Zenos Cars Set To Shake Up British Sports Car Scene | Edmunds

Zenos Cars Set To Shake Up British Sports Car Scene

Just the Facts:
  • Zenos Cars is a brand new British sports car company, formed by two former executives from Caterham Cars.
  • Zenos is looking to bridge the gap between hard-core British sports car stalwarts like Caterham and the increasingly more elitist Lotus.
  • An initial three-car lineup is planned, starting with the Zenos E10, a minimalist open two-seater with a Ford 2.0-liter engine.

NORFOLK, England — Zenos Cars is a brand new sports car venture in the United Kingdom that has the makings of big things.

Starting from scratch, the Zenos team is working on a new ultra lightweight open two-seater of its own design, code-named E10.

Road-legal, but track-focused, the E10 will run with a mid-mounted, transverse Ford GDI 2.0-liter power pack, delivering 200 horsepower and driving the rear wheels.

With a curb weight of just 1,433 pounds, the E10 promises to be both featherweight and extremely fast, the kind of car no discerning sports car enthusiast could resist.

And if you think the E10 sounds like it could have come from Lotus, you are perhaps not far off because Zenos says the new two-seater will also come "with Elise type proportions."

As it transpires, Zenos is just a stone's throw from Lotus Headquarters, although the two outfits are completely separate.

Zenos has been co-founded by two former Caterham execs — Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards — who also worked at Lotus in the past.

The interests of true driving enthusiasts are increasingly being left behind as cars progressively become heavier, more expensive and costly to repair, they believe.

This leaves a gap in the market for a pure-bred sports car to cure those woes. Enter the E10 and projected spin-offs, the E11 (penciled in for 2014) and E12 (2018).

In other words, if Lotus can't build a modern sports car true to the spirit of the original and brilliant Lotus Elise, then the enthusiastic team at Zenos will do it.

Bringing credibility to the program is the long specialist sports car experience of Ali and Edwards. The program has already been thoroughly mapped out. Control of manufacture, purchase and servicing costs is high on the agenda.

While some initial sketches have been released, the team to date has been focusing more on the E10's lightweight, state-of-the-art chassis, for which Zenos has been awarded a U.K. government research grant. This Zenos chassis platform comprises a hybrid carbon tub, made from recycled carbon fiber, straddling a single-piece aluminum extrusion.

"I assure you the design of E10 will be game changing," Ali told Edmunds, "and so will the price points we have targeted given the architecture and material technology routes we have adopted."

While first Zenos sketches suggest the E10 will be in a car in the mold of the Lotus 2-Eleven, the E11 looks to echo the Elise and E12, the Exige coupe. But it's still very early days and there's nothing yet to say the U.S. will be part of this picture.

More on Zenos design and prices is promised in the coming months. But already there's a buzz in the U.K. about this exciting new sports car project.

Edmunds says: Zenos promises to give Lotus a run for the money.

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