The Next Streetable “F1” Car; The 2011 Hulme CanAm Supercar
Every automaker attempts to find the perfect balance of performance and streetability. Whether it’s a special trim level, like STI, Evolution or AMG, or just the brand as a whole (Porsche) companies know that enthusiasts want to be in something fast and fun every time they drive, even if it’s to pick up milk. Some companies push the envelope of what’s acceptable, like Toyota “sport tuning” a minivan, or in this case, Hulme calling the 2011 CanAm (pictured above) a road car.
Named after New Zealand’s only F1 champion, Denny Hulme (1967), CanAm aims to bring the excitement of an F1 car to the street. Well, it does move on the road, so technically that counts. Make the jump to see the specs and find out the idea behind New Zealand’s Hulme Supercars Ltd.
The Hulme CanAm prototype is akin to the temperamental (and still experimental) Caparo T1, boasting F1-like performance that you can drive everyday. Basically you take the DNA of a race car, add some blinkers, a CD player and a passenger seat and you’re done. Once those technicalities are figured out you get to the fun stuff; the performance. The CanAm is a two-seater with a mid-engine layout.
You and a friend will be hurtled down the tarmac by a 7 liter LS7 V8 that makes 600hp and 438 ft lbs of torque. That is serious horsepower when you’re driving a 4,500 Benz, but the CanAm weighs a paltry 2,156lbs. 600hp plus 2,156lbs…carry the one…ah yes, 0-60 in under 3 seconds. I can imagine pulling up next a Scuderia and saying, “What’s that, the F430? Yeah I was lookin at those but 0-60 in 3.2? What is this, 2008?”
The engine is the simplest part of this car. 600hp from an LS7 isn’t really a CNN-worthy story. The suspension and brakes are where things get more technical. The chassis is carbon fiber. The coilovers are mounted inboard. 6 piston brakes are sourced from AP surrounded by big 20″ center locking wheels. It isn’t called the CanAm for nothing.
You may be wondering who Hulme is, so did I. They’re a small company based out of New Zealand, and while they aren’t big (yet) in the supercar game, they are hardly new to driving fast. Denny Hulme won the F1 championship in 1967, and that passion for speed is still very much alive. Hulme set out to build only 9 cars the first year, but have since realized it will be easily possible to increase that number by a whopping..11, for a total of 20 cars per year. This means each car can be tailored to each customer.
An interesting note about Hulme, they have opened the company’s financial potential to the residents of New Zealand. For as little as $1000 a NZ resident can invest in the company as they try to find that alchemy-like marriage of F1 performance and street drivability. It may just be a nice way to say “We need more money.” and it’s better than standing on the median with a cup for change, but I think it’s Hulme’s way of bringing what is a huge enthusiast community into a project with such potential. With Targas, Rallying, F1, CanAm and drifting all hugely popular in NZ, I’m confident greeting cards filled with checks will be stuffed in their mailbox. (They may want to re-cast their car model, just sayin.)
The Hulme CanAm is available in 2011, but they are currently taking orders. While this car might (I said might) be faster than a Scud, you pay for it. The deposit of $14,000 seems reasonable, but the total price is $424,800. No way to phrase it better; that’s a lot of money for a go-kart from a company you’ve never heard of. But as the Caparo T1 showed us, race car performance always comes with a price. Let’s hope the CanAm’s price is ony a financial one, and not the flammable kind that comes with the Caparo.