Rodin FZED single-seater makes UK track debut
- V8 single seater appears on track in the northern hemisphere for the first time
- F1-style car hits top speeds of 300km/h
- FZED designed to appeal to amateurs and enthusiasts
A 675 horsepower single-seater track car has made its maiden UK public appearance at Donington Park.
The FZED, built by New Zealand-based Rodin Cars, turned in a handful of laps at the East Midlands circuit last week with Formula 2 racer Liam Lawson at the wheel.
The F1 lookalike machine features a normally aspirated V8 engine from Cosworth that revs up to 10,000rpm and sounds like the classic F1 cars that dominated the 1980s and early 1990s.
Weighing just 609kg, the FZED accelerates to 160km/h in five seconds, and hits a top speed of 300km/h. Its low weight and high power gives it an 826kW-per-tonne power-to-weight ratio that is only bettered by a current Le Mans prototype, or an F1 machine.
The engine also allows for high mileage running, with 3100 miles of capability on 98-octane fuel before requiring a tear-down inspection.
It features carbon-carbon brakes for impressive stopping power, an F1-style six point harness and cockpit fire protection system, FIA-spec headrest and crash structures at the front and rear. The F1 theme continues with a semi-automatic paddle shift gear shift mounted on the steering wheel, plus aerodynamically powerful front and rear wings.
Rather than being pitched at racers, Rodin intends the FZED to be the ‘ultimate track car’ aimed at amateurs and enthusiasts.
Despite its impressive stats, Rodin have set out to make the FZED just as enjoyable at more moderate speeds as customers build their confidence and shed the fear factor that comes naturally when at the wheel of a powerful single-seater. The machine is also aimed at being rather easier to operate than a thoroughbred racer.
The FZED started life as the Lotus T125, but the project stalled and a number of chassis were bought by Rodin founder and CEO David Dicker. After years of development and improvements which include a weight loss of 40kg, the car is now ready to be unleashed on the UK and European market, with the New Zealand-based company setting up a sales room at Donington, the host of the 1993 European Grand Prix. As well as a showroom, the UK base will also feature a high-end gallery and networking centre for clients.
Last week’s run out was its first on track appearance outside of the Southern hemisphere, where previous testing had been carried out by Lawson and by W Series champion Jamie Chadwick.
“After years of development and thousands of kilometres of testing on Rodin’s own circuits in New Zealand, we’ve established the Rodin FZED as one of the fastest open-wheel race cars in the world,” Dicker says. “More than that, we’ve also ensured that it’s easy to run, giving amateur drivers a true taste of top-level open-wheel motorsport.”
“It was great to be back in the Rodin FZED,” said Lawson, who is a Red Bull-backed driver in FIA Formula 2 and DTM. “I’d forgotten just how fast the car is but straight away I felt comfortable and realised how manageable the car is to drive close to the limit. I didn’t want to stop and nearly did more laps than I was allowed.”
The car was operated on the day by Hitech GP, a team that runs cars in FIA Formula Two and Formula Three, as well as the BRDC British F3 Championship.
Director, Oliver Oakes said, “It’s a very cool car. It’s how real race cars should be. It’s exciting to see what David has put together into a customer car and being able to be involved with Rodin Cars and their test at Donington Park has been amazing. The quality of the Rodin FZED is clear to see and we look forward to working with Rodin Cars in the future.”
A relationship announcement between Hitech and Rodin is expected during the next week.
Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.