One of the biggest trends over the past 20 years in the realm of ultra-exclusive cars, is track-only versions that need not comply with road, nor race rules. They exist purely as a toy to be enjoyed on private roads – primarily racetracks – where their performance can be fully exploited. The genre also serves as an option for the continuation of the combustion engine, with only road cars mandated to be electric-only or emissions-free in the coming years. We’re excited to see where the genre goes but even in recent years, some incredible machinery has broken cover. From the howling Pagani Huayra R, to a Gran Turismo McLaren made real with V10 power, this is a near-comprehensive list of track-only specials.
The 18 best track‑only supercars
1. Pagani Huayra R
The Zonda R was one of the originals from this genre, but it’s the Huayra R, with its god-like shrieking HWA-built V12 that howls to over 9,000rpm, that truly has our hearts. This stunning machine takes a different approach to most track specials. Rather than being sculpted for absolute maximum performance, it’s designed to be beautiful, to ape clean-cut Le Mans racers of old like the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512. Truthfully? It’s the supercar Pagani can’t sell for the road, so they’re selling it for track instead. An incredible thing and one of our favourites from last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.
2. Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro
Some ask why these cars aren’t raced. The answer is that they don’t fit into any homologation category and truthfully, most wouldn’t be cut out for 24 hours of racing at Le Mans. The Valkyrie AMR Pro, though? There’s definitely something they’re not telling us. Looking nothing like the concept that previewed it, the production AMR Pro presents suspiciously like a legit racer. It’s especially interesting when you consider Aston had a Valkyrie Le Mans programme that was scrapped. Longer, lairier, louder and faster than the road car, it’s such a shame this thing won’t be lining up at La Sarthe. That this V12 screamer exists is enough to be thankful for, though.
3. GMA T.50 S
The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 takes the principles that forged the legendary McLaren F1, de-restricts and modernises them for the 2020s. The GMA T.50 S is that, to the F1 GTR. No race homologation rules, no road rules, just pure performance – the Fan Car unleashed. Its fully adjustable aero in combination with that fan tech can produce up to 1,500kg of downforce, while the Cosworth V12 screams to 11,500rpm, producing 710PS along the way. And it only has 850kg to shift. What an incredible thing this will be when it lands.
4. Lamborghini Essenza SCV12
It was a surprisingly long time before Lambo got in on the track-only craze but it did so tactfully. Aping Ferrari in its use of its XX cars to develop future road car tech, the Essenza SCV12 was a test bed for principals we’re about to see in use in the Aventador successor. Principally, a high-revving V12 that’s been turned around, to put the gearbox at the rear instead of between driver and passenger. Add to that crazy aero and a fully competition-homologated platform and you have a screaming V12 Lamborghini that while being track-only, would also be allowed to form the basis of a one-make race series.
5. McLaren Solus GT
This one was a bit out of the blue, wasn’t it? McLaren’s Vision Gran Turismo car made real, with a screaming 10,000rpm-capable 5.2-litre V10 engine used in none of its other production cars. It’s a bespoke chassis, a bespoke body, bespoke everything, really, with features like a sliding fighter jet-style canopy and central single-seat driving position. In being the most bespoke car on this list, it’s probably the most extreme too and also, a preview of where ultra-exclusive combustion-engined vehicles are headed with the freedom from regulation they enjoy.
6. Bugatti Bolide
Still, the Bolide is close to the Solus in being bespoke, albeit without using its own engine. It was also one we weren’t expecting. Bugatti after all makes hyper GTs – continent-crossers that happen to be able to do so at speeds of 260mph and beyond. Is this a Bugatti a track car? No. Bugatti disagrees aggressively and decisively, with the bespoke Bolide. Its own chassis allows the W16’s mounting point and driving position alike to be low, while the bespoke bodywork is shaped to cleave the air and generate downforce. It still has the DSG, it’s still all-wheel-drive, but the W16 now generates over 1,800PS. That’s a Veyron, plus the Essenza in terms of power – the most powerful car on this list.
7. Aston Martin Vulcan
Of course in name, the Vulcan is an exclusive creation of Aston Martin’s. In reality we know it grew from the root of the One-77 hyper GT, although the two aren’t as closely related as you might assume. The Vulcan for instance uses a stroked-out GT3 V12 developed by Cosworth, rather than a development of the 7.3 seen in the One-77. The bodywork is entirely new without a single panel or even the lights shared, as is the cabin. A properly wonderful thing, though next to the Valkyrie AMR Pro, a little bit conservative, dare we say it.
8. Ferrari FXXK
As is the Ferrari FXXK. Is that mad to say? Next to the Valkyrie and the Solus, probably not. The FXXK continues along the trend of being a track version of an existing car. Yes, the AMR Pro is just that, but arguably the roadgoing Valkyrie is more extreme than the FXXK. That’s not to say over 1,000PS from a hopped-up hybridised V12 isn’t extreme. We love it but it’s a chapter in the pantheon of the track-only special, rather than a highlight.
