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2010-09-16 08:59

The Spartan V. In typical Australian fashion they remembered the side-mirrors, but forgot to fit headlights or indicators.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Spartan
Model V
Engine 1198cc V-twin
Power 125kW
Transmission Six-speed
Zero To Hundred 3 sec
Top Speed 280km/h
Weight 300kg
Tyres 205/45 R17
Light sports cars powered by superbike engines. Hardly a new idea. 

British niche manufacturers such as Westfield, Caterham and Radical all offer superbike engines (Suzuki’s Hayabusa mill is quite popular) within their product portfolios.

The appeal is simple – low mass and tremendous performance, two engineering principles that tie in perfectly with the light sports car design mantra.

It's a ripper, mate

Australia is the latest region to produce a superbike powered sports car and its called the Spartan V.

This is, of course, hardly surprising, because Australia has a proud superbike racing tradition.

What is surprising is that the Australians have taken a rather original line with the V's design - specifically pertaining to the choice of engine.

Unlike Caterham, Westfield and Radical's offerings, Spartan's chosen Ducati's 1198S V-twin, to be mounted midships, instead of one of the typical Japanese superbike fours.

Thanks to its tubular spaceframe construction and composite bodywork, Spartan’s V weighs only 300kg. Factor in the Duke V-twin’s 125kW and the performance claims (280km/h top end, 0-100km/h in three seconds) can hardly be rubbished.

The Spartan V engages its rear wheels via a chain-driven, limited-slip differential supplied by Drexler motorsport of Germany.

A six-speed sequential transmission modulates speed and all the data is logged by a Ducati 1198 Digitek LCD instrument pod.

Naturally, the characteristic Ducati V-twin acoustic signature has been retained - something which remains key to the Spartan V's appeal.

Harmonised performance

To ensure the required levels of agility and stopping power for something so rapid, Spartan’s engineers have double-wishbone wheel attachments managing each 17-inch wheel’s individual oscillation requirements.

For owners who wish to do their own suspension fine-tuning, there are Ohlins adjustable dampers available too.

The Spartan V’s agility is further shored up by its American-sourced steering and brake components.

Woodward’s racing quick-ratio rack-and-pinion steering ensures centimetre-perfect placement of the V via its tiny Sparco helm, whilst deceleration is well catered for by 300mm Wilwood rotors  - actuated by four-piston callipers at both axles.

Beyond the V’s epic braking performance (300mm rotors should stop a 300kg car with crushing ease) safety features include stylish double-hoop rollover bars designed to keep occupants from being crushed in the unfortunate event of a flip.

Although it remains unclear what the tenuous link is (if at all) between the ancient Greek city-state and contemporary Australian performance motoring, the Spartan V has the makings of a mightily appealing track-day machine. Its Spartan helmet motif nestled in the middle of the front air ducts looks awesome so we'll forgive it for not having a proper Australian racing heritage nameplate.

Spartan plans to build only 300 Vs, retailing at R600 000 each – which is a lot of money for a four-wheeled superbike.

Then again, is there really a price that can be attached to the novelty of owning four-wheeled V-twin sports car?

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