The creator of the Ariel Atom has won an award for his creation.
Simon Saunders, designer and director of the Ariel Motor Company which launched the Ariel Atom sports/track car in 2001, has been awarded the prestigious Simms Medal by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC).
Named after Frederick Simms, the founding member of the RAC, the Simms Medal recognises a genuine contribution to motoring innovation by individuals or small companies that also exemplify the spirit of adventure. The Simms Medal Committee felt that Simon Saunders deserved the Award for his passionate development and manufacture of the Ariel Atom sports/track car, one of the most exciting pieces of automotive design, built for pure performance.
The Ariel Atom breaks all the rules – no doors, no screen, no roof – to thrill die-hard motoring enthusiasts. Designed with a clean sheet of paper, the Atom is completely unique, built purely for performance and, according to Simon Saunders, “dedicated to serious fun”.
RAC technical committee chairman John Wood said: “Simon Saunders is a real car enthusiast who wanted to respond to the market demands with an original solution rather than following the flock in reproducing a Lotus 7 look-alike. It is exactly this kind of automotive innovation that the Simms Medal is designed to celebrate and we are delighted to be able to reward people like Simon Saunders, who continue to push the envelope.”
The panel of judges said Saunders has succeeded in producing a vehicle that can out-sprint the exotica of the car world including Ferrari 550s, Porsche 911 Turbos as well as other favoured track cars.
Saunders said: “This is a great honour and definitely makes all the hard work the team have put in seem worthwhile. We always knew that because Ariel is a very small company with no resources to promote the Atom, the car would have to promote itself, which meant it had to look good too. The unique design definitely makes the Atom memorable, as well as its performance on the track.
“Being awarded the Simms Medal from the Royal Automobile Club makes this even more special, as it’s one of the most historic names in British motor sport. As Ariel raced in the first ever race at Brooklands it is an honour that the re-birth of Ariel should be honoured in this way”
RAC motoring committee Stephen Hammerton said: “The Club’s decision to award Saunders the Simms Medal, celebrates the achievements of not only a true enthusiast, but also a creative individual who has pioneered a first-principle approach to automotive engineering, just as our founders did in the very early days of the motor car.”