Automotive technology

10 track monsters that are pushing the limits of automotive technology

Sports car manufacturers can only go so far as to fine-tune the performance of their road-approved vehicles. There are countless guidelines and regulatory restrictions that must be followed, and this can create a big headache for automakers looking to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of their vehicles.

This is where track-only cars come in handy. They are not bound by most of the rules that govern the development of road cars, and automakers are free to use their engineering expertise.

Track-only cars also serve as valuable test beds for new technologies that could eventually find their way into their off-road counterparts. They are mostly produced in very limited quantities, and it is not uncommon for them to be sold by invitation only.

Here we shine the spotlight on some of the extreme track-only machines that have emerged over the years. The list focuses on cars that exist in production form, which is why automotive engineering wonders like the Bugatti Bolide and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro are not featured.

Monster on track # 10: McLaren Senna GTR

Image source: DuPont Registry.

The McLaren Senna is about as extreme as it gets when it comes to hypercar performance. Still, that wasn’t enough for the guys at the factory in Woking, where the cars are assembled, so they came up with an even more hardcore variant, the Senna GTR.

It’s built around the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that powers the road version, but now it’s been tweaked to produce 814 horsepower, up from 789 horsepower. Then there’s that huge rear spoiler, the hypercar’s most distinctive feature.

Along with other aero elements, this spoiler helps the Senna GTR generate up to 2,200 pounds at 155 mph, keeping the car planted on the tracks as it turns twisty bends and hurtles down long straights.

Monster Track-Only # 9: Pagani Zonda Revolucion

Pagani-Zonda-Revolution
Image source: maximum speed

There are no less than forty variations of Zonda today (including the many “one-off” controls), but the Zonda Revolucion (not to be confused with the Zonda R) has to be one of the craziest. No wonder then that it is not allowed on public roads.

At its heart is a formidable AMG-derived V12 that puts out 800 horsepower and over 550 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of horsepower for a car that weighs less than a Mazda Miata.

The hypercar is a technological masterpiece with innovations such as a Formula 1-inspired Drag Reduction System (DRS) for the wing. The Zonda Revolucion was first revealed in 2013 and only had a limited run of five units, each priced at around $ 2.8 million.

Track monster n ° 8: Ferrari FXX K Evo

Ferrari FXX K Evo
Image Source: Top Gear

The FXX K Evo unlocks a level of Ferrari ownership experience that only a few people can appreciate. Each of the ultra-exclusive hypercars costs north of $ 2 million, but being able to afford it doesn’t automatically mean an allowance.

First of all, you must be a member of the exclusive Ferrari Corse Clienti Racing program before you are considered, and even then it is not a guarantee. However, the chosen few who have the privilege of driving the FXX K Evo experience an unmatched level of Ferrari engineering.

The FXX K Evo features a hybrid V12 setup that develops over 1,000 horsepower, enough to propel the car to 60 mph in just over 2 seconds and to a top speed of 217 mph, provided it there is a fairly long straight line.

Monster on track n ° 7: Lamborghini Essenza SCV12

Lamborghini-Essenza-SCV12 green
Image source: Lambo Cars

Lamborghini is finally saying goodbye to its naturally aspirated V12 engine, at least in its current state. This follows an announcement from the automaker that hybrid powertrains will be at the heart of its flagship next-gen supercars. Cars like the Essenza SCV12 will ensure that the iconic engine doesn’t quietly descend, and we literally mean it.

The limited-series track car has to be one of the loudest Lamborghinis ever made. It gets the familiar 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12, but big tweaks mean it’s the most powerful V12 engine the company has ever made.

The stats give a truly impressive reading: 830 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and over 550 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm, and all the chaos produced is channeled through a straight-pipe exhaust system! Lamborghini will only make 40 units of this monster, and there are plans to create a bespoke racing series for lucky owners in the near future.

Track monster n ° 6: Aston Martin Vulcan

Aston Martin Vulcan on track
Image source: Motor Trend.

The British tracked weapon is named after the Roman god of fire. It is as clear an indication as anything it is. The Vulcan is as wild as it gets with track capabilities that represented the pinnacle of Aston Martin engineering at the time.

At the heart of its performance is a naturally aspirated 7.0-liter V12 that produces 820 horsepower at 7,750 rpm. Excitement is not lacking as the Vulcan struts the track with its dramatic looks, wild powerhouse and supreme handling.

Aston Martin only made 24 units, priced at around $ 2.3 million each. Owners had to attend a special driving school and receive a certificate before they could unleash the full power of the Vulcan on the race track.

Monster on track # 5: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento on track
Image source: Lamborghini.

