New Swiss Supercar – the Beck LM 800
January 12, 2007 A new SuperCar joined the ranks of the world’s elite automobiles this week when the Beck LM 800 was shown to the world’s public for the first time at the luxury motor show in Vienna. Built by Beck Engineering & Composits GmbH from Muri near Berne in Switzerland , the most striking feature of the car is its weight - 900 kg with a full tank of gas and an 80 kg driver – achieved with liberal lashings of aluminium, magnesium, titanium, and the latest plastic and composite materials such as Kevlar. The chassis is an active, electronically controlled unit based on current F1 design, and lots of windtunnel development gives the car a very refined aerodynamic profile. Not surprisingly, every car is a one-off and you can order the specification of your choice, from the US$600,000 base model with a 650 bhp turbocharged 4.2 litre V8, all the way to1000 bhp. We're still trying to wrap our brain cells around the concept of 1000 bhp pushing 900 kg around.
A semi-sequential, 7-speed gearbox ensures smooth power transmission to the wheels via a limited slip differential, and gear changing takes place either with a conventional gearstick or using a rocker switch on the steering, once agin, as with F1.
The company gets its name from René Beck, who can look back on a history of over 20 years in the construction of prototypes and vehicles. Beck’s motto is “we start at the point where others have already given up.”
Much in the fields of lightweight construction and highly refined aerodynamics has been borrowed from nature, as nature always demonstrates an enormously high level of efficiency in all its “designs.” Also, some solutions have their origins in Formula 1 when it comes to both technical components and the construction methods used in the car.
The very low drag coefficient (cw value) resulted from a reduction in the cross-sectional area of the vehicle to an absolute minimum. There is no superfluous material to impede the lines, so that the consistent implementation of “form follows function” has led to a very special appearance with its own highly technically- and performance-orientated, futuristic aesthetic.
The Beck LM 800 is a car that imparts a feeling of pure enjoyment of sport from within, has optimal driving characteristics thanks to its active, electronically controlled chassis and has enormous power reserves at its disposal as a result of its very light weight. In addition, the vehicle is very easy to maintain, thanks to its modular construction and telescopic jacking system.
The basic construction of the car is similar to a Formula 1 racing car with a central monocoque made of composite materials that protect the driver and provide the necessary rigidity. Fixed to this are the engine and gearbox support, as well as the front transverse control arms of the chassis.
The central monocoque takes all the static load and provides the car with its necessary rigidity. It is made up from an aluminium frame and the latest composite materials. The same material mix of carbon, Kevlar and aluminium that is used for the monocoque is also used for various bodywork parts. This has the big advantage that the new regulations governing personal protection have already been implemented.
All attachment parts are made of a high-strength aluminium alloy. They are milled out of solid pieces, undergo surface treatment and are then power coated.
The top four layers of the visible parts are made of carbon and the fabric and leather covered components are made of 100% Kevlar. All parts are screwed and/or glued together. The ergonomically shaped seats are produced specially and made of several layers of Kevlar which are then well upholstered.
The car has an electronically controlled, hydraulic active chassis, as normally used in Formula 1 cars, which reacts to all telemetry data.
The wheels are also made from specially manufactured aluminium parts, milled out of solid pieces and then coated.
The innovative built-in pneumatic jacking system makes tyre changing easier than ever before for a street car – normally only used on racing cars, it’s the first time we’re aware of the capability on a roadgoing vehicle.