9. McLaren P1 GTR
The same goes for the P1 GTR, though it’s a little more significant than the FXXK in that it was McLaren Automotive’s first go at a track-only machine. It followed much the same recipe of the FXXK in that it was a version, rather than bespoke. That meant new bodywork, a hopped-up motor and hybrid and air jacks. So closely related was the GTR to the road car that many have been converted for road use, which adds a definite layer of appeal we’d wager.
10. Porsche 935
Following two prongs of the holy trinity, we thought it’d be a while before we got a new generation of track-only hypercars. We were wrong, although what was to come weren’t exactly hypercars. This new-generation of track-only specials came based on a selection of supercars, in the case of the Porsche 935, the 911 GT2 RS. Bespoke carbon bodywork aping ‘Moby Dick’ with the usual modern aero addenda was paired with a version of the PDK transmission and a 690PS version of the GT2RS’s flat-six. In being a tribute to the original 935’s 1979 Le Mans win, the 2019 935 has a little more Kudos to speak of than most ‘pointless’ track specials.
11. McLaren Senna GTR
It wasn’t long before the P1 GTR had a sequel of sorts, in the Senna GTR and in something of a first for this list, we reckon it’s more appealing than its roadgoing sister. The road car was deliberately not a looker, in the pursuit of absolute track performance from the downforce-generating bodywork. Fine, until the more extreme GTR comes along and outdoes it and looks better in the process. All Sennas are still needlessly ugly, though…
12. Ford GT MKII
Born first as a racer it was perhaps inevitable that the Ford GT supercar would eventually get a track-only special. The MkII (and the more extreme Mk4 that followed recently) are just that. Crazy aero beyond the dreams of GT regulations joined a hopped-up 700PS Ecoboost V6 for a properly cool track weapon unshackled by any rules.
13. Brabham BT62
Brabham’s relaunch as a car manufacturer opened with a track-only special. The BT62 is certainly a cool-looking machine with brutal aero. It backs up the visual drama with a howling 5.4-litre Ford-derived V8 producing 700PS. Is it a bit of a left-field choice? Absolutely. Is it nonetheless awesome? That it is. An old-school approach, aping the monster V8 prototypes of motorsport’s golden era.
14. Ascari A10
The Brabham arguably occupies the spot vacated some years ago, by Ascari and the A10. Another startup supercar maker chose to make a track-only special its second outing. It turned out to be a great car, weaponising the BMW M 5.0-litre V8 to devastating effect, in combination with killer aero. But it just wasn’t to be. It’s still a favourite of ours, though.
15. Maserati MC12 Corsa
Why do these cars exist? Because racing cars have moved away from road cars. This, the Maserati MC12 Corsa, is the last from the crossover point. For it was the MC12, born to race in GT1 from Enzo underpinnings, that also spawned a track-only version with power and downforce not limited by regulations. If anything, the Corsa is more akin to the McLaren 720S GT3X than a bespoke track-only car, but it sits at the nexus point of this genre.
16. Ferrari FXX
Alongside this, the Ferrari FXX, a development also of the Enzo and the first bespoke Corsa Clienti car with zero designs on competition and an absolute focus on customer experience. It also served as a development avenue for the Tipo F140 engine, informing how it would evolve for future Ferraris. Everyone knows and loves the FXX, with its screaming 800PS 6.3-litre V12 and crazy exaggerated bodywork, as perhaps the car that sold the potential of cars shackled by neither the rules of the racing, or the road.
17. Pagani Zonda R
The FXX arguably inspired the creation of this, the Pagani Zonda R. Knowing its next road car would use a turbocharged V12 engine, Pagani wanted the V12 screamer to go out with a bang and the Zonda R was it. It’s the answer to the question of, what if 1990s GT1 had lived on and how would Pagani approach it? A bespoke 6.0-litre V12, entirely bespoke bodywork and aero in the extreme is how. The Zonda R like Ferrari’s XX cars also served as a workshop space for solutions we’d see on the Huayra. The rear suspension of Pagani’s sequel supercar for instance, was developed from that used in the Zonda R. The Zonda R was also a car that could evolve in the hands of its owners, with successive re-speccing and ‘Revolucion’ upgrade packages available.
18. Ferrari 599XX
You thought we’d forgotten it, didn’t you? No, there is no forgetting Ferrari’s crazy front-engined V12 track-only special. This along with the FXX and indeed FXXK made a number of special FOS appearances and, given it never got a sequel, it holds a special place in our hearts. Like the FXX, it was a development mule for future tech. Unlike the FXX, its lineage ended with the Evo version, rather than XX versions of the F12 or 812 taking up the mantle. We love it and we miss it. Still, it’s not like there’s any shortage of track-only machinery at this point, is there?
What’s your favourite from the list? If you’re a cynic wondering what the point of these things is beyond proving those with money have too much of it these days, we’d agree to an extent, but they are cool. We’ll take the Huayra, thanks, though the people that buy these cars tend to have one of each.
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