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Zenos set to take on track-car royalty. Image by Syd Wall.

Zenos set to take on track-car royalty
New sports car firm has Lotus and Caterham experience in its genes.
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What's the news?

Yeah, yeah. Another plucky little British sports car maker, presumably run from some dreary trading estate in Bumchesterford, which will arrive in a blaze of publicity before disappearing in a ball of recrimination. We've seen it so many times before.

But hang on, Zenos could, just could, be a bit different. The start-up sports car maker has unveiled its first production model, the Zenos E10 at the Autosport show in Birmingham, and while it certainly fits the traditional mould of a classic small-volume British sports car (carbon, aluminium, no roof, Ford engine) there is a bit more weight behind the brand than most. The Zenos company has been cofounded by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards. Both worked together many years ago at Lotus Cars, before Ali took over the running of that great maker of road and race cars, Caterham. Caterham had a very successful period under Ali's tenure, and it was he who sold the company to far-eastern airline and race car magnate Tony Fernandes.

So you'd have to underestimate these two, and their company, at your peril. The Zenos E10 is a low-slung two-seat open sports car, designed for track days in the main, with a carbon tub supported by an aluminium backbone. Power comes from a 200hp Ford 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and with a weight of just 650kg, that adds up to a power-to-weight ratio in excess of 300hp per tonne. Not bad - that should be good enough for a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds.

You can have it with either a five- or six-speed transmission, and there's a special edition 'Launch' version, which comes with a limited slip differential, a quick-release steering wheel and a special paint job. Prices start from £24,995 for the standard car, or €28,995 for the 'Launch' edition. Zenos says it already has 200 expressions of interest from customers (that's about one full year of production) and hopes to have around 150 cars on the road by the end of the year.

"The launch of the E10 at Autosport International will mark another major milestone in what's been an exciting 18 months since work begun on Zenos Cars," said Ansar Ali. "Based on our experience, we know the sector and what drivers want, and with the Zenos E10 we have worked hard to develop a fun, engaging and affordable lightweight sports car. We're looking forward to showing it to the world."

Anything else?

This won't be the only Zenos. There are already plans afoot for a Zenos-11, which will be a roadster version with a folding roof, and a Zenos-12, which will be a coupé. The basic structure of the car has been kept as simple as possible and Ali claims that it's very versatile and adaptable for spin-off versions.

Neil Briscoe - 13 Jan 2014

2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.

2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.2014 Zenos E10. Image by Syd Wall.

    - Zenos news
- E10 images

Zenos launches its second model, the E10 S. Image by Zenos.
Zenos gets hotter
British sports car manufacturer Zenos expands range with the more powerful E10 S.
Zen and the art of the sports car. Image by Zenos.
New sports car
New lightweight sports car, the Zenos E10, will be unveiled at Autosport International show early next year.

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