Author Jarlath Sweeney Fleet Transportation Magazine
There was a great sense of expectation leading up to and during the early part of the presentation from Pagani, at the 7th Autostyle Car Design Competition Digital Edition Workshop, held on Monday, 16 November.
Viewers to the popular online event series, hosted by Horacio Pagani, the company founder of at the company’s headquarters, near Modena in Northern Italy, were treated with a wonderful insight to what goes on inside the Design Centre and heard about the development of the famed Huayra sportscar line.
Argentinian native Horacio Pagani, who served his time to senior management positions at Lamborghini, greeted viewers at the steps of the newly extended Design Centre, accompanied by Giulia Roncarati, from the Communications Department, who acted as translator. Horacio briefly touched on the Zonda, his first major high performance sportscar project, honouring his good friend and fellow countryman, Juan Manual Fangio, five time Formula One Champion. The C8 project, as it was initially called put Pagani on the high profile map and also marked the beginning of a long established business relationship with Mercedes-Benz, which continues to supply its AMG V12 engines. That was around 1994. Superfast and super cool in design, the Zonda range which extended over the years still remained exclusive with limited numbers produced. This helped to maintain a strong desire factor, whatever about the high price tag.
In creating these legendary cars, Horicio stressed that his philosophy that remains to this day and beyond: Create a sportscar that can also perform on the racetrack and make it a fun experience for the proud owner.
On entering the first main area within the Design Centre, Horacio explained that the company is not confined to designing and building top class sportscars. No, in fact industrial design projects include major contracts from the aviation industry, working with big name helicopter and airline manufacturers, from designing composites to bespoke interior layouts on private jets.
Among the large pictures hanging on the walls in the main reception area included a photo of the factory floor from ten yeas ago with three Zonda models being built. Another was a prized portrait of Juan Manuel Fangio.
As we thought, the portrait of Albert Einstein, with one of his famous quotes added, was another painting but surprisingly was a glass sliding door to another area within the Centre.
[“Try not to be a man of success but rather try to become a man of value”]
Here, we could see that the technical and creative area are within one unit so that all aspects from the car’s engineering and design techniques are explored openly and together as one. This ongoing brain sharing remains today as it did when the company was established in the early ‘90s. This philosophy helps to shape the dynamics of the vehicle. In what he said next would make one think with amazement: “There are over 10,000 parts and components in each car produced.” And that includes the heart of each model, the V12 AMG engine, which Pagani has a special, long standing relationship. Within this supply deal, Pagani’s engineers work with the AMG technicians to further fine tune the power unit to meet its own specifications.
There is no doubt but the Huayra range of mid-engine sportscars are all special to Horacio and subsequent Roadster BC version was a big challenge, an unexpected request from a customer to create an open top variant. “It had to meet their expectations,” he said.
As his team set about this task, one of the objectives was to make the car lighter, which was achieved with 350kg taken out and now stands at 1,250 kg (similar to a Ford Fiesta!). Named after Quechua, the Wind God, the project took two years to complete. A new light-weight material was used during the construction phase with a number of body parts made from carbon triax, which is a tri-axis fibreglass meshed with carbon-fibre power bands.
Modifications to the original hard top model’s body included the removeable top, changes to the rear section and the replacement of the gull-wing doors of the coupe, with conventional doors. Under the revised engine hood’s shape is the 6.0-litre AMG V12 that boasts near 800bhp and over 1,000 Nm @2,000rpm. And featuring 4-intercooler and two big turbos. This massive power output is tamed by a 7-speed automated manual transmission by Xtrac. Another unique feature is the four-pipe titanium exhaust system and specially designed tyres from Pirelli. A heart-pumping video shown then made the dream car come alive, in earnest.
Horacio admitted that to craft a new car, several prototypes have to be designed, modelled and tested long before production begins. Development cars cover more than 350,000kms, including over 45,000kms on “some of the world’s most demanding racetracks”, he said.
One of his proudest moments occurred recently as on 4 September last, when Pagani Development Driver Andrea Palma clocked a 2.23:08 lap record around the testing 4.352 mile circuit at Spa Francorchamps in Belguim. “This record,” he added, “is for globally homologated road cars” and said that the BC Roadster was pushed to “extreme speeds” in this test programme; “to which normally only a racing car would be subjected to”. He mentioned that towards the end of the test, the R&D department assessed the potential of the vehicle and, with his approval, did the fast lap despite the damp conditions of the racetrack.”
Another section of the Design Centre caters for the huge variety of high quality materials used for the cars interiors, from premium leather to stitching techniques. Sometimes, customers ask for some extreme type of interior fitting that has not been developed yet. Mission Impossible? Never at Pagani, as the client’s inner feelings and desires are dealt with the utmost professionalism an expertise. Jarlath Sweeney
Autostyle Design Competition Digital Edition 2020 visits Pagani Design Centre