Leblanc Mirabeau: world's quickest production car
By Mike Hanlon
May 23, 2005
Swiss supercar builder Wysstec has already built one of the most remarkable cars in automotive history. Although it only has a four cylinder motor, the turbocharged 512 bhp Leblanc Caroline is one of the quickest road cars ever recorded because it weighs just 785 kg. Now the company has produced what is almost certainly the quickest roadcar ever – the new Leblanc Mirabeau is the closest you’ll ever get to a race car for the street. Constructed of Kevlar, carbon fibre, and assorted unobtanium, it weighs just 812 kg and its powerplant comes from what was until recently the world’s fastest roadcar – the Koenigsegg CCR was recently timed at 387.87 kmh. That might not mean much if you’re not unhealthily familiar with supercar specifications, so we’ll help with some perspective. That’s less than two thirds of the weight of a Porsche Carrera GT or Saleen S7. It’s also a whopping 358 kilograms lighter than the car from which it borrowed its engine, 570kg lighter than a Ferrari Enzo and half the weight of the car that will become the fastest roadcar when it is released later this year, the Bugatti Veyron. Read all about it …
Swiss automotive manufacturer Wysstec has been a genuine supercar builder for several years now, despite the fact it tends to shun publicity and makes few statements to the press. Wysstec produces LeBlanc cars, and its first supercar offering was the Leblanc Caroline, a turbocharged four cylinder automobile of just two litres displacement .
Now a turbocharged two litre car hardly sounds like supercar territory. Examine the specifications for the whole car though and you’ll understand more of the plot. Despite a meager 2.0 litre displacement, the forced aspiration of the in-line four ups power output to 381.8 kilowatts (512 bhp).
The plot thickens when you look beyond the engine and examine the rest of the car which is constructed principally from exotic composites and weighs in as one of the lightest road cars on record with a kerb weight of just 785 kilograms.
Accordingly, the Caroline accelerates very quickly, having recorded a 0-100kmh time of just 2.7 seconds (with slick tyres), it lies second only in road car folk lore to the famous Dauer 962 LeMans road car which actually won the Le Mans 24 hour race and sold as a limited edition of 50 cars at US$800,000 each.
The Dauer 962 LeMans road car is the quickest recorded road car in media history, having accelerated from 0-100kmh in 2.6 seconds.
Several cars have recorded a time of 2.7 seconds alongside the Caroline. They are the 2000 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Concept car from General Motors, a Hennessy Venom Viper and another Dauer 962 LeMans road car. Everything else is slower. So that puts the Caroline in very elite company.
Keep the pedal to the metal and the Caroline will accelerate to 200 kmh in a tad over seven seconds and all the way to 341 kmh (212 mph) given a nice long stretch of tarmac like the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans.
Not surprisingly, the Caroline GTR is billed as a Le Mans racer for the road, and is built with the latest F1 materials including a carbon fibre monocoque to ensure the absolute rigidity of the chassis and the safety of the driver. The bodywork is also made of carbon fibre with other parts of the chassis made from titanium or magnesium to ensure the lowest possible weight with the highest possible strength, regardless of cost.
The Leblanc Caroline GTR is a street legal racing car and a true supercar. In keeping with the quality of the automobile they produce, Leblanc offers true service of the calibre expected by their elite clientele. The company’s web site explains that each customer demand can be fulfilled, up to and including the installation of a Formula 1 motor should it be desired. If it is, better bring two chequebooks because the price is as “No compromises” as the car. The base price for the current Leblanc Caroline GTR is approximately US$530,000 (EU€425,000 )
But the Caroline is not the subject of this article. The subject of this article is Leblanc’s newest automobile, the Mirabeau, named after a slow corner on the famous Monte Carlo Formula 1 circuit, which in turn is named after the adjacent hotel.
As the Leblanc web site states, “the car is designed and prepared to fulfill all the FIA/Le Mans standards to drive the car in LeMans,” being the famous 24 hour race held at the LeMans circuit each year.
The bit that makes the Mirabeau so special is that the engine of the Mirabeau is from the Koenigsegg CCR, until the series production of the Bugatti Veyron, the fastest production road car in the world.
