Ultima GTR

The car is brutal fast.

Not just fast, as in road legends such as Murciélago, ZR1 and GT40.

Enzo fast. Veyron fast. Carrera GT and Koenigsegg CCXR fast. And-then-some fast.

The mid-engine Ultima GTR is the fastest accelerating and decelerating production vehicle in the world at — hold on — 9.4 blistering seconds. Manufactured by Ultima Sports Ltd. of Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, this is the road-legal supercar that recently bested the $3 million Ferrari FXX, piloted by seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher around the Top Gear test track. It beat the Ferrari’s record at work, then traveled back home along proper English roads. The Ferrari required a transport truck because the FXX isn’t street legal.

What’s more, this world-class exhilaration doesn’t end until the vicinity of 230-plus miles per hour. In that neighborhood, you’re all alone with the ecstasy of going where few have gone before.

You now can order an Ultima GTR in the Valley from Forman Motorsport, Franz Forman’s luxury sports car showroom, 22515 N. 19th Ave. in north Phoenix. The exclusive United States distributor for Ultima’s factory-built rolling chassis, Franz’ place is also a factory-authorized Ariel Atom dealer as well a showroom for exceptionally value-priced late-model, pre-owned imports such as Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini.

“I am extremely passionate about this car,” says Franz, president of Forman Motorsport. “Just a quick jab of the throttle, and it seems you’re transported through time in the blink of an eye to 120 mph-plus. No drama, no waiting for turbo boost to kick in, no nitrous — just the incredible bellow from the naturally aspirated 720-horsepower LS7 as it hurls the car into the next time zone.”

Better still, the GTR is great performance value. The four-wheel rocket ship won’t flatten your wallet: The base price for a factory-built car — with a 500-horsepower V8 and driveline installed by Forman Motorsport, is $143,500. Compare that with a Lamborghini Murciélago— a stellar vehicle — but priced at an astronomical $400,000-plus.

Loaded, with the 720-horsepower package and premium interior, the Ultima GTR is $169,780 — “an outright steal,” says Franz, noting the performance numbers are equal to or better than those put up by the $2 million Bugatti Veyron. A convertible, the Ultima Can-Am, is available at a slightly higher cost. Delivery time through Franz for a rolling chassis, complete with the driveline installed and your interior, is about four–six months: World-class fast takes time.

“The Ultima GTR fits in perfectly with the rest of our business model at Forman Motorsport, which is, quite simply, to offer our clients the ultimate performance value,” Franz explains. “Whether this means buying a 10,000-mile Lamborghini Gallardo for less than half price, a $200,000 AMG Mercedes for $70,000 or one of our many pre-owned Porsches at a fraction of their original MSRP, we are infatuated with delivering the finest performance cars in the world for less money than someone might spend on a new Chevy Corvette. Even our new cars demonstrate this same type of value — whether it’s the GTR or our new 2010 Ariel Atom 3, which will outrun most supercars costing five times as much around a track.”

You decide if you’re planning to use the GTR primarily for track — and therefore want a stripped-down lighter-weight car — or one loaded with options for the weekend enthusiast. Franz’ premium interior package includes leather seating and dash surfaces such as an Alcantara headliner, Alpine sound system with six speakers, high-output amplifier and I-Pod adapter, a carbon fiber rear spoiler and other luxuries.

Whether you use it on the track or the street, the Ultima GTR is built for aerodynamic efficiency and balance, incorporating superb down force and short front and rear overhang. Large wheels also ensure that the supercar keeps you on the ground from start, through the turns and at top speed.

Built on a tubular steel chassis with gel-coat bodywork, the Ultima GTR comes from England to Forman Motorsport as a complete car, less interior upgrades, engine and transmission components and various fit and finish details, which Franz and his team will install based on your requests.

As with the Rossion Q1 or the Gumpert Apollo, the GTR is not a fully homologated car, so Forman Motorsport cannot import a turnkey Ultima into the country from the United Kingdom. As a result, Franz adds the driveline and your specified options to the rolling chassis.

