Want a hardcore car to drive fast on the track? Pick from this bunch of high-performance specials, says Darren Cassey.
In the heavy traffic of the modern world, driving quickly on the road is often irresponsible (not to mention possibly illegal). That’s why track days have boomed in popularity over the past decade, allowing enthusiasts to drive their cars safely at the limit.
If this sounds appealing, you might want something fit for the job. Many manufacturers now make more hardcore versions of their performance cars, tuned for the smooth surfaces found on race tracks.
Here, we’ve collected some of the best…
1. McLaren 765LT
This is the new kid on the block, being one of McLaren’s most hardcore models. The Senna sits above it in the firm’s track-focused range, but this model is based on one of the firm’s ‘standard’ supercars – the already potent 720S.
It barely weighs more than a Ford Fiesta but packs 754bhp in its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine – so performance is blisteringly quick.
2. Porsche 911 GT3 RS
If you’re looking for a performance car, the first model on your shopping list should be a 911 – and the GT3 RS is the most focused of them all.
The latest ‘992’ generation doesn’t have a GT3 RS version just yet, so your choice is to either wait or jump into the used market. That’s no problem, because the previous generation 991.2 is utterly fantastic, offering the kind of performance and driver involvement unparalleled this side of a race car.
3. Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Another model that’s no longer on sale new but is totally worthy of your attention, is the Lamborghini Huracan Performante. It’s the track-focused version of the firm’s already-rapid Huracan supercar, with extra performance and trick upgrades that make it handle better.
The V10 engine makes 631bhp and the car is 40kg lighter than the standard model, but it’s the clever aerodynamics that steal the headlines. ‘Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva’ – or ALA for short – allows the wings and spoilers on the car to move independently depending on whether you’re turning left or right, maximising downforce on the side that needs it. Clever stuff.
4. Caterham Seven
There are seemingly endless variations of Caterham Seven, but it doesn’t matter which one you get, they’re all about as pure a driving experience as you can get.
You slot down into a tiny frame that has nothing more than the bare essentials of body panels, four wheels and somewhere for you to sit. If you want an antidote to today’s heavy, numb cars, this is the one for you.
5. Renault Megane RS Trophy-R
You don’t have to spend six figures on a tuned supercar or squeeze into a tiny Caterham to enjoy your time on track. The humble hot hatch has been a hugely popular segment in the UK, and there have been more hardcore versions of these models produced too.
The Renault Megane RS Trophy-R might just be the ultimate version of this – and it should be, with prices starting at over £50k. With a stripped out interior, Ohlins shock absorbers, Akrapovic exhaust, Brembo brakes and carbon-fibre parts, it’s a serious bit of kit.