Cosworth V8-powered racer is eligible for Formula Libre race series in New Zealand.

A small company in New Zealand says it is offering drivers “a near-F1 experience without the cost” with its new single-seat race car.

The open-wheel Rodin FZED is based on the Lotus T125 car that famously featured on Top Gear back in 2011. During episode five of that series, Jeremy Clarkson lapped the cosworth-powered car with guidance from former F1 driver Jean Alesi.

Like that car, the $650,000 (£505,000) FZED has a Cosworth V8 at its heart, and Rodin says it produces 675 bhp at 9,600 rpm. Given that the car weighs just over 600 kg, that means a power-to-weight ratio of 1,125 bhp per tonne and 0-100 mph in just five seconds. That’s faster than a Ford Focus ST gets from 0-62 mph.

As standard, the car comes with a carbon fibre composite chassis and aero package, with an Indy car-style floor that features a tunnel, as opposed to the flat floors used in Grand Prix racing. The 3.8-litre engine is paired with a six-speed sequential gearbox from Ricardo, while the carbon-carbon brakes are made by Alcon and the four-way adjustable racing dampers are from Öhlins.

The 13-inch magnesium wheels are a product of Italian firm OZ Racing, while the tyres are from specialist British firm Avon. The exhaust and muffler system, however, were designed in-house by Rodin Cars and developed with 3D-printed titanium.

Rodin FZED

Similarly, the FZED’s titanium 3D-printed steering wheel has also been designed in-house, as have the composite seats, which will be custom fitted for each owner and paired with FIA-approved seatbelts. And the 3D printing doesn’t stop there, with Rodin Cars also promising 3D-printed titanium/carbon wheels for the next-generation car, reducing the weight of each wheel by 25 percent compared with the ‘standard’ magnesium wheels.

The first five Rodin FZED vehicles are currently being assembled at the company’s base in New Zealand. All five will be painted in black and gold to fit with Rodin Cars’ corporate identity, but customers will be able to specify their own body paint finish should they wish to do so.

Rodin FZED

Speaking of customers, Rodin Cars’ Australian boss, David Dicker, says the car will appeal to experienced and keen drivers who relish the opportunity for a “near-F1 experience”, without the problems of owning an actual historic Grand Prix car. Dicker says the FZED is designed to run for more than 3,000 miles between rebuilds, and the car runs on 98-octane fuels such as Shell’s V-Power.

The car is also expected to be eligible to compete in race series around the world, having already been accepted for the Formula Libre series in New Zealand and the Boss series in Europe.

Rodin FZED

“The Rodin FZED is a far more practical and durable proposition compared with buying and running an historic Grand Prix car,” said Dicker. “People do buy them - I had one - but they are more difficult to run and less durable, plus there’s the risk of crashing a car with an important Grand Prix heritage. Some are getting too expensive to risk on a race track, or parts are no longer affordable, or even available.

“The beauty of the Rodin FZED is that you get the Grand Prix experience: the speed, the power, the downforce and cornering grip, in a package that has been designed for easy access and reliable performance,” Dicker added. “The body uses composite materials and a suspension system very similar to modern Grand Prix cars, and the aerodynamic package is also very contemporary. It looks like a Grand Prix car and it goes like a Grand Prix car, but it has none of the complications associated with running an old Grand Prix racer.”

Gallery: Rodin FZED