Another little piece of veil has been taken off the new TVR. Here is a teaser image of the full frontal of the car, whose name is still kept totally secret.
There are three main aspects that the following interview to Les Edgar – made by TG magazine – points out:
- Simplicity but in modern way
- Le Mans
“THE AVENTADOR IS NOT A SPORTS CAR”
That’s Mr. Edgar’s point view as he’s been asked by the journalist about the new car and if it’s a sports car or a grand tourer:
“It’s more towards the Aston spectrum than it is Lotus. Sports GT is where we’re headed. Sports cars should be small. An Aventador is not a sports car. The Griff rides well because it’s on smaller wheels and taller tyres, which is what we’ve gone for. It’s more comfortable. The new car had to be timeless, although that’s a difficult thing to strive for. The Griff had simplicity. We tried to get that with this car, but there had to be some cues that tell you it means business. So there are thumping exhausts at the side, and lots of aero at the rear. We’ve avoided fitting too many electronics; they’re expensive and will be unreliable at some point, although we do have digital instruments and a touchscreen infotainment system. We’ve used ultra-reliable components and then ‘bespoked’ them to TVR’s need.”
A SMALL SUMMARY ON THE NEW CAR’S FEATURES
Here’s the highlights of the new TVR by Les Edgar himself:
“Six-speed manual, 5.0-litre Cosworth V8, shouty, great looking, top speed 200mph – although we can limit it if you want – 0-60 comfortably sub-4.0 secs, Gordon Murray designed, full ground-effect aero, carbon fibre chassis, full leather trim, unique colours. We’re targeting power-to-weight ratio rather than outright power. Fully loaded, the launch car weighs under 1,250kg and has 400bhp-per-tonne. We’ll have to eke some more out of it… All for £90k. That sounds pretty good to me.”
AND WHAT ABOUT COMPETITORS?
The new TVR will go against a lot of sportscars but thanks to its features there are good chances that several people will change their mind. That’s because – that’s its essence – a TVR is very different from a Porsche 911:
Everyone looks at the 911 and thinks, ‘well, they got everything right’, in all the key parameters. Everything but nothing, in a strange sort of way. Sports cars used to be unique, they used to have foibles. Now it’s difficult to tell them apart. TVR did that brilliantly. We are the under-dog challenging everybody, whether on the road or the race-track. The passion drives us on. It sounds trite, but it’s true. If you haven’t got that, you’ll build a competent car, but you won’t build a TVR. That said, we have built an incredibly sound business case.
“THE RELIABILITY THING HAS BEEN A REAL FOCUS FOR US”
It seems with the new Car Mr. Edgar wants to solve definitively the “historical” problem of any modern TVR: reliability (of the engine, of the chassis…). And offer to the market something more “pragmatic” than the mighty Sagaris:
Our job is to broaden the marketplace. We couldn’t sell a car like the Sagaris straight off. People have been softened by the latest cars, whose set-up and software make you feel like a God. Porsche owners have reached a certain level, they know what they’re getting, they won’t get laughed at by their mates when they say they’ve bought a 911. If you’re not an outright sports car fan, you’d be very happy. As you would with an Audi RS6. The reliability thing has been a real focus for us. Not just to conquer the historical problem TVR might have had in that area, although I honestly don’t think they were any worse than many others. It was more a case of too much power, not enough control. You could do that then, now you need to be more pragmatic.
ENGINE, SUSPENSION, DRIVER
What will distinguish one more time the new TVR from other cars will be its simplicity:
There’s a steel tubular skeleton, mainly there to locate the engine, suspension and driver. A carbon fibre sandwich with honeycomb centre is bonded in around it. That makes it enormously strong, approaching 20,000 Nm per degree. You attach the crash structures front and back. They’re aluminium, and bolted on. The carbon panels are created at low pressure and low temperature, not done in an autoclave, so they’re cheaper to manufacture. The body consists of composite panels, bolted on at the end of the process. In an impact, the frame takes the impact and directs the forces through the tyres. So it won’t ripple the body. We’ve done massive amounts of computer modelling on this. We’ve also done accelerated salt water corrosion tests. It won’t rust.
HEADING TO LE MANS
British motoring manufacturers have always had races in their mind. It’s fair to say that for now TVR will focus on a road going models. But it seems this is only the first step of the rebirth:
One-make race series is definitely happening. For me, for a sports car to show its mettle it has to go racing at Le Mans. I helped put Aston Martin back there, now I want to see them off with this car. The focus right now is on building a great road car. You need a lot of downforce at Le Mans, and Frank Coppuck [Technical Director at GMD] said, well the car needs to be wider, because the wing design is restricted by the width of the car. It also needed more presence and stance. So it’s 100mm longer, the cabin is 420mm wider, and that also gives us more width at the rear. That was a hard-fought battle, and one of the few compromises Gordon made.
LES EDGAR IS NOT A GOD (PARTIALLY, YES!), GORDON MURRAY IS A GOD.
And a god needs to go to le Mans. That’s why a car like the new TVR is here:
We couldn’t afford to develop the electronics to make you feel like a God, but we knew Gordon was a God, so we figured he could do it. We’d bought this magnificent brand, and we thought, ‘what do we do now?’ There was no way we could launch a new TVR at £150k, although maybe we’ll get there eventually with something else. We talked to everybody. We talked to Gordon, but knew we couldn’t afford him. Anyway, there were three of us on our side, with GMD’s entire board opposite us. They told us about the city car. Then I said, ‘well, we’re going to Le Mans’. And instantly every single one of them smiled. Emotionally, they’re racers. I thought, this might just work.
“TVR NEEDS TO COME BACK AND BE GREAT AGAIN”
Mr. Edgar probably has squared balls as he decided to revive completely a brand. But of course we’re speaking about a small company that could compete with Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini in terms of performance and prices. So, some balls but also the perfect harmony of passion and nose for business:
“There are lots of things you need to have, aside from money – and you can never have enough of that in this business. You certainly need to have some balls. Having a relatively small budget focuses you on the important things. Look, an opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often. In fact, it doesn’t come along at all. To revive a British sports car brand, a genuinely iconic name, British-owned, British-built… as a starting point, that can’t be bad. This isn’t somebody indulging in a mid or late-life crisis. We need to do this. I need to do it. TVR needs to come back and be great again.