Buyers can’t wait to snap up Emirates’ first supercar
DUBAI // It is still in the early stages of production, yet potential buyers are already queuing up to buy the first Emirati-built supercar.
The Dubai Roadster will be sold for about Dh400,000 when it becomes available early next year.
Rashid Al Shaali, a former Emirati racing driver who helped to develop the vehicle’s design, said as soon as news of the supercar broke, he received dozens of calls.
“I’ve already had four inquiries from people saying they wanted to buy the car now,” he said. “I had to say, ‘hold on, it’s not finished yet’.”
He said the majority of interest so far had come from Emirati buyers.
“I think they relate to the fact that this is an Emirati car, which will be built in Dubai by Emirati engineers,” he said.
Mr Al Shaali is a former professional racer who won two titles in the UAE Time Attack championship.
He also used to drive a KTM X-Bow to his day job, as a branding specialist at the Government of Dubai Media Office.
He came up with the design with Mostafa Aldah, an Emirati engineer and road-safety expert at Loughborough University, in England, as well as Anthony Colard, a French car designer.
It is planned to have 25 vehicles available for sale at the Dubai Motor Show next year.
Production costs for the project are Dh3 million to Dh4 million – a relatively modest budget to develop and launch a car from scratch.
The Dubai Roadster will have a tubular chassis with a combination of fibreglass and carbon-fibre panels. Its 400-horsepower engine will be capable of accelerating from 0 to 100kph in 3.5 seconds.
The car will undergo full crash testing and is hoped to qualify for Euro 5 certification – emission regulations that would make the car legal to drive in the Emirates.
Although it will have power to rival the KTM X-Bow or BAC Mono on the racetrack, it will be a road car too.
Mr Al Shaali said he intended to change the planned material for the chassis from aluminium to titanium – a significantly more expensive material but one that is lighter and stronger.
Engineers completed initial welds on the vehicle this week, and have sent them to a laboratory in the US for testing.
The tests will ensure that the welds will hold up under extreme speeds and pressures. Once complete, it will result in the Roadster having safety certification.
All going well, the team should have a fully welded chassis in Dubai in the next month or two.
The makers of only one other sports car, the Ariel Atom, have discussed making a car with a titanium chassis, despite it being a superior material.
“We wanted to be pioneers in the market and be the first car that uses a titanium chassis,” said Mr Al Shaali.
“It’s a lighter and more durable material. That is especially important in this region. You could bury the car in the desert for the next 20 years and then take it out and nothing would be wrong with it.”
The idea for the car came from Mr Al Shaali’s penchant for modifying his own car. He got together with friends and they came up with the idea of building a car from scratch.
Three years later, a team of engineers in Dubai are set to put the ideas into motion, very pacey motion.
Updated: July 2, 2014 04:00 AM