The first “made in Qatar” prototype sports car was officially unveiled today at the launch of this year’s Qatar Motor Show at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC).
Named Elibriea, the concept car is a two-door coupé designed by Abdul Wahab Ziaullah, a former Texas A&M at Qatar (TAMUQ) engineering student who first came up with the idea more than five years ago while studying at the university.
Elibriea is not for sale, and is not yet officially roadworthy – “we would need to adjust its suspension before it got Ministry of Interior approval,” Ziaullah said.
Instead, the car is being publicly shown for the first time at the motor show, which opens to the public tomorrow, Jan. 28, as a demonstration of Qatar’s emerging engineering and design talent.
Speaking to Doha News, Ziaullah said:
“You don’t often hear of things being manufactured in Qatar. We are showing Elibriea to get across the idea of Qatar going into the technical field.
This is the first machine with moving parts which has been made from scratch in Qatar. It’s a good thing for Qatar and a chance to have some national pride, to show people that we can do this.”
Making of Elibriea
In 2009, Ziaullah, 27, won a grant from Qatar Foundation‘s Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to develop an initial design for a prototype of the car.
After extensive research and numerous refinements, a final design was chosen. The car has been assembled over the past two years, after securing sponsorship from the Ali Bin Ali Group.
Working with TAMUQ, Ziaullah said a previous chassis design was discarded and a more advanced version was developed, “keeping rugged performance” and safety in mind.
In earlier designs, Ziaullah had an engine block cast in a foundry in Qatar. However, the updated model has a General Motors engine that has been modified to 525 brake horsepower, increasing performance, and a carbon fiber body.
Initial tests of what Ziaullah dubs “Qatar’s first sports car” were carried out indoors, to monitor the vehicle’s handling. It was then put through its paces on the streets around the Industrial Area and at the Al Khor airfield.
“It maneuvered well and outperformed, in terms of what we expected of it,” Ziaullah told Doha News.
Ziaullah said he and a small team of experts are currently using the lessons they learned in building Elibriea to try to develop a more commercial endeavor – a hypercar.
“The plan is to design something that goes about 1,000Bhp, that is more luxurious, powerful but of course also comfortable, and that would be produced commercially. We would like to find an industry partner to help get it on to the market, eventually,” he said.
The team has already decided on the design and is now looking at the engineering, said Ziaullah, who is working full-time on the project.
He hopes to use the chance to show off Elibriea at the motor show to pick the brains of industry experts and critics, and to feed these comments into refining plans for the hypercar.
“I’m excited and curious to know people’s feedback on Elibriea, particularly the views of the critics. I will use all their comments constructively to shape the hypercar. I want to make sure it outperforms Elibriea,” he added.