One of my favorite vehicles on the road today, the Ariel Atom, is getting freshened up with a few mechanical changes and more interior room. The third-generation Atom gets an upgraded chassis with diagonal side rails to allow 3.9 inches of elbow room and an additional 2.4 inches of hip room inside the cockpit.
The Ariel Atom 3 suspension will now receive optional 10-way adjustable Bilstein shocks while non-adjustable Bilsteins as standard. The Atom 3 also has a slightly lowered seating position which should lower the center of gravity and make the overall ride quality a little better.
The Honda Type-R K20 engine replaces the GM Ecotec as the only engine option. However, the K20 is available naturally aspirated with 245 hp or supercharged with 300 hp. Exhaust now exits through dual outlets.
One of the more functional features of the Atom 3 is the optional windscreen, eliminating the propensity to eat bugs when blistering from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 3 seconds. The semi-frameless, polycarbonate windscreen can be easily attached with five fittings and even includes wipers and a washer system, but at a hefty cost of nearly $1,900.
The Ariel Atom is the brainchild of Simon Sanders at the Ariel Motor Company based in Somerset, England. The Atom was originally manufactured under license in the United States by Brammo Motorsports. However, TMI AutoTech, Inc. has recently been granted the exclusive North American license for the Ariel Atom brand. A new facility was required, and after searching various locations, it was decided that the raceplex within VIRginia International Raceway was the best choice. This 10,000-sq/ft location will allow TMI to assemble new Ariel Atom 3’s, as well as continue to supply parts and service for the existing Ariel Atom 2’s in the marketplace.
TMI has a great understanding of the Ariel Atom, having already been the Canadian distributor and the creator of the Ariel Atom experience. As the only operators of an Ariel Atom fleet in continuous commercial track use in North America, TMI has proven the durability and reliability of the Atom. TMI has logged more than 5,000 track-day miles on each of their Atoms without any significant mechanical issues.
With a significant investment into the U.S. operations of the Ariel Atom, expect great things from TMI and the Atom for a long time to come.