GRR

The hypercars of FOS

26th June 2022
Ethan Jupp

The run-up to every hypercar era has always been fraught with trepidation, speculation and doubt, none more so than the one we’re about to enter. As a collective, these are the lightest, most powerful, highest-revving, most expensive, fastest, highest-performance and most ambitious roadgoing motorcars ever created. They’re four-wheeled superlatives that seemingly flirt with the impossible, to the point that a vast majority of us – including, at points, their creators – have at one point or another doubted some of them would actually happen. Yet here they are.

Specifically, they’re here at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. Yes, all of them, from the Aston Martin Valkyrie to Czinger 21C. These are the hypercars that will define the 2020s in all their glory.

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The race cars for the road

These are the cars designed to push the envelope not only of straight-line performance, but of performance round a track. If you’re not looking back at the McLaren P1 and thinking “Wow, I remember when that was considered fast,” then the job’s not done. At least that’s what we imagine Adrian Newey was thinking when he was dreaming up the Valkyrie. What more needs to be said about this thing? An 11,000rpm V12 engine seemingly blueprinted on early ’90s F1, aero capability unmatched this side of Le Mans prototypes and a driving position and cabin to make a Group C car feel spacious. It’s a very modern car that uses old-school principles of underfloor aerodynamics and a porous shape, just taken to the extreme. The result was a car Aston Martin struggled to get over the line, but it’s in production and making jaws drop wherever it goes. 

It was the star of FOS 2021, but it has competition this year, most prominently from Mercedes-AMG, whose One brings with it a bona fide Formula 1 engine sat amidships, boosted by hybrid tech to over 1,000PS. The aero platform is clever, with lots of movable elements and a full-on track mode, but it’s not as extreme as the Valkyrie’s. No, the big sell is that the engine sitting in this fully homologated road car is a genuine development of a multiple Formula 1 constructor’s Championship-winning unit. It sounds the same, it revs almost as high and it produces almost as much power. Obviously, it has been tamed for emissions purposes and road use but it’s all there. We love hearing about how engineers had a difficult job with something. It’s proof the car is truly bleeding-edge. Getting this car to have a stable and clean idle below 1,500rpm was just such a task. It won’t be everyone’s dream car but the One is an impressive exercise in engineering and, truthfully, abject stubbornness of a marque to see a project through.

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It’s from the likes of Czinger, an agile little hypercar start-up pushing manufacturing technologies to the next level that motor industry monoliths like Mercedes-Benz could learn a thing or two. Czinger’s tech requires very little tooling in the manufacturing of its 21C hypercar. An algorithm designs the parts to distribute material where strength is needed and shave it where it isn’t, saving weight. Then those parts are 3D-printed using patented software and hardware, resulting in components that are stronger and lighter than contemporary castings or millings. It’s genuinely the future of manufacturing and Czinger could stand to make it big, not through sales of its £1.5million 1,200PS hypercar, but through licensing of the technology. Obviously, the 21C isn’t just a showcase for this tech. It’s a monster hypercar in its own right, with an 11,000rpm-revving twin-turbo V8, an innovative tandem seating position for a reduced front aero profile and 2,500kg of downforce-generating capability at 200mph.

That bests even the Koenigsegg Jesko Attack, the hardcore track variant of the new Swedish hypercar, which generates 1,400kg of downforce at its top speed. Still, Koenigsegg has arguably been the undisputed hypercar innovator up to this point, so what have they got in the Jesko? Well, the 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine has been tickled to rev higher and produce more power. The flat-plane crank unit will put out 1,600PS when running on E85 ethanol, and bash the limiter at 8,500rpm. What sounds properly incredible, though, is this thing’s gearbox, the new Light Speed Transmission. Shift times are allegedly moot, as is a clutch and a flywheel, and excess weight and size. There are seven wet clutches within, three input shafts and three gears on each meaning, functionally, this is a nine-speed transmission. It means this car can change into any gear at any time instantly, for what Koenigsegg calls Ultimate Power On Demand. Gearboxes? Completed it mate.

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Gunning for 300mph

Ultimate power on demand sounds pretty useful when you’re gunning for 300mph and not lap times. That’s what the goal is for the Absolut variant of the Jesko, which keeps the engine and transmission but trades out mega downforce for low drag and improved high-speed stability, binning the wings, closing air outlets and lengthening the rear. Koenigsegg were the first to challenge the McLaren F1 for top speed honours in the early 2000s, so we think they’re the safe bet to be the first car to officially crack 320mph. Once that’s done, and once the Jesko is out of production, that’s it for Koenigsegg in terms of chasing numbers. Absolut will be the fastest car it ever makes.

Can the Hennessey Venom F5 beat it to the crown, though? With a 1,817PS 6.6-litre twin-turbo V8, amazingly, it actually makes the Koenigsegg look a little underpowered. If raw muscle is the key, the Venom F5 has it. Of course, Hennessey has come a long way from bolting turbos on Dodge Vipers (which it still does). The F5 looks like a nicely screwed together, well engineered thing. Even if it has the power of a small supernova hanging in its hindquarter. It also claims the F5 won’t just be a straight-line machine, with well-developed road and track dynamics. It’s handled the Hill at FOS just fine this weekend.

Of course, both the Koenigsegg and the Hennessey have the Bugatti Chiron Supersport 300+ to surpass. While it’s not two-way Guinness verified, this is a car that, with Andy Wallace at the wheel, reached 304.773mph in testing at Ehra Lessien. The recipe is known by now for these Bugattis: 16 cylinders, four turbos and in this installation, 1,600PS. It’s on its way out but for now it sets the bar.

