Debuting at the 2000 Birmingham Motor Show, the well-styled Ascari K-Z1 was introduced as the replacement for the Ecosse. With 0-60mph reached in about 4 seconds, the K-Z1 featured a 500bhp powerplant. The lightweight carbon fiber body made the handling of the vehicle of the finest quality while the Ascari's designers built the chassis to perfection. Production of the Ascari K-Z1 was limited to only 50 units. At first buyers couldn't purchase the car, but the car would be given away free to customers who purchased shares in their new racing circuit complex in Spain. The K-Z1 was eventually put up for sale at a hefty price tag of £235k.
The KZ-1 was built using a ‘tub-central' carbon honeycomb monocoque chassis, complete with a carbon composite honeycomb front crash structure. The KZ-1 was an 1100kg lightweight vehicle that featured torsion rigidity with smooth styling and superior aerodynamics. The inside of the KZ-1 featured Recaro sports seats and a Connelly leather dashboard.
A small supercar, the Ascari KZ-1 only measured 4.3 meters in length, 1.85 meters wide and just over 1.1 meters tall. The vehicle reached supercar levels of acceleration when combined with a Hartge tuned BMW 5.0 liter V8 engine. Sitting behind the driver in the mid-mount position, the BMW-sourced 4941cc 8-cylinder engine gave the car an optimum front/rear weight distribution. Its low ride height helped to improve its center of gravity. The 5.0-liter V8 was capable of 520hp at 7000rpm. The peak torque of 550Nm at 4500rpm ensured that the rear wheel drive supercar can achieve 100km/h in the Lambo-quick speed of 3.8 seconds. 0-160km/h cam be reached in 9.1 seconds and the K-Z1 has a top speed of 200mph. The quarter mile can be reached in just 11.8 seconds at 122 mph per hour.
The Ascara KZ-1 received a race-bred braking package that is comprised of AP Racing 6-piston calipers in the front, and 4-piston calipers on the rear, clamping massive cross-drilled and ventilated discs all around. Huge 19-inch alloy rims insured high levels of grip, with the rims shod with 235/35 rubber in the front, and wide 305/30 low profile tires in the rear.
As a result of the intense pursuit of performance in Supercars, the interior space offered no compromises. The Supercar only offered just enough room for an average-sized person to wedge themselves into the cockpit.
The Ascari KZ-1 offers buyers to chance to join a very elite club, as more mainstream car manufacturers enter the supercar market at lower prices, the smaller, more traditional supercar makers have had to offer something extra to stay in the competitive mainstream.
Named from the initials of Ascari's owner Klass Zwart, a wealthy Dutch businessman, the Ascari KZ-1 is among the most exclusive vehicle produced today. In development since 2000, only 50 Ascari KZ-1's have ever been produced, and are sold at a hefty price tag of $434,471. Each Ascari KZ-1 requires 340 hours of handcrafting and owners also receive the opportunity to drive the car at the Ascari-managed Race Resort Ascari in Spain.
In November of 2005, the KZ-1 was featured on the BBC television show Top Gear where it set the 5th fastest lap time ever recorded on the show, at 1:20.7. The KZ-1 currently holds 10th place with the fastest record being set by an Ascari A10 at 1:17.3
Adapted for racing, the Ascari KZ-1 was primarily featured in the new FIA GT3 European Championship along with other smaller national series. These cars share much with their road counterparts and are known as the KZI-R.By Jessica Donaldson