Ginetta Turn Their Focus To A New Road Car – The Ginetta G40R
For most people the phrase British Sports Car used to mean a car matching a particular set of characteristics – lightweight, relatively modestly powered but equipped to provide handling thrills that a boggo saloon couldn’t match.
That particular type of animal had many breeds, even within the UK – Triumph, MG, TVR, Morgan, Lotus, Marcos, and many many more.
Also on that list were Ginetta, a quirky but very worthy marque whose track-focussed machines found a loyal but relatively small clientele.
Ginetta are now, of course, in the hands of Lawrence Tomlinson’s LNT Group and the boss has got well used to repeated questions from DSC on whether and when one of their new breed of Ginettas will be engineered and marketed for road use.
With the company seemingly constantly involved in the preparation, launch and construction of a seemingly ever expanding range of GT Racers the answer has always been politely non-committal but a call from the factory in the week before Le Mans promised a change in direction on that front.
And so it proved to be – Arriving at a beautiful chateau close to Arnage on Friday morning DSC was greeted by a four car line up of Ginettas being prepped for the Drivers Parade that afternoon.
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The Ginetta G40 will be a very familiar animal to DSC readers whether through its role as the weapon of choice for the 2011 Ginetta Juniors, as a sub class in the Ginetta Challenge alongside the venerable G20s or for its remarkably reliable run to a class win at the 2010 Silverstone 24 Hours.
Now though the basic car is in the final process of being productionised for the road, and a pretty persuasive package it is too.
With a list price planned for c.£30,000 it presents as good value rather than Sale of the Century but even so it has plenty of potential competition both from the road and trackday markets – mainstream and component car manufacturers have not been slow to recognise the potential for a car that translates seamlessly from road to track and the G40 will need to beat off potential competitors from the like of Lotus, Caterham, KTM and others.
So how will it do that?
“We think we have an ideal crossover product, ” says Tomlinson, “the car is pretty practical as a road tool with a very useable boot and a refined powertrain (a 175 bhp 2 litre Mazda unit provides the ponies).
That gives the car a sub 6 second 0-60 time and a top speed north of 135 mph.
For the track it is fitted with a full FIA rollcage as standard plus an FIA approved fuel cell and adjustable suspension so there’s no need to buy a second car for trackdays.
We’d agree with all of the above the boot is apparently large enough for two sets of golf clubs without looking like it has an oversized butt (think Fiat Coupe rather than BMW 6 Series) whilst the styling uses a seemingly ‘bitsa’ approach – some aspects of the car are reminiscent of other automotive offerings – translates to a neatly styled, borderline cute, finished product.
There are apparently some tweaks to come at the front end, the boss feeling that the current front end styling is a little too bland, but in effect the overall visual package is here for all to see, and from the reactions we saw in the streets of Le Mans it could be a real hit.
Internally the pre-production cars are less than luxurious – and that’s the way it’s likely to stay – light weight generally means low on creature comforts but the Ginetta staffer that brought the car from the UK reported that the car was perfectly comfortable and, more importantly, 100% reliable.
“We’re very pleased with the progress so far with the car but we’re continuing to improve the car as we move towards production, says Tomlinson, “Value for money doesn’t mean that there’s an excuse to lower your standards.”
We’ll get the chance to get behind the wheel in the very near future but for the moment the thought that occurs to us is this.
Back in the day the TVR Chimaera and Griffith were massive hits in the City with their ‘look at me’ styling and sound – The tide has turned though and excess is now frowned upon somewhat – Cleverly marketed this little beauty could find a very good market as the City Boy (or girl) toy of choice – and if Ginetta impress their customers they might sell a few F400s to the same audience when we start to forget what a hash they made of the economy too!
Over to you LNT
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