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.

Six-wheel Audi-powered V8 ready

2010-12-22 08:29
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Covini
Model C6W
Engine 4.2L V8
Power 325kW @ 6 400r/min
Torque 470Nm @ 2 700r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
If four wheels are good, six should be better, right? Well Ferruccio Covini sure thinks so.

The madcap Italian – is there any other kind? – originally hatched the idea of a six-wheel supercar in the mid 1970s, during the halcyon days of pre-Audi owned Lamborghini and independent De Tomaso and Maserati production and design.

Tyrell’s P34 six-wheeled F1 car obviously had a strong subconscious influence on Covini, though the design was severely hampered by the unavailability of small enough low-profile tyres for the front wheels.

Extra wheels. Better grip. Simple.

In principle the advantages of the extra set of wheels up front is quite obvious: greater grip surface (higher front-end grip threshold and reduced aquaplaning risk), better directional stability, and surface irregularity absorption - the latter yielding a more plaint ride.

With six tyres, you have an extra set to stabilise the car if there’s a blow-out too. These might be admirable design principles to pursue, but the practical dimensions are problematic, not least of all a double-front axle and the requisite dimension performance tyres.

Covini’s project was shelved for most of the 80s and 90s, yet recently, especially with the development of sophisticated stability systems and integrated hydraulic solutions (especially ABS) the six-wheel supercar is back on track. Although things had gone quiet since the prototype was show at the Geneva auto show in 2004, production, limited to six units a year, is now allegedly on track for 2009.

Though it employs a pretty old-school tubular chassis design, suspension is a double-wishbone set-up front and rear. The trick is obviously a radical differentiation in tyre size, with the two sets of front-wheel wheels rolling along 15-inch 205/45 profile tyres; whilst at the rear it’s more traditional 20-inch 345/25 profile supercar rubber.

Audi V8 power

Brakes constitute six discs (again the extra wheels and their accompanying discs increase brake surface, boosting power and efficiency) managed by Bosch hydraulics. Powering the Covini C6W is a rear-mounted 4.2l V8 from Audi, producing 325kW at 6 400r/min, 470Nm at 2 700r/min; we doubt it's one of the last batch of RS4 engines, considering the power peak arrives well below 7 000r/min.

Thanks to a carbon-fibre and fibreglass (mostly the latter) body, performance is epic, considering the dry weight of only 1 150kg. Thanks to traditional, wedge-shaped Italian supercar styling, the C6W should be good for 300km/h.

One can hardly call Covini's car an ode to stylish Italian design and proportion (extra wheels ruin the proportions, and the scissor-doors are garish), yet we're sure the dynamics are beyond reproach.


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.