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Wellingborough, UK – With core engineering and design work complete and RML’s first Short Wheelbase slated for production in the final quarter of this year, engineers and designers who have been dedicated to the ‘P35’ programme for the last two years are working closely together to make sure that Car Zero (the pilot car) is ready to roll before year-end.

Of course, for many in the team this is business as usual, having worked on previous projects for RML’s OEM clients. But this one is different, and perhaps a little more personal, because the Short Wheelbase wears an ‘RML’ badge, embracing all the wealth of experience and knowledge gained by the teams over many years.

So, let’s catch up with some key members from RML’s P35 team to find out what’s been ticked off their to-do lists, and what’s still to come.

James Welford – Powertrain

James and his team have been responsible for the very heart of the Short Wheelbase: its 485bhp 5.5-litre Ferrari V12 engine and drivetrain.

“The engine’s dyno pass-off test has been completed with no issues, and the unit is being dressed for build into the car,” reported James. “The powertrain’s design is also complete, and as bespoke parts are manufactured, we need to check them against the original drawings to make sure that they’re to specification.

“Another vital task is checking that the newly-released instruments for Car Zero are functioning correctly, as part of testing and sign-off for the car’s coolant and oil systems. One of the most important tests is a full vehicle climatic wind tunnel sign-off, which replicates the extremes of temperatures that a customer’s car may be exposed to in the real world. We’ll also be finalising a full-vehicle test plan to validate the powertrain’s integration in the Short

Jonathan Bowen – Design

“As we move into the pre-production phases, the devil is very much in the detail,” said Jonathan. “Small but important details, like designing the final trim surfaces occupy a lot of my team’s time, as does making aesthetic refinements to many of
the parts being readied for production, right up until the last moment. And it’s not just the part’s appearance: we have to assess each and every part to guarantee their perfect form and function.

“We also never lose sight of the fact that we’re dealing with a wonderfully emotive product, and one that customers will want to make their own, so we’re developing a range of colours, materials and finishes – and some beautiful accessories – that allow a high degree of personalisation.”

Charles Bouma – Vehicle electrical systems

Charles and his team have been responsible for developing a highly bespoke electrical system for the Short Wheelbase. Here he explains the attention to detail needed to validate the system for the extremes of real-world usage.

“We’re now at a stage where all exterior lights and interior switchgear are being manufactured, which is a great relief. We faced all sorts of challenges during the development phases, especially with such unique designs of tail- and headlights. For instance, creating a tail-light cluster with four distinct light rings, while trying to avoid light-bleed between the rings, and still achieve a set brightness, occupied a good deal of our time. Inside, we also designed switchgear to be extremely tactile for the user, with great feel and feedback, while also being robust enough to survive our durability cycles.

“Over the next month, we’ll be inspecting the first manufactured parts to make sure they’re to specification against the drawings, and validating the entire assembly’s fitness for purpose. That includes the exterior lights, for example, undergoing environmental testing to ensure that the units will not leak, and that the electrical components do not create condensation within them.”

George Fairgrieve-Sealy – Interior

“We’re very much in the final phase of interior development,” said George. “Full prototype seats have been tested in our interior buck, with only a few minor adjustments required. We’re also due to complete final seat foam trials, which will define
driving position and comfort; we’ll be benchmarking the seat against the
standard 550M’s and others in our competitive set.

“All switchgear, instrumentation and car entertainment assembly designs are complete, and we’re now seeing the first metallic interior components for inspection and trial fit. In the next month, the trial fit process will also
extend to key areas like the dash’, in-car entertainment and switchgear.”

Nic Rutherford – Production

Nic’s team, including key engineers like Paul Stewart and Ben Amos, are critical at this stage, as the Short Wheelbase’s various architectures are validated and readied for integration into the final assembly. Here, Nic gives a feel for some of the
challenges to come.

“In preparation for Car Zero, we’re running virtual build activities to establish a planned build process, including producing build manuals and sign-off documentation. We also need to make sure that the process is sufficiently flexible to allow for the high degree of personalisation that we expect from customers.

“’Right first time’ is our mantra, which means an incredible attention to detail to make sure that when series production starts, it will be to the highest possible standard – this is so important where such low volumes are involved. We’re currently defining facility requirements, along with jigging and fixturing needs, to streamline production. We’re also developing a build-issue resolution plan to make sure that Car Zero is produced to the correct timeline
and quality standards.”

Interested in finding out more about the RML Short Wheelbase’s ordering process?

If you’d like to find out more about pricing and lead times, please e-mail:

Press contact: Simon Hucknall +44 7860 151953

Notes to Editors

RML Group Ltd

RML is one of the world’s leading high performance automotive engineering
companies. We undertake whole-vehicle design, build and development projects for motorsport and road car applications.

We push the boundaries with exceptional and cost-effective solutions for automotive OEM’s. Defence and Aerospace clients, whether this is for a one off powertrain or a complete continuation programme, RML Group has the capabilities and experience to make your programme a success.

One of our fastest-growing specialisations is EV technology for road and race applications, made possible by our state of the art energy storage design and manufacturing facility, design engineering, software and simulation services.

In Motorsport RML’s experience extends to Touring Car, GT, Sports Prototype and off-road programmes in major motorsport series for global automotive brands worldwide, RML has won multiple World Championships for its partners and has a winning pedigree in every series in which it has competed. RML applies this nimble, innovative and winning mind set to developing high performance road car derivatives and advanced automotive engineering solutions for OEMs.

RML Group:

For further information, please contact:

Simon Holloway

RML Group Ltd

T: (0) 1933 402440

Copyright © 2013 RML Group All rights reserved.

RML Group Ltd

6-10 Whittle Close, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 6TY

Tel: +44 (0)1933 402440

SWB Team