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Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/13 9:34 p.m.

My piggy bank with "Ferrari" written on it now has that crossed out and "LS7 Exocet XP3" written on it instead...

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/9/13 9:54 p.m.

You'll have to pry XP-3 out of my cold, dead hands. That's the specific car's name. The model is the Exocet Sport. I'm surprised no one has asked about or explained the "XP-3" reference.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/13 10:27 p.m.

I had the same reaction, Warren. I drive a fair number of high power/weight vehicles, and I think most of the V8 talk is Internet imaginings - especially the LS3/LS7 talk. A 302 is in a different league but still a bit ludicrous.

Just putting down that power is going to be a challenge. With the current diff, XP3 has enough difficulty in low gears. The LS3 camera car could pull off the corners a bit better - but I think a better diff and rear end ratio would help this car. Luckily, I know what's in the future so there's going to be some good info coming.

One good thing is that the light weight does make the power/weight ratio a bit easier to handle. Jumping back and forth between XP3 and an LS3 Miata showed this - the faster reflexes and better braking of the light car do help the driver. Assuming he has the reflexes and skills, of course, someone with less experience might have an easier time with the more gradual reactions of the Miata. Some experience is required in both cases. These are fast cars.

The Palatov V8 Atom was crashed right near my house. I know the corner, there's absolutely no hazard. Heck, it basically happened on a straight. The hazard was a very high power/weight ratio and an insufficiently skilled driver. They can bite fast when they're light, there's little inertia.

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/9/13 10:50 p.m.

I will say that the balanced Exocet will handle a lot more predictably than the Atom's inverted pendulum distribution. The car-magazine-cry for reduced front weight and polar inertia is great for improving the handling of heavy cars, but in a car inherently responsive, there's definitely a point of diminishing (and then negative) returns. In a light car, balancing the weight evenly and keeping a little bit of polar moment is a Good Thing. You don't need inherent instability to feel fast.

Predictable and easier to drive = driver confidence = FUN = good lap times.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/13 11:24 p.m.

True, I've driven a supercharged Atom on track and they're a very different beast than the friendly little Exocet. But this particular crash was just someone getting into the throttle too hard in a responsive car with too much power for his skill level - I think the Exocet would have bitten in the same situation.

I think we proved this past weekend how friendly the Exocet was. We were jumping back and forth between cars with no need for acclimatization, and laying down some very quick times in a car that we'd only seen for the first time an hour before. It really does just feel like a Miata with everything on fast forward.

ApacheXMD New Reader
8/10/13 1:35 a.m.
Warren v wrote: You'll have to pry XP-3 out of my cold, dead hands. That's the specific car's name. The model is the Exocet Sport. I'm surprised no one has asked about or explained the "XP-3" reference.

So what does XP-3 mean to you? You've mentioned XP-1 was the black car in the pictures on exomotive.com. I just assumed XP meant "Experimental prototype".

Perhaps a reference to the X-planes?

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/10/13 1:43 a.m.


XP indeed means experimental prototype. When we had a second Exocet in-house (XP-2, the cost demonstrator), "The Exocet" was no longer sufficient. As such, any Exomotive-built Exocet will be known as XP-n, where n is the order of production. They will be special cars, as we are building them for us (we can't sell complete cars to customers). The XP nomenclature is borrowed from McLaren, specifically the F1 (street car) project. The F1 is special to me, as it is the biggest influence on my decision to become a mechanical engineer.

I'll come out and say XP-4 will be our LSXocet demonstrator. XP-5 will be our aero demonstrator (late 2014).

Side note, at the end of the F1 development program, XP-3 was gifted to the car's lead engineer. Hint hint, Kevin.

ApacheXMD New Reader
8/10/13 2:20 p.m.

For all the good exposure you're giving the Exocet, it would make good business sense for Kevin to let you keep the XP3.

Will the exocet work with the aftermarket LSx subframes?

Or will you guys be coming out with a LSx specific option for the kit?

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/10/13 2:44 p.m.

The currently available LSx subframes by V8 Roadsters and Boss Frog should not interfere with anything on the Exocet. I can confidently say the engine bay has more room everywhere in the Exocet than in the Miata. The only areas tighter under the hood are on the sides of the engine bay, like where the coolant reservoir and stock airbox sits in a Miata.

