British race car builder returns to the supercar scene with a barnstormer of an exotic

British race- and sports-car builder Ginetta attended the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with its latest creation, the Akula. Named after the Russian word that translates to “shark,” the Akula looks every bit like an asphalt predator. The Akula combines an attention-grabbing design with a low-weight carbon-intensive construction and Le Mans-derived performance equipment. That’s an excellent formula for a niche model that’s looking to strike down the titans of its segment. Can the Ginetta Akula do it? We’re going to find out.

2020 Ginetta Akula Exterior

  • Carbon fiber body
  • Carbon fiber chassis
  • Race-spec front spoiler, rear wing, and underbody diffuser
2020 Ginetta Akula
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What’s your first reaction when you see the Ginetta Akula? It looks like a supercar, but it doesn’t jump off the page, right? I’m not quite as sold on it as I want to be, partly because I’ve seen this kind of design before. There are some pretty elements, for sure. The front bumper and lip spoiler looks menacing.

The boomerang-shaped carbon fiber panels just behind the front wheels have “supercar” written all over them.

The overall shape of the Akula is pure exotic, too. But this is a case of the parts not adding up to the sum. I’m particularly bothered by the Akula’s headlamps because they’re not aggressive enough to my liking. I can see traces of an LMP race car in them, which to some is a plus. It’s a net negative for me. If I’m buying this, I want people to be scared of it, not see it and say, “hey, that’s a cool-looking car.” The world has enough of those already. The massive rear wing is scary, so that’s a bonus, too.

The rear diffuser looks race-spec. But the taillights? The carbon fiber case of the circular lights is a nice touch, but the shape and layout of said lights aren’t. Let’s just say we’ve seen them before…from the 1995 Ferrari F355. The one design element that I’m most disturbed by is the Akula’s nose. It’s a flat nose that extends a little past the lip spoiler. In some angles, it looks decent. But on some angles, it looks like a bird’s beak. Sure, it’s a small detail that a lot of people can live with, but this goes back to my earlier point of a supercar looking aggressive enough to make people stop on their tracks, pull out their mobile phones, and take selfies with the car in the background. That’s the kind of reaction I’m looking for in a supercar. I don’t get that with the Ginetta Akula. I’ll stop and look at it, sure, but as far as taking photos of it, I’d rather save my phone’s battery.

2020 Ginetta Akula
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To be clear, I’m not blaming Ginetta one bit. The Akula can be an acquired taste. There’s a chance I can warm up to it, especially if I see it in a different color. And for what it’s worth, Ginetta pulled out all the stops to make the Akula as light and as aerodynamically fierce as possible, even if it came at the cost of its aesthetics. I can respect that.

The Akula’s body, for example, is made purely from carbon panels. That covers a chassis that’s made from an all-carbon fiber tub.

This setup enabled Ginetta to keep the Akula’s weight to a svelte 1,150 kilos, lighter than most exotics in its class. Just as important is its aerodynamic performance, which, Ginetta says, will be “phenomenal.” That remains to seen, but it’s a promising start, especially since the automaker has already spent hours upon hours doing wind tunnel testing. You can see in the car’s design, too, how much emphasis Ginetta put in the Akula’s aerodynamic qualities. They don’t add up from a visual standpoint, but the exotic’s body is littered with planes, ducts, and aerofoils, not to mention a massive rear wing at the back that looks a lot like the rear wing on Ginetta’s LMP1 race car and an underbody diffuser that racing purists can fall smitten with any day of the week.

The Akula sits on a set of 19- and 20-inch center-lock alloy wheels in the front and rear, respectively.

Ginetta developed the wheels in-house, and they’re wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, specifically 275/35 ZR19s in the front and 305/30 ZR20s in the back. Peaking from inside this setup are Alcon carbon disc brakes.

2020 Ginetta Akula
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I respect Ginetta’s drive and purpose in developing the Akula. Clearly, the company has a rich history of developing some of the best LMP race cars in the world. A lot of that experience was used in the development of the Akula, and while I’m not a big fan of how it looks — it’s not a badly designed car; I’m just not blown away by it — I admire the lengths Ginetta talk in making the Akula an aerodynamic powerhouse. In many ways, that’s a good trade-off.

