An experience like no other, for so very few

The Big-Ticket Insanity of the Track-Only Hypercar

June 22, 2015 Cars By
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Owning a dedicated track car is a privilege very few get to experience, but for the racing enthusiast it’s the holy grail. Some save up for years and buy a hobby car with miles on it, adding racing tires and maybe a roll cage (if the funds exist). And some can afford more. Way more. Those are the few that don’t want to just drive fast on a track — they want the full racing experience. And they can buy it.

For the wealthiest customers with petrol flowing through their veins, there is the world of the track-only hypercar. Faster than the top-end street-legal supercars, these vehicles seem to have no limits other than the fact that you can’t drive them to your business meetings or your golf games. If you can get your hands on one, you can only exploit them on the tarmac. But all three track-focused hypercars show what the manufacturers are willing to do for their most special customers, and they reflect a dedication and commitment to the sport of auto racing that — if, say, you have a spare $3 mil laying around — should be encouraged.

Ferrari FXX K

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The FXX K stands as the ultimate track machine. All FXX K owners will get access to a two-year program, which includes full pit and engineering support over up to eight races per year. During that time, Ferrari will use the customer experience as an opportunity to collect crucial data about the the most advanced car in their history. This data will then be used for development of future cars, both on and off the track. So as much as it is a fantasy come to life for the owners, Ferrari also gets something back in the process.

Though the FXX K is based largely on Ferrari’s hybrid-powered flagship LaFerrari, it takes everything up several notches. If 949 horsepower from the “stock” LaFerrari isn’t enough, then the additional 87 horsepower (for a total of 1,036 horsepower) in the FXX K should more than satisfy. But it’s not just about power. A true hyper track car must also have the right tools for enhanced aerodynamic downforce, and the FXX K gets additional active and passive measures: a new hood, a twin-profile front splitter, upsized splitter, lateral dive planes, new rear diffuser and a radically new rear wing with vertical fins and additional horizontal wings. That rear spoiler extends and works together with the lowering tail fins for both low and high drag configurations, giving the FXX K a whopping 1,190 pounds of downforce at 124 mph, gluing itself to the track for superb handling.

The FXX K also gets shod with some special tires by Pirelli, and the racing slicks come with sensors to provide detailed data on the FXX K’s lateral, longitudinal and radial acceleration, cornering forces and tire temperature. Ferrari will study the play of the traction control system on the FXX K as the tires interact with the track surface under hard driving. All of this contributes to one insanely fast hypercar. According to Ferrari, the FXX K will lap the Fiorano test track in 1 minute 14 seconds, a full 5 seconds faster than the already lightning-fast LaFerrari. Unfortunately for the mega rich, all 30 FXX Ks have been snatched up already.

Ferrari FXX K Specs
Engine: 6.3-liter V12 / electric KRS motor
Horsepower: 1,036 (V12: 848 / electric motor: 188)
Torque: 664 lb-ft
0-60: 2.8 seconds (estimated)
Top Speed: 217 mph
Downforce: 1,190 pounds @ 124 mph
Number Built: 30
Price: $3.1 million

McLaren P1 GTR

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Before owners of the P1 GTR get the privilege of racing on the track, they’ll get a full physical and fitness assessment by a team of pros at Woking, then a final spec session with Frank Stephenson, McLaren Design Director. The buyers’ first P1 GTR test session will then take place at the Silverstone Circuit, and then a track day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. Owners also get time in one of McLaren’s racing simulators, which is slightly more advanced than playing Gran Turismo. There will be a minimum of six racing events on pre-selected Formula 1 tracks, giving owners the opportunity to improve their skills and helm one of the finest track cars ever built.

McLaren’s P1 supercar is a ridiculous performer, but the P1 GTR gets more of everything for the track-focused owner. The 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 combined with an electric motor is the same engine combination in the P1, but thanks to race optimization, power gets bumped from 854 horsepower to 986 horsepower. In addition, the composite body gets aerodynamic upgrades, including a massive fixed rear wing whose deck does alter pitch from 0, 30 and 32 degrees; additional carbon fiber bits; an aerodynamically enhanced body with racing add-ons; and a massive rear wing. Even the steering wheel is modeled after the one found in the McLaren MP4-23 Formula 1 car.

Compared to the P1, engineers lowered the GTR’s suspension by two inches and widened the front track by 3.2 inches. The P1 GTR is also 100 pounds lighter than its street-legal brother, largely due to the removal of airbags that are required for the street car, as well as superfluous sound deadening and decorative interior trim that are pointless on a race car. The GTR’s glass roof and engine cover drop even more weight with the carbon fiber substitutes in their place, while the side windows get racing polycarbonates and a small sliding window.

McLaren P1 GTR Specs
Engine: 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 / electric motor
Horsepower: 986
Torque: 1,100 lb-ft
0-60: 2.4 seconds
Top Speed: 225 mph
Downforce: 1,455 pounds @ 150 mph
Number Built: N/A
Price: $3.05 million

Aston Martin Vulcan

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The wild but handsome Aston Vulcan is the only hypercar in the group to emerge as a racing version first. Though the Vulcan exhibits some Aston Martin in design, its appearance is far more aggressive and focused on racing. The name alludes to the Avro Vulcan, a renowned bomber used by the Royal Air Force during the Cold War. Both are big, fast, imposing and have huge wings — and then the similarities end. The power behind the Vulcan is expected to top 800 horsepower, eclipsing even the super exclusive Aston Martin One-77 with a meager 750 horsepower. Power comes from a 7.0-liter V12 mill built in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing.

Though not all details on the Vulcan’s guts have been revealed, know that Aston Martin won’t pull punches, and hasn’t so far. From what we do know, the monocoque is carbon fiber, and the body gets the carbon treatment as well. The Vulcan also gets a carbon fiber driveshaft and a magnesium torque tube, providing lightweight strength — all connected to a motorsport-spec’d six-speed sequential transmission from Xtrac. The suspension is also racing spec, with a pushrod-operated setup, adjustable spool-valve dampers, and adjustable anti-roll bars. The Vulcan’s stopping power comes from huge Brembo calipers that bite fat carbon ceramic brakes — 15 inches in front and 14.2 inches in back — and the wheels are shod with Michelin racing tires at all four corners.

Aston Martin plans on offering the 24 buyers of the Vulcan a range of racing experience options, depending on how deep their passions and their pockets are. Access to Aston Martin GT racing cars and simulators are options, as well as track races throughout the year at exclusive locations. Of course, if customers don’t like the Vulcan’s martian green hue, they can easily mandate Aston Martin’s Q Division to provide something more palatable. As far as the Vulcan’s influence on the future of the brand is concerned, we’re not sure — but this kind of racing-minded flagship could easily spawn future models and a new design language, and possibly even a street-legal version.

Aston Martin Vulcan Specs
Engine: 7.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 800+
Torque: N/A
0-60: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Downforce: N/A
Number Built: 24
Price: $2.3 million