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Bedford Autodrome to get Ariel Atoms for 2012

Thu, 15 Dec 2011

Corporate track-days at the Bedford Autodrome will get lairier in 2012 - Somerset-based Ariel has announced it’ll supply ten cars for the PalmerSport track-day events next year.

Stopping short of the unhinged Atom V8, the PalmerSport-spec cars get the normally aspirated 245bhp Civic Type-R engine, and some key changes to set it aside from the Joe-Public Atom. The Palmer-spec car will get a Sadev paddle-shift sequential gearbox, which swaps ratios in 60 milliseconds, whilst some choice chassis mods optimise the Atom for its full-time track-toy brief.

Is it safe to let suits out in an Ariel Atom?

Despite the scaffolding-on-wheels appearance, there shouldn’t be any corporate manslaughter worries according to Ariel MD Simon Saunders. Thanks to dual controls and the paddle-shift ‘box, sweaty-palmed novices can keep both hands on the wheel, minimising the number of suits fired off into Bedford’s manicured run-offs.

‘Drivers will be able to push the car as hard as they can on a fantastic circuit which is fast becoming a second home to the Atom. A lot of big grins are guaranteed in 2012’, says Saunders.

Saunders also told CAR that the Atom makes a strong case for itself at the Bedford Autodrome, thanks to its mechanically robust nature. With between 15-22,000 participants attending PalmerSport events per year, it’s the market leader in corporate track-days, so the cars will take a hammering.

What else is important about the PalmerSport Atom?

Each guest will be timed and filmed in the Atoms, the quickest getting an award. There’s also a celebrity lap-time leader-board, dubbed Super Grid, which will see ex-racing drivers including Martin Brundle and Tiff Needell staking their reputations against each other to produce the fastest lap in a PalmerSport Atom. And they’ve introduced the ‘Motor Media Super Grid’, throwing the gauntlet down for hot-shot motoring hacks to do the same. 

By Tim Kendall