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.

Spartan V much better than 300

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?

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