2020 Ginetta Akula Interior

  • Generous amounts of carbon fiber, leather, and billet aluminum
  • Large digital display
  • 23.8 cubic feet of cargo room
2020 Ginetta Akula
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Like most supercars, the Ginetta Akula has room for only two seats. Based on the images we took from the show, the leather-dressed seats look and, more importantly, feel mighty comfortable. That’s important when you’re driving a 600-horsepower supercar that can presumably hit close to 200 mph. The layout, particularly that of the dashboard, is clean, exactly how it should be. Nothing is excessive; the only notable piece of equipment is the Tesla-like digital display that sits diagonally on the center console. Apart from the two knobs on the tunnel, all the controls are accessed through the display. Carbon fiber panels cover a good amount of the interior surface. Those that aren’t are covered in leather. Fancy leather adorns the seats, steering wheel, and door panels while the door handles and inside switchgear, all come from milled billet aluminum.

Part of the Akula interior’s appeal is the amount of personalization that comes with the purchase of a model. According to Ginetta owner and former Le Mans class winner Lawrence Tomlinson, every owner of the Akula will receive, among other things, a race-style car fitting.

The seat shapes, for example, are alterable, either through added inserts or bespoke padding.

Since those seats are molded into the tub for weight-saving purposes, Ginetta also created an adjustable setup in the steering column and pedal box. This allows the driver to move both components to suit his comfort level.

2020 Ginetta Akula
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The Akula’s interior also offers ample space, which is surprising considering that the supercar features a front/mid-engine layout. The small Ginetta-designed V-8 engine sits so far back from the hood that its drive pulleys sit directly beneath the windscreen wipers. It’s not the traditional mid-engine setup that you normally see from other cars of its ilk, but Tomlinson says that this setup creates better weight-balance between the front and rear — the weight ratio is 49:51, which backs up his claim — of the Akula. It also provides enough space to accommodate a carbon fiber front structure that offers FIA GT3 levels of crash protection. It’s remarkable, too, that the location of the engine didn’t compromise the front legroom of the car.

Speaking of remarkable things about the Akula, it also comes with a spacious trunk. I’m not talking about spacious relative to other performance cars. I’m talking about spacious relative to all cars.

In total, the Akula’s trunk has 23.8 cubic feet of cargo room, which is insane for this type of car.

That’s the same amount of cargo space as the 2018 Ford Focus, which happens to be one of the most spacious subcompacts in its own segment. If you’re going to buy the Ginetta Akula, this remarkable feature is, without a doubt, one of it’s main selling points.

2020 Ginetta Akula
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I’ve nothing negative to say about the Ginetta Akula’s interior. It looks clean, classy, and well-dressed. It’s highly customizable, too. Plus, it has the kind of rear cargo space you normally see on SUVs. What’s not to love with this kind of setup?

2020 Ginetta Akula Drivetrain

  • Compact and lightweight 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine
  • 600 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque
  • 545 horsepower per metric ton
  • 376 kilos of downforce
2020 Ginetta Akula
- image 829845
At the heart of the Ginetta Akula is a compact and lightweight 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine that produces 600 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque.

That might sound like pedestrian numbers for a supercar, but remember, the whole car weighs just 1,150 kilos, which converts to only 2,535 pounds. It’s 600 pounds lighter than a McLaren 720S and a Lamborghini Huracan, and 700 pounds lighter than a Ferrari 488 GTB. The Akula’s power figures also translate to a power-to-weight ratio of 545 horsepower per metric ton. Impressive, to say the least.

Ginetta didn’t divulge performance details, though it did say that the V-8, which is dry-sumped and fuelled by Ginetta’s own throttle bodies, connects to a six-speed sequential paddle-shift transmission with a differential connected to the engine through a tailshaft made from, you guessed it, carbon fiber. The two rear wheels bear the brunt of the V-8’s fury, though, as I mentioned, performance details have yet to be announced.

2020 Ginetta Akula
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Given the focus Ginetta placed on the Akula’s aerodynamics, it’s within reason to imagine that the supercar can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds. Having the engine so far back creates that optimal aero character. Same goes for the long front wishbones that are unimpeded by the V-8 engine. This setup helps keep the tires flat on the road when a driver starts building up speed. The Akula’s downforce is also something to behold.

