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Mosler MT900S

Mosler MT900

Rating:

GT Championship-winning racecar becomes roadgoing supercar

Eternal damnation - and perhaps an immediate pestilence - on all you dithering, dallying drivers. Try the occasional glance in your rear-view mirror; there you will see a racing car with number plates. It's a bright yellow racing car, so it's a bit hard to miss, and even if it were a milk-float it would be going quicker than you are now. And let me assure you that being in command of nearly 500bhp-per-ton and travelling at 27mph is the very definition of frustration.

But what's this? Divine intervention? From a lone black raincloud in an otherwise azure sky shoots a single flash of lightning. Miraculously, the assembled throngs of the Anti-Destination League peel-off down side-lanes and the road ahead - a road that is suddenly broader and better surfaced than it was up to this point - is utterly empty. This is Mosler country.

Mosler? Yes, Mosler. If you're a motorsport fan you might recognise the name; a Mosler MT900R campaigned by Rollcentre Racing and driven by Martin Short and Tom Herridge won last year's British GT Championship. But even if you know that much, you might be a little shaky on Mosler's heritage. American-based Mosler Automotive is owned by Warren Mosler, a financial guru with a serious passion for things fast and four-wheeled. The MT900S is his most credible creation to date.

The intention was always to build road versions of the racecar and first an American version was put through the US Federal certification process. When it came to developing the car for the European market, Mosler turned to Short, Rollcentre Racing's owner, for advice and the racer-cum-team owner suggested Norfolk-based Breckland Technologies. BreckTech, as it's known, has been tasked with turning the racer into a road car that will pass Single Vehicle Approval regs, and then building 25 examples. The car will be developed as a left-hooker, although right-hand-drive versions are likely later.

What you see here is the development car which, although road-legal both in Britain and the US, is pretty much a pukka racer minus the roll-cage and with more tread on the tyres. BreckTech is going to tidy the package up a bit, make sure the lights and wipers and windows and stuff like that works, and install a Porsche 911 GT3-sourced six-speed 'box as an alternative to the existing Hewland sequential straight-cut cog item, but the essence of the road-going Mosler is that of a barely diluted track car. Other than in terms of outright speed, where a partial eclipse of the opposition is hoped for, Mosler is wisely steering clear of a head-on clash with Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Back to that heaven-sent road: bum barely a Tom Clancy novel's thickness above the tarmac, enveloped in a carbonfibre cabin, hips and shoulders scrunched into a competition-spec seat. Eyes taking in data from the tacho-dominated Stack display. Glancing at the rear-view mirror but seeing only air-intake trunking and the louvres from the engine cover. Pondering what will happen when the 435bhp 5.7-litre Corvette-sourced V8 engine is allowed its head.

Dip the meaty clutch, grip the gearlever and push positively forward. Wait for the clunk as the sequential 'box drops a shorter ratio into the 'motion' position. Raise clutch pedal. Floor throttle pedal. Jeeeeeezzzz...

Until now the V8's been an affable, friendly, cuddly bear of a motor, throwing the Mosler niftily along on a 400lb ft wave of torque. Suddenly it's turned into a raging grizzly, and one that's been fired from a Howitzer at that.

This is one of those cars that doesn't so much accelerate as slam you down the road with startling ferocity. During a recent 0-100mph-0 challenge in this very car, Short managed an 11.9sec run in less than ideal conditions. Motor Trend magazine in the US has figured a Mosler to 60mph in 3.13sec and 100mph in 7.11sec. This was with a set of very short gearbox ratios, but you get the picture. With longer gearing, a 200mph maximum is claimed.

And the Mosler feels that quick too; raw and loud and in yer face, proudly track-reared and a few steps removed from your regular supercar experience. The initial shock of the acceleration can leave you mentally winded, but you'll soon need to reboot your brain because a gearchange is required. You can rev the engine to a little beyond 7000rpm, but it's more productive to karr-chink your way up to the next cog at 6000rpm. In fact the Hewland box is a delight to use, and seems to complement the character of the car, even if it is rather noisy.

The suspension on this car was set up for a test session at Bruntingthorpe and is therefore less than ideal for the buckled, steeply-crowned roads of north Norfolk. Strong forearms are required to keep the light, rapid-response steering pointing in the right direction, particularly as the speeds you'll be travelling at will severely punish laxity at the helm. Obviously a road-biased set-up would reduce the tramlining, though I still reckon the Mosler would have the potential for the odd buttock-clenching moment or two. For a racecar, the ride's good, though.

Pushing up the lightweight carbonfibre gullwing door and clambering out over the fat sill, you're left with the indelible impression of eye-widening speed and non-homogenised exhilaration. Lots of super-fast cars offer the promise of a racecar for the road, but few step so convincingly over the threshold between road and track, mainly because so few of them started life as a competition vehicle.

Short is hoping that prices for the composite-bodied MT900S - what you see here is the carbon-shelled 'Photon' version - will slide in under the ΂£100,000 mark. Heaps of money, but it should be a towering performer.

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evo RATING

 
[+]
It really is a racing car
[-]
It really is a racing car

evo SPECIFICATIONS

 
Engine: V8, 5665cc, 16v
Max power: 435bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 400lb ft @ 4800rpm
0 - 60mph: 3.1sec (claimed)
Top speed: 200mph (claimed)
Price: Less than £100,000
On Sale: Late summer (For details email rollcentre@aol.com)

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