Aspiring Australian supercar maker Joss is on the verge of partnering with a significant local investor in a deal that could make its 16-year dream of building a Ferrari-beater and exporting it to the world a reality.
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Joss founder Matt Thomas told CarAdvice today he could not reveal much about the negotiation process, but said he was feeling “pretty optimistic”.

“We’re going through quite a sensitive period at the moment with agreements and what not, but we plan to come out pretty quickly with some pretty big news on the whole thing, so it’s great,” Thomas said.

“Good times are coming. Thank you God! It’s about time!”

JOSS clay model 1

Thomas cancelled Joss’s publicised Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign intended to raise money to build a JP1 track car prototype on Tuesday to focus on negotiations with the potential investor.

“When we got the Kickstarter out there we actually got within two or three days several parties interested in investing in the company, so we didn’t quite hammer the media and Facebook as hard as we would have clearly because we were side-tracked dealing with these individuals.”

The Kickstarter campaign attracted $29,753 from 170 backers over three weeks, leaving it $450,247 short of its $480,000 target required by October 1.

Despite the modest public funding figure, Thomas suggested discussions with the potential investor would cover Joss’s more expensive and ambitious ‘stretch goals’ for the JP1 supercar project.

“We really want to do this properly and big, and the individual we’re dealing with is a pretty serious guy, so I’d say things are looking pretty favourable,” Thomas said.

Last month, Joss said $570,000 in funding would allow it to complete development of the vehicle and conduct a higher level of development of additional composites and weight reduction measures. Raising $740,000 would fund development of the initial stages of a hybrid driveline system with a kinetic energy retention system, while $920,000 would allow Joss to take the JP1 to a major global motor show, such as Detroit, Geneva or Beijing.

“I don’t know the answer to that [the level of potential funding] yet. It really all depends on how the negotiating goes, but it’s looking pretty good to really develop the best car we can.”

Joss development

Joss last month announced plans to produce a track version of the JP1 for launch in late-2015.

It says the mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive JP1 will feature an all-aluminium 5.0-litre V8 producing approximately 420kW of power and 560Nm of torque. It will be equipped with an Albins multi-speed seamless transverse transaxle transmission built in Ballarat, Victoria, and feature carbon composite and lightweight components made using local production processes. AP Racing brakes and Michelin tyres will also feature in the circa-900kg supercar.

Aiming to “outperform million-dollar-plus models from McLaren, Pagani, Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg”, Joss is targeting 0-100km/h acceleration of 2.8 seconds, a sub-10.5sec quarter mile, and a top speed of 340km for its circa-$600,000 track model.

Thomas said the current state of negotiations had him “more than optimistic” about launching the first prototype by the end of next year.

“Yes, that is looking very good.

“Inherently no matter what the amount of budget you have there are particular developmental times, so be it a small investment or large it takes the time it takes with engineering and what not to do this.

“The fact that it’s a track car makes life that little bit easier, there’s no spending on ADR compliance at first. We’re sort of covering all areas at the moment, we’re looking at all possibilities, but yeah, we’re looking good for the end of next year.”

JOSS prototype under development

Thomas said a trip to the Nurburgring remains an important part of the JP1 being recognised on a global scale. The team hopes to tackle the notorious German circuit by mid-2016 and has its sights set on a sub-seven-minute lap time, which would put it in elite company alongside Porsche’s hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder.

“We see that as our priority, to get the track car out.

“Me, personally, I just want to hammer that around the ’Ring, so we really just need to get a vehicle out that we can ideally get around the ’Ring with.”

Thomas said he hoped to have more information to share in the coming weeks.