It all started out innocently enough. I noticed something on one of the racing sites, and that lead to a group email with me summarizing, “Yes, yes, great car, wonderful specs and all that. Now, could you please give it to an Italian so it will look less ugly?”
The great car in question is the new Ultima RS. Indeed, it is a very great car, if also being frighteningly homely.
The company says the Ultima RS is the crowning glory of their 35 years and the finest expression of their core DNA.
Ultima, as a car company, has been kicking around for a while. In 1983, automotive engineer and designer Lee Noble established Noble Motorsport Ltd, and launched the Ultima Mk1. The Ultima Mk1 had a square-tube, space-frame chassis, along with the front brakes and steering of the Ford Cortina and Renault rear brakes.
The V6 engine and transmission were from a Renault 30. If you had a subscription to Kitcars and Specials magazine back then, you would have seen the Ultima Mk1 in its pages.
By 1998, the forthcoming Ultima GTR is undergoing tests at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA). By 2014, the company is producing the GTR’s replacement, the Ultima Can-Am. However, by 2015 the Ultima Evolution replaces them both with the company’s most advanced technology yet. A year later, sales would stretch to include 65 countries.
In addition, they are in the Forza Motorsport games and they were instrumental in the development of the McLaren F1.
The cars that Ultima makes are, more or less, track-only cars. However, the Ultima RS is as street legal as a Honda Civic. That explains the optional Alpine entertainment system with satellite navigation and Bluetooth, and the air conditioning option too.
“We have gone to great lengths to design the new Ultima RS in a manner for it to be deemed road legal in many countries, which is a hugely time-consuming and skilled task compared to simply manufacturing a track-only car,” reads the company’s website. “The beauty and ethos of the Ultima is that it can be enjoyed immensely on the public roads at sensible road speeds as well as on a race circuit where it can deliver devastatingly quick lap times.”
But Land-o-Goshen do these things look like they fell out of the ugly tree and hit a bunch of branches on the way down. But let’s put those concerns aside for the time being, because the view from inside the new Ultima RS must be sublimely terrifying.
Sit Down & Strap In
The inside, while we’re on the subject, is about the size of a phone booth knocked on its back. You’re fully cosseted by a beefy roll cage and purposeful dials and a custom seat and all that, but really you are just crammed into a small, noisy, glorious space that is about 0.2 seconds away from the afterlife. I am not – and let me be clear about this – saying this car is going to kill you. Oh no, quite the contrary. I am saying your skill as a driver will not be enough to save you. There is quite a difference.
What makes me say that? The powerplant, for one.
Rocket Ship On Wheels
In the case of the Ultima RS, that would be the latest Chevrolet V8 LT1 direct-injected engine, putting out 480 bhp. Which, given how the RS is only 13.5 feet long, around six feet wide, and literally waist high (3.6 feet); and the entire thing tips the scales at a featherweight 2,050 lbs., means the performance is staggering.
Zero to 60 in three seconds flat, quarter-mile times as quick as a superbike (11.2 seconds at 131 mph, top speed of 180 plus; praise Shiva this thing doesn’t get any cra- . . . oh, wait, I am so very sorry.
Those performance figures for the LT1-powered Ultima RS are for the bottom of the line; the entry level model, the starter pack, if you will. It goes up from there. Way, way up to performance figures just the other side of full-on race cars and just this side of hearing harp music.
The top-of-the-line engine choice is a Chevy supercharged LT5 mill that puts out a staggering 1,200 bhp. Yes, that is more than a current Indy car and more than a current F1 car. Yes, that is more than a current Nascar. Ultima Sports Ltd. has seemingly no problem with making, selling, and handing these over to anyone with the cash. Here’s a car that is capable of . . . (checks figures) . . . oh . . . oh my . . .
Look at this!
Zero to 60 mph: 2.3 seconds; zero to 100 mph: 4.8 seconds; standing quarter mile: 9.2 seconds at 156 mph. And finally, the top speed: 250 plus mph (gearing limited).
To Put That Into Perspective . . .
An Indy car does zero to 60 in around 2.2 seconds. A Suzuki Hayabusa does the quarter in 9.3 and it’s a friggin’ motorcycle! The Ultima RS is . . . is faster than most anything else out there and it’s only limitation is gearing? Seriously, no joke, spec-wise this thing is as fast as an Indy car and it has a license plate on it. I decided to build one of these up in Forza. I couldn’t get it all the way up to 1,200 bhp (only into the mid 900s), and I could barely keep the thing on the road.
Just imagine what it must be like in real life.
Perfect For That Midlife Crisis
I changed my mind. This might just be the most beautiful car on the planet. Shoot, you’re going to be moving too fast for people to get a good look at you anyway. I swear, this thing probably generates its own red-shift at this point. Now all I have is questions. Dirty, ugly questions. Like, can I fit in the thing? Can my bank account handle it? Is my last Will and Testament in order?
A few of the car’s specs are below, with the complete list here under the FAQ section. I’ve got to go lie down and think now. And I should call my therapist. And my priest. Also my minister and a Rabbi I know. Shoot, better call up that mortician too, just in case.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.
Ultima RS Technical Specifications:
Powder coated in satin black.
Fully-welded roll cage in 45mm CDS with welded rear braces.
Updated space-frame using mainly 38mm x 1.5mm diameter tube.
Roof scoop option is a Le Mans-style design to provide more efficient engine cooling.
Unpainted GRP, finished in a gel coat utilizing the latest advances in pigment technology.
Carbon fiber elements include the front and side splitters, dive planes, brake ducts, and wheel arch vents.
Carbon Fiber Wing
Nine different angle of attack adjustment positions.
Swan neck mounts transfer downforce directly to the chassis.
Steering & Suspension
Front ride height hydraulic lift kit option.
Quick ratio steering rack – 2.1 turns lock to lock.
Fully-adjustable, custom-made coil spring dampers.
TIG welded, double unequal length wishbones with extended front wishbones.
Adjustable brake bias front to rear. All stainless steel TUV hoses.
Standard: AP 322 mm curved vane vented discs all round with 4-pot calipers.
Optional: Larger fitment of 362 mm x 32 mm curved vane discs all round with 6-pot calipers.
Michelin 19″ Pilot Sport Cup 2 and Pilot Sport 4S options.
Ultima RS branded luggage bag set.
Steering wheel mounted wireless switch gear.
Carpet for the floor and rear bulkhead with color-coded piping option.
Leather Alcantara seats with new grommets to accommodate 75 mm seat belts.