New Racing Series For The Common Man

OK, I don’t know how many of you read my blog about the new trend emerging in the auto industry, The ExoCars.  Well in the ExoCar community (located at http://www.exocars.net) there is much talk about developing an ExoCar specific race series.  This type of series would focus on affordability.  The chassis would all be of similar design and the engine displacement and induction would be class specific, as would tires and aerodynamic aides.  Let’s break it down into a list so we can check it out shall we…

– Exo-1: Entry level, 2 seater cars, normally aspirated 4 cylinder automotive engines to keep it simple and cheap.  Single seater cars would be limited to 600cc motorcycle engines.

– Exo-2: Intermediate level, single seater cars mainly,  1,000cc motorcycle engines.  2 seater cars would be allowed turbocharged/supercharged 4 cylinder engines, etc.

– Exo-X: Very few limits for those that want to fly on the road and care more for raw performance than wheel to wheel competition.  Powertrain options are unlimited.

Now, the entry level costs to compete would be in the low $20,000 area.  For a complete track day car, that’s CHEAP!  The video posted above is of Race Car Replica’s Superlite Nemesis using a Hyabusa 1,300cc motorcycle engine with a paddle shift setup.  This car is available as a rolling chassis minus drivetrain for $19,000 (that’s US Dollars for our foreign readers).  Now, this thing weighs in at about 1,000 lbs (minus your fat ass).  Talk about fun!  The Superlite Roadster, which is a 2 seater version, is offered as a rolling chassis minus tires and drivetrain.  (Yeah, yeah, you gotta send in tires.)  That car is offered at $16,000 (again, USD) as a roller and weighs in at 1,300 lbs with a supercharged GM Ecotec 4 cylinder engine.  But, you can put any FWD drivetrain you want in there.

Now, this sounds like a fantastic idea to me.  You get the excitement and exhilaration of extreme speed, but you’re only spending pennies compared to other series.  A Spec Miata engine costs more than the Superlite Roadster as a roller.  Think about that…  A whole car, or an engine…  I’d rather have the whole car and enjoy the fun.  Plus, with spending so little, the other half has nothing to complain about!  Ah ha!!

If you’d like links to some ExoCar manufacturers, please check out http://www.exocars.net , you should be able to gather any and all the information you need.
Laters,

Brian

Advertisements

CAFE Kills?

crash_test_landwind_25810The dark side of the fuel mileage argument in terms of imposing new restrictions on automakers is the fact that the struggle to meet ever-more stringent CAFE standards results in Americans driving around in smaller cars. Smaller cars are more dangerous, hence the popularity of SUVs with parents who preferred to trust the safety of their families to the hated (by pious Prius drivers) H2s and Tahoes that saw those Prii as so many speed bumps. Still, though it has largely been kept quiet, studies show that the impact of smaller cars being foisted upon American drivers over the years has resulted in perhaps over 1,000 deaths per year. Not a pretty stat, and even less pretty should word get out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (The Government) is responsible. Oops. Worse, there is doubt that CAFE standards have even been successful in their stated aims to increase fuel economy. You doubt? Check out this excellent study done by Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The study is worth scanning, or reading in full if you have nerdy tendencies.

New Trend In Automotive Design?

There is a new trend emerging on the automotive scene-the minimalistic trend of ExoCars.  If you’re not familiar with these types of automobiles, start with a little research on the Ariel Atom.  This is the car that started it all, I don’t care what anyone says, the Atom was Adam in this Automotive book of Genesis. 

ExoCars are characterized by their lack of body panels, open cockpit design, and open wheel concept.  While some do have body panels, most just have the wonderful tube frame out in the open for everyone to see.  These vehicles also follow a doctrine very near and dear to my own heart, this is the “Less Weight = Go Faster” school of thought.  You get rid of everything that isn’t necessary for the vehicle to perform it’s main tasks of rocketing forward, taking corners with cat-like agility, and stopping so fast it sucks the tears right out of your eyes, and then you pretty much have yourself an ExoCar. 

Let me break it down for you further…
Body Panels – Gone
Windows – Gone
Doors – Gone
Power Steering – Gone
AC – Gone
Big Stereo System – Gone

What you have left is basically a frame, 2 seats, a rockin’ suspension, light weight aluminum wheels with motorcycle style fenders to keep road debris from beating you senseless, and any type of front wheel drive engine you desire to put in the back of this beast.  Now remember, this car will weigh NO MORE than 1,400 lbs without driver.  That’s right, this is a big go-kart!  With a vehicle which weighs so little, not a lot of power is needed to propel it to astronomical performance figures.  0-60 times of under 3 seconds are common, even EXPECTED from these vehicles. 

If you install a 350 hp engine in the heaviest of ExoCars you still have a power to weight ratio of  1:4.  That means every hp only has to move 4 lbs.  That’s INSANE!  For comparison, the Enzo Ferrari weighs 3,009 lbs and unleashes 660 hp.  That equals 1:4.56 power to weight.  That’s extremely close, but lets compare prices.

These vehicles are available from many different manufacturers, as stated before, but they do all share a pretty common thread… Affordability.  These cars range in price from $12,000 – $80,000 depending on your wants and needs and options.  Most do hover around the $20,000 mark though.  Most are powered by very affordable and very common bone-yard engines such as the 2.0L Honda’s, the GM Ecotec’s, and the Dodge 2.4 Turbo from the SRT-4 family of vehicles.  These engines are all inexpensive, reliable, affordable, common, and best of all LIGHT WEIGHT!!

For more information and details concerning these cars, you can visit the dedicated ExoCars forum http://www.exocars.net/ for the latest from manufacturers, build threads, info from owners and manufacturers, as well as cool pictures and videos.

Laters,

Brian