Check out the N1A, a road-going supercar from Nichols Cars
Nichols Cars has revealed the production-ready N1A, the 900 kg Can-Am-inspired British supercar that pays homage to one of the most iconic racing cars of all time: the original McLaren M1A. Led by renowned motorsport engineer, Steve Nichols, Nichols Cars has created the road-going N1A, a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car with minimal driver aids and a naturally-aspirated V8 engine.
A renowned name in the motorsport world, most notably in Formula One, Steve Nichols worked with McLaren in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is credited with introducing the applications of carbon fiber to Formula One, a material that is now commonplace in most racing cars today. Becoming lead designer at McLaren in 1987, the first car Nichols designed for the famed marque, the MP4/3, carried Alain Prost to three victories and led the team to finish second in that year’s Constructors’ Championship behind Williams. Drawing on the inspirations of the original McLaren M1A, the N1A’s sleek bodywork panels are made from Formula One-grade graphene-infused carbon fiber. The iconic headlights and design cues of the M1A have been carefully implemented into the N1A’s structure, to ensure its swooping body is not only striking to look at but, thanks to carefully considered detailing, aerodynamically efficient, too.
John Minett, CEO of Nichols Cars, said: “The Steve Nichols name is one that needs no introduction in the motorsport world. To be able to work with Steve as well as a number of talented industry professionals is an absolute honour and the N1A is an excellent example of the incredible work from everyone involved. We always strived to make the N1A an unforgettable car – both to experience from afar and from the driver’s seat – and from the N1A’s aerodynamics to its fully-customisable interior, we have now reached that point, and it’s incredible to see.”
The exterior of the N1A is where Steve Nichols’ work shines through. The bodywork of the N1A celebrates the heritage of the M1A but is a thoroughly modern interpretation. It is produced from Formula One-grade graphene-infused carbon fibre which helps to give the car rigidity as well as contributing to the light weight. With a power-to-weight ratio of nearly 700 bhp per tonne (depending on the engine specification), drivers of the N1A can feel immersed in the true Can-Am racing experience thanks to its featherweight driving feel. The N1A is also available in any number of liveries, each of which can be customized to the customer’s requirements.
Inside, the cockpit reflects the stripped-back approach of a racing car, highlighting the dashboard with dials that hark back to the golden era of motor racing. The execution, however, is pure sophistication, with top-grade leathers and fabrics, and aluminum components machined from the solid billet. Featuring an Ayrton Senna-inspired gear knob, the N1A’s fully reclined seating position is like that of the MP4/4, giving drivers a chance to experience exactly what Senna and Prost saw.
The ‘beating heart’ of the top-of-the-range N1A is a 7.0-liter all-alloy V8, which has been developed by Nichols Cars. Starting out as an LS3 block from General Motors, it’s been bored out to accommodate new steel liners, whilst custom pistons and conrods have also been added. The impressive engine will be topped with drive-by-wire throttle bodies and will sit on top of a dry sump system, developed in conjunction with leading UK-based engine specialists. The result of these extensive engine upgrades is a total power output of 650 bhp, meaning the N1A in this specification has nearly 700 bhp per tonne.
Coupled with a choice of transmissions supplied by Dana Graziano (formerly known as Graziano Transmissioni) the N1A is a proficient racing car for the road, capable of brutal acceleration, and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The hand-fabricated independent front and rear suspension of the N1A comes with double wishbones and anti-roll bars as standard, absorbing all the surfaces the N1A will conquer. The N1A’s chassis is just as impressive as its exterior. Comprised of next-generation carbon fiber and lightweight yet strong aluminum, the cutting-edge materials used in the creation of the N1A are second-to-none.
Founder of Nichols Cars, Steve Nichols, said: “Having experienced amazing racing cars over the decades, I’ve never been able to implement those quirky qualities into a road car, until now. Taking into account all the people that have worked on the N1A, I’m incredibly proud that the car is part of the next chapter in sports car history and is the next step for us and Nichols Cars. The process from pencil to production model has been extremely gratifying; this should be a reminder to the entire automotive industry that combining the past, and present, and looking to the future, is the way forward for this entire community.”
The launch run of vehicles will be top-of-the-range versions with 7.0-liter (427 cubic inches) engines, limited to 15 cars, each commemorating a victory of the MP4/4. The total production of N1A models won’t exceed more than 100 vehicles, adding to its exclusivity.