Mexican VŪHL 05 supercar unveiled
With their enigmatic new VŪHL 05, brothers Iker and Guillermo Echeverria are threatening to stamp Mexico on the supercar map. Unveiled to a select audience at England’s Royal Automobile Club, the lightweight track-racer debuted a week earlier than predicted.
Pegged by its designers as a dual purposed street-track racer, the VŪHL 05 was developed along the same principles as the BAC Mono, Ariel Atom and KTM X-Bow. With slot-car looks inspired by 1960s Can-am racers, the open topped racer with a tiny windscreen makes no visual pretenses about its on-track mandate.
The car includes a highly modified 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine by Ford, mounted mid-ship provides 285 bhp to the rear wheels and 420 Nm (310 lb.ft) of torque. A quick consultation of the performance calculator suggests an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 400 bhp per ton, which on track converts to 3.7 seconds for a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) run. The top speed is 245 km/h (152 mph), but where the VŪHL 05 looks likely to excel will be in the twisty bits where it will eat up heftier racers.
A six-speed manual handles the transmission. Tire dimensions are 205/45 17 at the front and 235/45 18 beshodding the rear end. OZ alloy wheels provide the tires the support they need. The job of stopping the car falls to the 310 mm vented cross-drilled brake discs up front, and 280 mm discs at the back.
VŪHL 05s performance figures are impressive, but when considering the vehicle tips the scales at only 695 kilograms (1532 lbs), the importance of the power-to-weight argument becomes even more relevant. With a background in racing, the family Echeverria well understand the importance of weight reduction in a car of this type. The VŪHL 05 has a bonded tub of aluminum extrusions and honeycomb composition. A chrome-moly steel subframe incorporating the rear suspension and the engine is attached directly to the passenger cell. The body itself is composed of RTM reinforced plastic, but a carbon fiber body is available for those further bent on reducing track times (and the contents of their wallet).
The interior is an exercise in all-weather minimalism, with unfinished floors and side panels and only the most essential gauges and toggle switches. Optional interior designs include a water-resistant Dinamica suede trim, and one-piece carbon bucket seats keep passengers in place. A digital dash with data acquisition capabilities is there to provide feedback as is an integrated HD camera for recording and evaluating laps.
In addition to the usual aerodynamics like a fixed rear spoiler, diffuser and fore and aft air splitters, the VŪHL 05 has no roof and one seriously limited windscreen. Although the token windscreen has the benefit of providing reduced drag and weight, the shear absence of passenger protection from the elements guarantees a taste of the great outdoors. Helmets are recommended.
The VŪHL 05 is short and squat like a go-kart, but with the luxury of dual seats. It stands only 1.12 m (3.6 ft) tall, making ingress and egress tricky. The car is almost twice as wide as it is tall at 1.876 m (6.15 ft) across the hips. Double this figure and you get the overall length at just over 3.718 m (12.2 ft). The wheelbase is only 2.3 m (7.5 ft).
On paper, the VŪHL 05's size should equate out to one aggressively agile racer with effective handling. But weight distribution figures of 37/63 front-to-rear could make the car a bit of handful under extreme lateral transitions.
While the VŪHL 05 bodies are fabricated in Canada, chassis production and final assembly of the vehicle is handled by the Adman Leku manufacturing concern out of Mexico City. The VŪHL 05 will sell for US$82,750 (£55,000) plus taxes and shipping starting early 2014 in the UK and USA. Given the vehicle’s performance figures and handling expectations the low price tag might make this innovative little supercar a highly sought after item.