Mexico might not be the first place you think of when it comes to lightweight, mid-engined, 2-seater, £55k road and track cars. The new VUHL 05 indeed heralds from Mexico, but there’s a link to the Motor City of Detroit too, where the designers of the VUHL have an automotive design agency.
The insect-like, super-stripped VUHL 05 was penned and developed by Guillermo and Iker Echeverria; two Mexican brothers with racing and engineering passions inherited from their car-building and racing father. The brothers worked on projects for other firms before bringing the 05 to life, and the spec certainly sounds like a barrel of laughs.
The VUHL 05 has a now traditional monocoque chassis that weighs just 78kg on its own, but with everything else bolted to it still tips the scales at only 695kg, dry. That’s a great weight, especially when it’s backed up by a 285bhp motor. That’s 400bhp per ton, folks.
The chassis is made up from the latest and the lightest, with a three-section bonded tub built from aluminium extrusions and aluminium honeycomb. This material and building style is good enough for aeroplanes and helps the VUHL fly to over 150mph, and endows it with extreme levels of torsional rigidity. A twist-free chassis means that the suspension – unequal length double wishbones front and rear – can most accurately do its job, thanks to a set-up process that doesn’t have to account for too much chassis flex.
The standard body here is made from RTM reinforced plastic, but carbon fibre can be had as a more expensive and lighter option, and as we can see, this thing is bristling with aero. No doors – you step in – and the merest whiff of a windscreen, but, a flat underbody, front and lateral splitters, a rear diffuser and a low-level rear spoiler. A couple of years ago, this stripped-to-the-bone racer would’ve raised a eyebrows, but we’re all used to the Ariel Atom and KTM X-Bow now, with the VUHL’s predecessors proving that super-lightweight and reasonable power make for huge road and track fun.
The brothers picked a cracking engine for their 05 too, with the modern and torque-laden 2-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo motor mounted behind the two humans up front. It’s been boosted still further to 285bhp and 420Nm of torque, and that’s enough shove to fire the 05 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds.
The rest of the tech spec entices too with OZ lightweight alloy wheels – 17-inch front and 18-inch rear – and Brembo brake calipers biting big vented discs. Inside, we see a minimalist motorsport treat, with carbon fibre bucket seats, a quick-release suede steering wheel, an electronic data acquisition dash with an integral HD camera, as well as water-resistant Dinamica suede trim. And lots of pretty, bare aluminium too.
So, it looks good, sounds like it’s built to go good, and at a touch over £50k is in the right ballpark for lightweight track day specialists. But, it’s up against some highly developed and established competition, so only a head-to-head with the best of the rest will confirm if the Echeverria brothers have really done the business. You can order one now and it’ll be delivered in the spring of 2014.
By Dan Anslow