15 March 2005
A car built in New Zealand to rival Ferraris and Porsches will be unveiled in Wellington next week.
The Hulme F1 – named after Kiwi Denny Hulme, world champion in 1967 – is designed to give the driver the feel of driving a Formula One car on the road, its backers say.
"It will rival or, we believe, better the other supercars of the world," Supercars Limited spokesman Mike Bitossi said from Auckland yesterday. "We know the design is quite remarkable."
The company was inspired by the successes Hulme achieved, Mr Bitossi said. As well as his victories in Formula One, Hulme won championships in the big CanAm sports car series driving cars designed by his compatriot and friend Bruce McLaren.
McLaren founded a race company that is still one of the world's best – and has also produced a road-going supercar called F1.
The design of the Hulme road car has been co-ordinated by Associate Professor Tony Parker, head of the Industrial Design department at Massey University. "New Zealand has established a reputation for building the best yachts in the world. I believe we also have the technical capabilities and the industrial infrastructure to create a quality, hand-built performance car."
His creation will be launched at the university's Wellington campus on Wednesday next week. The carbon-fibre body will be powered by a modified BMW M5 V8 engine, putting out 450 horsepower with an estimated top speed in excess of 300kmh. It is expected to cost up to $600,000. Production is due to start next year, with a minimum of 500 to be built.