Iker Echeverria is the co-founder of VUHL, the Mexican supercar maker that has taken an aerospace approach to making the finest road going race cars to hit the streets. As an official partner of Motul, we supply the high-tech lubricants that go into every VUHL car that leaves the factory. Iker tells us more about the aerospace thinking that goes into every model they make.
Iker, VUHL stands for “Vehicles of Ultra-Lightweight and High Performance”. How does the VUHL 05 live up to the name?
What makes our story a little bit special is we’re located in the aerospace cluster near the airport at Querétaro, 200km from Mexico City. The interesting thing about that is all the requirements to be here, from our factory to our processes to our certification, has to be aerospace. So the car is basically built as an aeroplane. We use honeycomb panels, carbonfibre, and everything is done under the same ISO regulations (ISO 9001:2015 and AS 9110d) as aircraft manufacturing. The sourcing of the parts is like for an aeroplane. I believe this was the only way to do it, otherwise we would be competing at the same level as the other manufacturers. Unlike the UK, where there is a rich heritage of these small, niche manufacturers, we needed other weapons to stand out. And those were to build the car with an aerospace philosophy.
So, the VUHL 05, your first car, is very cutting edge?
Yes. We describe the car as ultra-lightweight (which is the term given to cars under 700kgs). The VUHL 05RR, the most extreme version, tips the scales at 660kgs. It’s a very light weight car with impressive power-to-weight ratio. That’s what makes it special. That comes from the way it is constructed. It’s an aluminium monocoque, which weighs 78kgs from the crash structure to the firewall, with carbon fibre bodywork. So, it’s really, really light and focused on losing weight, rotational weight and unsprang weight and absolutely going to the extreme. The VUHL 05 has very high torsional rigidity because we don’t have any doors, so we could go high up the lateral walls which made it extremely stiff.
Motul and VUHL are a very interesting partnership: two high-tech companies pushing at the boundaries of automotive. How are you finding the partnership?
Something that we really appreciated working with Motul Mexico was that they put us in touch with Motul France. We had been struggling a little bit with brake fluid. It was destroying some rubber parts in the pumps and cylinders. So, the tech team at Motul came up with a great solution. For us, it was very important having this kind of support because we’re not the experts in absolutely everything, like engines, or tyres or lubricants. We design it and specify it, but we have to pick the best partners to give us the best quality.
How have you found the quality of Motul’s engine lubricants?
We use two lubricants for the engine: a mineral oil to bed in the engine, which we found was working really well in cleaning up the small particles. Funnily enough we didn’t find this characteristic with other lubricants. Then we clean the engine with 300V, which on the dyno has proven to be the best one. In the end, we’ve been using Motul lubricants for many years and are very happy with them.