Past Masters of F1 Reunite

18.August, 2005 @07:08     Coupe News

The spiritual home of the French Grand Prix, Reims was a playground for the some of the most successful and flamboyant racing drivers to ever live. Amongst them, Alberto Ascari was one of the most celebrated. Now the magic of Ascari and Reims lives on, as the stunning new Ascari KZ1 supercar arrives at Reims to mark the start of renovation work to the legendry circuit. While crumbling pit garages and billboards are all that remain, at its peak, Reims was a spectacular course along public roads, flashing through the French countryside and linking the villages of Thillois and Gueux.
With long straights, full bore curves and a pair of tight hairpins, the circuit played host to some of the most dramatic slipstreaming battles and high speed incidents on the F1 calendar. Sadly, with the push for purpose built race circuits throughout the 1960’s, Reims was an obvious casualty. In 1970, the chequered flag was brought down on the resort for the very last time. While Ascari never topped the podium at Reims, his joint second place at the 1951 GP was a sniff of the success he would enjoy a year later when he lifted the F1 world title for the first time. The following year he repeated that glory, with wins at the French, British, German and Italian GPs ensuring Alberto Ascari’s place alongside the greats of motor racing.

His success was short lived. Only days after emerging unscathed from a spectacular crash at the 1955 Monaco GP, his decision to trial a friends Sports Ferrari in shirt sleeves, ordinary trousers and a borrowed helmet was a costly one. Entering an uncontrollable skid, Ascari was thrown out on to the track, suffering multiple injuries and dying a few minutes later. The end of an era, his spirit now lives on in the flowing lines and graceful stance of the awesome Ascari KZ1. Hand crafted in Banbury, England, by a 30-strong team of vehicle engineering elite, only 50 examples of this distinguished supercar will ever be produced. Born from the desire of the company’s Chairman, Klaas Zwart, the KZ1 is a stunning riposte to the established supercar producers of Modena.

Stylishly low-slung and sleekly aerodynamic, the stunning KZ1 has a super-light, super-strong carbon fibre monocoque chassis and body shell weighing just 1,330kg. Its powerful V8 engine derived from the previous generation M5 delivers 500bhp and when combined with a power to weight ratio of 376bhp per tonne, enables the KZ1 to achieve an exhilarating 60mph in just 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 200mph.