“The Shul will make more than 1000bhp and it will have hypercar performance”
2018 was an important year for Vazirani Automotive, which shot into limelight with the Shul, India’s first hypercar in the making. Design sketches were revealed in July 2018 and it made its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year grabbing a lot of eyeballs. After the successful international debut, Vazirani Automotive showcased the Shul in Mumbai. We had a chat with, Chunky Vazirani, the man behind Vazirani Automotive about his inspiration behind the Shul, his targets and more. Here is the interview:
Inspiration behind the Shul
“It started long back, when I was a kid. I am a car nut and I love art, it was a natural calling for me to combine my two passions together and create my dream job. Car design was something that came naturally to me and ever since I was in school, I was sketching cars in my books and notebooks. I also read a few magazines about car designing and once I picked up a magazine with an article by Chris Bangle (who was the then chief designer at BMW) about his car design team, which got me thinking of a job in car designing. After finishing my high school, I went on to study at the Art Centre College of Design, where prominent personalities like Chris Bangle studied design. I had professors who designed the seventh generation Rolls-Royce Phantom and Porsche Carrera GT.
“The sides and bonnet of the car have reference to Lord Shiva’s Trishul. Even the overall shape of the headlights is designed to represent Namaste, like a greeting”
When you look at the Shul Inspire Gran Turismo, what you see is not just a design but an engineered package. A lot of times concept cars and production cars are far apart in terms of the way they look. We did not want that to happen. Lord Shiva was the inspiration for the Shul and the design was tricky, you can be very Indian and it becomes too much. It was all about keeping subtle elements. The three lines on the headlamps of the car are inspired from the lines on Lord Shiva’s head. The sides and bonnet of the car have reference to Lord Shiva’s Trishul. Even the overall shape of the headlights is designed to represent Namaste, like a greeting. All these subtle elements at the heart and soul are Indian, but it is an international product. The word Shul comes from the word Shoolan, which means ‘the one with the trident’.”
More than 1000bhp and AWD
“You are not getting as much performance in a hybrid and electric is definitely the way to go, looking at the environment and performance aspect. Electric motors are amazing, they surpass the IC engines when it comes to power to weight ratio. You have instant torque, amazing acceleration. Even in hybrid cars, the electric motors are mounted on the front axle for instant acceleration. Electric cars only fall short in terms of weight of the battery, because they are super heavy. A battery pack weighs 600-700kg and some supercars weigh just over 1000kg. From a supercar perspective, the battery weight is just going to slow the car down. That is also one of the reasons we use electric motors on the wheels. You get instant torque along with the boost. We also use a smaller, lightweight battery pack. Many countries don’t have the necessary infrastructure for charging. This is why we use a lightweight turbine to power the electric motors and it can be powered by regular fuel. We believe this is the best hybrid set up for the next generation. The platform is also completely new. The technical details will be revealed at a later stage when we have moved through the development process. All we can say is that it will make more than 1000bhp and it will have hypercar performance. It will be an AWD car and the weight distribution will be close to 50:50.”
“We also use a smaller, lightweight battery pack. Many countries don’t have the necessary infrastructure for charging. This is why we use a lightweight turbine to power the electric motors”
James Bond’s wheels?
“Consider the character of James Bond; he is quintessentially British, but he is a citizen of the world. That was the idea behind the Shul, it was meant to start off from India and be an international product. It was also essential for us to showcase the car closer to the suppliers to have them visit and check out the car. Ultimately, it is all about performance and the Goodwood Festival of Speed provided the perfect platform to showcase our work.”
Collaborating with a Formula 1 team
“Working on the aerodynamics with an F1 team is the ultimate thing. It will start soon and it is more on a refinement level. From a base level, everything is already in place in terms of the development.”
The Gran Turismo game
“I was a big fan of the game when I was a kid. I had the chance to meet Kazunori Yamauchi, who is the creator of the game, when I was studying at the Art Centre, at the Pebble Beach Concours. He has worked with a lot of car companies to design cars. I had a chat with him and we kept in touch. When we started designing the Shul, I wanted to get input from him because he has tremendous knowledge on racecars as he has designed some himself. He has been a part of the process and that is why the category is called Inspire GT in the game, just like the Mercedes Vision GT and the Bugatti GT. The start of the category is from the relationship with GT. We are working on what would be the best time to feature the car in the game.”
Out on the road in 2020? or 2021?
“The interiors are being closely designed with the chassis. It will take more time to get the chassis finalised as it depends on a lot of other components and vehicle dynamics. The interiors will probably be seen as a completely different release down the line. We want to keep the interiors as clean as possible. In terms of what technology to use for the interiors, we are still figuring out whether it is worth adding the weight. We are looking at a target weight of 1600kg. The car will be rolled out in late 2020 or early 2021.”
Follow us on Instagram for more exhilarating content
Design studio in Mumbai and globally sourced parts – a truly global hypercar
“While we have a design studio in Mumbai, 80 per cent of the components are imported. It’s a mix of Japan, UK, Italy and America. In terms of manufacturing, we would like to be closer to our suppliers, as it makes building the cars a lot easier. We work with a lot of consultants who come in once in a month or two and collaborate with a lot of people around the world, because the expertise in this particular supercar field is not there in India per se. It is also much better when we work with our suppliers closely to develop the cars while also staying closer to the market. This is one of the reasons we want to move our base to Europe. But we are still contemplating, as we have to factor in various parameters like economics and which government offers the best incentives for cars like this. So that is something we will look into a year down the line. For now, we are continuing the development of the Shul Inspire Gran Turismo in India.”
As told to Ganesh Murthy