We don't have any plans to manufacture a V8 conversion kit ourselves, as everything is already available on the market (except for the transmission mount). Subframes are particularly difficult to manufacture, as you need to nail many different pickup points and make sure they don't move once it comes out of the jig. I haven't seen Boss Frog's work in person, but I have been very impressed with the products V8 Roadsters puts out. Once we get an extra Exocet chassis, an LSx driveline, and some time, we'll probably head up to V8R's headquarters and figure out how much further back we can put the engine as well as a trans mount. For now, the "standard" AKA "rear mount" option should work just fine.

We have a few customers planning V8 builds with the intention of making their own trans mount. It shouldn't be a big deal at all, since you can tie into the tubular floor structure. Of course you will need a modified oil pan (dictated by the subframe), and there may be issues with the hood on some LSx intakes. I strongly suspect that you will be able to use long-pulley accessories in the Exocet, as the radiator does not sweep back like it does in the Miata. We won't know until we install it, though.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/10/13 4:04 p.m.

We'll probably stick an LS in ours just to check fitment - easy enough to do. There sure is a lot of interest about the idea.

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/22/13 10:03 a.m.

For those in Atlanta watching this thread, Exomotive is hiring. We'd love a like-minded set of hands, so check this out: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/advertiser-playground/grmers-exomotive-is-hiring/69250/page1/#post1282867

4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/22/13 11:45 a.m.
Warren v wrote: For those in Atlanta watching this thread, Exomotive is hiring...

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/22/13 1:40 p.m.

Edit from the future: Some people are getting the impression from this post that your basic Exocet is going to cost $20k. That's not the case! XP-3 is a balls-out fast car capable of embarrassing most $100k+ sports cars. It has about $12k of added go-fast parts that it didn't need to be a functional car. The point of the Exocet is that it re-uses the stock Miata components, but if you want to replace them with higher-end aftermarket Miata parts, you can. An example is the cooling system, as one of our customers is running the same turbo setup on a stock cooling system, he just has to do shorter sessions. The average build cost of a normal Exocet is $10k-12k. We've actually built one for $8k, but that was reusing everything from the Miata donor, even stock reupholstered seats.

Alright guys, I added up the official build cost on XP-3. There is one big difference in this list, and that's the coilovers. XP-3 has AFCOs, but that's because we need the huge adjustibility range to test and tune different spring rates for Exocets that will be much heavier (LSXocet). Flyin' Miata's V-Maxx XXtreme Sport Pack will work perfectly on a car like this, so I'm using those on the cost list. If you really want the AFCOs, add $1300 to this list. We also didn't include the stickers (decals, not racing slicks).

Total: $19,496.61

$6750 Exocet Sport Kit

$0 Miata Donor We actually sold more components off the donor than it cost us, but I'm going to stick to LeMons costing rules. We paid $900 for a '99 Miata with body damage. It was in perfect mechanical shape, with a recent timing belt and water pump, new hoses and wires. Those amazing donors are out there, just set up some craigslist alerts and be ready to pay with cash immediately.

$1871.90 Suspension

  • $815.00 FM V-Maxx XXtreme - (Sport)
  • $284.00 Full Set of Bushings
  • $400.00 Used 6ULs
  • $67.00 End Links, Ball Joint
  • $81.90 ARP Studs (0.579")
  • $104.00 FM Front ARB (NB)
  • $20.00 Spec Miata Lugnuts
  • $100.00 Takeoff Spec Miata Tires

$945.00 Brakes

  • $945.00 4 Wheel Brake Upgrade
  • $0.00 Brake and Clutch Lines (included in Exocet kit)

$5688.00 Engine

  • $5,295.00 FM II Turbo Kit
  • $89.00 Turbo-Inconel Studs w/ Stage 8
  • $250.00 Custom turbo exhaust
  • $14.00 Turbo Spark Plugs
  • $24.00 Synthetic Oil
  • $6.00 Oil Filter
  • $7.00 WP-Alternator Belt
  • $3.00 Heater Core Bypass Hose

$644.49 Driveline

  • $599.00 Happy Meal Flywheel/Clutch
  • $14.00 Clutch Slave Cylinder
  • $17.00 Trans Fluid
  • $14.49 LSD Gear Oil

$1217.44 Cooling

  • $329.00 M-Tuned Coolant ReRoute
  • $525.00 FM Radiator
  • $334.00 FM Airflow kit
  • $10.95 Water Wetter
  • $18.49 Prettier Coolant Overflow Tank

$777.78 Safety

  • $265.97 Kirkey 47700
  • $179.97 Kirkey 47341 Padding
  • $138.99 RJS Harnesses 30298-19-23
  • $3.97 Kirkey Roll Bar Padding 99001
  • $49.97 Fire Extinguiser MX100R
  • $14.99 Extinguisher Mount
  • $23.97 Arm Restraints
  • $99.95 Back Brace (Driver only)

$777.78 Aero

  • $440.00 CoT Wings
  • $400.00 CoT Wing Mount (Both)

$762.00 Dressup

  • $600.00 Powdercoat
  • $150.00 Steering Wheel
  • $12.00 Taillights
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/22/13 4:16 p.m.

