Unveiled at Goodwood Festival of Speed is the latest version of the iconic Ariel Atom – the Atom 4R.
Once again powered by an Ariel tuned Honda Type-R 2.0 Litre iVTEC 4 cylinder engine the Atom 4R takes the turbocharged engine to 400bhp with torque increased to 500Nm. Coupled with a new paddle shift, sequential gearbox the Atom 4R is focussed on absolute ultimate road and track performance.
With much attention paid to aerodynamics and cooling the Atom 4R is visually distinguished by new side pods, housing additional cooling systems, together with the optional aero wing package and 4R graphics.
Said Henry Siebert-Saunders, Director of Ariel, “We continue to strive to evolve the Atom as the ultimate driver’s car, whether on road or track. The 4R follows in the footsteps of the amazing Atom 3.5R and yet again moves the story on. This really is an astonishing car of which we’re justifiably proud.”
Using an all new cooling and intercooler system the turbocharged Honda engine, from the Civic Type R, has power and torque both increased by some 25% over the standard engine to 400bhp and 500Nm. The increase not only in power but in torque gives the Atom 4R dramatic in gear acceleration times and performance on track, still coupled with the legendary Ariel and Honda reliability. Turbo boost is switchable between three positions. New air intake geometry, redesigned cooling system, plus an additional cooling radiator in the left side pod has increased engine cooling by 55% in turn allowing Ariel to extract more power from the engine. The right hand side pod houses a larger air/air intercooler increasing intercooling area by 75%, maintaining inlet and engine temperatures even under hard track use.
Drive is through a new Quaife 6 speed, plus reverse, sequential gearbox with gearchange via a pneumatic paddle shift electronic system, allowing 5 downshifts in less than a second. Upshifts can be made at full throttle and without use of the clutch. This, together with an autoblip on downshifts, allows the driver to have total control at all times, without taking their hands from the steering wheel.
Adjustable traction and launch control are also available to assist in different conditions. Suspension is via the standard Atom pushrod system but with Ohlins TTX36 dampers, designed and valved specifically for the Atom 4R with a choice of optimised Ohlins springs for road or track use.
Machined aluminium uprights with aero section wishbones and pushrods reduce both unsprung weight and drag.
The Atom 4R builds on the bespoke and unique approach Ariel have to manufacturing their cars. With each car hand built to individual specification, by one technician, no two cars are the same. The engine, gearbox and suspension particular to the Atom 4R are supported by a wide variety of options allowing each car to be tailored exactly to its specific use and customer choice.
The aero package of front and rear wings with a rear venturi have been developed with TotalSim of Brackley using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and a new interactive, cloud based system called BRAMBLE. The BRAMBLE system, developed by TotalSim with Ariel as an R&D Partner, has allowed for multiple aero runs directly by Arie, tuning aerodynamics as well as intake efficiency. The high downforce wings work evenly on the whole car to balance it and have only a small drag penalty.
Attention to detail, as with anything Ariel, is demonstrated by the raised section on the mudguards which prevents lift and contributes to downforce on the tyres.
Lightweight carbon brakes with a carbon ceramic disc and machined aluminium bell with AP Racing 4 pot calipers give increased braking performance, high resistance to brake fade and reduce wear. The discs are less than half the weight of the standard Atom discs. Carbon wheels, made specifically for the Atom, take the saving in unsprung mass a step further and together with the brakes save 26 kilos over the standard car.
Switchable ABS is introduced on the Atom 4, a first for Ariel. With 12 positions the system gives complete control for sensitivity in wet, dry or changeable conditions. As with launch and traction control the ABS system can also be switched off if required to give complete driver control over all functions.
Full track timing system, with video, can be incorporated with the dash system and the Atom even has a reverse camera with high clarity image in the main screen when reverse is selected. Particularly useful when strapped in with 6 point race harnesses.
Carbon mudguards, further reducing unsprung mass, complement the carbon bonnet, airbox, light covers and ancillary parts and carry the 4R graphics.
Performance times give less than 2.7 seconds to 60mph/100kph and less than 6.5 seconds to 100mph/161kph with a top speed of 170mph. However the in gear times and track performance make this not only an extraordinarily fast car but one of the most rewarding drivers’ cars ever.
Road and Track is Ariel Motor Ltd's official dealer for Australia. The Atom 4R is available for order as track only offering in Australia. Please contact Road and Track for pricing and availablity.