close to an F1 experience as possible. Which means performance, mechanical and aerodynamic grip, not to mention braking of an order beyond comparison to anything any mere mortal is likely to have experienced.

Since then Rodin Cars has developed the car in all areas, with the plan being to make it not only faster but easier both to drive and run. Indeed, Rodin says it will run for over 3,000 miles between overhauls, which is a heck of a lot of laps. And it costs around £500,000 which may sound a lot but it’s not much more than you’ll pay for a brand new GT3 race car from a top brand and will offer performance from an entirely different stratosphere.


So my question is what on earth would such a car be like to drive? Like the Ariel, it weighs around 600kg. Unlike the Ariel however, it has a 3.8-litre Cosworth XG motor producing 675bhp at 9,600rpm. And you don’t need to gone to Harvard to calculate this represents a power to weight ratio of over 1,000bhp per tonne, well over double that of the Ariel in its wildest of wild settings.

But here’s the thing. In my experience of racing cars with downforce, which includes cars from modern GT3s to old school ground effect Group C machines, the way they accelerate is, without exception, the least impressive thing they do. And I expect the Rodin is no different. So if it packs that much potential in a straight line, what on earth would it be like through some quick corners?

Some more questions. How long would the average, unacclimatised body be able to tolerate such forces – I expect most of us have pulled a few G in our time, if only on a rollercoaster, but doing so while having to be able to control something moving that fast? How does the untutored brain react to that? Which gives up first, your physical strength of your powers of concentration?


And even if you are able to come to terms with the way it goes, stops and steers, how long does it take for what is presumably a fairly terrifying experience first to normalise, and then become actively fun. Does it happen at all? And how good a driver do you need to be to drive it at, say, 8/10ths of its potential, because if you can’t do that, there doesn’t seem much point in driving it.

So many questions in search of answers. But I do know this: I’d happily spend 30 hours on a plane to New Zealand to find them.

  • Thank Frankel it's Friday

  • FZED

  • Lotus

  • T125

  • Rodin

  • rodin-fzero-track-car.jpg


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