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Steane Klose | Mar 3, 2008

If you’re a fan of Top Gear you may remember the episode where Clarkson drives the Ariel Atom, with his mouth open, cheeks billowing in the slip-stream as he guns it around the Top Gear test track? Well, he might think twice before trying that trick with Ariel's latest version of the Atom, dubbed the Atom 500.

In 500 guise, the Atom is powered by a Russell Savory 2.4-litre V8, hooked up to a six-speed sequential gearbox and the numbers are staggering. Weighing a scant 500kg the Atom 500’s little V8 packs an enormous 373kW/500hp+! That equates to over 1000hp per tonne or nearly double the Bugatti Veyron’s 521hp/tonne.

The little 2.4-litre V8 features five valves per cylinder, a supercharger and develops max power at 10,000rpm. It uses a dry sump lubrication system to ensure it can handle the rigours of the track.

The sequential gearbox is capable of flat-shifting and features a paddle gear-change along with launch and traction control systems. The Atom 500 also gets chromemoly aerofoil wishbones, an integrated function steering wheel and to ensure it stops as well as it goes, a set of Alcon four piston brakes.

'For a few customers the Atom 500 will be the ultimate expression of lightweight performance and represents the outer limits of what is achievable in a road registered car. We also use this sort of project to explore the possibilities of how we can improve our standard cars. The Honda engined production cars already combine all the elements that we want in an Atom and by pushing the envelope to these sorts of extremes we can further improve the breed,” said Simon Saunders, Director of Ariel.

Ariel will be producing the Atom 500 at their facility in Somerset, with the first cars becoming available later this year. There is currently no official word on price.

If you’re up to the challenge, the Atom 500 would have to be as close to F1 performance that you can get...without buying a F1 car.

[Source: Pistonheads]

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