New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Column: Green and gold

2008-07-11 07:31

Calvin Fisher


The Ariel atom creates its magic with a Civic engine, we're going to use two!

Indulge me in a patriotic flight of fancy dear petrol head.

How is it that we South Africans as a patriotic and car-loving nation have no marque to call our own? No badge to hide behind or motorsport conquests to brag about drunkenly at our local kroeg?

If at this point you would like to remind me about the GSM Dart or the earlier Protea then please don't be daft. Those and their ilk have expired half a century ago!

And if you're the type who passes the albeit brilliant Basil Green-fettled Peranas or the homologated Chevy Firenza Can-Ams as true home-grown produce then you too should now reconsider taking that blue pill. No not the one labelled Pfizer, I’m referring to the one otherwise known as reality - according to which the likes of China and India have just trounced us, and badly!

The number of local production plants turning out thousands of international-quality automobiles is surely a testament to the skills we possess when not slumped over a cold beer, slurring our national anthem at the local rugby or soccer match.

Our technical prowess is on display at the very pinnacle of motorsport if F1 ace Rory Byrne’s achievements are to be believed.

This proves then that if we can be dragged away from the braai coals long enough, that the world of motoring is potentially our playground. Tie this to our fiercely competitive nature (go Bokke!), some very promising driving talent and the answer revealed is a logical one. South Africa must build a sports car, and Wheels24 will spearhead this initiative.

But right away! Take that Noble! See you at the finish line Enzo, and eat our dust Chapman! You get the idea, I’m sure.

David and Goliath

There is absolutely no let up in small manufacturers out to give the Goliaths of the industry a severe head ache, especially in both the United States and Great Britain.

We’re talking about the likes of Morgan, Saleen, Lotus and Caterham – small but greatly revered tuning houses that have evolved into manufacturers of epic motor cars! Hell, even Germany is in on the action with Weismann, a Morgan-alike sport car builder equipped with some mental BMW M-powered engines under their bonnets.

They all do this by cleverly raiding the parts bin of their biggest competitors, bargain hunting on a global scale.

We shall do the same by pilfering two 1600 Civic motors from the Honda catalogue to create what we will dub the ‘VVT8’.The pair of turbo-charged VTec power-plants mated into archetypical V8 format and perched atop the back axle of the rear-driven, open-top, staggered-wheel offset, space-framed chassis, a world first!

With each lump and its internals massaged and fettled via the obligatory stroking, porting, gas flowing, balancing and blue printing, then forcibly aspirated via a pair of quick spooling T3/4 hybrid turbo chargers, a total power output mere increments below the 400kW and 550Nm marks should be attainable at the flywheel.

That’s enough to shame a Ferrari F430 in something that should weigh under 900 kg by the time we’re done with it, giving it a mythical (at this point) power to weight ratio likely to embarrass an Enzo.

Keep it simple

Keeping the VVT8 light is an easy but very essential feat achieved with a combination of lightweight body panels and components much in the way Lotus achieves it. We’re talking about using the absolutely lightest components imaginable right down to the wheel nuts.

This new state of "Allegrita" (Alfa fans will know this word well) coupled to our trick variable valve twin turbo V8 drivetrain and track-focused suspension should see it well capable of seeing off all comers including the likes of Morgan, Roush and those okes who built that Atom thing.

All that's needed now is a short development stint on the Nurburgring - decked out in the obligatory camouflaged body glove (hey, it's a much coveted technologically competent piece of aerodynamic design, it would be foolish not to protect it!) for that final tune-up stage and we're that much closer to fulfilling our dream. As a nation with unleaded running through its veins, we're obligated to.

With test pilot, a mister S Van Der Merwe, safely removed from the VVT8's sparse (we’ll call it functional) cabin, we'll pack up and ship our test data and telemetry back to the farm for an in depth analysis, a couple of lagers and a braai.

Hey Bernie Ecclestone, I think we've got the perfect engine for that little racing series of yours! Each 'bank' powering just one wheel on our RWD chassis, harnessed by some clever ECU trickery could theoretically see our car boasting an advanced traction control system straight out the box, easily disabled or enabled depending on the FIA’s latest set of rules. Or also, just to preserve the track ready Cup-tyres at each corner.

And remember dear environmentally-minded reader, with a pair of humble 1600s and a programmable ECU our Vee car will be both spirited in its performance as well as supremely economical. It might damn well even be considered a green car if we can fit the little electric motorsbefore the okes start the next braai.

Wait - the Springboks are scrumming. Be right back.


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