Just off the A6, surrounded by the billiard flat plains of Lelystad to the northeast of Amsterdam and protected by the Afsluitdijk (a man-made barrier between the Netherlands and the North Sea), you'll find the neat but unassuming HQ of Donkervoort.
Behind its walls, you’ll find another force of nature that can match the sea for power – it's called the Donkervoort F22 and it’s one of the craziest machines we've ever driven.
But first, a history lesson. It was back in 1978 when Joop Donkervoort, seduced by the delights of a simple, lightweight sportscar, bought the rights to sell the Lotus Seven in the Netherlands, only to be thwarted by Dutch regulations that deemed it unregistrable for the road.
Unperturbed, Donkervoort set about modifying the car so that it could pass the all-seeing eye of the testing authorities – the result was the 90PS (66kW) 525kg S7, the only lightweight sportscar at the time to receive European-type approval. The S7 evolved into the S8 and later the S8A before, ten years after starting out, the D10 was born – a windscreen-less, 190PS sportscar capable of 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds. By 1992, Donkervoort had moved from a small-scale setup in Tienhoven to larger premises in Loosdrecht, while the Ford engines had made way for Audi power after a chance encounter with the German company's CEO.
However, the later tenure of Martin Winterkorn at Audi could have spelt disaster for Donkervoort. He brought engine supply to a halt – and with it, the Dutch companies' plans – in the 2000s. But careful stewardship (and more understanding Audi execs) mean that Donkervoort remains a healthy business in a market that has claimed notable low-production scalps such as TVR, Wiesnam and Spyker.
Now, Donkervoort finds itself in rude health with a passionate customer base and expertise in carbon-fibre that has seen it step into the world of aviation, Le Mans and F1.