We knew about Tata Motors’ secret plan to build a sportscar – known by its project name ‘Futuro’– some months ago. We even had a fair idea of the specs of the car; we knew it was mid-engined and that it was a cracker of a design. But none of this could quite prepare us for what we finally saw.
When the top brass of Tata Motors took the covers off the Racemo, you could hear a collective gasp from the small media group present. It’s not just the shocker of a design but the fact that it comes from Tata Motors – a company better known for trucks, cheap cars and all things unexciting – that makes it hard to get your head around the Racemo. And that’s exactly the perception the manufacturer is desperate to change with the Tamo sub-brand, under which the Racemo has been launched.
A little-known fact is that the Racemo was never meant to become a production reality. It was initially conceived in digital form to target kids between the ages of 12 and 14 who spend most of their free time playing video games. It was a virtual car created for the digital racing world.
A very small team was involved in this ‘skunkworks’ project led out of Tata Motors’ Turin design studio and the brief given was to design a car with no constraints since it was never intended for production. However, the design team went a step beyond and made a physical model which was shown to the top management. Former chairman Cyrus Mistry was so bowled over with the design that he asked a simple question. ‘Is there any reason why we are not making a car like this?’ And thus, with Mistry’s nod, Project Futuro got the green light and the initial budget of Rs 10 crore for the prototype.
The Racemo also fits in with Tata Motors’ new passenger car strategy that kicked off recently. Whilst the mass-volume cars will continue under the Tata badge, the Tamo sub-brand will spawn, low-volume, high-tech cars and the Racemo is the first of the new cutting-edge breed.
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