At 100 mph, Ginetta says the Akula is capable of generating a whopping 376 kg of downforce.

That’s almost 830 pounds, a figure that puts the Akula well had of the Ferrari LaFerraris and McLaren P1s of the world. Genet even says that the downforce generated by Akula falls within five percent of its own LMP3 race car. That’s impressive. Very, very impressive.

A race-derived suspension setup with pushrod-activated double-wishbones at both ends provide the needed assistance to ensure the Akula drives and handles like a legitimate supercar. Ginetta’s LMP race cars use the same setup, adding another race-inspired element to the Akula’s performance makeup.

2020 Ginetta Akula
- image 828023

The supercar also boasts hydraulic power-assist steering. Mess up in the straight or in the corners and you can rely on a handful of electronic aides — ABS and traction control — to get you pointed in the right direction.

2020 Ginetta Akula Pricing

2020 Ginetta Akula
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The Ginetta Akula costs £340,000. That’s $452,000 based on current exchange rates.

It’s not a cheap car, even among its supercar brethren. It’s more expensive than a Ferrari 488 GTB ($250,000), a Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 ($240,000), and a McLaren 720S ($290,000). If you look at it from the perspective of pricing, you’re better off buying any one of these three supercars. They’re all more popular and they come from three of the most established supercar brands in the world.

But there’s also a reason why the Akula costs as much as it does. It’s limited to only 20 units in its first year of production, and Ginetta is building all 20 units on its own. No outside help coming here, folks. Throw in the amount of personalization that goes into the development of each unit of the Akula and you can understand why Ginetta is asking that much for one of its models. There’s a cost to these things.

In the event that you’re interested in buying a Ginetta Akula, you need to act fast. Company owner Lawrence Tomlinson has said that of the 20 units his company plans to build this year, 14 are already spoken for. That leaves six units that are still up for grabs. Time to give your bank’s loan officer a call, perhaps?

Production of the Akula starts later this year. Without any scheduling hiccups, the first deliveries are expected to start sometime around January 2020. If the supercar turns out to be a sales hit, Ginetta will build anywhere from 30 to 50 units per year.

2020 Ginetta Akula Competition

Lamborghini Huracan Evo

Lamborghini Throws Down its Highest Trump Card with the 2019 Huracan EVO Exterior
- image 812705

Technically speaking, the Lamborghini Huracan Evo is described as a new-generation model by Lamborghini. But it can also be described as a mid-cycle facelift of Lambo’s entry-level supercar. We’re not going to get caught up in the semantics because, however you want to describe it, the Huracan Evo is a pure Lamborghini. It’s based on the higher-spec Huracan Performante. It features typical Lamborghini-Like aggressive details in the front and rear sections. Bespoke wheels? Sure, it has them, too. There’s a big touchscreen in the interior, as well. The Huracan Evo’s call-to-fame, though, is the all-too-familiar 5.2-liter V-10 engine that has powered plenty of Lamborghinis in the past, including the Huracan Evo’s “predecessor,” the Hurcan LP 610-4. Naturally, the Huracan Evo’s V-10 unit packs more power: 631 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than what the Ginetta Akula’s naturally aspirated V-8 engine is capable of spitting out, but remember, the Huracan Evo tips the scales at 3,135 pounds. That’s 600 pounds heavier than the Akula.

Given that it wouldn’t be a shock to the senses if the limited-run Akula beats the Huracan Evo’s 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 2.9 seconds. Perhaps the Akula can go even toe-to-toe with the Huracan Evo’s 202-mph top speed? Fortunately for those who are leaning towards the Lambo, the Huracan Evo starts at “just” $261,274, not counting tax fees.

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo

McLaren 720S

2018 McLaren 720S High Resolution Exterior
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It only seems like yesterday when McLaren pulled the covers off of the 720S. But that happened two years ago, and since then, the 720S has established a reputation as one of the première supercars of its segment. It’s hard to find a more complete supercar than the 720S. It’s subjective, I know, but I find the 720S the most exotic-looking of all the supercars in its segment. That’s not all. It’s also the most advanced, at least if you consider state-of-the-art technology a part of that equation. The 720S also boasts a rotating instrument cluster, leather and Alcantara interior options, and visible carbon-fiber inside and out. Power? The 720S tops that list, too, thanks to a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 that produces 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of twist. The sprint to 62 mph takes 2.8 seconds, a tenth-second quicker than the Huracan Evo. Presumably, that’s faster than the Ginetta Akula, as well, but without a proper time from Ginetta, we’ll only find that out in an empty space of road. The Akula better come prepared, too, because the 720S is capable of hitting a top speed of 212 mph. For everything that McLaren is offering, the 720S fetches a starting price of $290,000. That’s before options turn that price tag bloody.

