Project Splitwheel is a brand new concept that aims to design and build a performance car with input from enthusiasts from around the world. Each person who signs up has a vote that can help steer the direction of the design and build of the car from what sort of engine it will use all the way to how it should look. Register to get involved. Here’s some further information on the project:
– The vehicle must be a ‘performance car’
“The only restriction is that the project must design a ‘performance’ car…the most important factor is that this car must be enjoyable for an enthusiast to own and drive in its own right.” from splitwheel.com FAQ Nov ’08
– Ultimate performance is not necessarily the overiding objective
It is for the Project Team to establish performance targets for the vehicle based on the performance levels of existing (and predicted future) cars in the marketplace. The car must have appropriately high performance for its target market. The car’s positioning in the market may or may not require prioritisation of ultimate lap times, acceleration figures or top speed.
– The viability of ‘environmentally-friendly’ propulsion technologies must be considered carefully
The Project Team will need to consider the current (and future) trends in the marketplace towards reduced-emissions technologies, along with the increased legislative pressure to adopt them. Any viable alternatives to petrol combustion will be considered (e.g. diesel, hybrid, electric, biofuel, hydrogen), however it will be imperative to establish that any such technology used in the car will result in a desirable, true ‘performance car’ which is viable to manufacture and sell profitably.
– The starting point of the Project is a ‘blank canvas’, but with caveats
Splitwheel and Caterham agreed to start the Project off from a very broad position where any format of performance car will be considered. However, the resulting vehicle must be a viable, saleable product for the real world that Caterham can realise. This will mean that a clear business case will need to be made for any vehicle to reach the prototyping stage. For example, a million-pound Bugatti Veyron rival would have exceptionally high R+D costs with a tiny potential marketplace, which would almost certainly prohibit Caterham from proceeding with development. The Project Team therefore needs to demonstrate who would actually buy the finished vehicle.
– The vehicle will need to be suitable for circuit driving and racing
Caterham is a global leader in grassroots motorsport, with the Seven being one of the most popular track and race cars in the world. It is therefore a requirement that any new Caterham model is inherently suitable for (or can be modified at low cost for) track and race driving. Note that this does not mean that the brief requires a stripped-out ‘track-day special.’
1. No shopping cars, vans or trucks.
2. We need to set some performance benchmarks to aim for
3. Green is good, but only if it will sell
4. Super-exotic ‘Veyron-killers’ unlikely to suceed
5. Need to establish who will want/be able to buy the car
6. Caterham has racing ‘in the blood.’ The new car must share at least a bit of that DNA.