The Force was strong with industry icons Bob Lutz and Henrik Fisker and industrialist Gilbert Villarreal, as they introduced a new supercar at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. The latest product to be made by their company (now known as VLF Automotive, based on the trio's last name initials), is a two-door sports coupe named Force 1. Derived from the Viper SRT, it is powered by a 745 hp (556 kW) version of the Viper 8.4-L V10, packing a full 100 hp (75 kW) more than the production engine. And it is still naturally aspirated.
Claimed torque is 638 lb·ft/865 N·m vs. 600 lb·ft/813 N·m for the Viper SRT, which is scheduled for a 2017 model year phaseout. VLF claims the Force 1 can achieve 218 mph (349 kph) and 0-60 mph is listed as 3.0 s. The transmission choices are six-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic; suppliers have not yet been announced.
The car, which has an all carbon fiber body on a modified Viper chassis, will be produced at VLF's facility in Auburn Hills, MI, where an earlier design, the four-door Destino powered by a Corvette ZR-1 V8, is reportedly production ready. That model is built on an aluminum space frame and body.
The prototype Force 1 displayed at NAIAS was assembled in just eight weeks, according to Lutz, the former GM vice chairman, The design was created by Fisker, who headed a company that attempted a previous solo effort at a premium plug-in hybrid, the Karma. That company failed just over two years ago.
Force 1 is equipped with high-performance Brembo brakes and an active suspension system produced with dampers by Tractive Suspension, a boutique development firm in the Netherlands. The Force 1 dampers are capable of 10,000 cycles/s, according to race driver Ben Keating, co-owner of Viper Exchange, a Tomball, TX, dealership that specializes in the marque.
Keating is in a partnership with Fisker that developed the Force 1, and he was responsible for the integration engineering and calibration of the suspension. He said the dampers, which are currently offered on his company's Vipers, have a large dynamic range, so the car will have a comparatively soft normal setting all the way through to track-level firmness. Keating noted that he has been racing Vipers with the 745 hp edition of the V10 at Daytona for three years.
The Force 1 rides on Pirelli Zero tires mounted on 21-in (533 mm) wheels. The car has body downforce elements front and rear, with the rear diffuser made of transparent carbon fiber. A housing at the top of the backlight holds the brake light and a WiFi module.
The interior is fully-trimmed in premium leather, suede and a luxury man-made material, Alcantarra. Above the console area is a two champagne bottle holder, which Lutz said also could hold fire extinguishers for track use.
The first production batch of approximately 50 cars will be sold through Keating's dealership. Deliveries will start in June, according to Lutz.Continue reading »