GRR

A track car faster than F1

09th August 2022
Bob Murray

A “no limits” track car built in-house by a self-funded company at a remote location in New Zealand is unveiled this week with a single lofty ambition: to be the world’s fastest circuit car “without exception”. Yes, the company behind it is clear that this car aims to be quicker than a Formula 1 car.

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With looks that wouldn’t shame a Batmobile and a power-to-weight ratio that would flatter a Formula 1 car, the V10-powered Rodin FZero will take the fight to a slowly expanding market of track-day weapons also similarly available to private buyers. Cars like the Mercedes-AMG One and Red Bull RB17, the Adrian Newey-designed follow-up to the Aston Martin Valkyrie that was announced two months ago.

The FZero, though, comes not from an F1 designer or a multinational giant but an Australian businessman and car collector/racer whose lifelong ambition has been to build the ultimate track car. David Dicker set up Rodin Cars in New Zealand in 2016 on the back of the Lotus T125 project, developing the open-wheeler track-day car into the Rodin FZed. The FZero, 27 of which Rodin hopes to sell at a reported price of £1.8m each, is Rodin’s second car and by far the most ambitious.

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The FZero is track-only but it’s not an open-wheeler for aerodynamic reasons – also the rationale behind the tin-top for the single-seat cockpit. Rodin says plenty that was learned with the FZed has flowed through to the new machine, resulting in a performance leap forward that is well illustrated by some spectacular performance figures.

A power-weight ratio of 1.662PS (1.240kW) per kilogram. Total power is right in the track-day hypercar ballpark at 1,176PS (877kW); more than the now-in-production AMG One but just pipped by the RB17, of which we are yet to get full details. It has plenty of power then, but not a record amount. If there is a record to be set it will be on the scales: Rodin claims the FZero weighs in at a wet 698kg, 100kg below the mandated minimum for an F1 car in 2022. The weight is a surprise given just how much of this 5.5m long machine there appears to be from the pictures.

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There are two headline figures to chew on: a top speed of 224mph and aerodynamic downforce of four tonnes. It is a combo that Rodin says will allow the FZero to lap a circuit faster than a current F1 car. As the makers of other track-day hypercars have found, designing a car that takes no heed of either road or racing regulations can free up hitherto undreamed-of performance, as David Dicker explains: 

“Without the restrictions of building to a set of rules, we are able to make the car lighter, more powerful, and produce significantly more downforce. The only real restrictions we face are the laws of physics, and we have even pushed those to the absolute limit.”

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There is some electrical assistance to the powertrain but only a token amount – this is a car dominated by its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V10 that revs to 10,000rpm and produces 1,000PS (748kW) at 9,000rpm with torque peaking at 910Nm (671lb ft) at 7250rpm. There’s a 130kW starter-generator that fills in some gaps in the torque delivery and results in that headline 1,176PS (877kW) headline figure. The engine comes from the UK’s Neil Brown Engineering. It is all-new and, like much else on the FZero, designed and built specifically for this car. Weighing in at 132kg, it is claimed to be the lightest and most compact V10 ever built. The eight-speed transmission from Ricardo is just as bespoke, it weighs just 66kg, which is partly the result of a 3D printed titanium casing.

The rest of the running gear is as you might expect: hydraulic rear differential, carbon-carbon brakes with titanium calipers and 18-inch forged magnesium wheels wearing Avon slicks, 16 inches wide at the rear. It is all being put together around a carbon-fibre chassis (also produced in-house) at a purpose-built factory in the South Island of New Zealand. To see a car, however, you will not have to travel that far: Rodin has just opened a UK showroom at Donington Park. The first prototype is expected to be on the road by the end of this year, the first customer car 12 months from now.

  • Rodin

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