Ultima joins the ultimates. British firm's road and track range-topper joins charge of the light brigade.
British sports and race car manufacturer Ultima has revealed its next-generation road-going supercar. Called the RS, according to its maker it represents the single biggest step change in the company's road car history. However, it still follows the firm’s familiar cross-colonial recipe of lightweight, track- honed British engineering combined with hearty American engines.
‘ULTIMA SAYS THE TOP-SPEC ENGINE IS EASILY TUNEABLE TO MORE THAN 1200BHP’
The RS’s underlying chassis is not dissimilar to those seen on previous Ultimas, being constructed of tubular steel with an inbuilt welded roll-cage and rear chassis braces. The Group C-inspired bodywork is of glassfibre and the car’s total weight comes in at around 930kg, depending on specification.
If the lack of structural carbonfibre is conspicuous, the RS’s exterior detailing and aerodynamic devices make up for it. The aero has been completely redesigned compared to what can be found on its predecessors, starting with a 1780mm-wide carbonfibre rear wing that is adjustable between -2 and +14 degrees.
Balancing out that wing is an aggressive front splitter, optionally available with inbuilt vortex generators and bodywork-mounted canards.
The front wheelarches are now vented to reduce pressure within at high speeds, while a fiat floor and rear diffuser complete the aero package.
Suspension is by double wishbones at both ends of the car, with custom-made, fully adjustable coilover springs and dampers. The overall geometry has been recalibrated to suit the larger, 19-inch wheels, and is adjustable for bump, rebound and ride height. Those new forged wheels cover AP Racing brakes that are available in two flavours: the standard set of four-piston calipers gripping 322mm discs front and rear, or an upgraded six-piston arrangement with larger 362mm discs.
The stark interior is as you would expect from this type of track-focused machine, with little in the way of creature comforts save for the ventilation system and a rudimentary sound system, instead, the snug cabin is focused around excellent visibility, with a low scuttle and deep windows.
Like the Ultima Evo that this model essentially replaces at the top of the company’s range, the RS is available exclusively with General Motors-sourced crate engines. The car has been designed to accept both Chevrolet’s more traditional small-block pushrod LS engines, such as the LS3 and LSA, as well as GM's latest-generation direct-injection LT motors. Aside from their improvements in power and efficiency, these latest LT units are also dry-sumped.
The entry-level 6-litre LS3 produces 430bhp at 5900rpm, with a peak of 425lb ft of torque at 4600rpm. Ultima quotes an acceleration time for this ‘basic’ model of 3.3sec to 60mph (note, not 62mph/100kph), with a top speed approaching 180mph. From here, the engines rapidly grow in outright power outputs, with the LSA (as seen in the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS) producing 556bhp with help from a 1.9-litre Eaton supercharger.
The more serious LT motors peak in LT5 form (GM’s most powerful crate motor ever) with 755bhp at 6400rpm and 715lb ft of torque at 5000rpm. And if a power-to-weight figure of over 800bhp per ton is still not enough, Ultima says the LT5 engine is easily tuneable to more than 1200bhp...
Zero to 60mph for the 755bhp model is estimated at just 2.3sec, although you’ll need to be quick with the six-speed H-pattern manual transmission, which is standard regardless of the engine specified. The gearbox is from Porsche, but there is no option of a PDK dual-clutch unit, nor is a race-style semi-automated sequential manual on the options list.
To feed those V8s with cool air, the RS sports a top-mounted snorkel intake, which works in conjuction with further intakes on the car’s sides and underbody. New LED lighting units front and rear complete the exterior changes.
The RS will operate in a sea of lightweight British sports cars, including the Ariel Atom 4, the Caterham 620 and, at RS's highest levels, the ВАC Mono. Prices for the Ultima are difficult to pin down thanks to the personalised nature of each car, but the company says that a self-assembly model, not including the cost of the engine, will start at around £60,000, with prices growing depending on the options specificed, the chosen power unit, and who assembles the car. If you’re after a ‘turn-key’ mode! from the factory, meanwhile, you'll have to be prepared to wait, as there is a lead time of around two years for new orders.
Above: LT5 engine boasts 755bhp as standard, good for 0-60mph in a claimed 2,3sec and a top speed beyond 250mph. Bottom: carbonfibre rear wing can be adjusted to nine different angles.
ARIEL ATOM 4
With 320bhp from its 2-litre turbo Honda engine, resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 546bhp per ton, the £39,975 Atom is still one of the most extreme trackday cars on sale.
The 620 may produce ‘only’ 310bhp from its supercharged Cosworth Duratec four, but for £53,885 (fully built) its 551bhp-per-ton figure must be taken seriously.
At £165,125 the Mono isn’t cheap, but its carbonfibre chassis makes it the most advanced of the Ultima's peers. Its four- cylinder engine produces 305bhp, for 534bhp per ton.