Meet the Zenos E10 – powered by Ford
This is how it usually goes. Boutique manufacturer arrives with car and much Top Gear maths. Says it’ll make 3700kW from a tuned Chevy V8 and hit 560kph. It costs R50m. And the website never works properly. We all laugh a bit, then have a nice sit down.
Then this landed in our inbox. It’s from a company called Zenos. OK, so it has a silly name with a Z in it, and there are ambitious claims that it’ll release three cars in the next five years. But unlike the raft of start-ups, it wants to build a relatively realistic rear-drive 650kg, 149kW road-legal track car. Oh, and it’s been started by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards, previously CEO and COO of Caterham Cars.
So, details. The engine’s a 2.0-litre Ford GDI unit that’s mounted in the middle. The chassis has a single aluminium backbone and a carbon composite tub. But the carbon Zenos is using is recycled, which keeps the initial purchase and repair costs down.
Essentially, the material’s made from offcuts that’d normally be binned. There are two carbon skins that sandwich in a plastic, honeycomb filling. This keeps the rigidity that you lose when you interrupt a sheet of the virgin material’s continuous fibre, and obviously costs rather a lot less.
Ali and Edwards have drawn on contacts made at Caterham for other components. Avon, OZ, Titan, Bilstein and Alcon are supplying bits, and engineering company Multimatic – which works with Aston Martin and tweaks Le Mans prototypes – is assisting with chassis development.
There’s no word on pricing just yet, but Ali says his 223kW-per-tonne sportster will be revealed in full in the early part of 2014.