You can choose any feasible powertrain, but Ultima has designed the GTR to be used with Porsche’s G50 gearbox and a balanced and blueprinted configuration of the Chevrolet small-block 7.0L LS7 V-8, which Forman Motorsport sources from a racing-engine builder here in the U.S. This same engine builder also supplies most of the engines installed in factory-built Ultimas sold in Europe.

The engine in the current car has bench dyno’ed at 723 horsepower and nearly 600 foot pounds of torque in naturally aspirated form, Franz says. This car, the GTR720, or the 640-horsepower version, the GTR640, are the configurations that have set the records that you’ve read about in the Guinness Book of World Records, and elsewhere, or watched on television.

“We are not selling the car as a kit, nor will we offer it to clients this way, as we feel the car was designed and engineered by Ultima in the U.K. and, therefore, they are the experts at building the car as well,” says Franz. “With the car capable of speeds in excess of 220 mph, we feel that the best-built cars will be those built by the company who designed them.”

“Franz came over to meet us in the summer, and, with his established expertise in already dealing with high-performance vehicles and the high level of customer service that he offers, we believe Forman Motorsport to be the ideal outlet to sell Ultima rollers into the USA,” says Richard Marlow, a director at Ultima. Dad, Ted, heads the company.

The Marlows’ company began in 1983, founded by Lee Noble, who set up Noble Motorsport and produced the Ultima Mk1 — the beginning of the 25-year tradition. Ted, in fact, was the company’s first customer for an Ultima when he acquired an Mk2 with a Ford 3.1-litre V-6 Essex.

Marlow then lifted a Chevrolet V-8 Formula 5000 into the Mk2, beginning a Chevy power choice followed by others. Others raced Chevy V-8-powered Ultima cars and won as well as set numerous track records during the ‘90s. In 1991, the TAG McLaren Group purchased two Ultima Mk3 kits from Noble Motorsport. And these — affectionately “Albert” and “Edward” — became prototypes for the development of the legendary McLaren F1.

In 1992, Ted purchased the rights, jigs and molds for the Ultima Mk2 and Mk3 from Noble and, as Ultima Sports Ltd., he began to make the potent vehicle more widely accessible with components such as a five-speed Porsche G50 transaxle and standards and options including luggage compartments, lockable doors, adjustable suspension, improved ride quality, provision in the loom for a CD player, wiper system, fog lights and air conditioning.

In 2005, Ultima released the GTR640 and immediately established several world records at Bruntingthorpe airfield. The Ultima set road-car records such as 0–60 mph (2.6 seconds); 0–100 mph (5.3 seconds); 0–150 mph; 30–70 mph; 0–100 mph-0; skidpad lateral g cornering; and terminal speed.

The following year, the Ultima GTR720, with Richard Marlow driving, set a 0–100 mph–0 world record for the third year in succession. He followed with a new production-car record over the quarter mile: 9.9 seconds @ 143 mph. Both of these, and all of the records, were independently verified.

Recently, the GTR was independently timed around the Top Gear test track and was 6.2 seconds per lap faster than the flagship Ferrari, the Enzo. A curb weight of about 2,200 pounds delivers a power-to-weight ratio for the GTR720 — better than the Bugatti Veyron, the Enzo and other supercars.

The GTR is also street legal: You can drive it to the race track or to the dog track. Your Ultima will have a complete 17-digit VIN, with all state-required items for registration such as lights, horn and turn signals. Arizona, for example, will call this a “special construction status” vehicle and inspect the car before titling it, Franz explains.

However, the Ultima is not a fully federalized car (e.g., ABS brakes, crash testing, traction control), so you should check with your licensing state regarding registration requirements.

Wherever you live, this car can worthily stand beside your Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferrari’s: “It is a true exotic with all the looks and sounds to go with it,” Franz says. “The car stops traffic with its unique shape and gets as much if not more attention than any other exotic that I have ever driven.”

He adds: “One thing is for certain: If our goal is to offer our clients the ultimate value in performance vehicles, I think we just set the bar quite a bit higher in the ‘Bang for the Buck’ category!”