Read our full review on the 2018 McLaren 720S

Final Thoughts

2020 Ginetta Akula
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The Ginetta Akula is the perfect example of a supercar that embodies what its maker wants out of it. Ginetta is far from a household name in these circles, but it has a reputation of building and developing some of the finest championship-winning LMP race cars in the world. It’s dabbled in the sports car segment every so often since its inception in 1958 but doesn’t have the same sparkling portfolio as the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and McLarens of the world. Still, the company has built some firecrackers in the past. The Akula represents the most recent of the lot, and it’s an impressive piece of machinery. I’m not as sold on its looks as I want to be, but I understand those who think that it’s a design champion. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. That said, I’m a fan of everything else that Ginetta did to its new exotic. From the compact V-8 engine that produces supercar-levels of power to the carbon fiber tub that forms the bones of the exotic, the Akula is as impressive a boutique supercar as I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s not cheap, but I won’t hold it against you if you end up buying one.

  • Leave it
    • Not sold on the looks
    • It’s expensive
    • Limited quantities could make it hard to score

Further Reading

2020 Ginetta Akula
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Ginetta’s All-New Lightweight Supercar Heads To Geneva With More Than 600 Horsepower

2016 Ginetta G57 Prototype Racer
- image 659696

Read our full review on the 2016 Ginetta G57 Prototype Racer.

2015 Ginetta-Juno LMP Track Car Exterior
- image 572359
Ginetta-Juno gives us a look at the first-ever LMP3 race car.

Read our full review on the 2015 Ginetta-Juno LMP Track Car.

2012 Ginetta G60 Exterior
- image 419297

Read our full review on the Ginetta G60.

Today the Ginetta supercar made its world debut at the Geneva International Motorshow where company Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson confirmed the name, pricing and further ownership details of its all-new supercar.

The combination of aerodynamically optimised design and potent performance found in the new supercar required a fitting name, and given the car’s formidable presence Akula was chosen. Being the Russian word for ‘shark’ as well as a term for nuclear-powered attack submarines, the predatory character of both subjects lent themselves well to Ginetta’s creation. Finished in ‘Typhoon Black’, the Akula captivated the crowd in Geneva with its menacing appearance.

Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson commented: “The concept behind the Akula was to build something truly individual, something that other brands cannot do due to corporate constraints. Designed to cut through the air like a shark through water, the car unquestionably means business, and I’m proud to be manufacturing a car of such significance in the UK.”

A true limited-edition vehicle, the Akula is priced at GBP 340,000 on the road. Production will be limited to just 20 units in 2020, with 60% of this allocation already sold before the car was publicly unveiled.

Paramount to Ginetta’s supercar programme was customer inclusion, with the barriers often associated with supercar ownership firmly removed. Aside from building a personal relationship with the engineers that built their car, Akula owners will also be given a full introduction to the Ginetta brand with a customer experience day culminating in track time in the G58 racer.

The G58 is the closest thing to strapping in to an endurance racer as non-professionals are likely to achieve. The G58 is powered by a 575bhp V8 power plant, weighs just 940 kilograms and showcases some of the race-derived technology utilised in the Akula to whole new levels.

With a Ginetta factory driver, full pit crew and a range of Ginetta vehicles from G40 up to G58 at their disposal, this exclusive ownership experience will be an induction into the Ginetta family for Akula owners and the start of a supercar ownership experience like no other.

Tomlinson commented: “We’re a small company but we pack a punch, and our customers should be the ones who truly benefit from that. We compete with other manufacturers on the race track, but with our supercar we’re offering something different and aimed at those who want a true connection with the brand that built their car. Whether it be taking to the track in a G58 or making your bespoke specification choices with us at the factory, Akula owners will be truly involved in all things Ginetta.”

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