Young Kiwi builds rally car in Coromandel barn
Wednesday 7 May 2014 6:22 p.m.
Twenty-one-year-old Alex Kelsey is about to become the talk of world motorsport after building his own rally car in his family's Coromandel barn.
Kelsey's rally car can go from zero to 200km/h in seven seconds - faster than any supercar on earth.
Kelsey spent 18 months designing and building his dream rally car.
"It needed to look good, it needed to sound good, and it needed to be easy to work on and cheap to maintain. We've met those criteria," he says.
The Peugeot-style body was chosen because Kelsey liked the shape, and the V6 engine is from a Renault race car because he liked the noise it made.
The suspension, the carbon fibre and the badge are all Kelsey's work. The MC2 (Mad Creation 2) is all road legal.
It is quite an achievement for a kid who barely scraped through NCEA level one.
"[I was] absolutely useless at school, hopeless at writing and stuff like that," he says.
The school stuff was difficult because Kelsey is dyslexic - but his life was changed by the story of Kiwi motorcycle designer John Britten, who is also dyslexic.
Like Britten, Kelsey's approach can be unconventional - just take the bulletproof wheel liners.
"Kevlar wears out all the time but it's got unbelievable strength with stopping bullets and things. Then you've got mud flaps, which never wear out. So I've joined the two together and made Kevlar-reinforced rubber."
This is not the first automotive Frankenstein to come out of the Coromandel barn. Kelsey drove his modified Subaru to victory on debut and he remains the youngest driver to have won a round of the National Rally Championship.
Not content with stage victories, he now wants to win hearts.
"If people can't get excited about going and watching that, then I'll give up. That's the best I can do, the most exciting car I can build," he says.
He will find out in three weeks when the MC2 makes its debut at Rally Hawke's Bay.