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How the Vertigo was born
As a racing driver, the first part of his career, he constantly pursued perfection. Hill climbing races champion of Belgium for several consecutive years, builder and driver for two Paris-Dakar rallies, he came to the automobile industry in 1982, when he became the Belgian importer for Donkervoort (a Dutch Lotus Super Seven replica). He broke the record for 0 to 100 km/h, in 3.85 seconds, in January 1990 with a specially modified Donkervoort. More recently, the Vertigo holds the current 0-60 time for regularly produced autos, with 3.1 seconds.
The production Vertigo differed from the first prototype in several points. First of all, the chassis was now made of carbon fibre and honeycomb materials (a technology directly borrowed from Formula One), insuring a greater strength and resistance, while being lighter (58 kg for the bare chassis).
Secondly, the design was changed to be more fluid, with higher side windows and retractable headlights, being now even closer to the designer's first drawings. The first Vertigo prototype, achieved during 1991, was unveiled at the 71st Brussels Auto Show in January 1992.
Two years followed in which the car was finalised for production and went through the difficult process of European certification while touring great auto shows (Paris '93, Geneva '93).
This required the building of two more cars : the second prototype, which was the final version that was to be commercialised, and a first production car, which served for every aspect of the car's certification, including the frontal crash-test, seat anchorage resistance and safety belts anchorage resistance. The Vertigo succeeded all those tests with flying colours.
A Vertigo was sold to Philippe Streiff, a former Formula One racing driver, left handicapped after a tragic accident during the pre-season testing in 1989.
It was a special version, driven through a joystick and an automatic transmission, presented at Bercy (Paris) in December 1994.
Gillet is also active in Motorsport with the Racing version of the Gillet namely The Gillet Vertigo Streiff. In 2006 the Gillet Vertigo will be competing in the FIA GT World Championship. Bas Leinders (Former F1 test-driver) and Renaud Kuppens will defend the colours of this Belgian Car.