Engineering a Supercar, Part 2

5G body

Back in May of this year we heard about a competition put on by GrabCAD, an online engineering community, and 500 Group, a think tank for new products. The challenge was to create a body for a new supercar that would be built on an existing chassis using GM Performance parts and the LS3, LS7 or supercharged LS9 V8 engines. (Maybe they should also consider the new LT1 engine… just saying.)

In that original post, I admittedly got a little harsh about letting engineers act as designers. I made the argument that when that happens, we’re left with cars like the Accord and Camry. Excellent vehicles, but they don’t have much in the way of personality.

We heard yesterday from a representative of the 500 Group who wanted to set us straight.

The rep let us know that the intent wasn’t to have the engineers design the body, but instead to become part of the team that would develop the car. GrabCAD members submitted their proposals, and four of them were accepted as members of the development team. Even cooler, the car will be street-legal and is pretty deep in the development process. So deep, in fact, that it lapped the Nurburgring, without wearing any bodywork, in about 7 minutes. Horsepower output was measured at 694. With a dry weight of about 2,200 pounds, that’s more hp per ton than street-legal cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. Check out this video of the ‘Ring run:

Testing of bodied pre-production cars will happen in 2013, followed by the regulatory approval process. The ultimate goal is to provide exhaustively developed midengine street cars at a fraction of the price of current supercars.

That’s certainly a hard outcome to argue against!

Of course, as we hear more details, so will you.

A midengine supercar priced well below the competition but without any brand recognition. Interested?


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  1. @
    Thanks, Darren, for your insight here. I very much appreciate you taking the time to write, and I do look forward to keeping my eye on this project. Congratulations on your win!

  2. Hi Tgriffith, I was the winner of the supercar design portion of the challenge. For the record, I’m not an engineer, I’m actually VP design at Motive Industries. We do all sorts of design service work for various automotive and product manufacturers.

    It was a tough challenge as the chassis, windows, wheelbase/trackwidth, and multiple other proportions/hardpoints were already set by 500 Group. The timeline was also difficult, so not a lot of time for exploration when I was doing this in my free time.

    That being said, design is subjective and it’s easy to criticize. Everyone should appreciate constructive criticism though. Thanks for your articles and I look forward to seeing what the 500 Group develops from this.

    If you have another look at the GrabCAD site they’re continuing with a second competition to design the dash so it’s good to see they’re still active with this.

  3. the LS engines are sick, they are light, simple, ubreakable and make nutso horsepower
    if you can make more power lower down and rev to 6500 instead of 8500 that a good thing more driveable more fun
    as far as the specs go they have a list of suppliers in the vid at the beginning, pause it and it’s all super top shelf stuff
    i do agree the rich guys are gonna wan their lambos and gattis but what about track days? and more importantly what about the rest of us?! for every lambo money guy theres thousands of people without that much $

    anyways imagine pulling up at a light next to a ferrari and you know your in different league performance wise(way better) and spent a “fraction” like it sez, whos the smart one?
    i can’t wait to hear what these things are gonna cost

  4. @ Randy
    I own a DOHC V8, the 5.0L Coyote to be specific. The lack of torque from ohc motors sucks in daily driving. Piss poor midrange. Having owned both types my preference lies with ohv.

  5. Well, since the vast majority of supercar buyers are rich men with a lot more money than driving skill, the performance envelopes of those cars are never really approached. They are really buying them because they are expensive and exclusive. Will a generic brand supercar sell? I don’t see it appealing to those hyper rich guys. Remember, potential trophy wives are looking for someone with enough money to buy a Bugatti Veyron to drive around Rodeo Drive, not to scare the pee out of them on Mulholland Drive, so it certainly won’t attract the high end chicks.
    Now those high end middle class guys who love their M3’s and Esprits might be really interested, if only to hit a higher performance band while still being affordable. The bid disappointment is the low tech GM V8. Shucks, you can get a DOHC V8 in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck. A pushrod V8 in a midengine exotic turns it into a wannabe exotic.

  6. We haven’t heard anything on price just yet, or even how many will eventually be produced, but when we do we’ll be sure to update you! Keep an eye out…

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