Denmark isn’t usually the nation that comes to mind when Scananavian supercars are the topic, but Sweden’s Koenigsegg actually does have a rival, albeit relatively indirect, over the Øresund bridge. Zenvo’s cars might not quite be on par with the likes of the wicked Gemera in terms of its blend of green tech and mega mumbo, but the newest evolution of the €1.45 million (AUD$2.42m) Zenvo TSR-S has properly grabbed our attention.
Rewind approximately two years, and the TSR-S was first shown off at the Geneva Motors Show, drawing many in with a wing more wicked than one you’d find in one of the Colonel’s buckets. The ‘centripetal’ rear wing was so unusual, the car was reportedly flagged to pit mid-lap at Spa because the track officials thought the car was broken and didn’t want its wing to come off and become a hazard.
The wing is more than just a gimmick, it works constantly to maximise downforce in various ways. Primarily, it adjusts the angle of its blade in a similar manner to an F1 car’s DRS, based on speed to maximise downforce and grip rather than just being fixed to perform best at a chosen speed. It also acts as an airbrake using the same angling.
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Cornering is where the wing’s mechanism really flexes its flair. Upon turn-in, the wing’s outside end will lower, while the inside raises, pivoting on a mount in the centre of the wing. The angle of the wing creates not only the ‘traditional’ downforce but focuses it on helping the car find more grip on the inside of the corner, and therefore carry more speed.
But the wing, as intricate and innovative as it is, is not the new development that piqued our interest. Zenvo’s latest development in the TSR-S is more internal and has allowed engineers to make the car faster and more efficient.
The mid-mounted, 5.8-litre, twin-supercharged V8 of the Zenvo TSR-S, modified from an LS7 base to become a flat-plane monster is already impressive enough, and its 878kW peak at 8500rpm is unlikely to leave anyone wanting, but it’s actually the next step in the drivetrain hierarchy we’re most interested in right now.
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Zenvo’s engineers have devised a type of hybrid system for what used to be a relatively standard 7-speed, race-style, ‘helical-cut’ dogleg gearbox. We say relatively only in terms of what it has been developed into. Even in its previous iteration, there was a two-mode system which allowed the driver to switch between a smoother (but slower) road setting, or a hardcore race setting.
In its road setting, the TSR-S’s transmission is electronically operated, as the engine speed and gearbox speed match to provide a smoother transition between cogs. But in its track mode, the gearbox becomes fully mechanical, brutally becoming what Zenvo has called “one of the fastest-shifting powertrains in existence.”
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Now, there’s an extra layer of tech, with its hybrid system creating not only a boost to the gearbox itself, but also taking the role of reverse gear. With this, the engineers were able to add an eighth forward gear with the removal of reverse, and therefore gear the Zenvo TSR-S to reach 100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, placing it in the same league as the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and the Ferrari 488 Pista. Not only that, Zenvo claims the 200km/h barrier is broken in just 6.8 seconds. That’s an entire second faster than the McLaren 720S, which left many amazed upon the announcement of its 7.8-second claim.
Finally, and important despite its relative simplicity, is one further upgrade made to the TSR-S. As a vehicle with a dry weight of just 1495kg in its most serious spec, keeping off the fat is important. To ensure that, ‘fragmented carbon’ wheels have been created to replace the aluminium versions, saving 15kg of unsprung weight. The carbon is cut and formed over the course of a week by two technicians… for each individual wheel. One car’s set takes almost a month to produce, all up.
WHO/WHAT IS ZENVO?
In 2007, Troels Vollertsen started a car company. More than just a bloke with a bit of cash, Vollertsen had actually worked in the automotive mechanical field before, and enlisted two others to run the design and business side of his new company, Zenvo. The name is a mashup of the end and beginning of Vollertsen’s family name, with the S swapped for a Z.
The niche company builds five TSR-S units per year, each wearing the company logo adorned with Thor’s hammer, at its factory in Præstø on Denmark’s largest island, Zealand – no relation to our Pacific neighbour.