Mexico’s most exciting export since the frozen margarita, the Vuhl 05 track-ready sports car, has come a long way since we drove it in 2015.
The standard £59,995 model now has a more equal weight distribution and a more spacious cockpit. But it’s the new £89,995 05RR that they let us loose in on the Goodwood hill – and it clearly represents a big step forward for the youthful company.
An adapted Ford Mustang 2.3-litre turbo engine provides 385bhp for the car which, channelled through a six-speed Sadev sequential gearbox, a limited-slip differential, lightweight carbon-composite wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, cuts 0-62mph sprinting to less than three seconds.
Stiffer springs, multi-setting Bilstein dampers, an AP Racing clutch and a quicker steering rack complete the list of significant mechanical changes. And you’ll have noticed the enlarged rear aerofoil of course, lurking on the trailing edge of the car with all of the visual purpose of a cutthroat razor.
Nobody could now accuse this car of lacking much of anything; pace, noise, grip, balance, body control or feedback.
Under a car now weighing just 640kg dry, those Cup tyres take a bit of warming up: when they’re cold the rears spin up angrily if you’re too aggressive with your launch, and it takes longer that Goodwood’s mile-and-a-bit to put much heat into the fronts. But even cold, the car’s front axle is more feelsome in your palms, and comes to heel better than it did in the normal 05. The rear one’s more adjustable, too.
The 2.3-litre engine sounds streets better than the 2.0-litre (the latter admittedly tested in intake-by-your-lughole ‘track’ specification), and makes for huge pace.
You don’t have to rifle your way through the sequential box quite as avidly as you do in a Caterham 620R or an Atom 3.5R, but around a circuit I’d bet the Vuhl is a quicker and easier car to drive than the former. Moreover, it's also now a car you'll comfortably fit in if you're my size - quite a rarity for the trackday market.
That’s about all you can tell from the regrettably short, worrying conspicuous sort of introduction that Goodwood gives you. After Vuhl’s final chassis and diff setup work is completed in the coming months (which is being done in the UK, praise be), we’ll be back in the car for a more thorough appraisal.
And after that, I’d say a big track comparison test pitting this against its latest and greatest rivals from Elemental, Ariel, Caterham, Zenos, Lotus and Radical is well in order. It’s a good time to be in the trackday car market.