For those unfamiliar, Zenos Cars is the outfit started by former Caterham boss Ansar Ali and his engineering partner Mark Edwards. After working at Lotus together and leaving Caterham, Ali and Edwards (which sounds to us more like a boxing match than an engineering duo) struck out on their own and have been developing a line of lightweight sports cars.
The E10 is the first of them, and was unveiled a few months ago at the Autosport International show in Birmingham (England, not Alabama – or any of the other US states that have a town by that name). It's built around an innovative carbon and aluminum backbone and packs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from Ford with 200 horsepower on tap that, thanks to its low 1,430-pound curb weight, is enough to send it to 60 in 4.5 seconds.
The startup has now set up Zenos Cars USA and will begin delivering the E10 to American customers next year. Pricing will start at $39,500 (*plus destination and taxes), with the Launch Edition encompassing many of the options for $43,750. That, for reference, puts the Zenos E10 at about the same level as the entry-level Caterham Seven 280 (which starts at $40,900), but significantly less than even the cheapest Radical (the SR4 Clubsport that starts at $65k).
With the distribution channels already established, Zenos has an E11 convertible and E12 coupe in the works based on the same architecture. Feel free to read more in the press release below.
Zenos Cars announced today that its range of lightweight high performance sports cars will be sold in the USA market by its partner Zenos Cars USA, with the first model, the Zenos E10 making it into customer hands in early 2015.
The Zenos E10 made its first public appearance at the UK's prestigious Autosport International Show in January 2014 and received wide public acclaim and industry plaudits for its innovative E-platform chassis architecture, contemporary design, and unrivalled value for money for its sector leading performance. The E10 is a road legal, track focused, step-in two seater sports car with Lotus Elise type proportions. A 200hp mid-mounted transverse naturally aspirated 2.0-litre Ford GDI engine (customer supplied) drives the rear wheels and with a curb weight of just 1430 pounds, a power to weight ratio of 300hp/ton has been achieved. The low vehicle mass is achieved thanks to the innovative integration of a single 'backbone' aluminium extrusion with a carbon composite monocoque; this architecture delivers optimal torsional rigidity, and by utilizing recycled carbon fiber with a novel thermoplastic core for the tub material, the Zenos platform delivers world class mechanical efficiency without the production – and replacement – costs normally associated with carbon-based supercars.
Keeping to the theme of affordability, the front suspension connects directly to the spine/backbone – minimizing cost and mass – while the engine is encased in a rear extruded sub-frame that is removable to facilitate assembly and repairs. Given the performance of the car, driver and passenger safety is paramount: a fully encased steel safety cell comprising twin roll-hoops and side-impact bars is integrated within the carbon monocoque.
The E10 has been designed from the driver out, so simplicity and functionality is the order of the day. The cockpit's ergonomics accommodate persons ranging from 5'1 to 6'3 in height with both driver and passenger seated in bespoke Zenos seats. The E10's driver focus is further accentuated with a visual display directly behind the steering wheel that communicates essential driving information, while in the middle of the dash is another larger screen that will include a choice of road or track data display.
Chief Executive of Zenos Cars, Ansar Ali said, on making the announcement of Zenos Cars USA, "We have always hoped the essence of the Zenos brand and its products would sit easily with the US motoring community of "light is right" aficionados. Randy and Joe are the very epitome and we are delighted to be helping them establish Zenos Cars in the US."
"There is something special about the people that appreciate a pure driving experience and who understand what low vehicle weight translates to on the street or track. I can't think of a car that will more perfectly fit this niche than the Zenos E10. Ali and the team at Zenos also are truly car guys who get it. We are thrilled to be partnered with them" said Randy Chase, CEO of Zenos Cars USA.
The E10 will be first sold in a special Launch Edition which includes as standard, a Limited Slip Differential, In-board Bilstein dampers, 4 point racing harness, bespoke Zenos composite seats, quick release steering wheel, Launch Edition Red paint, and more. Pricing for the E10 will start at $39,500 plus domestic shipping and taxes and the E10 Launch Edition will start at $43,750 plus domestic shipping and taxes.
About Zenos Cars
Zenos Cars, co-founded by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards, who previously were senior executives at both Lotus and Caterham Cars, specializes in the design, manufacture, and retail of lightweight razor sharp handling sports cars.
During Ali's and Edward's time successfully leading Caterham through a recession and then taking it into F1, and prior to that their time at Lotus Cars, they have observed increasing vehicle weights, higher entry prices, escalating repair costs and distant customer relationships; all this leading to the needs and wants of the true driving enthusiast being increasingly overlooked. So Zenos Cars intends to deliver thrilling, engaging and affordable lightweight sports car experiences that go beyond simply driving a car; the driver, the customer, the enthusiast, the supporter will be at the heart of Zenos.
The Zenos principle is to design, assemble, and retail high performance, ultra-lightweight and affordable sports cars, courtesy of intelligent vehicle engineering, efficient material technology, the application of 'form from function' design, and the adoption of a direct Customer Intimate sales and marketing approach.
About Zenos Cars USA
Zenos Cars USA was co-founded by Randy Chase and Joe Schroeter. Randy previously founded ChaseCam, a global supplier for rugged data and video recording products. He has been active in the online community founding Lotustalk.com and Britishspeed.com and is also involved with SCCA motorsports. Joe is Managing Director of The Adrenaline Gallery, an integrator and dealer for Russell Savory Engines, Sadev transmissions, Life ECUs, and more. Together they saw the need for a pure sportscar that was both light weight and affordable and Zenos delivers on all of these fronts.
Zenos Cars USA has offices on both coasts and intends on being active in community based car events.