Ascari KZ1 – 2003

The story so far — in 1998 speed-loving Klaas Zwart purchased Ascari Cars, maker of the impressive Ascari Ecosse mid-engined sports car, built a new factory at Banbury to create custom performance cars and started developing a racing club in Southern Spain that came with its own racing circuit and a stable of supercars for members to enjoy. Now read on…

Klaas Zwart named the company’s next high-performance car after himself (as the Ascari KZ1 and then KZ1R) and made it one of the most exclusive supercars in the world. This special edition beauty was limited to just 50 cars, each built by hand over eight months. Would-be owners can try before they buy at the Ascari Race Resort, which is billed as the world’s ultimate drivers’ club and luxury retreat.

The mid-engined KZ1 was created as a replacement for the Ecosse. Klass Zwart styled the body, building it around a carbon-fibre chassis and tuned BMW 4.9 litre V8 engine that delivered majestic performance figures. The car has a distinctly 21st century appearance, crouching low on the road with its sloping bonnet between rounded front wings, punctuated with stylish slanting headlight arrays. The flanks have deeply scalloped air intakes and the cockpit has raked front and rear glass.

A discreetly curved rear wing completes the picture. Detailing is superb and the comfortable cockpit is beautifully designed and appointed.

Next out of the Ascari box was an A10 race prototype that used the KZ1’s chassis and the same BMW engine. Then the KZ1R was unveiled at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed. This has a leather interior, air conditioning, electric windows and central locking, but still manages to hit 60 mph (97 km/h) from rest in around three seconds and go on to 200 mph (322 km/h).

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2003

ENGINE:

4,941 CC V8

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 199 mph (320 km/h);0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.9 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

‘Never rest on those laurels’ must be a Team Ascari motto, as the awesomely fast KZ1R was further developed as the KZ1R-GT to race in the EuroBOSS series, where Klaas Zwart (wearing his racing-driver helmet) has enjoyed considerable success.

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