Magnum launches a new lightweight sports car – the MK5

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Canadian race car manufacturer Magnum Cars has launched a new entrant on the international track-day scene – powered by a 246bhp rear mid-mounted 4-cylinder engine that revs to 11,000 rpm.

The Magnum MK5 is the brainchild of Bruno St-Jacques, son of Magnum Cars founder Jean-Pierre St-Jacques, and aims to provide the closest experience most people will get to driving a real racecar.

They should know, Magnum have been developing and fabricating specialised parts for racing cars since 1968 and worked with many of the F1 teams back in that era including Lotus, AGS, Larousse, Williams, and Renault.

The company describes the MK5 as bridging the gap between track-day cars and supercars with a power-to-weight ratio of around 460 bhp per tonne, cornering grip of more than 2G and of course that high-revving four-cylinder engine.

Weighing just 545kg, the MK5 will accelerate from 0 to 60mph in the low 3-second range via a 6 speed sequential gearbox.

“We built the MK5 to offer the speed and agility of a racecar combined with the stance and refinement of a supercar, without the high cost of either one,” said Bruno St-Jacques.

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“The MK5 is easy to maintain and, because it is built to take the abuse, [it] has very low running costs. It can easily be maintained by its owner or by any established sports car shop. It does not require a full crew or any special tools. You just jump in and drive!”

The MK5 is not only fast it’s also versatile, with a cargo compartment that can easily accommodate two race helmets and a briefcase, plus it offers street-legal amenities like full lighting and reversing camera. Its open cockpit “speedster” styling limits its use here in the UK to trackdays and weekend drives, but no more so than a KTM X-Bow or Vuhl 05.

Technical bits

The oily bits underpinning the MK5 have been sourced from well-known high performance brands and should be easy to maintain by any competent garage, while the car has been designed with maintenance and adjustability in mind with its pushrod suspension geometry and inboard 2-way adjustable dampers, front and rear.

The unequal length double a-arm suspension works in harmony with ultra-high performance street-legal tyres measuring 225/40R18 at the front, and 265/35R18 at the rear.

Braking is provided by 4-piston calipers front and rear with vented brake discs, while a sliding pedal box machined from aircraft-grade billet aluminium ensures drivers of different height can modulate progress in comfort.

A standard limited-slip differential helps translate the MK5′s power to the road, benefiting from Magnum’s 40-plus years of racing experience.

Design

Styling is closer to scaled-down Le Mans Prototype than a traditional track car, with a sleek purposeful look which retains its functional origins.

“We designed a car that owners can be proud of, with a styling that is pure and intricate. We want people to enjoy admiring the MK5 from every angle and keep coming back for another peek. We also wanted to provide an overall experience to make MK5 owners proud of being part of the Magnum family. With the MK5, it’s not just about the car, it’s about the awesome ownership experience,” said St-Jacques.

The cockpit design features a mix of CNC machined aluminium levers with race-inspired carbon fibre seats, closer to a Spyker than a Caterham Seven, while both driver and passenger are secured by 6-point racing harnesses.

The attention to detail of Magnum’s designers is evident in the easy-to-read backlit digital gauges, built-in GPS-enabled lap timer and removable suede-wrapped steering wheel.

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Philosophy

St-Jacques’ meticulous attention to detail is evident throughout the MK5. The level of craftsmanship is such that the car is as beautiful under its skin as it is on the outside.

The price for such artistry isn’t cheap – starting at $139,000 USD (excluding taxes and delivery) – but for that you’re getting carbon-fibre bodywork and seats, fully adjustable racing dampers and anti-roll bars, 450 bhp per tonne performance and those race car looks.

“When we decided to get back to our roots of building cars, we agreed that the newest Magnum had to be exciting in every sense. Our racing background dictated the philosophy behind the MK5; our main objective has been to achieve an experience that is pure and as close to driving a true racecar, in a simple to use and easy to drive platform,” said St-Jacques.

The MK5 is available to order from today, with an annual production of 20 cars. First deliveries are expected from late 2014, so you’ll need to be patient.

Meanwhile a variety of street and track packages will also be offered so that MK5 owners can personalise their car.

Data

  • PERFORMANCE

    Power-to-weight ratio: 460 bhp per tonne

    0-100 km/h (0-60 MPH): 3.2 second

    Maximum speed: 240 km/h (150 MPH)

    Handling: Over 2Gs of lateral force

  • ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

    Type: 4-Cylinder

    Power: 250 bhp

    Redline: 11,000 rpm

    Configuration: Rear mid-mounted, rear wheel drive

    Transmission: 6-speed sequential gearbox with reverse

    Differential: Limited-slip

  • TECHNICAL

    Bodywork: Carbon-fibre composite, easily removable front and rear sections.

    Functional aerodynamics: Internal front wing, front splitter, flat underbody, rear diffuser

    Cargo area: Fits two helmets and a briefcase

    Fuel tank capacity: 35 litres

    Fuel filler: Lockable billet aluminium

    Length: 3,914 mm (154.1 in)

    Width: 1,884 mm (74.2 in)

    Height: 1,069 mm (42.1 in)

    Dry Weight: 1,200 lbs (545 kg)

  • WHEELS & BRAKES

    Tyres: Ultra-high performance, road-legal, 225/40R18 front & 265/35R18 rear

    Wheels: 18″, ultra-light alloy, front & rear

    Brake calipers: 4-piston calipers, radial mount, front & rear

    Brake discs: Ventilated discs, with CNC-machined aluminium hubs, front & rear

    Brake bias: Cockpit adjustable

    Pedal box: Custom CNC-machined hand operated sliding adjustable

  • SUSPENSION

    Type: Adjustable pushrod activated, double unequal length a-arms, front & rear

    Dampers: Inboard, two-way adjustable, front & rear

    Anti-roll bars: Adjustable, front & rear

  • INTERIOR

    Gauges: Steering wheel mounted backlit digital dash-display, with integrated lap timer and data acquisition system

    Steering wheel: Weather resistant suede, with quick release

    Seats: Carbon fibre composites

    Harness: 6-point, racing-type

    Accessory: Rear-view monitor & camera