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Élan Motorsports NP01 Wins the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge at Virginia International Raceway

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The Élan NP01, an impressive and affordable prototype-style race car, took top honors at the 2018 Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge presented by Grassroots Motorsports, the competition held annually for the sole purpose of finding America’s fastest track car.

Braving wet and challenging conditions, driver Franklin Futrelle and his team dialed in the Élan NP01 for the conditions. With very limited track time they were able to lay down a 2.01.083 lap time on Virginia International Raceway’s 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course, just over four seconds quicker than the second-place finisher.

“We are thrilled to have the NP01 win our event this year,” said Tim Suddard, publisher, Grassroots Motorsports magazine. “It is such a proof of our Ultimate Track Car Challenge concept when a relatively affordable track car, in nearly stock condition, and that is available to anyone, can come out to one of the biggest and best tracks in America and flat out win an event like this overall!”

This was Élan Motorsports’ first Ultimate Track Car Challenge since it introduced the Élan NP01 race car in 2015 for use in the National Auto Sport Association’s (NASA) then-new NASA Prototype Series. Soon after, the company developed the Élan Super Touring 1 Competition Package – an engine, exhaust, aerodynamic and suspension upgrade package – to broaden the car’s appeal to NASA racers by making the already capable sprint racer eligible for NASA Super Touring 1 (ST1) class competition.

The Élan NP01 that won the 2018 Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge presented by Grassroots Motorsports featured the ST1 upgrades.

The Élan Super Touring 1 Competition Package includes the following:

  • Updated, high-output 235-horsepower Mazda 2.0L MZR engine with high-compression pistons, performance camshafts, and an 8300-rpm limit.
  • Tuned free-flow exhaust system designed specifically to work with the new rpm range.
  • Engine intake ram-air extension for increased airbox pressure at speed.
  • High downforce aero kit with a ramped front splitter with raised center section and a rear diffuser with strakes to direct airflow.
  • A rear anti-roll bar, billet uprights, and endurance-spec rear lower wishbones.

The Élan Motorsports’ development team expected that the upgrades would significantly improve overall performance. In testing at Road Atlanta using the same driver, an Élan NP01 with the ST1 package posted a lap time of 1:26.27, compared to 1:31.07 for an NP01 in NASA Prototype Series trim.

Below is a quick overview of how the Élan NP01 race car’s ST1 Class configuration compares to its original NASA Prototype Series setup:

ST1 Class NP01 Series
Weight 1,450 lbs. 1,450 lbs.
Horsepower 235 horsepower 185 horsepower
Torque 165 lb./ft. 145 lb./ft.
Power-to-Weight Ratio 6.17 lbs./hp 7.84 lbs./hp
Road Atlanta Lap Time 1:26.27 1:31.07
Price – Kit* $90,250 $76,125
Price – Assembled* $101,250 $85,900
* The Élan NP01 includes all components necessary to assemble a running, drivable vehicle. Race-readiness requires further preparation. All prices exclude tax & shipping.

From the start Élan Motorsports designed the Élan NP01 to be fast, reliable, easy to maintain, and as safe as possible thanks to the closed-cockpit design that helps provide added driver protection. Most hardware is standardized to simplify maintenance and repair and reduce costs. It also features bodywork made up of individual fenders, engine cover and front hood sections rather than complete all-in-one front and rear body components. For example, if bodywork is damaged, the owner can replace individual pieces instead of an entire front nose piece, making repairs easier and more cost effective.

It has proven itself through the NASA Prototype Series and in endurance competition at events such as the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Since its introduction, Élan Motorsports has built and sold over 30 Élan NP01 race cars.

Elan Motorsports
Elan Motorsports
Elan Motorsports attends the 2018 Mitty Motorsport Classic

Élan Attends the 2018 Classic Motorsports Mitty

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In April, Élan Motorsports and Panoz teams showcased several current track-only and street-legal high-performance machines at the 2018 Classic Motorsports Mitty Presented by Hagerty at our home track Road Atlanta.

Motorsports fans came to check out yesteryear’s racecars and racing legend and event Grand Marshal John Morton, who drove the BRE Datsun 510 to consecutive SCCA Trans-Am series championships in 1971 and 1972.

Élan Motorsports and Panoz showed the all-new Élan NP01 race car, two Panoz Avezzano GT sports cars, the ever-capable Panoz Esperante GTS track car.  Élan and Panoz machines also showed their mettle on Road Atlanta’s beautiful 2.54-mile circuit, with fans getting to see a recent  Élan DP02 (aka the IMSA Prototype Lites car) and a Panoz Esperante GTS track car in action.

More into modern motorsports? Check out the Élan NP01 in NASA (National Auto Sport Association) Prototype Series spec trim here.

Elan Motorsports attends the 2018 Mitty Motorsport Classic
Elan Motorsports attends the 2018 Mitty Motorsport Classic
Elan Motorsports attends the 2018 Mitty Motorsport Classic