Factory Five shows off its upcoming 9.5-liter F9R kit supercar
Some folks want to buy a carbon-bodied, fire-breathing supercar. Others want to build one themselves, and the kit car wizards at Factory Five Racing are getting toward the pointy end of a project to replace the brand's top-shelf GTM supercar kit with something even more extreme and tasty.
The team brought its new F9R front-mid engine space frame chassis to SEMA, complete with an absolutely ludicrous crate engine, just to demonstrate the ridiculous degree of flexibility it offers. It'll take small or large block Ford motors, as well as anything with the letters L and S stamped into it, up to and including the outrageously excessive 9.5-liter V12 LS engine developed by Race Cast Engineering in Australia.
This single-piece machined iron block motor can be bought as a plug-and-play crate engine, pre-assembled with Haltech engine management and Bosch injectors, and pre-tuned on a dyno, for US$55,200 – although there's plenty to be saved by doing the assembly and tune yourself. It's a roaring monster of a thing, although Race Cast has detuned it to a relatively gentle 700-odd horsepower to make sure it can run on any old pump gas, and be super reliable.
That gentleness is, of course, relative; it makes between 600 and 700 lb-ft (813 and 949 Nm) of torque wherever you choose to lay a boot into it, so you're one naughty thought away from being sideways at any given moment. And you can easily tune it up north of 1,000 hp if you're willing to deal with something more highly-strung. We thoroughly recommend you watch Fullboost's excellent interview with Matt Corish from Race Cast, a video that also includes several dyno runs of this screaming, 7,000-rpm monster and some fun footage of what it can do stuck in a Kia van.
It's probably not the most efficient thing in the whole world, mind you, and if you choose to go that way, you'll need to sleep with one eye open, knowing that Greta Thunberg is justifiably amassing an army of high schoolers to march on your position and pre-punish you for the scorched Earth you'll be leaving them to reach adulthood in. Them's the breaks.
Still, that LS V12, or anything less extreme you care to bother with, will fit straight into the front engine bay of the F9R chassis as you can see above. And now we've also got something to look at for the exterior. These renders aren't final – indeed, says Factory Five's Dave Smith, the car itself is yet to be fully greenlit, and he won't hesitate to pull the plug if he doesn't feel it'll be a worthy successor to the GTM. But the F9R represents a leap forward in design technology for the company.
Where previously, sketches would have to be realized through the painstaking, messy and time-consuming process of clay sculpting, Factory Five has gone to full digital design for the F9R, using VR goggles to allow team members to walk around the car in virtual space to get a sense of which lines and proportions need to change.
Lead designer on the project is Phil Frank, who penned the original Saleen S7 nearly 20 years ago. Frank says he's got a lot more hours in the F9R than he ever did on the Saleen, which is saying something. The F9R as it stands is almost 80 inches (around 2 m) wide but only 46 inches (117 cm) high. The team is targeting a total vehicle weight under 2,400 lb (1,088 kg), so while it's not quite a Lotus Elise, it's still super-light for something with such awesome performance potential.
Bodywork is entirely carbon composite, delivered clear coated so you can rock the carbon look without having to pay to paint the thing if you don't want to. The supercoupe look is sharp and nicely detailed, with downforce and drag reduction in the form of extravagant splitters, diffusers, side skirts and a whopping big wing that'd fit right into a Fast and the Furious movie.
There are dirty big vents in the hood, and four chunky oval exhausts at the back, but the signature visual feature by far is the louvred rear window, which makes the car look like its hackles are up, and gives this slick supercar design a tough, muscular edge. It looks great, and the team says it's headed to the wind tunnel for performance tuning and tweaking soon.
The kit car's price is unknown as yet, but for reference, the old GTM kit started at $24,990, meaning you could pick up a kit, a donor Corvette and an old Porsche transaxle and have it built for somewhere between $35,000-$50,000. The F9R will cost more – certainly if you go for that vastly silly LS V12 – but like all kit cars, it'll cost a fraction of the price of anything else that offers the same exotic looks and performance, provided you've got the will, skill and garage space to get it done.
Factory Five is working on finishing things up and getting some test cars on the road, with production roughly scheduled to begin in a year's time. So you won't be seeing one of these in the wild for a while yet – but when you do, you can be pretty sure that whoever's driving it has put a ton of blood, sweat and skinned knuckles into it instead of just slapping down a platinum Amex card.
A rendering of the car can be seen from all angles in the video below.
Source: Factory Five Racing
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I really dig the Factory Five cars, I'm definitely interested to get one of their Shelby clones one day.