Rodin Cars FZED hits the track in the UK
The Rodin Cars FZED has completed its first run on-track here in the UK with Liam Lawson behind the wheel
The Rodin FZED has turned a wheel in anger for the first time in the UK. The black and gold single seater enjoyed a handful of laps at Donington Park, having been wheeled out to the track the short distance from the firm’s recently opened customer centre and showroom, based behind the paddock.
At the wheel for the run was Liam Lawson, the young New Zealand Red Bull Junior driver currently impressing in the FIA F2 Championship. Lawson’s HiTech GP team was in charge of running the FZED on the day.
Speaking exclusively to evo, Lawson described driving the 675bhp around Donington as “A big buzz”. “I’ve driven the car for a couple of days in New Zealand, and that’s a very enjoyable track, but it’s open and fast here - I’ve never been here before, but I have driven it a lot in sim racing. The FZED has more aero than my F2 car but it’s easy to be on the limit - you can build up to it, and then even slide it. The (naturally aspirated) engine means the throttle is more linear (than an F2 turbocharged engine), and there’s no lag. It’s easy to build up (your pace)."
This comes after Rodin's announcement of a new UK customer centre and showroom in March, complementing its upgraded production facility in its home country of New Zealand.
A portion of the New Zealand facility will be dedicated to design offices, but the expansion will also allow for in-house engine building, streamlining the production process and allowing for greater control over the final product.
Sitting on a 1400-acre plot adjacent to an existing facility, the new 2500m2 unit has been designed using the same computer programmes used to develop its cars, with plans for further expansion to over 7000m2 in mind. Even its concrete floor is high-tech, featuring a number of isolator pads for sensitive machinery such as the 3D printers used for the production of the gearbox and exhaust system of the upcoming FZERO.
David Dicker, founder and CEO of Rodin Cars said: 'We’ll be able to do all engine manufacturing in there, we’re going to move all the 3D printers in there as well, which will free up space for the carbon fibre side of the business. And we’ll have a lot more room for design engineers as well.' He went on to say: ‘You’re only as good as your worst supplier, so we try to do as much as we can from design to production. The decision to bring engine production in-house dictated a significant expansion of our facility.’
By contrast, Rodin's UK facility at Donington Park will act as a hub for its European clientele, as well as display one its Rodin’s FZED racers. With a new hub based in Europe, Rodin Cars will have a closer aspect to many of its potential buyers, as well as a presence at one of the UK’s biggest circuits.
‘While we are an New Zealand-based company, our plan has always been to establish an additional UK base,’ says Dicker. ‘We have big plans for the new space, with a desire to showcase not just our supercars, but also the state-of-the-art technology and engineering that is going into their manufacturing.’
Rodin Cars is noted for bringing near F1-levels of performance to a customer racing car in its FZED racer. Developed in-house, the 589kg open-wheeler has more performance than a Formula 2 car, yet can be purchased and driven by any member of the public.
The power unit is a remnant of past F1 regulations, with Cosworth supplying the GPV8-spec 3.8-litre V8 engine that produces 674bhp at 9600rpm. These engines are both bigger, and lower-stressed than actual F1 powertrains though, keeping the cost and complexity of running these engines down, and keeping engine rebuilds to just over 3000 miles.