This TDF-1 Is A Genuine F1 Car. And It Can Be Yours For $1.95 Million
Formula 1 aspirants/armchair enthusiasts have been handed a unique opportunity to prove their speed, as British-based motorsport engineering expert Tour De Force Engineering has today announced the launch of the TDF-1, a fully refurbished 2011/2012-era F1 car that is now available for private use and ownership.
The only slight issue is that it will cost potential customers £1.5 million, or around $1.95 million. That’s the equivalent of parking two McLaren Sennas on the driveway. Ouch!
Based on either a Marussia MVR-02 or a Sauber C31 – both original – that raced during the 2011 and 2012 seasons respectively, the new TDF-1 allows its lucky customers to “drive a modern F1 car in a more reliable, usable and affordable package,” making it, arguably, the ultimate track day weapon.
The carbon fibre monocoque, aerodynamic properties, “carbon fibre-shrouded steel wishbones”, and braking system for instance remain intact, although the steering wheel has been simplified for a more user-friendly experience. Ditto the Drag Reduction System (DRS), which will now close automatically during steering or brake input for added stability through the corners. Performance Pirelli P-Zero rubber ensures “the grip profile…is the same as experienced in a Formula 1 car”, though the 13in wheels are now made bespoke for TDF by O.Z. Racing.
What may disappoint potential customers is that the Marussia’s 2.4-litre Cosworth V8 and the Sauber’s 2.4-litre Ferrari V8 are now gone, in favour of a new 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder developed by Tour De Force Engineering itself (the Bedfordshire-based team members boast F1 experience from Mercedes, Williams and Renault among others). However, as well as requiring less maintenance, the turbo four-cylinder nevertheless produces a spleen-quivering 600bhp at 9,000rpm. That’s still 90 per cent of the original V8’s power output, and is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed semi-automatic transmission.
When combined with the TDF-1’s welterweight 600kg and 1000bhp/ton power-to-weight ratio, means 0-100kph is ticked off in less than two second en-route to a 322+kph top speed. For the less hairy-chested of owners, the wick can be turned down to a still eye-watering 350bhp, and the power and torque curves are now much wider to make that hellacious power delivery more manageable.
Customers keenly thumbing their deposit cheques will be pleased to hear that the $1.95m (ish) asking price also includes a custom seat fitting, invitations to TDF-hosted track days at Catalunya and Paul Ricard, and one-on-one driver coaching with W Series driver, Jessica Hawkins. That plus unending bragging rights at your next track day.
As for the Marussia MVR-02 and the Sauber C31, the former competed in its one and only F1 season in 2011, the team’s last under its original ‘Virgin Racing’ banner, and boasted a best finish of 14th at both the Australian and Canadian Grand Prix, courtesy of Belgium’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio in his one and only full F1 season. Team leader Timo Glock meanwhile completed his third season with Marussia/Virgin one year later before heading DTM-wards for 2013.
The Sauber C31 meanwhile fared slightly better, carrying Mexico’s Sergio Perez to three podium finishes in 2012 – and a near-win at that year’s Malaysian Grand Prix – and a popular 3rd place at home for Japanese driver, Kamui Kobayashi. Sauber finished a respectable 6th in the championship standings in 2012, but both Kobayashi and Perez were gone in favour of Nico Hulkenberg and debutant Esteban Gutiérrez in 2013.
*Images courtesy of Tour De Force Engineering, Marussia Virgin Racing, and Sauber F1 Team