news_avatarEnthusiasts seeking a balance of pure performance and affordability from every driving experience now have a fresh alternative from manufacturer Avatar. The Devon-based track and race division of Marlin Sports Cars has developed the 250bhp 2-litre Ford Ecoboost-engined Roadster to offer road and trackday enthusiasts a responsive, involving, lightweight car that offers plenty of scope to adjust and upgrade during ownership.

The car made its public debut at The Performance Car Show at the NEC this week alongside sister show Autosport International.

Eschewing the handling and styling compromises of transverse mounting the Ford 2-litre engine behind the driver, Avatar’s engineers mandated the race-substantiated longitudinal installation, driving the rear wheels through a proven Porsche Boxster five-speed gearbox.

Underlining an emphasis on performance and commitment to offer the most effective features at this price point, engineers specified in-board adjustable suspension at the rear with Nitron dampers, Quaife LSD, Tilton pedal box and Hi-Spec brakes on the 700kg car.

The Avatar Roadster will also be available in a 350bhp version that uses the 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost engine from the forthcoming Ford Focus RS and Mustang. Starting with a clean sheet of paper, Avatar’s design team was able to create a custom laser-cut, tubular spaceframe chassis that sits the driver closer to the centreline of the car.

“This arrangement not only offers better weight distribution and, we think, purer driving experience but also provides storage space alongside the driver for the optional ‘get me home’ roof,” says Dylan Popovic, Avatar designer and company racing driver.

The chassis, manufactured in-house by Marlin is clothed in a sleek composite four-piece bodyshell; front and back sections can be removed in less than 30-seconds. The pleasing aesthetics of the Avatar Roadster have been honed by aero specialist Simon McBeath and confirmed by a string of class wins for the development mule running in the Castle Combe Sports & GT Championship.

“We have completed over 1200 laps at Castle Combe circuit to finesse and prove the quality of the Avatar” adds Dylan. “Consumers expect to drive to a trackday, thrash around all day and come home again without wielding the spanners. The Avatar was conceived with high quality components to do just that.”

Avatar’s back-up and technical support is as just as comprehensive as the Roadster’s specification. A pre-delivery ‘tailored’ session means each car leaves the factory corner-weighted and set-up specific to the buyer’s weight (steady! – Ed), driving preferences and planned use.

“We want to know each of our customers and their cars personally” said Terry Matthews, Avatar founder. “Owners can pick up the phone to us any time and get one-to-one support that is often lacking from larger car makers. We also want that ‘community’ element that might see Avatar owners plan a trip together through The Lakes, a coffee and doughnut meet every three months or perhaps a trackday on the continent.”

An unlimited mileage, three-year warranty, provides further peace of mind while the engine can be serviced at any Ford garage.

Aware that trackday drivers are always keen to find a little more performance, customers can choose from a range of options to tailor the car for more serious track work or even competition.

The Avatar’s modular design means it is possible to specify at time of build or simply upgrade later to the 350bhp 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine, a six-speed gearbox, three-way dampers and stiffer springs, six-pot brakes, race brake pads, semi slick/slick tyre options.

For racers or hardcore trackday drivers, a full roll-cage, six-point harnesses, extinguisher, uprated cooling pack, DL1 data logger and camera, HANS custom seat and race-only aero package are offered from the factory.

“We want Avatar owners to enjoy a spirited drive on a crisp Sunday morning or turn up to a trackday, surprise a few owners of more exotic machines and drive home with a big smile on their face, confident they have a reliable, safe and enjoyable car” adds Terry.

With four orders already placed, Avatar will deliver the first customer cars in May 2016 and hopes to build a run of up to 25 by 2017. “Ultimately we could produce four to six Avatars a month” concludes Terry Matthews. “We plan to have a demonstrator available within two months.”

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