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Zenos E10 (2013) designs for new lightweight roadster shown

Published: 03 October 2013

Zenos Cars has released sketches of its new E10 sports car, as well as purported specs for the track-day two-seater. From the sketches, we can spot hints of BAC Mono and Caterham AeroSeven concept, but with more aggressive aerodynamic body addenda than both. Read on for the more on the Zenos E10.

Who the devil is Zenos Cars?

Zenos is the brainchild of two ex-Caterham high-ups: ex-CEO Ansar Ali and ex-COO Mark Edwards. Breaking away to create another cottager industry British sportster is an all-too familiar story, so here’s what they’re saying to dispel your cynicism.

‘[Zenos Cars] aims to be the most progressive and desirable lightweight sports car company, driven by experiences that will create, engage and excite an enviable club of Zenos owners. The sketches and early stage renderings we have released today we think convey the purity, agility and functional simplicity of E10 faithfully.’

Big promises, but can the E10 live up to it?

The spec sounds promising, largely because it’s the tried-and-tested formula for creating a fun little lightweight sports car. Mounted transversely behind the step-in passenger compartment (no doors here) is a 2.0-litre Ford engine. Free of forced induction, the naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine develops 197bhp and drives the rear wheels. No transmission has yet been confirmed: Zenos says several gearboxes are being considered for the package.

Thanks to a kerbweight of around 650kg, the E10’s all-important power-to-weight ratio stands at around 300bhp per tonne.

Why so light? Another fibreglass and Sellotape hash-up?

Oh no, the Zenos is set to get the full carbonfibre treatment, like the BAC Mono and Caterham AeroSeven concept. Zenos says it’s managed to engineer a best-of-both set-up, with the lightness and stiffness of a carbon tub, but sidestepping the tricky production and expensive repair/replacement costs associated with the exotic weave. With Ariel Atoms and comparable Caterhams available from around £30,000, here’s hoping the Zenos E10 is priced closer to that end of the market than the BAC Mono’s chunky £80k base price.

How has Zenos made carbonfibre cheap?

The E10 is built around an aluminium backbone, bonded to a carbonfibre tub with a plastic core. The carbonfibre itself is recycled material: Zenos claims this method ‘delivers world class mechanical efficiency without the production – and replacement – costs normally associated with carbon-based supercars’.

The body has also been designed around the same principles as the McLaren P1 supercar– that is, keeping the number of separate panels to a minimum, which reduces weight, improves aerodynamics, and increases the structure’s overall stiffness. Great – until you nick the Armco and have to bin two thirds of your car…

When will we see more of the Zenos?

Usually, this is the part of the plan where it all goes quiet and the road-rocket never sees the light of day, right? Zenos is being bullish about its chances: we’re told the E10 will be unveiled in ‘early 2014’, meaning it’ll arrive just ahead of the customer-ready version of the Caterham AeroSeven – the first all-new model from Caterham since Ali and Edwards’ apparently harmonious departure. That could make the eventual twin-test tasty – so long as both cars get the green light.

>> How do you rate the Zenos E10’s chances of making a splash in the sports car market? Click ‘Add your comment to weigh in.

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