In case you aren’t familiar with it (I wasn’t), Veritas is a German manufacturer with a history stretching back to 1949 – although it hasn’t produced a car since the 1950s. Now a new owner is hoping to bring the name back with this, the RSIII. Veritas will unveil a full production version at the Salon Prive show in July. In the meantime, though, this is the engineering prototype.
The will be a few changes for production, mainly that this car’s previous-generation BMW M5 V8 engine will be replaced by the current M5’s V10, but also that carbon fiber will replace plastic for the body construction.
Not that I’ve ever driven one, but if I imagine what a 1950s Formula 1 car would be like to drive, well, the RSIII gets pretty close; a surplus of power over grip (despite huge 325/25ZR20 rear tires), no safety systems and plenty of noise. If you look beyond some flash new materials, the cockpit is entirely conventional, with three pedals and a regular gearbox. Even the view peering out from the single cockpit over the long hood is refreshingly old fashioned.
Even with the prototype’s 440hp, the RSIII will spin its way through second even on half throttle. Production versions will get 500hp as standard and up to 600hp on request. Such instant ferocious power could be intimidating if the RSIII wasn’t so nicely balanced and the control weights so well defined.
The throttle pedal has a long travel, but almost perfect weighting and modulation, and the pedal spacing is ideal for heel-and-toe downchanges. The steering is accurate, provides decent feel, and despite no assistance is easy to manage. You need to concentrate and not take liberties, but approach it carefully and the RSIII can be balanced sweetly on the power.
The very obvious issue with the RSIII is the price; Veritas is asking a whopping 330,000 euros ($457,000) plus tax. Only 30 RSIIIs will be produced, meaning there’s a degree of exclusivity built into the price, but the real justification (according to Veritas) is the use of exotic materials. We’ll have to wait for the production car to see if this stacks up, but as driving experience the RSIII is a very special, compelling machine.
Words: Jamie Corstorphine/AutocarPhotos: Stan Papior/Autocar