The rather exotic name of this Lamborghini is a direct nod to carbon, the sixth element of the periodic table (this one’s for you chemistry students). There is a rational explanation for this: the car is made entirely of carbon fiber except for the engine and a few other parts.

The priority was weight savings when designing the vehicle, and the engineers really took it to the extreme. For example, there are no suitable seats in the car; all you get are foam pads glued directly to the carbon fiber chassis.

The result was a car that weighed a mere 2,202 pounds with an insane power-to-weight ratio of around 570 hp / ton. The Sesto Elemento is a rocket that can hit 60 mph in under 2.5 seconds. It’s as outrageous as its insane $ 2.5 million price tag when it’s new. That didn’t stop the 20 units from selling out quickly, however.

Monster on track n ° 4: Porsche 935

Porsche 935 on track
Image Source: Top Gear

The Porsche 935 is a modern racing car that pays homage to the brand’s iconic 1978 911 endurance racing car, commonly known as ‘Moby Dick’. It’s based on the 911 GT2 RS, but Porsche engineers have had the freedom to express themselves by creating a truly wild machine because it’s only on the track.

Highlights include a massive 1.9 meter diameter rear spoiler, raised end plates from the 919 Hybrid LMP1 car, and side mirrors that were cut from the 2019 911 RSR.

The 935 is a no-compromise racing car with a full roll cage and six point seat belts. It is primarily a single-seater, but a passenger seat is available as an option.

The car gets its mojo from a twin-turbo flat-six engine that is primed to produce 700 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. Porsche plans to manufacture just 77 units, each at a cost of around $ 830,000.

Monster on track n ° 3: Maserati MC12 Corsa

Silver Maserati MC12 Corsa Version
Image source: classic pilot

In 2004, Maserati, then owned by Ferrari, released the MC12, a sister model to the Ferrari Enzo. Only 50 units were built, but in 2006 Maserati followed with an even rarer variant, the MC12 Corsa, of which 12 units were built and privately sold to customers.

The MC12 Corsa was based on the Maserati MC12 GT1 racing car which competed in the FIA ​​GT Championships. Owners could only drive the vehicles on special Maserati-sanctioned track days, and when not in use, they were stored and serviced by the automaker.

Notable differences between the MC12 Corsa and its road sister included a shorter nose, wider wheel arches, and louvered front fenders. The rear had a redesigned diffuser and dual-exhaust setup, replacing the standard car’s four-exhaust setup.

In terms of power, the MC12 Corsa relied on a race-tuned 6.0-liter V12 that put out 745 horsepower, or over 100 horsepower compared to the original MC12.

Track Monster # 2: McLaren P1 GTR

Rear view of yellow McLaren P1 GTR on track
Image source: automotive magazine

When new, the P1 GTR was a crazy machine that cost $ 3 million. Fewer than 50 units were produced and they were only offered to people who already owned the McLaren P1 road car.

What McLaren did with the P1 GTR was take the already limited P1 and crank up the madness several notches. Like the P1, the engine is the same, but now the hybrid powertrain pumps out an exhilarating 1,000 horsepower, an increase of 97 horsepower over the standard car.

Such power requires a lot of downforce to keep the car glued to the track. Therefore, the McLaren P1 GTR is designed with various aerodynamic elements, including the fixed wing, which generates up to 1,455 pounds of downforce.

Shortly after the introduction of the P1 GTR, the British company Lazante offered a road conversion kit to anyone interested who wanted to experience the insane attributes of the P1 GTR on public roads.

Monster n ° 1 on track: Brabham BT62

Rear view of green Brabham-BT62
Image source: Car Guy Chronicles

Top Gear reporters described the Brabham BT62 as a “genius machine”, praise indeed for this mid-engined track monster from Brabham Automotive, an Australian automaker. It was first introduced in 2018 and a 70-unit series is planned in honor of the company’s 70-year racing heritage.

The Brabham BT62 is built around a tubular space frame steel chassis; no carbon fiber here. A naturally aspirated 5.4-liter V8, placed just behind the cockpit, develops 710 horsepower and 492 lb-ft of torque.

As impressive as it sounds, it pales in comparison to the enormous amount of downforce generated by the car. At 125 mph, the Brabham BT62 generates an incredible 2,645 pounds of downforce. That’s significantly more than the vehicle’s weight of 2,143 pounds, which means you could literally be driving upside down at this speed!

The original plan was to offer the BT62 exclusively as a track car, but apparently some owners wanted to enjoy the car on public roads as well. Thus, Brabham Automotive gave in and now offers an optional road conversion kit for the car.