Save a Grand Prix car, ride New Zealand’s single-seater race car

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Rodin Cars is a New-Zealand-based operation founded by Australian Ferrari Challenge class champion David Dicker. The company’s latest creation, the Rodin FZED, is a single-seater racing car based on the 2011 Lotus T125’s design and priced from $650,000. Powered by a 3.8-liter Cosworth GPV8, the FZED delivers 675 horsepower at 9600 rpm, with a peak torque of 361 lb-ft at 7600 rpm. And with a weight of just 1342 pounds, that equals to a 0–100-mph run in five seconds flat and a top speed of 186 mph.

Rodin gets its carbon-fiber chassis and aero package from Italy’s HP Composites, the same company that makes the LMP3-compliant Ligier JS P4’s tub. Rather than the flat floors used on Formula cars, the FZED’s monocoque features an IndyCar-style tunnel under the driver. Behind that lucky person, the 32-valve Cosworth V-8 is connected to Ricardo’s six-speed sequential gearbox, while the suspension features four-way adjustable TTX-40 dampers from Öhlins. OZ Racing’s 13-inch magnesium wheels and Avon’s tire package are kept hot by Alcon’s carbon-carbon brakes.

Dicker’s company claims to have “one of the most diverse collections of 3D printers in the Southern Hemisphere,” which allows it to produce a number of parts in-house. One example is the exhaust and muffler system, which is Rodin’s own 3D-printed titanium piece finished in a titanium-nitride PVD coating.

Rodin FZED
Rodin FZED

Rodin FZED
Rodin FZED

Rodin says the FZED has been engineered to run more than 3100 miles on 98-octane pump fuel without an engine-out service, which makes this single-seater much more cost-effective than running a historic Grand Prix car. Here’s how the company founder puts it:

“The beauty of the Rodin FZED is that you get the Grand Prix experience—the speed, the power, the downforce and cornering grip—in a package that has been designed for easy access and reliable performance. The body uses composite materials and a suspension system very similar to modern Grand Prix cars, and the aerodynamic package is also very contemporary. It looks like a Grand Prix car and it goes like a Grand Prix car, but it has none of the complications associated with running an old Grand Prix racer.”

If all this sounds familiar, that’s because Rodin echoes former Lotus boss Dany Bahar’s concept with the T125, the Lotus that inspired the FZED. A T125 was sold by RM Sotheby’s for $417,500 at Amelia Island this year, and here’s how the auctioneer describes Bahar’s 2011 idea:

“Bahar unveiled a private racing league that might also double as a development tool for team Lotus F1. Lotus called it the Exos Club and the roughly $1M membership included use of a transporter and a veteran driver to serve as the coach. […] Ultimately, the T125 project proved too ambitious to get off the ground during a global recession. Just a handful were built.”

No matter how the market reacts to his offering, David Dicker will also be able to claim a handful of finished FZEDs, since the first five Rodin open-wheelers are already being assembled… All painted black and gold, not unlike certain cars made in Hethel.

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