Factory Five has produced its first F9R body, and it looks magnificent.
Ordinarily, the prospect of building your own carbon fiber-bodied supercar in your garage would be pretty much unthinkable, but thanks to kit car manufacturers like Factory Five Racing, it's quickly becoming achievable.
Awhile back, Factory Five revealed its concept for a carbon-bodied, front-engine supercar of its own design, based on a stretched version of its existing Shelby Daytona spaceframe chassis and featuring a unique shell designed using cutting-edge VR technology. As the so-called "F9R" inches closer to production, the company has produced its first prototype car body, and it looks pretty darn good.
The main advantages of building a supercar from a kit rather than going and plunking down cash on an assembled automobile from an established marque are value and freedom of choice. Factory Five Racing hasn't yet put a precise dollar amount on its F9R supercar, but chances are it will be substantially cheaper than a comparable ready-made machine, and the customer can select essentially whatever sort of powerplant he or she wants.
In fact, the Factory Five F9R is designed to accommodate a range of Chevrolet and Ford crate engines, like the Chevrolet Corvette's 6.2L LT1 or the Ford Mustang's 5.0L DOHC Coyote V8. But perhaps the most tantalizing option is Race Cast Engineering's Chevy LS-based, naturally aspirated 9.5L V12, which puts out up to 750 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque.
The Factory Five F9R was designed by R&D head Jim Schenck and Saleen S7 designer Phil Frank, using a new process that makes extensive use of virtual reality in the hopes of lopping years off of the company's development time. President and CEO Dave Smith says the new design process could eventually shorten the development timeline from 2 or 3 years to 2 or 3 months.
As a proof of concept, then, the Factory Five F9R is important to get just right. We'll see how successful the company has been in a short while, when the carbon-bodied supercar goes on sale in late 2020 or early 2021.