The owner of Stile Bertone’s first – and so far only – Mantide is contemplating a full-blooded assault on the 7:26.4 Nurburgring lap-time set by the Corvette ZR1 on which his very special car is based.
Mantide is based on the Corvette ZR1...
The Mantide is owned by British-born financier and ‘gentleman racer’ Dan Watkins, who according to Bertone’s chief designer Jason Castriota is getting quite excited about the prospect of pitting his new machine against ‘the green hell’.
‘It has been a dream of mine from the outset of this project,’ Jason told PH on the phone from Italy this morning. ‘The logistics are not easy, as we’ll need to hire a professional driver – somebody who’s truly a Nurburgring expert like Stefan Roser – and then get the circuit closed for a few days.’
‘It would have to be a decent effort, because it will take a few days for optimising tyres and the suspension, but in theory if you make something lighter and more dynamic it should go better!’
But designer Jason Castriota says it's faster!
According to Jason, the Mantide is around 30% more aerodynamically efficient than the already slippery ZR1, largely due to three elements of the eye-grabbing machine’s design which have been extensively wind-tunnel tested.
‘First of all we designed the flying buttresses to accelerate vortices of air across the rear deck, generating downforce without additional drag,’ says Jason.
‘One of the biggest factors causing drag is the wheels and tyres, particularly a car like the ZR1 which runs big 285 section tyres at the front. So the Mantide’s nose and the vents behind the front arches have been designed to move air around the wheels as freely as possible.’
Jason Castriota with his creation
‘The final touch is the Mantide’s flat floor, with diffuser and two small fans either side of the exhaust pipe to help move air cleanly from underneath the car.’
According to the designer, the result of this aero work is a cd factor of just .298. Coupled to a weight saving of 80kgs, and with the Corvette ZR1’s 638bhp supercharged V8 powertrain, the prospects of a quick ‘ring lap seem high.
But first the car has to get there. ‘To be honest it was my dream from the outset of the Mantide project, and although we started talking about it with the owner in a joking way, it’s starting to get a bit more real,’ Jason tells us. ‘I’d say the chances that we’ll do it are currently around 50%, but those odds could change for the better very quickly.’