crankandpiston.com becomes one of the first publications worldwide to shoot the W Motors Lykan Hypersport, the first ever Arabic hypercar.
Towards the end of last year, we had the enviable pleasure of shooting the W Motors Lykan Hypersport, the first ever-Arabic hypercar. No other publication in the region had been granted this opportunity and only a select few had done so across the world. Naturally then – given that not much earlier we shot James Hunt’s 1977 Formula 1 car – this had to be done properly. And that, as it turns out, was a little trickier than we thought.
First of all, the Lykan you see here is not a production-ready model, and that was enough to stop us getting our grubby mitts on the wheel. It therefore fell upon W Motors design director Anthony Jannarelly to manoeuvre the hypercar where we needed it. For four hours. Luckily he’s a good sport.
Secondly, in order to get the grungy vibe we felt went hand-in-claw with a supercar named after a werewolf, we would be shooting in the underground parking lot beneath crankandpiston GHQ. That entailed creeping the Lykan and its incredibly low nose down a ramp and over a couple of road humps. You concentrate a lot when laying face down on the floor of a parking lot guiding one of the most exclusive hypercars in the world into position without scratching it.
And lastly, there’s the attention. Turns out that a smoke machine, a lighting stanchion and $3 million-plus of carbon fibre and diamond headlights draws a lot of attention. Not just from the dozens of onlookers watching close-by but also from building security, who are convinced the smoke machine is our subtle way of setting the building on fire.
Once into the swing though, crankandpiston’s W Motors Lykan shoot actually runs pretty smoothly. So smoothly in fact that I even have time to press design director Anthony on the Lykan’s styling. You’d think that, given the strong lines and aggressive stance, that Lamborghini was a big influence. You’d be wrong.
“Many people compare the car to a Lamborghini, but it really wasn’t the intention”, Anthony begins. “A hypercar has to be brutal, but with the Lykan I wanted to make something colourful but curious. So it’s really a combination of aggression and elegance. In fact there was only really one car we drew inspiration from, and that was the GT By Citroën concept. What’s interesting is its combination of volumes: the Citroën has very strong lines – especially those around the rear wheel arches – and the Lykan is a bit like this.”
When you don’t have the formidable resources of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or any other established supercar brand, time can be an issue in the design studio. Indeed, to keep the project rolling, the Lykan’s original design took just a little under two months to hammer out. For Anthony, that proved critical to the Lykan’s overall character.
“I wanted to design the car quickly, because that’s how it was done in the ‘60s/’70s,” Anthony continues. “This way the design is much more spontaneous, and emotional. Take the Daytona: they apparently designed that in one week, because at the time Ferrari didn’t have the time or the resources. That’s an iconic car now.
“We wanted a design that was quite different to big manufacturers, so you start by combining a few ideas together. Then you sketch: you never stop sketching! You’ll have some ideas that you’ll want included, then you start looking for inspiration, and this could be from a completely different industry: yachts, planes, etc. From that you create a mood board, on which you put all the pictures that you like, and you try to find some common ground. Once you have the sketches, you begin designing three-dimensionally, and that is where the real design will start.”
Having a design on the board – as we found out from the head of global design at Maserati Lorenzo Ramaciotti – is not the end of the story though. In come the engineers to decide what is feasible, what is possible, and what is so batshit crazy that it’ll never work in the real world. Unsurprisingly, a little compromise is required.
“If you look at the original design, it’s very close to the styling of the car now but every single surface has changed. During a feasibility study with the Engineers, the proportions change – the headlights are a little higher, the windows are bigger – to make them work. The overall impression of the car is the same though, like the C-pillars. From the side view, these are a straight-line, and normally in a car’s design you don’t have that. There’s usually a bend otherwise they won’t work. If you put a ruler on the Lykan’s C-Pillar though it will be perfectly flat. It’s difficult to bring something new to car design because people say it’s all been done before, but I think that is something very special.”
By now Anthony has climbed in and out of the slightly constricted cockpit almost two dozen times, and the capacity crowd – fearing this is going to be a long one – has largely dispersed (by now we’ve been on the go for three and a half hours). Fortunately there’s just one shot left, and we’ll be shooting that outside.
Which means getting the car back out of the lot and up the ramp.
“Sorry Anthony, could you jump back in again…”
|W Motors||Lykan Hypersport|
|Engine:||Boxer type flat-six / 3746cc / twin turbocharger|
|Power:||770hp @ 7100rpm|
|Torque:||708lb ft @ 4000rpm|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed dual clutch PDK / rear wheel drive|
|Front suspension:||MacPherson strut / anti-roll bar|
|Rear suspension:||Multi-link suspension / horizontal coil over shock absorbers / anti-roll bar|
|Brakes:||Six-piston aluminium mono-bloc calipers / ventilated cross-drilled ceramic composite discs / 380x34mm (front) / 380x34mm (rear) / ABS / ASR / ABD / TC|
|Wheels:||8.5" x 19" (front) / 12.5" x 20" (rear) / lightweight forged aluminium wheels|
|Tyres:||255/35 ZR19 (front) 335/30 ZR20 (rear)|
|Weight (kerb)||1400kg (estimated)|
|Top speed:||385kph (estimated)|