In every auto show, you’re bound to come across a concept project being displayed in hopes of finding a financier to move the project further along than its pipe dream status. At the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, we finally saw that car. It’s called the Wikispeed SGT01, a racing prototype that was displayed at Cobb Hall in body/chassis/interior/suspension form. The car didn’t have a powertrain on it so we can easily figure out just how far the project needs to go to become production ready.
The SGT01 was originally developed for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition and has since taken shape, albeit in small, baby steps. The company’s founder, Joe Justice, is looking into building the SGT01 as a turn-key automobile, but lacks the necessary funding to do so. From what we’ve heard, the company’s looking for an investor or, at the very least, obtain a loan of about $750,000 to get the project up and running.
Whether the company finds that person is still up in the air, though. So for now, they’ve settled on previewing a body prototype of what the SG01 could look like with the hopes of at least getting enough attention to attract a kind soul that can fund the project.
Details on the Wikispeed SGT01 after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
It’s a little tricky to describe what the SGT01 is eventually going to look like. While the company showed a prototype that looks like an aerodynamic sports car, the intention for the SG01 is to eventually be a four-passenger vehicle. In any case, the SGT01 is being envisioned to be a four-seat racer that’s built on an extruded aluminum chassis with a carbon fiber body weighing only 590 kg. According to reports, the car’s chassis has already been stamped with “five star equivalency” from tests involving front impact, side impact, and roof-crush strength. Justice also said that the car’s carbon fiber body will be produced for only about $1,000, thanks in large part to an innovative layering process that we, quite frankly, have no idea of how it works.
The SGT01 is being pegged to come with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder Honda engine mated to a five-speed automatic Honda drivetrain. Figures aren’t official yet, but the company described that in simulated E.P.A driving cycles, the SGT01 was able to achieve ridiculous fuel efficiency numbers of 104 miles per gallon in the city and 114 miles per gallon in the highway. With such gaudy numbers, there has to be a catch to that, which, predictably, there is. In achieving those numbers, tests were done with “capped performance parameters” that limited the car’s 0-60 mph time to a turtle-like 15 seconds and a top speed of 67 mph. Not exactly race prototype material, is it?
Eventually though, Wikispeed is shooting for a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph, meaning that we probably shouldn’t expect to go 114 miles on the highway before consuming a gallon of gas.
If we were willing to fork over $28,800 to pre-order a unit, we’re confident that Wikispeed would gladly accept the generous show of faith in them. If – and it’s a very big ‘if’ – the car does end up being production ready, the company said that prices could drop to under $20,000.
In body form, the SGT01 doesn’t really have a fair competition considering that, well, it doesn’t move. Conversely, since performance specs of the car - as well as aesthetic looks, for that matter - are still in the dark, we can only assume and hope that it should pose as competition for Radical and their slew of modern-day racers.
We love the ambition, we’re just not sure if it’s going to amount to anything more than that
Less than $20,000 for a production version sounds inviting
Given the circumstances, the car looks very promising
Too many unknowns
Ambitious project that might not even take off
Company needs a lot of help to hit the ground running