De Tomaso Partners Up With Capricorn Group To Build The Upcoming P72 Supercar At The Nürburgring
The history of De Tomaso is steeped in international collaborations. Take the perennially popular Pantera for example, which was the result of an American designer drawing sports cars in Turin (Tom Tjaarda at Ghia) to be powered by V8s from Ohio (the Ford Cleveland engines), all under the direction of Alejandro de Tomaso, who came to Europe from Argentina to build sports and racing cars in the late 1950s.
Today, the company’s tradition of global partnerships is being carried forward with a brand new strategic partnership, this time between the revived De Tomaso marque and longtime German motorsport chassis and component developer, capricorn Group (responsible in part for the Porsche 919 LMP1 triple Le Mans-winner, for starters).
The immediate impact of this alliance has already included a redesigned carbon fiber chassis that exceeds FIA homologation standards, and a newly designed suspension geometry for the upcoming De Tomaso P72 supercar, with plans for the near future well underway, too. The first of which is the construction of a massive research, development, and production facility located on the most hallowed of high-performance proving grounds: the Nürburgring.
The co-branded facility is slated to begin operations sometime this summer, whereby the P72 will continue to undergo extensive testing on the Nordschleife in conjunction with R&D carried out at the new manufacturing site next to the legendary circuit. The P72 was originally slated to be built in the United States when the project was announced in 2019, but the new partnership with capricorn has shifted production to the new German facility. De Tomaso says that its relationships and investments into its US-based operations will not be pared away, but rather they will continue to expand them going forward. Part of De Tomaso’s involvement in the States includes their work with Roush, which designed the P72’s supercharger system for the car’s five-liter Ford Coyote V8. And in keeping with De Tomaso’s past while looking toward the future, the company has also recently hired a new American digital designer, Ash Thorp, to work on forthcoming virtual and physical De Tomaso projects.
And the inclusion of a German testing and production base is not just for the sake of adding another international component to the De Tomaso story. The Nürburgring is the gauntlet for fast cars after all. It’s almost a given that modern performance cars (and even their more staid counterparts) will see some of their development taking place at the ‘Ring, but when is the last time you heard about a road-legal production supercar actually being built there? In addition to being born next to the most famous circuit in the world, the P72—which will be produced in 72 production-spec examples—will also be hand-assembled by the capricorn Group in the new Nürburgring facility, not simply fed through a line of automated machines.
Capricorn has experience providing chassis and parts to factory and customer teams competing in just about every motorsport discipline, including F1, the DTM, the WEC, the WRC, NASCAR, the Dakar, and even MotoGP. If some of those acronyms are unfamiliar, it’s safe to assume that capricorn has had a hand in just about every major championship and race in the world. Their work has carried Le Mans winners, Dakar winners, and F1 world champions. Building by hand is not for a lack of automation ability, but rather a way to ensure everything on the P72 will be given the greatest possible combination of technological leverage and human craftsmanship.
De Tomaso expects deliveries of the first P72s to customers will happen in the first half of 2023, and in the meantime the company is deep into testing the aerodynamics of the design. In developing the new carbon fiber mono-cell chassis for the car, capricorn Group was able to add rigidity as well as interior space to the P72, without changing the exterior dimensions or Joywn Wong’s body design. To make the car as aerodynamically advanced as possible without adding the typical bevy of wings and canards and splitters that define the look of most modern supercars, De Tomaso and its development partners have focused on the underside of the car to preserve the fluid appearance of the bodywork. To test this, the team has used computational fluid dynamics to simulate how the shape will move through the air—standard practice these days for cars at this level—but it has also gone a step further and brought the P72 prototype to Cologne, where Toyota’s Gazoo Racing Europe state of the art Formula 1 and WEC wind tunnel is located.
De Tomaso and capricorn Group are currently in the process of building a handful of pre-series prototype models of the P72 to develop, calibrate, and crash-test ahead of the 72-car production run, so if you find yourself trackside at the Nordschleife later this year, keep your eyes and ears open.