ApolloIE – A mythical quest of intense emotions
It was only a matter of time for the ApolloIE to take flesh and bones. If the previous decade was one of self-awareness for the upper echelons of the automotive industry, the one coming to a conclusion in a few months, has been a revelation. Bold decisions in the late 1990’s, both in corporate strategies and design characteristics, have led to consolidation of the performace and luxury car manufacturers, as well as a succession of supercars, one outshinining the other. The rationalization of design and production, but mostly allocation of resources, resulted in an unprecedented supercar output, only matched by the phenomenal global demand for this “commodity”.
After WWII, traditional “sportscar” manufacturers inspired generations, with shapes that were as uncommon on public roads, as the skills required to handle them. Nowadays, these same manufacturers have made their cars “accessible” to a wider client-base and perfect as they may be, they are, to some extent, alienated from the origins of automotive passion. Palatial comfort and absolute safety have “pestered” modern supercars with electronics, useful for the unaware, but outright “oppressive“for the enthusiasts. But a day comes…(#ΕΣΣΕΤΑΙ ΗΜΑΡ…)
The ApolloIE bears a name that reflects both capabilities and intentions.
The Greek god Apollo, son of Zeus (the king of Olympian gods) and grandson of Titans, has many attributes attached to his name. He is an archer and a musician, representing strength, accuracy, harmony and light. He is the link between the present and the future and his sibyls (oracles) have the duty of delivering insights, visions of the things to come. This is essence of the ApolloIE experience.
Mere mortals in a creative trance, the Apollo Automobil team are willing to sacrifice anything, but their passion for a bespoke and arousing contact with the elements of the road. Although their varied backgrounds extend from the highly technical expertise, to the phenomenal artistic aura, their enlightment is witnessed in every aspect of the ApolloIE.
The design features incorporated into the perfect aerodynamic assembly are characteristics of predators.
The overall appearance is one of the most intimidating concepts currently in production, with extensive use of sequential acute and obtuse angles, always in harmony. Curves stretching across a great proportion of the total area, outline the mascular body of the car. A narrow teardrop shaped canopy slides under the boundary layer of an airflow, streamlined in a visually impressive and aerodynamically efficient manner. The aerodynamic coefficient number generated (3), while this beauty is carving still air, bring it closer to an LMP2 race car than a GT road version, with an ideal 45.5% front and 55.5% rear distribution, of the titanic 1,350kg (100kg more than its curb weight) downforce at 300km/h.
But the harmonious effect of the ApolloIE is perfected once the V12 is fired up to chant the hymn to modern engineering. The 6.3lt naturally aspirated powerplant, developed in partnership with Autotecnica Motori, delivers in excess of 780hp and 760NM, bringing the Vmax to 335km/h and the 0-100km/h in 2.7sec. Partly explains the 2g lateral loading too. Wet, sport and track mapping allow for flexibility in operation, since the aim is to enjoy this hypercar on every occassion.
A longitudinal Hewland sequential 6-speed+Rev gearbox, with fully interchangeable gear ratios is used to transmit the dynamic loads of the engine to the axles. The strong, race-proven gearbox provides significant weight savings over a dual-clutch unit and yet lightning-fast gear changes via electro-pneumatic paddle shifters.
These move with the steering wheel, as it is now the prefered design option, ensuring the right, accessible change, every time.
The connection to the wheels is by two lightweight, superalloy semi-axles, designed by the Austrian specialist Pankl Racing Systems AG.
The chassis and suspension are indicative of the team’s determination to remain true to their core values. A modern chassis for the next-generation had to be created, utilizing advanced technologies and composite materials.
The result is a state of the art, bespoke, all-carbon fibre chassis, which allows for maximum torsional rigidity, safety and the ability to base a lightweight and aerodynamically efficient shape.
It does not consist only of a carbon monocoque, but also incorporates carbon fibre front and rear subframes. This has enabled the creation of more organic surfaces and a tighter packaging, which in return has a positive correlation to its robust aerodynamic efficiency. The entire chassis, including the monocoque, front and rear subframes has a total weight of a mere 105kg.
The Apollo IE features bespoke carbon fiber front crash structures, which are known to be used in Formula One. To avoid proving their use, Apollo has partnered with Brembo. The ApolloIE uses a new Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM) for the Brembo discs, with 380×34 mm and a 6-piston caliper in the front and 380×34 mm, 4-piston caliper in the rear.
The principle behind the ApolloIE suspension is the Formula One inspired double wishbone, with full push-rod and rocker arm architecture, on both front and rear, along with adjustable anti-roll bars. The dampers are manufactured by Bilstein and are driver adjustable in three modes (Comfort, Sport, Auto). The development of the suspension system was aiming to achieve optimum performance, but also carry a targeted level of refinement, in order to provide a unique, differential driving experience. One which permits the driver to have full control of comfort and performance levels at the tip of the fingers, with electronic damper adjustability and the practicality of an Electro-Hydraulic lifter system. This can raise the height of the vehicle by 50 mm at both the front and the rear, as speeds up to 30 km/h, carefully avoiding minor public road challenges, with a seriously threatening potential. Last, but not least, a pneumatic quick-lift system has been integrated, with 4 air-jacks for easy pit-service operations, in order to allow the ApolloIE to partake in much admired circuit events, such as the Apollo Time Attack Program.
The design of the suspension and components selected, also allow for a personal tuning and modification for each client. Developing an individual suspension setup is elemental for the satisfaction and involvement, since the ApolloIE ultimately becomes an extension of the owner, sharing behavioural characteristics.
With a total production volume of only 10 units, the ApolloIE is by definition one of the most exclusive cars ever made.
However, it is my firm belief that it will be remembered for the inspiration of its creators and those who can relate to it. Those who crave for thoroughbred performance cars, destined for performance drivers.
Much like the world during the late days of the Roman Empire, the performance car niche of the 1990’s was in need of a revolutionary rationalization, in order to allow progress. It became imperative to remove fragmentation and the dogmatic handicaps of the “old school”. Still, with the introduction of new principles, legends and “old gods” were destined to fade away, leaving nostalgia. The arrival of the ApolloIE on the automotive scene repeats echoes of the glorious past. One can almost hear the voice of the last oracle delivering the last rave at Delphi:
“ΕΣΣΕΤΑΙ ΗΜΑΡ ΟΤΕ ΦΟΙΒΟΣ (ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ) ΠΑΛΙΝ ΕΛΕΥΣΕΤΑΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣ ΑΕΙ ΕΣΕΤΑΙ”
“A DAY WILL COME WHEN APOLLO WILL ARRIVE AGAIN AND HE WILL STAY FOREVER”