Remember that obscure supercar maker that promised to build a car capable of beating the likes of the McLaren P1? You know, the one that was planning on creating that ultra-exclusive, groundbreaking machine for wealthy customers? Ok, so there are quite a few of these obscure supercar unveilings these days, but Minerva is different, because even a year after unveiling its J.M. Brabazon, it's still confidently standing by some very bold claims.
Before we consider them however, let's meet the marque. Minerva is a Belgium-based company, and a name that operated between 1902 and 1956, initially making luxury cars before producing a licenced version of the original Land Rover for the Belgian army. J.M. Brabazon is the name of a British duke who raced for Minerva back in the good old days, but it’s a distinctly odd choice as a moniker for this car.
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So to those claims: 0-62mph in under 2.1sec and a top speed of around 250mph, making the Belgian supercar more accelerative than a Keonigsegg One:1 and capable of a top speed to challenge Bugatti Veyrons. Told you they were bold.
Minerva has confirmed that the grunt for that monstrous straight-line performance will come from a hybrid powertrain (as is the fashion these days), comprising a twin-turbocharged V12 and three electric motors. Similar to the layout found in Lamborghini's Asterion concept, the J.M. Brabazon's engine sits in the middle, whilst two electric motors drive the front wheels. The third works with the engine to power the rear axle, making the J.M. Brabazon four-wheel drive.
Around 1000bhp is produced by the V12 - which Minerva claims can rev to a hair-raising 10,000rpm - whilst the electric motors produce around 200bhp, resulting in a combined power output of around 1200bhp. Claims that the car's weight will also sit around 1200kg give the supercar a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1, just like the Keonigsegg.
Other tech details to be released include a limited-slip differential, regenerative braking, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, stop/start technology and the ability to switch to full electric mode. Again, like the Asterion, this will see the front wheels driven by the electric motors. A range of over 60 miles in full electric mode is expected, though electric performance figures remain unconfirmed. Given the other numbers to appear on the specs list, we can probably be confident in assuming it won't be slow.
The suspension can be electronically controlled to adjust harshness and damping between comfort and performance settings, and four-wheel steering should make the Minerva nimble at speed, much like the Porsche 911 Turbo S which also steers at all four corners. The rear sits on 20-inch wheels whilst the front gets 19s, wrapped in Michelin rubber.
The J.M. Brabazon uses a carbon chassis, like the McLaren P1, and features active bodywork shaped in a form with some similarities to the Artega GT. Available in two designs, Royal and Excellence - the former of which is available with an ever-so-slightly brash gold grille - the J.M. Brabazon looks like a creation from the futuristic racing game Ridge Racer. Does anyone else see Star Trek's Geordi La Forge in that nose?
Inside, the Royal version of the J.M. Brabazon will be kitted out with a raft of luxuries, whilst the lighter Excellence model will be stripped back to the essentials. The Royal's dials are made using detailed clockwork, which surely can't help on the weight-saving front but would probably go down well at the local manor dinner party (if this is ever made it's not going to be found outside a Wetherspoons...).
Whilst we're not totally sold on the looks, on paper there's no doubting the J.M. Brabazon looks mighty. But until we see confirmation of whether this creation ever makes it onto the road, we'll hold our judgement. No firmer details are available yet, but with partners including Aerospace engineering firms and Toyota's Motorsport department, there's certainly more promise than usual. We’ll follow up with more information as it arrives.