IFR Aspid: here is a supercharged 2-liter sports car that can reach 60 mph in under 3 seconds, and roar on to 100 mph in 5.9 seconds from a standstill. This is amazingly fast – and it looks it.
One of the unique features is an integrated electronics control system that allows you to adjust engine performance, braking and handling to suit your style of driving, the conditions and whether you are on road or trck.
Aspid is a new new name on the sports car map for a car that is built in Spain. Although the car may be new, the firm of IFR is not. IFR has been working on vehicle design for some years, and has come up with a new type of frame, advanced lever-arm suspension, twin disc brakes and integrated electronics.
These are some of the features of the Aspid, an open-wheeled sports car powered by a 2.0-liter Honda engine developing 270 bhp in naturally aspirated form, or 400 bhp with a supercharger.
With a weight of 1,550 lb (700 kg), the result is a stunning power-to-weight ratio of 520 bhp per tonne, with the driver aboard. This is well up to supercar levels, even if the car is quite a bit heavier than the Caterham Seven. With 270 bhp, the power- to-weight ratio is about 350 bhp per tonne with the driver.
The basis of the car is a multi-tubular frame in which the ‘tubes’ are actually aluminum extrusions shaped to give greater stiffness that tubes, and to have flanges suitable for the attachment of panels. This frame is reinforced by aluminum honeycomb sheets – as used on the McLaren F1 – covering the sides of the car, the tunnel, and the floor. This is called the Alexcom structure, and it is said to be up to ten times stiffer than most tubular frames.
This very rigid frame weighs just 165 lb (75 kg). The body is carbon fiber composite, and includes an integral hardtop with detachable gull-wing doors.
Ignacio Fernando Rodriquez, the head of IFR, did not want the Aspid to look like other open-wheeled sports cars, and wanted it to look ultra-modern. Sure, it follows the basic shape you get with an open-wheeled sports car, but it starts with a brash, rectangular grille, with horizontal and vertical bars.
There is a curved hood, with an air intake built in, and a pair of lamp pods that could be from Star Wars. Each pod contains an array of lamps.
The windscreen is sharply raked back and curved, and runs into a sharply cut-off hardtop and the curved tail. The fenders are strictly cycle type.
One problem with open-wheeled cars is that when it rains, water is thrown up from the front wheels and hits the rear fenders. Then, it bounces toward the cockpit, ether getting you very wet without sidescreens, or gradually wet with sidscreens!
This is no problem with the Aspid thanks to the weatherproofing provided by the gull-wing door and window arrangement. At least, it should not be!
The suspension is up to the minute, with double wishbones reminiscent of Grand Prix cars. The aluminum wishbones are streamlined, and have internal webs for extra stiffness. Inboard spring-damper units are actuated by levers.
To reduce weight, the hub carriers are aluminum, and carry unusual twin disc brakes, which have such large cooling slots that they are reminiscent of those on motor cycles – there is almost less area of metal than cooling slot. The two discs can slide sideways on the hub, and are clamped between three pads. Pads at the outside press the discs inwards against the central pad, providing enormous braking force.
Amazingly, this twin disc system is lighter than a conventional system because the discs are very thin, and the calipers are much smaller than normal. The discs are 12.6 inch (320 mm) diameter at the front, and 10.5 inch (268 mm) at the rear.
IFR is using 17-inch wheels, with 205/40 front and 235/40 rear section tires as standard; the supercharged model gets 255/35 section rear tires.
IFR has done a lot of work on electronics for the auto industry, and its ideas are an important part of the Aspid. Instead of having a multitude of separate systems, IFR’s Unidrive is one combined electronic control unit, with the result that the number of microprocessors needed is reduced by 75 per cent, and the amount of wires by 60 per cent – this is a development that we have been waiting for.
Nor is this a basic electronic system. It is interactive, allowing the driver to change the settings of:
This means that you can set the car up with the sharpness you need when you go to a track day, with a little more give for the road, and with safer settings for wet roads. All very innovative.
All the controls and the instrument panel – electronic of course – are fitted into the steering wheel, with a set of buttons to alter the characteristics to suit your mood. There is also a larger display in the center console, with the start button below.
What about the power train? IFR haas adopted a Honda 2-liter unit, naturally aspirated or supercharged. The standard model is tuned to 270 bhp, but the Aspid is also available with a supercharged unit producing 402 bhp at 8,600 rpm – a real screamer – with maximum torque of 166 lb ft (225 Nm) at 7, 800 rpm.
The supercharged unit is designed to have similar characteristics as the standard engine, boost increasing with speed to 402 bhp at 8,600 rpm, and maximum torque of 240 lb ft (326) Nm at 7,800 rpm. Unusually, the supercharged engine runs the same compression ratio as the 270 bhp unit. It has a dry sump, whereas the other engine has a wet sump. The engine drives through a six-speed manual box.
The Aspid is a small car, just a little larger than a Caterham Seven, but is mighty quick – the acceleration times are right up there with the $200,000 plus supercars. There is no reason why the handling should not be up to scratch.
Altogether a very exciting addition to the sports car world, offering stunning performance, amazing control of engine, braking, suspension and handling. The Aspid also looks different, but above all is a recipe for exciting driving.
|Car type:||Two-seater open-wheeled coupe|
|Main dimensions (L x Wx H):||147.6 x 73.6 x 45.7 in (3,750 x 1,870 x 1,160 mm)|
|Wheelbase and track:||85 in (2,160 mm)|
|Kerb (curb) Weight:||1,540 lb (699 kg); [1,629 lb (740 kg)]|
|Engine and transmission|
|Type:||Four cylinder in-line, variable valve timing [supercharged]|
|Power output:||270 bhp (198 kW) @ 8,600 rpm [402 bhp (297 kW) @ 8,600 rpm]|
|Torque:||166 lb ft (225 Nm) @ 7, 800 rpm [240 lb ft (326) Nm @ 7,800 rpm]|
|0-60 mph:||3.6 seconds [2.7 seconds]|
|0-100 mph:||9.1 seconds [5.9 seconds]|
|Top Speed:||155 mph (250 km/h) (limited)|
|Quarter mile:||12.4 seconds [9.1 seconds]|