ARE YOU the type to look at the Adrian Neweydesigned Aston Martin Valkyrie and think, “Meh, needs more power and downforce”?
Yeah, us neither, but should such thoughts occur, Wheels can exclusively reveal that an all-new hypercar is currently under development, in New Zealand of all places, that aims to make the Valkyrie seem a little limp-wristed.
It’s called the Rodin FZero and it looks, I’m sure you’ll agree, quite unlike anything else. Swoopy, bewinged and with a hydraulically controlled canopy that encases a single-seat cockpit, it’s as though a fighter jet has collided heavily with the rear of the Batmobile.
The brainchild of an Aussie, Rodin Cars founder David Dicker, the FZero’s spec sheet reads like a Formula One car’s on steroids: 1193kW from a bespoke, twin-turbo 4.0-litre V10, a target weight of 605kg (including the driver), and a downforce figure of 4000kg at 300km/h. By comparison, the Valkyrie is expected to generate 1800kg of downforce, will weigh over a tonne and will produce less power.
“The concept with the FZero is to create a car that’s quicker than a current Formula One,” Dicker tells Wheels. “We can go up to Sepang to test without any problem and we know what the target time is there, so it’s achievable.”
The FZero is far from a pie-in-the-sky concept that exists solely on someone’s laptop. Manufacturing work has already begun at Rodin HQ outside of Christchurch and a rolling prototype will be ready by the time you read this. The first examples of the 4.0-litre V10 will arrive from Europe shortly thereafter, as will the eight-speed mechanical sequential gearbox, which is being made by Ricardo – the same mob that build units for F1 teams, the Bugatti Chiron and the Valkyrie.
Like the gearbox, the V10 is being built to Rodin’s own design and is being project managed by former Cosworth and Ford motorsport veteran Graham Dale-Jones. All of the machining and dyno work is being carried out at Neil Brown Engineering in the UK.
“I wanted to build the lightest, most compact 4.0-litre 10-cylinder engine possible,” says Dicker.
With a vee angle of 72 degrees, the V10 will utilise variable inlet valve timing, finger followers on the cams to allow for a more aggressive cam profile, and radiators and intercoolers manufactured by Aussie company PWR. A naturally aspirated version with 515kW will be offered alongside a more powerful twin-turbo unit that will “start at 1000hp (745kW), although up to 1600hp (1193kW) is quite feasible.” The carbonfibre bodywork has been designed and manufactured entirely in-house – “the front wing alone generates nearly 2000kg of downforce,” says Dicker – and includes a cut-out in the side of the floor to improve access to the central driving position.
There’s no active aero or clever suspension, though helping drivers to keep the FZero on the track will be a full suite of electronic aids (“all able to be individually activated or disengaged”). Even so, it’s obvious this won’t be a car that suffers fools, no matter how large their wallet.
Pricing is yet to be set, though Rodin is aiming for a figure of “1 million euro” (A$1.6 million), which, while stratospheric, is only a third of what Aston will ask for the Valkyrie.
Just like Aston, Rodin plans to build a road-going version of the FZero, and work is under way with legislators to ensure owners can drive it to their local shops, should they wish. A little far-fetched? Turn to page 78 for our full profile on Rodin to better understand just how it plans to make it happen.
UP TO SPEED
Rodin already builds another model, called the FZed (more details page 78), which is loosely based on an old Lotus F1 car and has acted as a test bed for many of the FZero’s components. “The pedal unit, the seat and the steering rack for the FZero are basically FZed parts with very small modifications,” says Rodin owner David Dicker. “Once you have a part that’s working, it’s much easier to change it slightly than to create it from scratch.”