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By Dan Trent
12 November 2008 09:28
The IFR Aspid Supersport? Just where the hell did that thing land from? Well, Spain as it happens. Specifically just outside Barcelona and the twisted imagination of a gang of ex-rally engineers who decided a mad-looking, open-wheeled carbonfibre rocket is the perfect tool for demonstrating their mastery of high tech engineering.
No, no, no! And don’t you dare suggest that to IFR main man and ex-Prodrive/Mitsubishi WRC race engineer Ignacio Fernandez. He gets really upset when you do. Ask us how we know…
The superficial resemblance to Colin Chapman’s lightweight hero is purely coincidental, though the Aspid is fully signed up to the Lotus founder’s mantra of less weight, more speed. And then a bit more. Yes, the Aspid looks mad but that’s nothing compared with the performance.
How about 0-62 in 2.9 seconds? Or, perhaps more relevantly, the fact that Fernandez reckons it’s as fast along the local rally stage roads as a full-blown tarmac-spec WRC car. Fanciful? Until you here the tale of one prospective owner who was 1.5 seconds faster round his local track than in his racing-slick shod Ferrari 430 Challenge car. This on his second ever lap in the Aspid.
Oh yes. A lot more. So much in fact it’s hard to know where to start. So let’s try with the chassis, a hand-welded aluminium space frame weighing just 55kg, onto which aerospace-grade aluminium honeycomb plates are bonded for added strength and FIA-spec crash protection.
IFR showed us an example of this honeycomb which had been subjected to a 10-tonne static load and had barely deformed. And the sides have two layers of this stuff, sandwiching energy absorbing foam. So it’s strong. Very strong. And extremely stiff too, which leads us neatly to…
…the suspension. IFR places great importance on a stiff chassis to enable the suspension to work to its best ability. Unsprung weight of about 21kg per corner – on a par with an F1 car – comes via patented aluminium extrusions and beautifully machined end pieces. That open wheeled look? The better for showing off the craftsmanship.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our IFR Aspid Supersport first drive
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IFR Aspid Supersport (2008) CAR review
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RE: IFR Aspid Supersport (2008) CAR review
That is so ugly. But that performance! I want one, and I'll pay someone else to redo the lights for me thanks. The last Spanish supercar, the Pegaso (a stretch I know but I'm allowed) also had some beastially ugly versions too. Maybe there is something in the water. Full marks chaps, just perhaps, look for a designer next time too.
19 November 2008 05:40
Hmmmm, not sure I agree, I envisage that these such cars are mainly second cars (toys) and the appeal is their simplicity & max performance. The market isn't crowded, so do it well & I think a young company has a better success chance than making something 'practical'. Think of all the brands that have folded whilst trying to out Porsche Porsche. Can't comment on Ariel sales figures, just don't know. Tried googling it to no avail... but, whilst I was there I read something that made me smile; plans for an Atom 500 V8. This version supposedly will feature a 2.4 supercharged V8, producing 500bhp+!!!! now, that would be fun - for 10 minutes before it killed you! Car - is there any truth in the rumour?
13 November 2008 20:50
Robby1977- I think you will find many a car sale in the £90k bracket lost due to poor practicality. I reckon you could double sales at Caterham with a hard top coupe version. And explains the number of Ariel Atoms sold can be counted the fingers of a few hands!
13 November 2008 20:32
What's with all the nonsense talk of practicality?! 2 seats, high sills, cramped interior, bucket seats made for grip not comfort, tiny window openings, little if any luggage space, no doubt hard riding & noisy as hell. People won’t buy this for a day to day proposition, they will buy it for a sunny Sunday toy. Buyers of cars like this accept little practicality in return for max thrills. This is why my money is still on the awesome Atom for half the money.
13 November 2008 20:07
Is there any reason why Caterham dont make a "coupe" with a proper hard top? It might not be far off an Aspid (minus the high tech engineering) but one third the price? How many people dont buy a Caterham because of weather protection? Congratulations to Aspid though for making a car I would desperately want to own!
13 November 2008 19:49
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