For any automotive enthusiasts that haven’t been living in a bubble, you’ll have heard of something named Project M. Project M is a supercar that is being built by Italian company Stile Bertone. Their latest supercar project, dubbed Project M, is being created by Jason Castriota, formerly of Pininfarina. Jason is well known in the automotive design industry, helping to design a plethora of amazing cars, most notably the Ferrari P4/P5:
Project M is pulling out all the tricks of social media, utilizing bloggers, video episodes, and Twitter to promote the development and release of their latest project. For those that don’t know about Twitter, it’s like micro-blogging (“Tweets” can be made with only 140 characters), and gives us a real-time inside look at the latest with the project. You can check out the Project M Twitter account here.
With us being huge car enthusiasts, and big fans of the work that Jason has done, we got in touch with the guys behind the project to get some inside scoops. We were of course especially interested in the use of carbon fiber in the car that will be unveiled to the world at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 20th. So we sat down with Jason and asked him a few questions, hoping to squeeze out a little insider information. Look for a followup article from us once we have official information and pictures of the car after its unveiling, you can stay up to date by subscribing to our RSS feed, but in the meantime check out what Jason had to say:
China is no doubt beginning to play a larger role in automotive development, but why release the car at the Shanghai Auto Show? Was it just the best timing?
Stile Bertone has an opportunity to be one of the most important leaders in the next generation of automotive design–the generation for cities like Shanghai, Bogota, Dubai, and Moscow. Certainly the traditional shows held in Geneva, Detroit, Paris and Frankfurt remain important centers of the industry, but I think that launching in Shanghai is a statement about what’s next. It’s also important to note that the car will make a number of appearances very quickly.
What sort of budget went into this project?
We’re not yet disclosing and pricing or cost details though the engineering solutions are all top notch thanks to Danisi engineering the renowned technical partner to Ferrari, Toyota, and many others, with extensive use of light and exotic materials to reduce weight and increase efficiency.
Who were some of the partners that you worked with on this car? More specifically, any carbon fiber suppliers?
This project was really made possible thanks to our technical partners. In addition to Danisi engineering we are relying heavily on Belco Avia who are one of the leaders in the industrialization of carbon fiber with experiences ranging form Ferrari Formula 1 to production cars. Dymag Racing Ltd is supplying the custom designed wheels which feature a carbon fiber rim, and a hub made up of a hybrid of magnesium and aluminum.
Is everything custom-made from the ground up, or were there any areas where pre-existing (OEM and/or aftermarket) parts were used (ex: chassis, seats, etc)?
The car is based on an existing chassis and its original mechanicals have remained untouched (since it is already a stellar performance car). While the wheels and body work are completely new, we will be utilizing LED technology from Osram, the steering wheel will be supplied by Black Line, and the racing harnesses are being crafted by Sparco.
Any chance the weight can be divulged?
In all honesty, we can only hypothesize about the weight until the car is 100% complete. We have a good idea where we will have significant savings and a general idea of what the final number will be but I wont disclose it at this time. The donor car is already made up of some light and exotic materials so we will never see a reduction of 200 kilos but I can say conservative estimates will be in the realm of 70 kilos lighter (roughly 150lbs)
Is carbon fiber as the entire interior the only area of the car we can expect the material? Was it used the interior for purely aesthetic purposes, or for other reasons (such as weight savings over other materials).
The entire exterior body work, the interior panels, the wheels and the brakes are all carbon fiber so there is no shortage of its use. We went with carbon fiber for the simple fact that it remains the best material if you need low weight and high strength. The carbon fiber interior emphasizes this, as it has a spartan, race car like feel.
Inside Project M Episodes
There have been a few episodes that have been created about Project M for an insiders look at the car. You can check them out here: