You have to hand to the Brits. Only they could build a lightweight roadster like the Ariel Atom, shoehorn a thumping V-8 engine into its fully open chassis, and then call it road legal. That’s exactly what British sports car manufacturer Ariel plans to do, revealing that its V-8 powered roadster based on the existing Atom platform is almost ready for production.
The vehicle is now in the final stages of development, which essentially means the company is doing final testing and confirming specifications.
The exposed tubular frame road-legal racer is already a track-day favorite in four-cylinder guise (pictured), but the addition of the new V-8 engine, which will be rated at around 500 horsepower, brings the power-to-weight ratio of the roadster to nearly double that of the Bugatti Veyron. Did we mention the vehicle will have a kerb weight of just 1,100 pounds?
Power will come from a high-revving 3.0-liter V-8, which will feature four-valves per cylinder, a dry sump oil system, and come matched to a Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox. Blurring the line between race-inspired and race-worthy even further, the Sadev gearbox is flatshift capable, meaning the driver doesn't even need to lift the throttle to shift up as the computer and gearbox takes care of all the work with the flap of a paddle. Launch and traction control are also standard. Initial testing of prototypes has shown the car is capable of 0-60 mph sprints in less than 2.5 seconds.
Ensuring the lucky few who eventually get their hands on one of these creations don't have to cut short their day at the track because of fading or inadequate brakes, Alcon four-pot calipers grace all four corners behind Dymag wheels.
Production will be limited to just 25 units and of these, only 5 remain. Sadly, the chances of these making their way to the U.S. are slim.