At the 2014 Montreal International Auto Show, Quebec-based Felino introduced the second generation of its prototype supercar, a four-wheeled beast they’re sure will have car-lovers and performance driving enthusiasts talking: the cB7.
A beast is born
Quebecer Antoine Bessette is a former race car driver who’s enjoyed notable success during his racing career, particularly at the Molson Indy and in Formula Atlantic. After all those years in motorsport, his thirst for performance translated itself into a very specific dream—one of building his own track car.
Felino was founded around 10 years ago, with Bessette at the helm. Back then, the company essentially focused on corporate event planning, offering advanced driving lessons as well as coaching for elite race car drivers. However, since 2012, Bessette has put a greater focus on developing his track car, the cB7.
At the heart of this passion are the idea and desire to build a car that really envelops the driver. The designer wanted above all for his vehicle to provide the perfect seating position for the driver.
Engineers and other race car drivers were brought in to help establish this ideal position, and it was only after this crucial step that the drivetrain and body were added. For Bessette, designing a car whose driving position was the primary focus was the best way to ensure an unparalleled driving experience on the track. This is why the chassis and the vehicle’s body design were among the last stages of development for the Felino cB7.
The core of the Felino cB7
The results of the first prototype, completed in 2012, were so positive that the designer and his team announced that the second-generation would be the production model—quite the feat for a team designing its first vehicle.
The second-generation cB7 has a tubular platform, a new suspension and a 50-50 weight distribution. It’s powered by a 6.2-litre 525-horsepower V8 that generates 489 lb-ft of torque (the first-gen prototype was, on the other hand, equipped with a four-cylinder turbo).
Bessette and his team did not overlook the quality of the components used. Carbon fibre, which is used throughout, makes a dry weight of approximately 1,100 kg possible. The details concerning the vehicle’s overall performance will be revealed this summer, once tests have been conducted on the track.
2014: a pivotal year
2014 marks the final stage of development as well as the pre-production stage for the Felino cB7, making it a pivotal year. This summer, Bessette will test his second prototype alongside two additional cars made from moulds cast from the prototype last year. (Those two new cars are being built for a pair of buyers who will be taking part in every stage of development of their own cB7.)
A year or two from now, Bessette hopes to establish his own series of vehicles. “With an entry-level price under $100,000, this gives many race car drivers an opportunity to get into motorsport without it costing them a fortune,” explains the designer. “Much talent goes unfulfilled because of the high cost.” He also doesn’t hide the fact that his target customers are mainly abroad.
The launch of the second-generation Felino prototype at the 2014 Montreal International Auto Show is a great source of pride for Antoine Bessette—it’s a vehicle that surely stole the show!
The Felino isn’t the only recent track car prototype to come out of Quebec: check out our story on the Magnum MK5.