New Zealand may not be known as a Mecca for world motorsports, but this hasn't stopped the company from aspiring to create a car worthy of New Zealand's only F1 world champion Denny Hulme, for whom the company is named. The Hulme supercar project has been under development for over five years now, and earlier this year we reported on the first public tests for the Hulme supercar. Now, with some new information from Jock Freemantle, the auto enthusiast and entrepreneur behind the car, we can bring you a thorough update about the future of the project.
When it comes to stripped-down race cars for the road, there are a number of options already available for drivers out there, such as the KTM X-Bow and Caparo T1. Hoping to shake things up a bit with these marques is a company all the way from New Zealand, Hulme, which is developing its own road-legal car that strives to give motorists the closest experience to driving an F1 car as possible.
According to Freemantle, the company will be building three different models, including an extreme 'CanAm' variant to honor Denny Hulmes' two CanAm championship wins. This car has graced the pages of MotorAuthority already, and the fact that it is powered by GM's LS7 V8 engine but still features no driver aids is an indication of its focus as a purist driver's car. With claims of close to 600hp (448kW) and a curb weight of around 1,000kg, the performance should be capable to say the least, and in the future Hulme may even consider a supercharged variant of the LS7 that could push horsepower figures even higher.
Two other models will also be appearing, the Hulme Spyder and the Hulme F1. For these models, Hulme is remaining secretive about what engines will be used, but the company is in talks with a number of engine manufacturers - including two that build F1 engines.
Pricing for all three models remains uncertain, but Freemantle estimated that the Hulme CanAm will cost around €280,000 ($395,000) at the European launch in 2010. Currently, the company is not taking any orders for the car until it has completed development of an EU certified car that it can demonstrate, but the company claims there is significant interest in the project. A U.S. launch is possible, should the car achieve success in other markets also.
The Hulme Spyder is expected to complete development in 2010, and when it’s released it will feature the same chassis as the track-focused CanAm, but will also feature a windscreen and wipers, as well as modified aerodynamic pieces and a new rear end. An exact timeline for the development of the Hulme F1 car, meanwhile, has not been revealed but according to Freemantle the Hulme F1 will be a 2-seater, closed road car.
Hulme has also just released an IPO for its company, with the hope of raising between NZ$2 million - NZ$7.5 million ($1.3 million - $4.8 million) to aid development of the three models. In the meantime, we'll be bringing more updates about the Hulme supercar project as it evolves.