I’ve always found the Noble M12 to be a bit of a peculiar beast.
I mean, British sports cars on the whole are often a bit odd anyway. They’re sort of the ideal embodiment of the awkward, slightly quirky British eccentricity.
Take the Noble M12, for example. A two-seater, composite clam shell bodied, 1,000kg, roll-caged, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, twin-turbo V6 sports car that can push a GT3 RS around a racetrack, yet called upon the Ford parts bin for many of its components.
If the rear lights ring a bell it’s because they’re actually Ford Mondeo units. If you’ve stepped foot inside a Ford recently then many of the interior components will look oddly familiar. The engine itself is the same V6 Duratec unit from the Mondeo too. Bizarre!
This low-production model is manufactured not far from where I live, yet I can count the number of M12s that I’ve actually seen on the road on one hand. They’re incredibly rare beasts, even here in England.
Notice that I said ‘on the road’? That’s right, these are completely road legal. In fact, considering the performance you get and how comparatively cheap they were new, I’m not sure why on earth the M12 wasn’t more popular.
The car sitting in front of you isn’t your standard Noble either. Simon Robert’s creation is the world’s only road-legal widebody M12 RSR.
What’s more, it’s also a fully competitive Time Attack series machine. Simon enjoys nothing more than racing his Noble at the weekend, and then popping down to the shops in it on a Monday morning.
Those with a keen memory might recall a much narrower, far less developed similar shade of green M12 gracing these pages a few years ago. That car and this are one and the same, but since we last brought you Simon’s M12, things have gotten more than a little serious.
A love for track days swiftly turned into Simon throwing his hat into the ring at Time Attack, and quickly realising that the Noble, under his guidance, had the potential to put in some pretty impressive times.
Subtle aero additions turned into more serious and substantial splitters, lips and diffusers in the quest for increased grip. Ultimately though, after a couple of seasons competing, Simon knew he needed wider rubber, so the decision was made to bulk up the M12 to accept its now 265-profile front and 295-profile rear tyres.
The green colourway remains, although it’s slightly more subtle than before. The green really pops in the sunlight and, most surprisingly it’s not paint at all – the car is wrapped.
The most noticeable change to the exterior of Simon’s M12 is in the girth department. Jetstream Motorsport were called upon to build Simon one of their M12 RSR wide-body kits. The Noble’s front and rear clams were swapped for composite Jetstream Motorsport items too, this step alone shaving around 15kg from the M12’s weight.
At the front the new low-drag clam helps the M12 cut through the air, whilst motorsports aerodynamicist Simon McBeath was called upon to design a new front splitter, end plates, S-flaps and front diffuser to aid in front-end grip. The entire underside of the car is flat-bottomed too.
Rearward of the cabin, McBeath also designed the new dual-plane adjustable rear wing. The longer ‘fastback’ design of the Jetstream rear clam aids in reducing drag, improving airflow around the rear wing and increasing airflow to the rear-mounted intercooler. It also completely changes the profile lines of the car.
The wider RSR fenders needed a wider set of wheels to fill them, so Image Wheels were called upon to supply a set of custom billet three-piece items, measuring 18×9.5-inch at the front and 18×11-inch out back.
In the quest for faster lap times, Simon turned his attention to under the bonnet. While the standard M12 motor is no slouch, propelling the car to 60mph in under 4 seconds, Simon managed to source a brand new Noble M15 bi-turbo 3.0-litre V6 Ford Duratec unit producing 450bhp.
The M12’s engine bay is about as tightly packed as you can imagine, so every part has to be carefully considered to minimise heatsoak. Simon designed a custom intercooler to keep intake temperatures down, and then had it made by Radtec.
Obviously leaving the motor standard wasn’t an option, so Simon built up the bottom end himself, with the help of Jetstream Motorsport. Boost is provided by a pair of Garrett GT28RS60 turbos, and the motor produces a cool 650bhp at 1.2bar (17.6psi) boost. The turbos can handle up to 2.0bar (29.4psi), which Simon thinks should be good for 900bhp.
In a car weighing 1,000kg.
With the 2017 Time Attack season looming, Simon used the recent #TrackAddict day at Rockingham to give the car a shakedown after the winter break. Due to the large variety of cars on track and the disparity in speeds, he had to take it a bit easy during the morning session.
But later on, with the track a bit quieter, Simon was able to really open the Noble up. The speeds this thing corners at are impressive, and hearing the twin-turbo V6 reverberate around Rockingham’s bank was incredible.
Simon is now just weeks away from the first round of the 2017 Time Attack season at Cadwell Park, and if his times in testing are anything to go by, then the changes he’s made to the M12 will be well worth the work.
We wish him the best of luck!