On February 28 this year, at 12.08 local time, the Koenigsegg CCR set a production car speed record of 387.87 kmh at Italy’s Nardo Prototipo proving ground, beating the Mclaren F1 road car’s previous best recorded speed of 372mkh, the Ferrari Enzo’s 355kmh, the Porsche Carrera GT’s 334 kmh, the McLaren Mercedes SLR’s 334 kmh and the Lamborghini Murcielago’s 330 kmh.
The Koenigsegg CCR engine is a cast aluminium V8 with four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts and a displacement of 4.7 litres. The dual Rotrex centrifugal compressors run a 1.4 atmosphere maximum boost pressure and there’s also an intercooler.
The 215 kg power unit of the CCR produces 806 bhp at 6,900 rpm and maximum torque of 920 Nm (678 ftlb) at 5,700 rpm. The Mirabeau specifications show 700+ brake horses putting the state of tune of the Mirabeau somewhere between the top-of-the-line Koenigsegg CCR and the supercharged (single compressor) Koenigsegg CC8S, which produces 655 horses.
Leblanc has not been forthcoming with information on the motor – that is, it is not known at this time if the motor is a detuned CCR motor with twin turbos, or a single turbo CC8S motor in a higher state of tune.
A novel and vital part of the CCR engine is the minimum drag Koenigsegg DFCC-system (Dynamic Flow Catalytic Converter), nicknamed the “Rocket Cat”, which ensures minimal exhaust back pressure despite allowing for a highly efficient filtering of emission gases. This technological feat cannot be overstated; no competitor has come close of creating an engine with a power output of over 800 horsepower (apart from the Bugatti), and keep exhaust gas emissions below certifiable levels.
Similarly, Leblanc only states that the Mirabeau has a six speed sequential gearbox, so we’re presuming it is the same Cima transaxle gearbox specially designed for Koenigsegg. This 6-speed manual/sequential gearbox is probably the strongest and most reliable transaxle gearbox ever built for a mid-engine car. Italian manufacturer Cima has utilised its vast experience in building custom racing gearboxes in the construction of Koenigsegg's transmission system. It is equipped with an internal oil pump for reliable lubrication and a large external Setrab air-to-oil cooler, which is necessary due to the immense force of the engine. It also features an advanced torque sensitive limited slip differential. The default set final gear ratio is calculated to propel the CCR close to 400 km/h at 7300 rpm.
The gearbox is operated manually via the Koenigsegg developed shift mechanism, a clockwork piece of fine mechanics, which allows the gear lever to be mounted on a ball in a socket. This practical and aesthetically attractive device provides accurate feedback to the operator and also alleviates the otherwise necessary gate solution. The mechanism is designed for compactness and low weight, and it is easily adjustable to driver preferences. It also incorporates an electronic anti-theft device. The dual plate clutch is oil-cooled and electronically operated on the Koenigsegg though there’s obviously more of the story to come as the Mirabeau is offered with Semiautomatic Gear Shifting as a 52,000 Euro optional extra.
That’s on top of the 478,000 euro (plus value added tax) price of the Mirabeau.
Now here’s the cruncher – the total car weighs in at just 812 kg. That might not mean much if you’re not unhealthily familiar with supercar specifications, so we’ll help with some perspective. That’s less than two thirds of the weight of a Porsche Carrera GT or Saleen S7.
It’s a whopping 570kg lighter than a Ferrari Enzo and half the weight of the Bugatti Veyron.
No doubt if you want to have a CCR motor fitted to your Mirabeau it can be accomplished with the right exchange of currency, the only thing you’re not likely to get is a certificate that says it’s standard, something that will be no doubt jealously guarded by Koenigsegg until the Bugatti arrives at which point they might give the car its pedigree in writing.
This is all speculation mind you, as Wysstec are not exactly being very forthcoming about the Mirabeau. With their elite clientele, they don’t need to be.
With 700 plus horses, the Mirabeau has a top speed in excess of 370 kmh.
The top speed is likely to be theoretical anywhere but on the racetrack though, and that’s exactly what the Mirabeau is designed to do – it is an out-and-out Le Mans racecar. If the Caroline can do 0-100kmh in 2.7 seconds, one wonders what the Mirabeau might be capable of with slick tyres and the right set of reflexes … or what it might be like to drive.
The Enzo Ferrari is one of the sweetest handling supercars ever. It weighs 1255kg and produces 660 bhp. The Mirabeau weighs 812 kg and produces in excess of 700 bhp.