Saturday, November 29, 2008

IFR Aspid makes its Spanish debut in Jerez

IFR Aspid as Safety Car

JEREZ, Spain : November 28, 2008 - Cataluña supercar makes special ‘safety car’ appearance at final race of Superleague championship; car’s creator and automotive engineer Ignacio Fernández then drives it across Spain to test its reliability, all-round drivability and comfort

The IFR Aspid supercar from Cataluña made a special pit lane appearance in front of 34,000 motorsport fans at the final race of this year’s inaugural Superleague Formula championship held in Jerez. The Spanish-built sports car was driven by the series founder Alex Andreu and a number of Superleague race drivers. It is being considered as a possible safety car for the 2009 season.

“The Aspid certainly drew the crowds and was much photographed at the event,” said its creator Ignacio Fernández, who founded the vehicle technology company, IFR Automotive, behind the car. “It was fantastic seeing the reaction, especially as this was the Aspid’s first major appearance in Spain. Even though we’ve started building customer cars, these won’t be delivered until next summer, so the prototype is currently the only one in existence and remains a rare sight. I guess it was bound to grab attention, particularly being a Spanish car in front of its home crowd.”

Superleague Formula CEO and series founder Alex Andreu, who was invited to drive the car, said: “The Aspid would make an excellent safety car, particularly when leading a field of very high performance race cars over a Grand Prix circuit, and we are looking into this as a possibility. The Aspid meets FIA safety requirements as well as European road car homologation requirements in its standard form without the need for any modifications. This is a purebred race car and even with just four laps I really started to enjoy its extreme performance.”

Jerez race track safety car driver Luis Tellez who also took a turn behind the wheel added: “One of the unique virtues of this high performance road car is that it can be driven on the track without the need for any special preparation. Its cabin is immensely strong and it has no need for an additional safety cage as this has been integrated into the design. The power and the grip of the car as well as the driving position are superb. This all helps to maintain a high speed when the safety car is setting the pace and avoids the racing cars from overheating.”

Celebrities invited to test the car included Spanish driver Adrián Vallés, who races for the Liverpool FC Superleague team, as well as the Formula’s race commentator and fellow Spaniard, Luís Moya, the now-retired and highly experienced rally co-driver who scored 24 world rally victories throughout his career and whose name is synonymous with Carlos Sainz.

Superleague Formula test driver, Bruce Jouanny, who has helped develop the series race cars, which are almost as fast as F1 cars, said of the Aspid: “The mechanical grip is enormous and particularly impressive in low speed corners. This is a very cool car and an excellent vehicle concept.”

Following the race weekend, Fernández then spent his longest time yet in the car when he drove it for 11 hours, including breaks, for the return journey from Jerez to Reus near Barcelona in northern Spain, where the company is based. The 1,100km (almost 700 miles) trip took in a wide variety of road conditions ranging from fast motorways and cross country routes to traffic jams in Valencia.

“This was an excellent opportunity to test the reliability, all-round drivability and comfort of the car over a long journey,” he said. “It was extremely hot in Jerez, when the climate control really proved its worth. I was also pleased at how quick and easy it was to replace the removable doors and roof panels when it rained as we returned to the north. The adjustable power steering and audio system were a real boon in the congested traffic of Valencia. Overall, it was a joy to drive, the seating more comfortable than many other cars I’ve driven; and even driving as quickly as possible I managed a fuel consumption of 7.8 l/100km (36mpg), which is unrivalled for a high performance supercar.”

Commenting on the car’s dynamic performance Fernández added: “The Aspid can out accelerate virtually any other supercar and has the cornering and braking performance to match. We developed it in the mountains where the Cataluña rally is held each year and we’ve measured it as being faster over the special stages than a World Rally Championship car. It’s also extremely fast on a Grand Prix circuit.”

Tipping the scales at 750kg, yet full of luxury touches and advanced technology, the Aspid represents a new breed of small, lightweight, fuel-efficient sports car that is faster than a track-day special without compromising creature comforts such as having a roof over your head and luxuries including climate control fitted as standard. With technical innovations and ingenuity displayed throughout the chassis, suspension, brakes and electronic systems, the Aspid offers exceptional dynamic performance particularly relating to road holding, handling and safety. Despite its high performance capability on the track the car is exceptionally easy to drive on the road.

More images : IFA ASPID

[Source : IFR Automotive]


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