If you’re into high-performance sports cars drivable on the road, you’ve probably heard about Ultima Sports Ltd. Richard Marlow is the mastermind behind Ultima Sports Ltd. It was in 1992 that Richard Marlow co-founded Ultima Sports Ltd in its current iteration with his father, Ted Marlow. The company had previously existed and was run by Lee Noble, who introduced the concept of a high-performance, Le Mans-styled road racer. However, the company didn’t hit the heights it did until Richard took over.
In fact, his father was always fond of racing cars and he raced various vehicles in the early 1980s when Richard was still a child and this ignited his interest in automobiles. However, the turning point for Ultima Sports came in the late 1980s when Ted Marlow raced an early first version of the Ultima with Lee Noble in the 1980s. The Marlows saw the Ultima for the first time in the paddock of Cadwell Park. Lee Noble revved his vehicle and took it out for a spin at a race event, leaving the Marlows shocked.
Ted was so impressed by the vehicle he immediately placed an order the next day. Lee Noble’s passion for supercars was always palpable. In addition, he was an extremely talented and hardworking man. However, it’s arguable that he had created a product that the world wasn’t ready for back then. Nevertheless, the whole Ultima experience captivated young Richard, inspiring him in his formative years. It also helped Ted and Lee develop a friendship. Together, they won multiple races and championships. Eventually, Ted purchased the Ultima brand, its rights, jigs, and moulds for the Ultima MK2 and MK3 in 1992, turning his passion and hobby into a business venture. It also marked the end of any involvement in the Ultima brand for Lee Noble.
Ultima’s sales under the ownership of Lee Noble between 1983 and 1992 were 26 units. These included 13 MK3 kits. The company was making excellent vehicles, but it wasn’t a profitable venture. However, Richard’s entry into the organisation switched things considerably. Today, the company has thousands of happy clients in over 70 countries. In addition, a true indicator of the company’s success is that clients generally purchase more than one Ultima vehicle and become true brand ambassadors.
Richard Marlow’s marketing strategy was important in Ultima’s increased sales. He decided to acquire multiple world speed records for production road cars to market the brand. In 2004, he got behind the wheel of his standard production specification 640bhp Ultima GTR and demolished the 0-100-0mph world record, creating a huge media frenzy and a worldwide stir in the automobile world. The feat would also see this dynamic individual set new world records for accelerating from 0-60 mph and 0-100 mph. Other world records would soon follow.
In 2005, the Ultima GTR640 was launched and verified as the world’s fastest supercar. The same year would also mark the launch of the GTR685, and Richard Marlow set another world record for the 0-100-0mph sprint at 9.8 secs, eclipsing the GR640’s 10.3 secs record. The following year would mark the launch of the Ultima GTR720. Again, he set multiple records in that vehicle, including setting the 0-100mph-0 world record for the third consecutive year in just 9.4 seconds. The vehicle also logged the world record for a road car skidpan with a 1.176g lateral grip around a 200 feet diameter circle. Furthermore, he also set a new standing quarter-mile production car record at 9.941 secs at 143 mph.
These records were conducted in professional testing conditions and controlled environments. Officials from Datron Technology – Guinness World Records timekeepers – verified these records for authenticity. The Ultima GTR720 also established other records, including the quickest-ever road-legal lap time on the Top Gear Test Track at 1 minute and 12.8 seconds. Today, Ultima Sports Ltd focuses on building complete supercars with exceptional quality that can be assembled at home. However, that doesn’t mean Richard Marlow’s ambitions have dampened. He still plans to set more world records in the future.