Most car designs start with a sketch or a packaging idea. Zenos, however, started with a number, or rather a price: £24,995. Everything else hinged around Zenos’s ability to offer the E10 for that amount of money.
When it came to the mechanical make-up of the E10 that price, as much as any engineering ideal, is responsible for the way it is set up. Zenos sources the 2.0-litre Ford Ecoboost engine and manual transmission from powertrain supplier Hendy Power and retains the driveshafts, hubs and bearings. That, in turn, dictates that the engine sits behind the occupants and sets the width of the car.
Ahead of the engine bay sits a monocoque with a single central extrusion at its core, around which is bonded a composite tub that features a thermosetting plastic core and recycled carbon fibre skins. You have to clamber over the latter in order to get in, because there are no doors. Zenos claims that the skin material itself retains 75 percent of the rigidity of a pure carbon fibre tub and possesses a torsional rigidity of 12,000Nm per degree. And because the carbon fibre itself is made from offcuts, it only costs a tenth of the price of virgin carbon fibre.
In order to lower repair costs the E10’s tub is made from five individual parts, so you don’t necessarily have to replace it all in the event of an accident, as this is a track-focused car meaning the chances of off-asphalt excursions are relatively high. To ease the repair of smaller nerfs, the body consists of 18 different replaceable panels, here topped by an optional windscreen, which can be swapped back for the standard aero screen in about 45 minutes. You can also specify a ‘get you home’ hood and a tonneau cover.
The E10’s front and rear suspension are double wishbones and the brakes and suspension are both unassisted. It’s a set-up that’s meant to make the Zenos weigh only 725kg dry, but our test car was a pre-production example wearing some non-standard materials, which upped that figure a bit. However, given that it was also laden with fuel and sported the larger turbocharger that lifts the E10’s power to 250bhp to make this the ‘S’ variant, a kerb weight of 900kg is reasonable.