Slated for track testing late this year, the Rodin FZERO race car is the brainchild of Ferrari Challenge class champion and car enthusiast David Dicker. The Rodin FZERO is conceived for amateur racers as a vehicle that’s faster than a Formula One racecar. "The nearest race track to us is in Sepang, Malaysia, so we’ll ship the car there and if we can lap it under 90 seconds, the job is done,” David Dicker said in an interview earlier this year with Automotive Engineering in Birmingham, Michigan.
The tasks have been fairly monumental for Dicker and the 10 young engineers working to build race cars from Rodin Cars’ R&D, production and test track facility in New Zealand. “We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think there was a market for the cars,” said Dicker, who is also CEO and founder of the publicly traded Australian-based Dicker Data, an information technology company.
For the hyper-performance Rodin FZERO, technical specialists are making parts via assorted selective laser sintering and stereolithography 3D printers. “You can make parts that you wouldn’t be able to make with any other method,” Dicker said. The car’s metal parts are mostly titanium, including the suspension uprights and the exhaust system. There also are plastic-composite parts. And the canopied monocoque is carbon fiber.
The Rodin FZERO’s powerplant, its development spearheaded by the renowned Graham Dale-Jones, is a clean-sheet, direct-injected 4.0-L all-aluminum V10 with a 72-deg. bank angle. The engine will pump out 700 hp in normally-aspirated configuration and more than 1000 hp with turbochargers. “The aim was to build the smallest, most-compact 4.0-L V10 that we could. It basically weighs about the same as the Cosworth GPV8 that we use in the FZED,” Dicker said.
Based on the Cosworth XG engine used in the Indy Racing League circuit, the 3.8-L Rodin FZED engine delivers 675 hp at 9600 rpm, with peak torque of 361 ft-lb (490 Nm) at 7600 rpm. It mates to a 6-speed sequential gearbox from Ricardo. The Rodin FZED, which resembles an open-wheel Grand Prix race car, has a starting (US) price of $675,000. “We have five of these cars being built at the moment,” Dicker said.
All fasteners are designed and manufactured in-house. “The FZED has 500 bolts of 50 different types, and it’s a similar number for the FZERO. We make all of the bolts from titanium, heat-treat them, then add a titanium nitride PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating so they have a gold-color finish,” said Dicker.
Although many of the parts and sub-systems for both race cars are designed and fabricated in-house, there are no patents or pending patents relative to the technology. “There probably are a lot of things that could be patented, but we haven’t pursued anything,” Dicker said, “Our philosophy is to build the best that we can. And that requires a lot of iterations and a lot of other things. You don’t accept something unless it’s exactly the way you want it to be.”Continue reading »