Luxury Vehicles: Hot on the heels of the news of the 500hp (373kW) Caterham Seven RS, rival British sports car manufacturer Ariel has revealed plans for its own V8-powered superlight roadster based on the existing Atom platform. The exposed tubular frame road-legal racer is already a track-day favorite, but the addition of the new V8 engine, which is also rated at 500hp (373kW), brings the power-to-weight ratio of the roadster to nearly double that of the Bugatti Veyron. With a final kerb weight of approximately 500kg, the new Ariel Atom 500 measures in with a power-to-weight ratio of around 1,000hp/tonne.
The similarities to the rival Caterham project are immense. Also developed in conjunction with RS Developments, the Atom is powered by a Russell Savory-designed supercharged V8 engine displacing 3.0L and delivering its peak power at an incredible 10,000rpm. The all-alloy motor features four-valve cylinders and a dry sump oil system, and when matched with its Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox weighs in at just under 100kg.
Blurring the line between race-inspired and race-worthy even further, the Sadev gearbox is flatshift capable, meaning the driver doesn't even need to lift the throttle to shift up as the computer and gearbox takes care of all the work with the flap of a paddle. Launch and traction control are also standard. Initial testing of prototypes has shown the car is capable of 0-60mph sprints in less than 2.5 seconds.
Ensuring the lucky few who eventually get their hands on one of these creations don't have to cut short their day at the track because of fading or inadequate brakes, Alcon four-pot calipers grace all four corners behind Dymag wheels.
Production will be limited to just 25 units and if you're interested you had better be quick as half of these are already accounted for.
By Nelson Ireson
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