If you're a car guy, then chances are good that at one time or another you've leaned back on your stool in your garage, in your chair at work, or on the family sofa in the living room and dreamt up some kind of supercar.
More often than not, a pushrod V-8 powered the beast, possibly from its mid-ship location behind you. A five- or six-speed would be available at the end of your right hand (automatics just don't deliver the thrust your brain needs to sense with the passing of each gear), and the car's profile would be sleek and pantherlike.
Well, wake up! Factory Five Racing has beaten you to it and done all the hard work for you. Their GTM (Gran Touring-Mid-engine) kit, which has been in the works for the past five years, has finally gotten the green light from FFR's powers that be and is ready for sale and delivery.
Though we're sure the supercar you designed has all the right amenities (coffee cup warmers for both the driver and passenger) to make those 150-mph blasts down to the corner grocery store a comfortable breeze, Factory Five has gone to enormous lengths to get this car right before releasing it to the public.
How far, you ask? Once the initial design had gone from paper to a full-scale buck (much of this work was done by FFR's Jim Schenck) and a driving prototype was created, the shape was analyzed at improvised focus groups. The groups' findings concluded that Factory Five needed to change the car's rear end shape. So another design was created, another full-scale buck made, and another working prototype built. This design was favored by everyone who saw it, so the car began some tough testing, unlike any testing of any other kit car you can name.
Somehow the folks at Factory Five managed to gain access to the world-class wind tunnel at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Typically reserved for testing new military aircraft designs (or the occasional NASCAR racer), the tunnel's plenum chamber is 80 feet long, 122 feet wide, and 72 feet high, with power generated by twin 4,000-horsepower fans!
The information gathered there (i.e. the hood cutout shapes, internal ducting design, and wind splitter and diffuser shapes) was all considered when making the final decision on what the GTM would look like. But above and beyond how the car would look was how the car would work. On paper the car should easily exceed 150 mph on the open road, so every effort was made to do it with a product that had safety in mind first and foremost. With many years of racing experience behind them, the R&D team at FFR set out to create a tube cage and chassis that they believe will transport the driver in a safe but comfortable manner. FFR used 1.5-inch, .120-wall tubing in most areas, including the six-point roll cage, though sections of the floor are fabbed with square tubing (mostly so aluminum panels can be easily attached).
Specs on the car dial the wheelbase in at 101 inches, the width at 74 inches, and the top of the roof at 42 inches. Track is a little narrower in the front than the rear (60.5 vs. 62 inches), and the overall length of the entire car is 171.5 inches. Front-to-rear weight distribution is set at 42/58 percent. And where FFR built its reputation by having Ford-based engines and suspensions for their roadsters, their GTM taps the Chevrolet 1997-2004 C5 Corvette for most of its drivetrain and suspension needs.
What you get with the GTM kit (for about $20,000) is a pre-trimmed composite body with the doors, trunk, and hood latched and hinged, all the aluminum interior pieces, steering components, DOT-spec glass, taillights, headlights, sport seats, Auto Meter gauges, wiring harness, and much more.
Sleek and slippery, just the...
Sleek and slippery, just the way you'd expect a supercar to look. With five years of development behind it, the Factory Five Racing GTM is now ready for the road.
Under the prototype's rear...
Under the prototype's rear lid is a 350-horse LS1 backed to a five-speed transmission. The 5.7-liter engine uses the original Corvette computer module for fuel management and diagnostics, which can only aid in getting the car passed through those states with tough smog emissions requirements.
Comfortable and simple. Though...
Comfortable and simple. Though the prototype features a Kenwood stereo in the console, there's no stereo in the GTM kit. Factory Five did, however, provide space for a speaker up to 5.25 inches in each door.
The gauges are from Auto Meter...
The gauges are from Auto Meter and come standard in the GTM kit. The assembly will have air conditioning as an option, and dash vents are provided for those builders who would like to install a system.