$3.00 for a heater core bypass hose. That is one complete accounting

The one big ticket item that's missing here is the shipping for those who don't live in Atlanta. Call it $500-1000 from what I've read.

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/22/13 4:29 p.m.

A good half of our customers choose to pick it up, so we consider leaving it out of the accounting fair. We have had people from OH and MA drive down with their little Uhaul trailers, one was towed behind a Prius. It helps that the kit fits in a full-size pickup.

Speaking of pickups, this special frame is getting scooped up tomorrow by the good folks at DIYAutoTune. It's going naked for now, as they plan to weld on some custom brackets and a trailer hitch. In the place of the Miata's tank, they plan to put a fuel cell, battery, and cool suit cooler.

Keith, we are scheduled to deliver FM's car on Tuesday when Kevin gets back from his trip.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/22/13 4:34 p.m.


Interesting. I didn't figure so many people would pick them up. Our customers tend to be quite geographically diverse.

Apexcarver PowerDork
8/23/13 3:43 p.m.
Warren v wrote: I'll come out and say XP-4 will be our LSXocet demonstrator. XP-5 will be our aero demonstrator (late 2014).

So... When are you starting on XP-4?

Masochists everywhere want to know.

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/23/13 5:19 p.m.

Once we get into our new space and have sent out chassis #13. Today saw the departure of #6. Hold tight for a little while. We have other secrets we're working on.

Edit: XP-4 was a higher priority until we drove XP-3. The little turbo makes the car much, much faster than we anticipated. The numbers predicted this, but I guess we didn't quite believe it ourselves. Seriously guys, it is literbike fast, you really don't need that V8.

As of today, XP-3 is road legal. I haven't seen it since the day we got it back from FM. I plan to do some work Sunday to make it 100%, and then Monday is a full display day down at Georgia Tech. It will be shown as an example of what you can do with the experience you get from the student competition center.

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/26/13 1:28 a.m.

First trip with XP-3: get a steak.

Headlights are very functional, but hidden inside the nose next to the intercooler. Stealth legality FTW.

Drove next to an LP670-4 SV today; of course it was when I was driving my civilian Miata. Roswell/Alpharetta is filled with exotics on Sundays. Cops didn't even bat an eye at me.

MG Bryan
MG Bryan SuperDork
8/26/13 3:51 a.m.

Do you have pictures of the lighting arrangements?

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/26/13 7:45 a.m.

+1 wanna see the lights, this may sound strange but the thing I like least about sevenesques is the typical lighting arrangement. Lights hidden in the nose could be HAWT.

BTW do you have a pic of a rolling Exocet with no bodywork on, and preferably with wings mounted? I want to 'shop up some ideas.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/26/13 9:31 a.m.

How many of those pics do you want? I have about a hundred. Let me know what angle you want. Rear wing only.

Here's the most common front light setup.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/26/13 12:34 p.m.

Just a front 3/4 and rear 3/4, ideally I'd like wings mounted and no bodywork.

Warren v
Warren v Reader
8/26/13 5:38 p.m.

Best day of my life so far today. What a feeling to drive a car that represents a year-long effort. Took XP-3 down to Georgia Tech to be displayed with the student competition cars:

Recruiting is critical for the success of GT's Student Competition teams, and I was asked to display XP-3 as an attention-getter. I was only able to get a few clear shots during lulls in traffic:

I also gave a few rides. Nick Selby (the "you can do that, you're at Georgia Tech" Freshman Convocation Speech Guy):

An unsuspecting GT Motorsports member:

I also crossed a few things off my Exo-Bucket List. Drive-Thru took 20 minutes, as everyone in the store needed to see it:

My first try-hard acceleration run was out of the GA-400 tollbooth. This photo looks like I'm changing lanes, but I'll just say the overall direction of travel was straight. Notice third gear and the RPM. On warm tires. Mwahahaha.

Oh yeah, here're the headlights:

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/27/13 9:34 a.m.

Cool, looks kinda like a robot face when you look inside the nose

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