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The all-electric future

The reality is the Chiron is one of the last of the past-generation of hypercars, based as it is around the same basic bits that made up the Veyron almost 20 years ago. It’s these all-electric hypercars that are the real talk of the future. And isn’t the Lotus Evija all the more beautiful for its lack of combustion engine? No lump of hot oily metal back there means new opportunities in terms of styling and aero, as demonstrated with this principle of ‘porosity’, with air channels running through. It’s a stunning thing. It’s a little heavy for a Lotus at 1,680kg, but it has got the grunt to make up for it. Four electric motors provide a combined 2,000PS, getting it to 62mph in well under three seconds, on the way to a top speed of over 200mph. The craziest number, though, is the 0-186mph time, which is a staggering nine seconds. That’s about the time it takes you to go from the start to the end of a motorway onramp. Unless you’re in an Evija, in which case you can clear one much more quickly.

While not as attractive, the Rimac Nevera is equally as impressive as the Evija. With similar power power numbers the performance is much of a muchness. What Rimac speaks about a lot, however, is the torque vectoring capability, with infinite power delivery variation between the four motors, in all directions. It could tank turn on a dime if the computers willed it so and it was drifting with the very best of them on the Hill. Like the Czinger, Rimac’s supercars are also somewhat of a technical demonstrator, with the bulk of the business being working for other manufacturers using its EV expertise. It’s now even in charge of Bugatti and in the process of developing an EV successor to the Chiron.

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Back to basics

Sometimes, though, it’s not about the numbers – be they lap times, power figures, straight-line speed, downforce or otherwise. The only number Gordon Murray cares about is weight, in that it has to be as low as possible. Everything else tends to fall into place around the car a lot better once that’s controlled. Such is the case with the incredible T.50, a 12,100rpm 3.9-litre V12-engined manual-transmissioned de-bug of the McLaren F1, designed around the same principles and concepts. Weighing just 986kg, it’s pretty well half the mass of the Bugatti Chiron and sheds 200kg compared to even the lightest on the rest of this list. The fan out back and diffusers handle the downforce, meaning there are no aggressive wings or spoilers. Sometimes the beauty in a car has been simplicity – the feeling you get when driving. It was in the F1 and that’s exactly what Murray is going for in this screaming sequel, in addition to the other cars he’s cooking up.

The turbocharged, 840PS paddle-gearboxed Pagani Huayra is hardly the last bastion of the analogue method, but the Codalunga, which got its in-person debut at FOS, focuses on one of the most important aspects of a hypercar: design. This is a car that shirks fussiness, harnesses elegance and pays tribute to the greats. In a oner, it’s gorgeous. As is its admittedly more aggressive sibling, the Huayra R, with its screaming 9,000rpm V12, which also apes the elegant sports prototype racers of the late 1960s. The new C10 is probably the car more appropriate for this roundup of the hypercars of the 2020s, but it’s not out yet, so we excuse ourselves.

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The LaFerrari successor isn’t with us yet either but in its stead, like Pagani, is a car inspired by the ‘60s sports racers, specifically the podium placing Ferraris at the 1967 Daytona 24, Ferrari’s revenge play against Ford. This is the Daytona SP3, the latest Icona Series Ferrari that has no hybrid system, no all-wheel-drive and no turbos, just a big screaming 9,500rpm V12 and rear-drive. The last of its kind we suspect.

So there they are, our hypercar favourites of FOS that represent what we think the current wave and the four main themes they seem to follow. In the footsteps of the greats they tread yet almost all move the game on comprehensively in their own way. The years we’ve waited to see them together, or even to see some of them running at all, have been worth it. Our conclusions? Whatever your choice, it’s a great time to be a 10-year-old in the market for a new bedroom wall poster.

Make/Model

Engine

Rev limit (rpm)

Power

(PS)

Kerb weight

(KG)

0-62mph

(Secs)

Top speed

(mph)

Aston Martin Valkyrie

6.5 V12 NA hybrid

11,100

1,176PS

1,100kg

< 3 secs

250mph claimed

Czinger 21C

2.88 V8 TT hybrid

11,000

1,267PS

1,250kg

1.9 secs

281mph claimed

Mercedes-AMG One

1.6 V6 turbo hybrid

11,000

1,063PS

1,695kg

2.9 secs

219mph

claimed

Koenigsegg Jesko Attack

5.0 V8 TT

8,500

1,298PS
(1,625PS on E85)

1,320kg

2.6 secs

250mph estimated

Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut

5.0 V8 TT

8,500

1,298PS
(1,625PS on E85)

1,290kg

2.6 secs

320mph estimated

Hennessey Venom F5

6.6 V8 TT

8,500

1,842PS

1,385kg

2.6 secs

300mph+

Bugatti Chiron SS 300+

8.0 W16 QT

7,100

1,600PS

1,996kg

2.5 secs

304mph

Lotus Evija

Quad-motor

NA

2,000PS

1,680kg

< 3 secs

200mph+

Rimac Nevera

Quad-motor

NA

1,940PS

2,150kg

1.9 secs

256mph

GMA T.50

3.9 V12 NA

12,100

663PS

986kg

2.8 secs

250+ estimated


Photography by Joe Harding, Phil Hay and Toby Whales

  • FOS 2022

  • Festival of Speed

  • Hypercar

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