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This is the 500bhp-per-tonne Zenos E10 R

British lightweight upstart rattles Ariel with 345bhp track day weapon

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It appears not even the frothy, fun world of lightweight track day special can escape the power arms race. No less than a year since TG got its hands on the 247bhp Zenos E10 S, and the upstart British manufacturer has thrown the best part of another 100bhp at its circuit-chewing bathtub. It’s call the E10 R.

The 2.0-litre Ford Focus ST engine has been punted, in favour of a 2.3-litre four-pot that develops a huge 345bhp and 350lb ft. Looks like similar numbers to the new ford Focus RS’s EcoBoost engine, doesn’t it? Zenos insists they’ve not got the jump on their engine partner’s long-awaited AWD hatch – the similar power figures have been reached via its own bespoke ECU.

We’re not really fussed how the clever codes have unlocked more power – we just want to know what 345bhp does in a car that weighs just 700kg dry (40kg up on the standard E10).

Zenos claims the rear-drive, manual gearchange-only E10 R will race to 60mph from standstill in 3.0 seconds, which is right up there with the tastier Caterhams and Ariels of this world. Top speed is estimated to be around 155mph, but probably isn’t recommended by your optician or dentist given a windscreen is still an option.

Though the bodywork is unchanged from the regular Zenos, the racier R has been gifted some cosmetic upgrades, so everyone at the next track day will be in no doubt as to your, erm, credentials. The initial run of cars is being dubbed ‘Drive Edition’, and wears a unique graphite livery in contrast with an anodized-finish black chassis, plus adjustable dampers to fiddle with, and race seats and harnesses to keep you secure when it becomes abundantly clear you’ve set the dampers up all wrong.

Meanwhile, there are new, larger yet lighter wheels, a shorter throw to the gearshift, and well, R-stickers, which are worth half a second in lap time. At least.

There’s also a £10,000 price premium versus the bargain E10 S, but the R still comes in a fiver under £40,000. Which is plenty for a car with no heater or roof, but not much at all for a carbonfibre-bodied go-kart that’ll keep a hybrid hypercar honest at Silverstone, the Nürburgring, and every road in-between.

Just in time for a bitter winter too. Anyone seen our gloves and hat?

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