GINETTA

Monday 21st March 2011


PH Investigates: Ginetta's Road Cars

The Yorkshire firm might be busy with its new, GT3-bound G55 racer, but road cars are coming...


You know when Ginetta is in town. Silverstone may be in Northants, but when the orange team trucks roll in from Leeds and the garages resound to 'ey up!' and 'now then!' it might as well be a satellite province of god's own county.

Ginetta's recent revival as builder of affordable race cars for BTCC-supporting one-make series and giant-killing GT4 performances has been nothing short of astonishing, with boss Lawrence Tomlinson combining his personal passion for racing and straight-talking Yorkshire business sense with great effect. On track, the new G55 - demonstrated at Silverstone - builds on the success of the Euro GT4-winning G50 and will soon be taking on the big boys in GT3. No lack of ambition there. But what about the road cars, namely the street version of the cute G40 racer and the reborn Farbio GTS, now known as the Ginetta F400?


As an off-the-shelf racer costing just 27,000, Tomlinson describes the G40 as a game-changer for Ginetta, the teeny, 1.8-litre Zetec powered coupe making a tempting proposition as a track day toy. But what of the long-promised road-legal version that'll let you leave the trailer at home and drive to the circuit yourself?

Last year Ginetta did exactly that, driving a factory-fresh G40 down the M1 to Silverstone (via Halfords for a 1.99 earthing strap) and racing to a class win and 12th overall in the Britcar 24-hour. Not bad for a car costing less than 30 grand with just 150hp under the bonnet. "The only reason we didn't drive it back on the Sunday was because our works driver pee'd on the seat during the race!" says Tomlinson, in typically direct style.


There's still some way to go before Tomlinson is happy to let the G40 out as a road car, though; refinements in the trim and day-to-day usability are still ongoing - 'some time in 2011' is the only current timescale for sales to kick off. A hoot to drive on track, this can't come soon enough though, the promised 30K price point seemingly pretty reasonable for a tough, race-honed giant killer like the G40.

It's a similar story with the F400, Ginetta now addressing quality issues Tomlinson sees as essential before he's happy to deliver the first batch of 20 or so cars to customers.


The fundamentals of distinctive and undeniably sexy styling, the exotic carbon fibre body and the resulting 911 Turbo-beating power-to-weight ratio from the 410hp supercharged Ford V6 are all appealing enough. Ditto the fabulous visibility from the cab-forward, mid-engined layout and lightness of foot that can only come from a car weighing half a tonne less than most of its competition. Twitchy, high-geared steering and a total lack of safety aids focus the mind, but there's little need for concern, the F400 proving stable and confidence inspiring at the wheel.

But people spending 95,000 on a supercar - people like Tomlinson in fact - have high expectations and until he's happy with the detailing like fit and finish, pedal positioning and telematics he's not willing to let the car out as a Ginetta. To speed up the process, this initial batch of cars has been brought up from the F400 production line in Wiltshire to Ginetta's Leeds base for a hands-on finishing process.


Rest assured that, as soon as they're ready, we'll be pestering Ginetta for a go in both the F400 and road-going G40 R at the earliest opportunity. Watch this space...

Photos: Dan Trent/Jakob Ebrey





Author: Dan Trent

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