The Tushek Renovatio T500 was the star of the show at Salon Privé this week, as the Slovenian super car maker made its UK debut at London’s premiere Concours d’Elégance event.
Tushek’s new super car – the brain-child of ex-racing driver Aljoša Tušek – was joined by super model, Harriadnie Beau Phipps, the official face of Tushek Supercars.
Harriadnie was a special guest of Salon Privé, joining the judging panel during yesterday’s “Boodles Ladies’ Day”, where she helped choose the “Best Dressed Lady” of the show.
Launching the Renovatio T500 at Salon Privé was a big decision for Tushek – as one of the UK’s most prestigious car shows it’s a great venue to launch a luxury brand, but there’s also the risk that more established car makers might steal all the limelight.
Founder Aljoša Tušek need not have worried, the international media loved the Renovatio T500 and the company now looks well on its way to becoming a regular part of the super car scene.
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Some of you might question why a sports car maker from Slovenia is any more likely to succeed than Gumpert, Artega or Melkus – all of whom filed for bankruptcy during the past few months.
As with Gumpert’s Apollo, the Renovatio T500 is powered by Audi’s 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine used in the RS 4 and R8, although in Tushek’s case the engine remains normally-aspirated and in near-standard trim, pumping out 444bhp @7,900rpm.
It’s a reliable powerplant, and fast too, especially when it only has to move 1133kg rather than the 1500kg – 1750kg it was originally designed for.
Tushek is a company which makes racing machines built by race drivers for race enthusiasts. You’ll note the frequency of the word ‘race’ in that sentence.
In fact the single-minded focus of founder Aljoša Tušek puts me in mind of Horatio Pagani and Christian von Koenigsegg – both purists with a clear vision of how the super car should evolve.
You may laugh at the audacity of an unknown Slovenian having such high ambitions, but the same could be said of the aforementioned Argentinian designer and Swedish inventor.
Change sometimes comes from the least likely of places, so who’s to say Tushek isn’t the next Pagani?
Aljoša Tušek believes super cars have become too big, too heavy and too compromised, whereas he wants to build lean, taut and responsive racers that thrill by being enjoyable rather than intimidating to drive.
The T500 is hand-built to a surprisingly high quality and already capable of zero to 62mph in 3.7 seconds, 124mph in 11.5 seconds and a 193mph top speed.
Quick though it is in a straight line, the T500’s real prowess is its dynamic performance. It’s capable of pulling a lateral 1.7g around corners and is engineered around some pretty serious performance hardware, including carbon ceramic brake discs (390mm front, 370mm rear) clamped by 6 and 4-piston callipers, and double wishbone suspension all round with adjustable inboard dampers at the front.
When Autocar drove the T500 earlier in the year, they said it “offered something truly unique in its class.” And it certainly looked more than competent when driven around Tushek’s local race circuit (below).
Like Pagani, Tushek understands that only the best materials, combined with bespoke engineering and know-how, can deliver the kind of unique experience which supercar buyers demand.
He’s no fool either – an economics graduate and successful racing driver, Aljoša understands how a supercar should perform and is modest, intelligent and realistic about his company’s commercial goals.
The car we see at Salon Prive has a limited life-span, for despite how well the Renovatio T500 performs, Aljoša believes his team can do better.
At €300,000, the T500 could be described as expensive, however its price is a product of simple economics rather than greed. The goal is to sell no more than a dozen or so T500s, while the company establishes its dealer network for future models.
Next year he plans to reveal the T700 – a larger, lighter and even more efficient car that he’ll pitch into the stratified domain currently occupied by Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren and perhaps even Pagani.
Based on the T500’s reception at Salon Prive, I’m looking forward to seeing what Tushek can achieve when they really try. Roll on 2013.
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Model: Harriadnie Beau Phipps (@HarriadnieBeau)