You may have never heard of New Zealand-based custom automaker Rodin Cars, but its latest creation will make any car lover stand up and take notice. Rodin’s first creation, the FZED, is typically a bespoke F1 racing toy for the biggest (and deep-pocketed) fans. But its next car, the Rodin FZERO, is in a league of its own. Designed from the ground up to be a “no limits” track weapon, the FZERO is what happens when brilliant (and crazy) minds come together to develop the purest and most unadulterated on-track machine that money can buy.
“The Rodin FZERO is the physical representation of the ultimate heights in vehicle performance,” said David Dicker, Founder of Rodin Cars. “The only real restrictions we face are the laws of physics, and we have even pushed those to the absolute limit.”
Setting The Stage
The last time we saw a car this extreme was back in 2006 with the Caparo T1, a limited-production mid-engine sports car developed by the brains behind the McLaren F1’s out-of-this-world engineering. The Caparo T1 could scoot from zero to 100 mph in under five seconds, has double the Bugatti Veyron’s power-to-weight ratio, and has a Nissan/Menard IndyCar V8 engine that screams to a heady 9,000 rpm. It was essentially an F1 car for the road, capable of producing mind-bending numbers unheard of in the day.
However, the Caparo T1 project became the subject of high-profile incidents like suspension failure, shoddy build quality, and fire issues – something we expect from a limited production “racing car for the road.” The iconic Jeremy Clarkson of old Top Gear gave it a go in 2007 and said it accelerates like no other car in the world, but not until you reach a corner and understeer rears its ugly head.
Rodin FZERO: Unbounded Performance
Caparo hoped to sell at least 25 units of the T1 per year, but the automaker made only 15 cars until the company went bust in 2015 – but that was before. Now, consumer appetite for hyper-exotic and ultra-expensive toys is through the roof. The moneyed folk is interested in anything that could stand out and illicit conservations at Pebble Beach or the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Caparo T1 probably came out at the wrong time with its $300,000 base price. But for Rodin, the FZERO’s timing is impeccable.
According to Rodin, FZERO offers the ultimate track performance “far beyond anything seen before,” including that of a modern F1 car. Its goal is to be the fastest vehicle around a track, bar none. “Without the restrictions of building to a set of rules, we made the car lighter, more powerful, and produce significantly more downforce,” Dicker added.
Rodin Cars prides itself in utilizing advanced 3D printing technology. The automaker has a comprehensive selection of 3D printers and bespoke car-building machinery, reminding us of California-based startup Czinger and its 3D-printed 21C hypercar. Moreover, Rodin has one of the world’s largest 3D titanium printers.
But unlike the Czinger 21C, the Rodin FZERO is set to explore its limits on racetracks. It has an all-carbon-fiber composite body shell manufactured in-house by Rodin. Tipping the scales at no more than 1,540 lbs. (698 kg) and capable of producing up to 8,800 lbs. (4,000 kilograms) of downforce, we expect the FZERO to pounce like mad, given its high-strung V10 powerplant.
Bespoke RCTEN Hybrid V10 Engine
The Rodin FZERO draws motivation from a custom-made 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V10 developed in cooperation with legendary British racing engine builder Neil Brown Engineering. Affectionately called RCTEN, the V10 has high-strength steel billet crankshafts, individual titanium runners with intercoolers, electronic wastegates, carbon composite charge pipes/plenums, and titanium 3D-printed manifolds. It only weighs 291 lbs. (132 kg) but pumps out 1,160 horsepower and 757 lb-ft. of torque, spinning to a 10,000 rpm redline. The FZERO has an eight-speed automatic gearbox manufactured by Ricardo UK.
In addition, the RCTEN V10 has a 130 kW custom-made hybrid motor and battery pack developed in conjunction with Integral Powertrain (now called Helix). The hybrid system performs starter and alternator functions while offering a power boost and energy regeneration.
PFC Carbon-Carbon Braking System
The Rodin FZERO has front and rear PFC Carbon-Carbon brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear titanium calipers. The anchors have ABS, traction control, and regenerative braking for the hybrid system. Completing the vintage racecar look is a set of 18-inch OZ Racing forged magnesium wheels that conform to modern F1 standards, measuring 18 x 14-inch at the front and 18 x 16-inches at the rear. Avon full-slick racing tires are standard, but other types of rubber are available upon request.
Rodin FZERO: Pricing & Availability
Rodin will only build 27 examples of the FZERO at roughly $2.2 million each, with customer deliveries to begin in summer 2023. Furthermore, Rodin is working on a road-legal variant of the FZERO, which should give other supercars like the GMA T.50, Mercedes-AMG One, and Aston Martin Valkyrie a fair bit of competition.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.