“Spec prototype” seems like a contradiction in terms, but if you want to race a purpose-built race car but don’t love the crazy development costs of an open prototype series, here’s the Elan NP01. I’ve got some track time with it this morning, so what do you want to know about this 1,500-lb, 185 hp barrel o’ fun?

Full disclosure: NASA wanted us to run this new car so much that they paid for my hotel and travel out to California to get behind the wheel.


The National Auto Sport Association announced its NASA Prototype series last year—but think more along the lines of Spec Racer Ford, and less LMP1. It’s an amateur racing series where all the “prototypes” are all the same, giving drivers a rad little platform to race but an even playing field where no one car is allowed (in theory, at least) to run away development-wise from everyone else.

For roughly the cost of a new Suburban, you can pick up a kit for the car, to which I said it’s never too early to teach your children the value of travelling by foot. Look at it, man. It’s like a baby Le Mans prototype. Plus, it’s a new design, complete with a closed cockpit and all the other safety items folks consider when picking up a car.

They recently put two of the cars together, so here’s Chassis #001 together with the development car #000 on track together for the first time.

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We’ve got an amateur: me. I’ll be driving this car today to determine just how amateur-friendly it is. (Comparisons to a Porsche 944 incoming!) I’ll ask about expected running costs, and all the usual bits, but what do you want to know? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to pick the brains of the team behind this project while they’re here.

Photo credits: Marc Sanzenbacher/TOYO Tires


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.

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