May 8, 2008 With British performance car brands being sold to overseas interests left, right and centre, it seems it's up to enthusiasts to create the next truly British supercar. And after an 8-year development process, here it is: the Keating SKR and its racetrack-only TKR brother offer continental good looks, lightweight snappy handling and stonking power, from 400hp on the base model to a ridiculous projected 1500hp for the twin-turbo top dog. With sensible service intervals and a bespoke approach to supercar-building, Keating hopes to rekindle the British performance auto industry. Tally ho!

Anthony Keating's sense of patriotic pride took a beating as he watched Lotus, Aston Martin, Jaguar and other favorite British performance car brands fall into foreign ownership over recent decades - but unlike other enthusiasts, Keating put himself in a position to do something about it.

Setting himself the lofty goal of building a British supercar brand from nothing, Keating struggled to find the right combination of componentry in the UK, eventually settling on Filipino bodywork expertise, an American engine from GM, and Italian frame and chassis building. All design and development was undertaken on British soil.

And now, eight years since the venture began, we see the fruits; Keating launched its road-focused SKR supercar late last month, as well as a track-focused TKR variant. The design probably looks a bit Italian if anything but Keating has promised to inject a little British pragmatism with long service intervals that should make this supercar a little easier to own than some of its more highly-strung continental competition.

That's not to imply that the SKR is a performance slouch - even the base 6-litre V8 motor pumps out a good 400 horsepower, and there are larger capacity twin-turbo variants of the TKR that promise to put up to a staggering 1500 horses to the wheels. That's well beyond the already-stratospheric 1000hp of the Bugatti Veyron, so the TKR will be a very quick little track racer indeed, even if it's not competing for road going top-speed honours.

The SKR's steel frame contributes to a 1190kg weight, where the TKR's all-carbon skeleton helps it weigh in just under 1000kg. The carbon bodyshell is an option on the SKR, but it's only recommended in warmer climates.

Beyond the chassis and engine options, the rest of the cars are pretty much bespoke; everything from the dash instruments to the types and coverings of the seats and interior is tailored to each buyer's specifications.

Pricing for the SKR starts at around UK£90,000, and we understand it's more like UK£125,000 for the higher-spec 650 horsepower road version. You can probably get more car for your money from Porsche or Ferrari, but then that's not the point of owning a Keating - it's about exclusivity (the company plans never to sell more than 10 a year), a unique presence on the road, and a certain British pride.

Keating is now taking orders with delivery expected to begin by the end of this year.

Loz Blain

Images courtesy of Keating Supercars

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