Described as a racing car for the road, lighter than the smallest of city cars, but with a power-to-weight ratio that would humble supercars costing 10 times as much, this is the VUHL 05. Designed and built in Mexico, it is the brainchild of brothers Iker and Guillermo Echeverria. Inspired by their father’s motor racing success, they set out to build a homage to him and reinvent what high-performance, light-weight cars should look like. Recently, Motul officially partnered with the brand. This is the VUHL story.
Iker, can you tell us more about VUHL?
We’re the only automotive manufacturer in Mexico, designing and building cars here. And that’s what makes our story a little bit special. Our factory is in the aerospace cluster in a city about two hours from Mexico City. Because of the requirements needed to have a factory here in terms of processes and certifications, the VUHL is basically built like an aeroplane. We specialise in ultra-lightweight cars (the 05 is around 600kgs), so we make very light-weight cars with a very impressive power-to-weight ratio. Our top-spec car has a power-to-weight ratio of 600hp-per-tonne, which gives it a hypercar-level of performance. It’s a very small car, Lotus Elise sized, and lighter than a SMART car.
How did the idea for VUHL come about?
My dad raced for 40 years in GT and Formula cars. So, we have grown up with this heritage of racing. He used to design, build and race his cars. My brother and I are partners of VUHL, and we were watching how he made his cars, so it was very natural for us to want to make our own. We are both industrial designers, so it was logical to take our idea to the next stage and we are committed to making history and trying to break a few records, too. Our goal was to make a company that specialised in high-performance, extreme toys. Obviously, we are excited about the car, but also the factory we have built to make it.
What is the USP of VUHL? What marks your car out from your competitors?
It’s a racing car for the road, and that makes it special and narrows the niche a lot. There are only a handful of companies doing what we do (such as Motul partner brands BAC and Ariel) and all of us are making racing cars homologated for the street. Also, every car we make is unique. We never make the same car twice and each one is bespoke for the client.
Could you talk us through your first model, the VUHL 05?
Our first and only model is the 05. The name comes from my father. He used to race with the number five all of his life. This is a homage to him. The car has a carbon-aluminium monocoque and it’s only 78kgs, so it’s very light and has a very high torsional rigidity because it doesn’t have any doors. The powertrain is a Ford EcoBoost 2.3 Turbo and is developed by a racing team in Toulouse, France. It’s a very light aluminium block, with a small displacement, producing 400hp. It’s almost the Formula One way of thinking. It’s a very nice package and we’re really happy with the results.
How did the partnership with Motul come about?
The racing team in France was using Motul long before we started working with them as an official partner. We decided to just continue with that. When Motul came to us, it was seamless because all the product validation had been done for eight years already. Motul was already part of the company.
What are some of the benefits you’ve found with the Motul partnership?
The name and prestige of Motul is very important for us and to have a big manufacturer giving us this support. Motul has a great presence in racing and is globally known. We’re very similar companies, too. We didn’t want to work with a big corporate structure, but with a company that was more nimble. Motul is very agile in the process and that is something that is really important.