Automotive Solutions AS ONE - Track tested in UK

Having assured Nigel Greensall, twice BOSS F1 Champion (in a Tyrrell Judd V10), that I was a bad passenger the response came “Don’t worry – I’m a bad driver!” Nothing could be further from the truth, as Nigel proceeded to demonstrate over a few laps of the Donington circuit the other day. The car we were in was something new to the UK, the latest offering to track-day enthusiasts, this time from German manufacturer Automotive Solutions – the Suzuki engined AS ONE.

With a view to breaking into the thriving UK track day scene, Felix Faurbach and Jeremy Vick had brought a superbly prepared car over from their Sachsenring base, (that’s East Germany in old money), for a week of demonstration runs, and rides with expert drivers like Nigel. The idea is to produce a car which can be driven to a circuit, have space for your overalls and helmet, and be finished to such a high standard that it will be not only safe on the track but off it as well; on today’s busy roads.

Mid-engined prototype

Powered by a mid-engined 1370cc, 4 cylinder, Suzuki Hayabusa motor producing 235bhp at 9,500 rpm, and only weighing in at around 600kgs, the car should give aspiring racers a pretty good idea of how a proper single-seater, or sports prototype, should handle. Gear changing is achieved via an F1 style paddle shift and Felix assures me upchanges can be taken ‘flat’ without lifting off or using the clutch. Double wishbone suspension all round and racing brakes complete the ‘racing car for the road’ set-up. The finish is superb and with its dark grey paintwork, black leather seats, acres of Kevlar and aluminium the AS ONE certainly looks the part. In the pits at Donington the feeling was it was a ‘looker’ and compared very well to the cheaper Radicals. ‘Typically German’ was an oft-repeated comment, intended to be taken as testament to the quality of its engineering.

Is it safe?

An all-tubular steel spaceframe, Kevlar bodywork, carbon fibre undertray, aluminium cockpit and, most importantly, front and rear aluminium honeycomb crash structures, make the car immensely stronger than its weight and size suggest. The AS ONE has full EU type approval, including crash and E3 emissions testing, as well as incorporating a safety cell according to FIA regulations. In other words Felix and the team, wanting to sell the car at a premium, know that those buyers will want the highest possible standards of safety and reliability. Only time will tell what a 150kmh impact into a concrete wall will do to the car – I would feel happy in it though.

On the track

Automotive Solutions AS ONE - Track tested in UK Hustling the little car out of the Donington pit lane and down the flowing Craner Curves, Nigel Greensall was soon into the swing of things and with a breath taking display of driving showed just how fast the little car could go. Two-up, with a solid SW in the passenger seat, the car could do with a bit more go, but round the corners, with an expert at the wheel, it absolutely flew, taking other cars left and right.

I am sure it would be an excellent way to learn a circuit to get some practice before starting motor-racing proper, as well as being a good alternative to thrashing an unsuitable road car into the ground.

The beauty of it is that it’s designed to be a civilised road-car as well, so a trailer isn’t needed, nor are helmets on the road, the well-designed screen takes care of that. Whether people will go for the fully optioned Kevlar/carbon fibre car at €50,000 or for a more basic GRP version remains to be seen. Being a bespoke company the choice is very much up to the buyer.

Automotive Solutions AS ONE - the facts

  • Motor; 1370cc 4-cyl.
  • Power; 235bhp @ 9,500 rpm.
  • Torque; 135nm @ 7,500 rpm.
  • Transmission; 6 speed sequential.
  • Chassis; Steel tubular space-frame.
  • Body; Depending on spec. GRP/Carbon fibre/aluminium.
  • Suspension; Double wishbone (unequal length) with rose-type joints, coil=over spring/dampers. Fully adjustable.
  • Safety; Collapsible steering column. 6-point seat belts. Aluminium honeycomb crash structure front and rear.
  • Dimensions; 3809mm l/1795mm w/1100mm h.
  • Weight; 580 kgs - depending on spec.
  • Est.0-60mph; 4 seconds.
  • Est.0-120mph; 12 seconds.
  • Est.Max speed; 150 mph.
  • For more information on the Automotive Solutions AS ONE, please visit www.automotivesolutions.de

    Story/photos; Steve Wakefield. With grateful thanks to Bob Maclaren of Circuit Driver Magazine for arranging the test.