I first saw this car in an article about a year ago and as the writer stated, it reminded me of the Ariel Atom, however with more bodywork and with a much more powerful engine.
The Drakan Spyder was developed by Sector111, a California based provider of performance parts for modern Lotus. The founder, Shinoo Mapleton, had been a GM employee who had worked on the Pontiac Fiero and learned to work on mid engined sports cars. Making performance parts allowed the company to help Lotus owners track their cars with improved performance and reliability – something that you would think that the factory would be good at, considering their heritage!
Mapleton bought an Ariel Atom and was excited by the purpose of the vehicle – pure performance with no frills or extras to weigh it down. Ultimately Sector111 became a distributor for the British manufacturer. Then BAC, produced their competing track car, the Mono, and this also became a distributorship for Sector111 – they were gaining a reputation as being a pure performance company! The issue for Mapleton, was that these cars were from the UK and not American and he felt that there should be a local car that matched the Ariel and BAC cars. So ….
Along came the Drakan Spyder, fully designed and built by Sector111 using a “local” engine: a General Motors LS3 V8. The car is essentially a mix of the Ariel and BAC Mono with a chromoly spaceframe chassis clothed in panels that make it look like a Formula Ford car albeit with two seats. The engine was chosen because it met all emissions laws for all 50 US States thus not limiting the sales to a handful of cities. The only piece that appears to not be local is the Getrag G96 transaxle that is also used by Porsche.
What I like is the black wheel arches are nicely flush with the wheels to make it look like an open wheeler and it behaves like one simply because it doesn’t have any driver aids like traction control or even ABS. It is absolutely a driver’s car, especially with a lightweight design hosting a 430hp motor! Along with adjustable suspension and brake bias, it allows a driver to learn about race car setup whilst enjoying road and track use.
I like the fact that there are people out there designing these cars and that there are people willing to buy them. However, earlier this year, Sector111 announced that they were experiencing an issue where some backers were pulling out and they were struggling to get new finance. This would suggest that they were not selling enough Ariels, BACs or Drakans and the Lotus parts were not shifting quickly enough to attract another round of funding.
The Drakan Spyder retailed for about US$125k as a complete build. Unfortunately at that price, there would be a fair few tyre kickers and media types wanting to play but not many serious buyers.