The ATS GT Limited Edition Isn’t Your Average McLaren



Since its rebirth, Italian automaker ATS (Automobili Turismo e Sport) has brought us exciting modern cars like the track-ready ATS Sport 1000, the ATS Leggera and early 2014 the very beautiful sporty-looking ATS 2500, which are both throwbacks to this brand’s roots. While the Sport and 2500 GT are reimagined versions of the original cars.

ATS, short for Automobili Turismo & Sport, is an Italian car manufacturer born in the 1960s as a result of a massive departure of Ferrari engineers. ATS was formed by famous names like Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini.

ATS was formed after the famous ‘Palace Revolution’ at Ferrari. The company was formed by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini, among others – intending for it to be a direct competitor to Ferrari both on the race track and on the street. Chiti and Bizzarrini built, with sponsorship from the Scuderia Serenissima’s Count Giovanni Volpi, a road-going sports car and a Formula One racing car.

ATS ATS-2500-1963-02

The sports car was the ATS 2500 GT, a small sportscoupé developed by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini with a Franco Scaglione (ex-Bertone) designed bodywork built by Carrozzeria Allemano. He penned a sleek fastback with an integrated front bumper and a rear hatch for access to the V8 engine. The standard GT model featured a steel body while the GTS was equipped with an all-aluminum body for events like the Targa Florio. It was presented in April 1963 at the Geneva Motor Show.

The ATS 2500GT is able to claim the title of the first mid-engined Italian supercar – an honour usually thought to be associated with the Lamborghini Miura that appeared three years later.

Inside, the 2500 GT received a full leather treatment with a Nardi wooden steering wheel and electric power windows. Power brakes were also standard. The engine was a mid-mounted 2.5 L V8 engineered by Chiti, capable of achieving 245 hp (180 kW) and accelerating to 257 km/h (160 mph). Only 12 cars were reportedly built, and few exist today.


Apart from being the second mid-engine sports cars (the René-Bonnet / Matra Djet was presented five months earlier at the Salon de l’Autombile in Paris, France), the 2500 GT never gained fame or popularity, but its 90 degree DOHC V8 with a flatplane crankshaft was later developed into Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 engine in 2 L, 2.5 L and 3 L formats by Carlo Chiti at Autodelta. Both were technologically advanced for their time, but a commercial flop with only 12 produced in total between 1963 and 1965.

Count Volpi subsequently backed the Serenissima marque which used much technology similar to ATS. Bruce McLaren used a Serenissima engine for a few Grands Prix in 1966.

After the demise of ATS, Giotto Bizzarrini moved to Lamborghini before building his own cars as Bizzarrini, while Chiti founded Autodelta together with fellow ex-Ferrari engineer Lodovico Chizzola, which would work closely with Alfa Romeo for the following decades.





In 2012, 50 years later, ATS, the new owner, Daniele Maritan began to build new cars. Since its rebirth, the Italian carmaker has brought us exciting modern cars like the track-ready ATS Sport 1000 and early 2014 the vèry beautiful sporty-looking ATS 2500, which are both throwbacks to this brand’s roots

Founded in 1963, Automobili Turismo e Sport is different in 2018 without forgetting the sporting roots that made the automaker interesting in the first place. The new ATS GT Launch Edition serves as the newest model of the Turin-based establishment.

The GT is styled by Emanuele Bomboi, formerly of Fiat and later design director of Bertone, and ATS says it offers a ‘timeless yet striking design, evoking the brand’s past while reflecting its very contemporary performance’. It isn’t hard to see the resemblance to the 1963 car, the new GT takes on many contemporary supercar design cues, including a low front scuttle and highlighted accent line running along the side of the glasshouse. The devil-may-care approach to exterior design carries over to the rear end, which combines the aesthetic qualities of old Italian supercars with modern styling motifs.





Compared to the bone-stock GT, the Launch Edition offers customers the opportunity to have their signatures engraved in the steering wheel. Only 12 vehicles will be produced, equaling the ATS 2500 GT in terms of rarity. The old-timer features a mid-engine layout, 2.5 liters of displacement, eight cylinders, and five forward ratios, with everything wrapped up in a handmade Carrozzeria Allemano bodywork.

The new ATS GT is a high-tech machine. It is based on a McLaren-sourced platform. The ATS GT also uses the British firm’s twin-turbocharged V8. The ATS GT carries the mid-engine legacy but levels up to 3.8 liters and twin-turbocharging technology. The beating heart of the car might be sourced from McLaren, but the output surpasses that of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8-engined 720S. On full song, the eight-cylinder lump is much obliged to produce 730 horsepower (740 PS) and 575 pound-feet (780 Nm). The optional ATS Corsa Package bumps the output to 830 horsepower (619 kW), though. ATS claim the GT can sprint from zero-to-100 km/h in 3,0 seconds and it will exceed 330 km/h flat out. To stop ‘the beast’, there are also Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes available.

ATS has also announced that the GT will come on Michelin rubber, buyers will have a choice of the extreme Pilot Sport Cup 2s or the less aggressive Pilot Sport 4S tyres. As well as having over 700bhp to contend with, the tyres will have to deal with the braking force of a set of Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.




Another curious aspect of the ATS GT comes in the form of Sistema-Trio, the name given to the hand-welded titanium exhaust system with three mufflers. The noise and volume of the exhaust, changes depending on which setting the car is in. Three driver modes can be selected via two aluminium knobs in the centre of the car that allow the driver to select between Viaggo, Sport and Corsa. An active system can bypass the central muffler to create a more aggressive sound in Corsa mode – the engine and chassis also alter depending on the mode selected. Two other switches allow the attitude of the transmission and rear wing to be altered as well.

Drivers will have three driving modes to choose from. Viaggio is for standard road use, Sport is for more spirited driving and Corsa is ideal for track use. In the latter mode, the engine and suspension set up is at its most aggressive with even more noise produced by the F1-style exhaust system. Speaking of F1, the instrument screen shows Formula One-style data in Corsa mode – cool.

The chassis and body shell are both constructed from carbon fiber, to keep weight down, but the curious thing is, Automobili Turismo e Sport describes the GT as ‘a car designed to offer unparalleled levels of comfort wrapped in a high-performance package’. More to the point, ‘the engineers focused on developing a car made to excel on longer journeys, where the interior is a luxurious cocoon for the occupants’.





Inside, ATS keeps things very simple – but beautiful. ATS wants its GT to be a comfy cruiser over any long hauls. That’s why the cars have improved seats and soundproofing over the ‘donor’ McLaren. The sound system is also upgraded both in name and performance. It’s called Prima Orchestra, which is delightful, and it’s driven by a bespoke planar magnetic sound system. That’s fancy talk for ‘it makes your music sound really good’.

Rather than the modern trend of using several large screens, there are simply two knobs on the dashboard for selecting driving modes and other options. In addition, two switches also allow for raising the rear wing and toggling between manual or automatic gearbox controls.






Oh, and the logo up front? It lights up by means of OLEd technology, sporting a turquoise color that would make even the Mediterranean Sea blush with admiration. On the other hand, there’s no denying servicing will be a hassle for those who order the ATS GT instead of the equivalent McLaren.

Just 12 examples of the GT Launch Edition will leave the factory near Milan, Italy, followed by an unconfirmed number of the hardcore GT-R. The company is taking orders now, with a starting price of about $850,000, or 740,000 euros, but the model’s bespoke nature means that the cost can grow quickly. ATS has already sold three of these machines, leaving nine of them up for grabs.

Act now before the other nine are scooped up.

Come into the wonderful world of ATS….




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