Creating the customers car

What started off as an idea for a new small sports car, quickly developed into a reality that we could have never foreseen. Through the power of social media and making the best use of our motorsport contacts we have been able to not only develop a new small sports car, but we have been able to produce something based on the tastes of our fans and customers.

Early spring in 2013 presented a new challenge for us at Aquila HQ, with another successful year over at Autosport International, a new trend was spotted by our marketing team, and this was the need for a smaller, lighter, less powered sports car. This trend appeared bigger than we originally thought, not everyone wants a two seated all out high powered V8 sports car like the CR1 sports GT. So we sat together and planned the best way to start such project. We discussed finding the right suppliers, the level of performance, the competition, potential customers and we found ourselves coming up with the same question. What do our customers actually want?

So on the 31st March we completed an eight week long survey designed to assess the desires of our customers and fans. Instead of guessing, we thought it would be best to hold a survey and ask the motorsport community that follows our racing. We received input from race team owners, championship owners, drivers and fans from over 26 different countries with regards to how our new small sports car should be built, which was very flattering and an excellent start to the project.

The results we collected were very pleasing, and were far from unrealistic. We asked those taking part in the survey not to simply dream up the ultimate lightweight racer, as fun as that would be, but instead to design a sustainable product. Production and development costs were to be considered, as well as putting a value to their car. Some respondents made suggestions on mechanical components, with a handful going on to suggest names for the new car.

Some of the data we received showed that:

  • 67% voted for the car to use a single seat
  • 73% voted for an aluminium monocoque
  • A staggering 93% voted for the car to use sectional bodywork like the CR1
  • The majority asked for an Inline 4 engine delivering between 200-250hp
  • The new car was to meet these demands.

With these aspects in mind, technical studies began in April 2013.

When producing a car we always start with safety, it is very important for anyone producing a race car to choose safety over all other aspects of the design and is something we take very seriously at Aquila. The chassis has been designed around keeping the driver safe whilst following regulations and guidelines that all modern race cars must use in order to compete.

We will use a crash box in the front of the car which has already been successfully tested through computer simulation, a very rigid monocoque alongside FIA grade equipment to such as the fire extinguisher, harnesses, rollover hoop and fuel cell.

Mechanic Friendly

The car itself will use many of the same concepts currently used on the CR1. For instance sectional bodywork was indicated as one of the most loved aspects in our survey. Other traits we will duplicate on the new car are the mechanic friendly- universal and non-handed parts, simple design, and low maintenance features to encompass race budget friendly ideas. Wheels, brake discs, top hats, calipers, pads and uprights are identical front and rear, as are Hubs, Wheel bearings and Hub carriers. All suspension members are genuinely non-handed, i.e. the same part is used left and right, and all spare suspension arms are jigged and come delivered complete with pressed-in spherical bearings so that no adjustment is required when one is replaced. As with the CR1 we will aim to give the car a superior centre of gravity over our competition and gain an advantage on track. We will not be developing any carbon fibre dive planes, flooring or splitters.

As racing enthusiasts we admire low budget racing and believe parts that are likely to recieve frequent damage should not be expensive to replace. That also meant strictly NO 10,000rpm motorbike engines!

The name of the car was released to the public in early November. Adamo – This is Latin for “To fall in love”/ “Fall in love with.”

In September designs for the bodywork were discussed but then our design team had an idea for the bodywork that would siut the concept down to a tee! Invite the designers and enthusiast that follow our work to enter a competition for the bodywork design, the winner would have their design implemented and also their name on the bodywork design. We called the competition “Design, develop, drive” and anyone could enter, they could enter alone or join forces with friends as a team, we invited amateur designers, bored engineers and even skilled enthusiasts with a flair for design and styling. The winner would also be given the chance to get behind the wheel and put in a few test laps. Entrants were given a 3D CAD model of the chassis, and a few guidelines to work from, they would be judged exclusively by Aquila on the following:

  • Attractive aesthetics
  • Efficient aerodynamics
  • Low manufacturing costs
  • Low repair and maintenance costs
  • Low tooling costs
  • Practical use and user friendliness

As the competition has progressed, on 31st October 2013 the 27 original entries were been reduced to just 7 remaining entrants. We received a lot of designs from some very skilled designers, and words cannot explain how grateful we are to all those who got involved!

The final 7 remaining contestents were then given feedback and a more detailed drawing to work from.

Those Finalists were:

  • Alexander Hastrup
  • Anders Lynge
  • Chris Williamson
  • Lars Roug
  • Matthew Storie
  • Michael Witus Schierup
  • Niels Peter Kofoed

On the 3rd January 2014, almost one year after the project was launched the final seven entries were handed in to be scored, it was a gruelling task and some absolutely amazing designs were turned in. But there could only be one winner, so at 13:00 on January 9th at Autosport International in the NEC Birmingham, we announced that the winner of our competition was Anders Lynge. Anders’ design was favoured for its simple styling and striking lines.

Not only that, the design is also fairly simple to produce making it practical when breaking the bodywork down into sections, thus making it easy and cost effective to repair for owners/teams after a crash.

The Adamo’s party trick is something we are very proud of, it will be the first entry level sports racing car that has the ability to be an open cockpit or closed roof race car. Not only that, the switch from open to closed can be made at the track within 10 minutes. Both sections of bodywork and the roll over hoop for closed roof racing will be supplied with the car at no extra cost.

Feedback from Autosport was that the Aluminium monocoque feels fantastic to sit in, very safe and spacious, and something that will give the driver a feeling of security, yet plenty of room to get comfortable during longer races, many tall drivers sat in the chassis comfortably with a surprised look on their face.

Power delivery will come from a Toyota 3ZR-FE with forced induction added for racing use, this will deliver 250hp. We will continue to work with Hewland Engineering with the new car using a Hewland F3 gearbox. Sticking with such a reputable and reliable gearbox manufacturer was very important to us, and we are pleased that we were able to continue using their systems. Power will be transmitted through a 184mm Alcon single plate clutch capable of holding 440Nm of torque, which is above and beyond what the engine will deliver and on par with where the toque capacity of gearbox peaks.

The dry weight is on target of 550kg, so with 250hp this will give us a competitive power to weight ratio of 2.2kg per hp (454bhp per tonne) with standard levels of boost.

Brakes are 4 piston Wilwood again as they have never let us down in the past, however we are developing an Alcon upgrade kit for customers who wish to compete in endurance events. Dampers remain to be chosen and we are open to suggestions, we have many manufacturers interested in supplying dampers for the Adamo and we hope to reach an agreement soon.

The Adamo is not going to replace our CR1 Sports GT, but instead go into production alongside it, interest has already been received and we are currently taking pre-orders ready for when the car goes on sale in summer 2014.