The Ultima RS - A Home Built Hypercar?
Is there such a thing as a bargain hypercar? Thanks to the Ultima RS, there is now.
The Ultima RS from Ultima Sport; heard of it? If you haven't, don't fret. You could ask most motoring enthusiasts about this British model and brand, and even they would be stumped. But believe it or not, the Ultima RS is a dream come true for anyone who loves performance cars but may not have the budget for a mainstream Italian, German or British exotic.
So what is an Ultima RS and how do you get Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren beating performance with hypercar looks for a ¼ of the price tag. Well, it’s simple, you have to build the Ultima RS yourself!
That may seem daunting and unusual but in England, there is a long history of kit car manufacturing. Where Ultima Sports differs however is that they don’t offer a wonky replica based on an old Beetle chassis or a Cobra that uses suspension from a rusty Cortina. Ultima Sports uses a host of bespoke parts manufactured by themselves or sourced from specialists which are then packaged together to make home construction easier. The only “recycled” components in an Ultima Sports vehicle are the engine and the gearbox, and even those can be sourced brand new.
This brings us back to the Ultima RS, the company’s latest model which was released in 2019 and sits above their other offerings, the Evolution and Evolution Convertible. The RS, like all Ultima models before, is inspired by Group-C Le Mans racers and this design is prevalent in models like the older GTR and the Evolutions models. The RS on the other hand takes the basic shape and updates it with modern styling in-line with current prototype racers and the world’s finest supercars. These styling updates include modern LED lighting, a large “gooseneck” wing and active carbon fibre aero accessories. These updates give the RS the aggressive and exotic looks that can easily fool even the most informed petrolhead into thinking the RS is far pricier than what it is. The body itself is manufactured from fibreglass and uses a colour impregnated gel-coat that is available in 11 different colours, meaning that you don’t need to paint your Ultima RS which does save on costs.
Underneath that lightweight body, the RS utilises a bespoke spaceframe chassis with an integrated rollcage for obvious safety reasons. Attached to the chassis, is a fully independent suspension system at both the front and rear which consists of cast uprights and adjustable coilover shock absorbers developed specifically for the car. As part of the suspension package, Ultima Sports also offers a hydraulic front lifting kit to help navigate speed bumps and driveways, just like many of the cars available from mainstream brands.
The interior is a much simpler affair and features racing seats with harnesses and the option of a digital cluster from racing supplier AIM or analogue Ultima branded gauges. The RS is supplied with an OMP Racing steering wheel with a quick-release hub to make getting in and out of the car easier. Attached to the steering wheel is a wireless switchgear system that allows the driver to control the indicators, lights, hooter and hazard warning lights, similar to what you would find on a Ferrari steering wheel. The gear shifter is another motorsport-derived piece supplied by CAE Racing in Germany. The interior of the car is also equipped with air-conditioning, a much-needed addition given that the car's design does not allow for opening windows.
When it comes to power options, Ultima Sports have designed the RS chassis to accept a General Motors V8 crate motor, in particular the 6.3-litre 320kW LS3, 7-litre 425kW LS7 or the supercharged 6.2-litre 563kW LT5, but builders have fitted a variety of engines from the GM range and other manufacturers. For the transmission, Ultima Sport recommends the fitment of the Porsche 6-speed manual transaxle which is available in the 911 and Boxster. When it comes to performance, the figures vary depending on the engine option that your budget allows. With the range-topping LT5 installed, you can expect a 0-100km/h reading of 2.3 seconds thanks to a weight of only 930kg, and a top speed of 350km/h+ depending on the gearing and the driver’s bravery.
Now that you have decided to get yourself an Ultima RS, how much time will it take to build and how much will it cost? According to Ultima Sport, the kit is designed in such a way that a novice could complete a build his or her RS in 350 hours using basic garage tools as the build requires no welding and includes a thorough set of instructions as well as a factory helpline.
Moving onto costs, a well equipped Ultima fitted with an LT5 motor could cost you around R1.8 million for the complete kit depending on the exchange rate. Yes, that may sound steep but bear in mind that a new Ferrari F8 Tributo which weighs 1,435kg and produces 530kW will cost in excess of R6 million!
With a difference like that sitting on your balance sheet, the Ultima RS is a performance bargain with neck-breaking looks, and all you have to do is crack out the spanners and screwdrivers.