High-performance track cars are all the rage among the wealthy, whether they're barely road-legal open supercars or track-only based on NASCAR race cars. A British company called Tour De Force Engineering, a company that specializes in restoring and maintaining old F1 cars, is now offering the TDF-1, which except for the powertrain, is exactly a 2011 to 2012 Formula 1 car. And with its different powertrain, it's actually easier to use and maintain than an actual current F1 car.
Tour De Force Engineering has a stockpile of chassis and parts from Marussia and Sauber that it uses to build the TDF-1, as well as provide spares for owners. The main choice for buyers is to pick from which manufacturer's parts they want their car built. Regardless of chassis, Tour De Force provides its own specified engine and transmission, which are connected as integral parts of the chassis, just like a real F1 car. The engine is a turbocharged 1.7-liter inline-four that makes 600 horsepower at its redline of 9,000 rpm. Coupled to the engine is a six-speed semi-automatic sequential transmission with a reverse gear and electronically operated clutch. Interesting to note is that the transmission's case is made from magnesium and carbon fiber, which Tour De Force says is the first of its kind offered to private owners.
While the unique four-cylinder is not as high-revving or as exciting sounding as the 2.4-liter V8s the cars used in competition, Tour De Force notes it isn't as needy. Instead of preheating the engine before use and having complete tear downs after each event, this engine will start and run from cold at the press of the starter button, and it only has to go in for maintenance once a year or once every 3,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. The company says you don't even need a crew with you to run the car at tracks, just you and, if you want, an extra mechanic. The powertrain will still deliver impressive performance, too, with Tour De Force estimating a sub-2-second 0-100-km/h (62 mph) time and a top speed of over 200 mph.
As for the rest of the TDF-1, it's pretty much identical to the old F1 cars it shares parts with. It has the same type of double-wishbone suspension front and rear. Shocks come from Ohlins, and the brake calipers from Brembo. The brakes themselves are the same size and carbon composition as that of similar F1 cars. It even has fully functional drag reduction system (DRS) for high-speed on straights. Tour De Force has made a change to the system so if DRS has been activated, it will shut off automatically if a certain amount of braking force or steering input is detected in order to prevent a driver spinning out or crashing from trying to brake or corner without sufficient downforce. And if you're curious, Tour De Force says that the TDF-1 can produce up to 4g of force in corners and 4.5g when braking.
Pricing hasn't been given by Tour De Force, but if you have the significant means likely required to buy a TDF-1, you can order one right now. New owners will get comprehensive driver training from the development driver and pro racer Jessica Hawkins, plus access to the company's driving simulator. The car's handling will be tuned to the buyer's preferences and a custom seat and pedals installed. Each car will also come with pit equipment and spare parts, plus travel cases for the car and parts. Tour De Force will also host track days at courses around the world to which customers will be invited.
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