Sports car manufacturers can only go so far when tweaking the performance of their street-legal vehicles. Countless regulatory guidelines and restrictions must be adhered to, and it can create a big headache for carmakers seeking to squeeze the last ounce of performance from their vehicles.
That is where track-only cars come in handy. They are not bound by most of the rules that govern the development of road-going cars, and automakers have the freedom to exploit their engineering expertise.
Track-only cars also serve as valuable testbeds for new technology that may eventually find their way into their road-going counterparts. They are primarily produced in very limited quantities, and it’s not unusual for them to be sold on an invite-only basis.
Here, we shine the spotlight on some of the extreme track-only machines that have emerged over the years. The list focuses on cars that exist in production form, and that’s why automotive engineering marvels like the Bugatti Bolide and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro are not featured.
Track-Only Monster #10: McLaren Senna GTR
The McLaren Senna is about as extreme as it gets in terms of hypercar performance. Still, this wasn’t enough for the lads at the Woking Plant, where the cars are assembled, so they came up with an even more hardcore variant—the Senna GTR.
It is built around the same 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that powers the road-going version, but now, it’s been tweaked to produce 814-hp, up from 789-hp. Then there’s that humongous rear wing, easily the hypercar’s most distinguishable feature.
Together with other aerodynamic elements, that spoiler helps the Senna GTR generate up to 2,200 pounds at 155 mph, keeping the car planted to the tracks as it whips around twisty turns and hurtles down long straights.
Track-Only Monster #9: Pagani Zonda Revolucion
There are no less than forty Zonda variants out there today (inclusive of the numerous ‘one-off’ commissions), but the Zonda Revolucion (not to be confused with the Zonda R) has to be one of the wildest. Little wonder then that it is not allowed on public roads.
At its heart lies a formidable AMG-derived V12 that cranks out 800-hp and more than 550 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of power for a car that weighs less than a Mazda Miata.
The hypercar is a technological masterpiece with innovations such as a Formula One-inspired Drag Reduction System (DRS) for the wing. The Zonda Revolucion was first revealed in 2013 and had a limited run of only five units, each priced at about $2.8 million.
Track-Only Monster #8: Ferrari FXX K Evo
The FXX K Evo unlocks a level of Ferrari ownership experience that only a few people ever get to enjoy. Each of the uber-exclusive hypercar costs north of $2 million but being able to afford one does not automatically mean an allocation.
First, you have to be a member of the exclusive Ferrari Corse Clienti Racing Program before you are considered, and even then, it’s not a guarantee. However, the chosen few who get the privilege to drive the FXX K Evo experience a level of Ferrari’s engineering brilliance that’s unmatched.
The FXX K Evo boasts a Hybrid V12 setup that puts out over 1,000-hp, enough to rocket the car to 60 mph in just over 2 seconds and on to a top speed of 217 mph, provided there’s a long enough straight.
Track-Only Monster #7: Lamborghini Essenza SCV12
Lamborghini is finally saying goodbye to its naturally aspirated V12 power plant, at least in its current state. It follows an announcement by the carmaker that hybrid powertrains will be at the heart of its next-gen flagship supercars. Cars like the Essenza SCV12 will ensure that the iconic engine does not go down quietly, and we mean that literally.
The limited-series track car must be one of the loudest Lamborghinis ever made. It gets the familiar 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12, but heavy tweaks mean it’s the most powerful V12 engine ever made by the company.
The stats make for truly impressive reading—830-hp at 8,500 rpm and over 550 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm, and all the mayhem produced is funnelled through a straight piped exhaust system! Lamborghini will only be making 40 units of this monster, and there are plans to create a bespoke racing series for the lucky owners in the near future.
Track-Only Monster #6: Aston Martin Vulcan
The British track weapon is named after the Roman god of fire. That’s as clear an indication as any of what it’s all about. The Vulcan is as savage as they come with track capabilities that represented the peak of Aston Martin’s engineering at the time.
At the heart of its performance is a 7.0-litre naturally aspirated V12 that produces 820-hp at 7,750 rpm. There’s no shortage of excitement as the Vulcan struts its stuff on the track with its dramatic looks, wild power plant and supreme handling.
Aston Martin made only 24 units, priced at around $2.3 million each. The owners had to attend a special driving school and receive a certificate before they could unleash the full power of the Vulcan at the race track.
Track-Only Monster #5: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
This Lamborghini’s rather exotic name is a direct nod to carbon, the sixth element on the Periodic Table (This one’s for you, Chemistry students). There’s a rational explanation behind this: the car is entirely made of carbon fibre, save for the engine and a few other parts.
The priority was weight savings in designing the vehicle, and the engineers really took things to the extreme. For example, there are no proper seats in the car; all you get are foam pads stuck directly on the carbon fibre chassis.
The result was a car that weighed a scant 2,202 pounds with an insane power-to-weight ratio of about 570-hp/ton. The Sesto Elemento is a rocket that can hit 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds. That’s as outrageous as its bonkers $2.5 million price tag when new. That did not stop all 20 units from selling out quickly, though.
Track-Only Monster #4: Porsche 935
The Porsche 935 is a modern track racer that pays homage to the brand’s iconic 1978 911 endurance race car, popularly referred to as ‘Moby Dick.’ It’s based on the 911 GT2 RS, but Porsche’s engineers had the freedom to express themselves in creating a truly wild machine because it’s track-only.
Highlights include a massive rear wing that’s 1.9 meters across, end plates lifted from the 919 Hybrid LMP1 car and side mirrors that were nicked from the 2019 911 RSR.
The 935 is an uncompromising race car with a full safety cage and six-point harness belts. It’s primarily a single-seater, but a passenger seat is available as an option.
The car gets its mojo from a twin-turbocharged flat-six engine that’s primed to produce 700-hp at 7,000 rpm. Porsche plans to make only 77 units, each priced at about $830,000.
Track-Only Monster #3: Maserati MC12 Corsa
In 2004, Maserati, then under Ferrari ownership, unleashed the MC12, a sister model to the Ferrari Enzo. Only 50 units were built, but in 2006, Maserati followed it up with an even rarer variant, the MC12 Corsa, of which 12 units were built and sold privately to customers.
The MC12 Corsa was based on the Maserati MC12 GT1 race car that competed in the FIA GT Championships. Owners could only drive the vehicles on special track days sanctioned by Maserati, and when not in use, they were stored and maintained by the carmaker.
Notable differences between the MC12 Corsa and its road-going sibling included a shorter nose, wider wheel arches and louvred front fenders. The rear had a redesigned race-spec diffuser and a dual-exhaust configuration, replacing the quad-exhaust setup of the standard car.
In terms of power, the MC12 Corsa relied on a race-tuned 6.0-litre V12 that made 745-hp, more than 100-hp over the stock MC12.
Track-Only Monster #2: McLaren P1 GTR
When new, the P1 GTR was a bonkers machine that cost an eye-watering $3 million. Fewer than 50 units were made, and they were only offered to people who already had the McLaren P1 road car.
What McLaren did with the P1 GTR was to take the already borderline P1 and dial up the insanity by several notches. Like the P1, the engine unit is the same, but now the hybrid powertrain pumps out a heady 1,000-hp, an increase of 97-hp over the standard car.
That much power requires some serious downforce to keep the car glued to the track. Consequently, the McLaren P1 GTR is designed with various aerodynamic elements, including the fixed wing, that generates up to 1,455 pounds of downforce.
Shortly after the P1 GTR was introduced, British firm Lazante offered a road conversion kit for any interested party who wanted to experience the P1 GTR’s insane attributes on public roads.
Track-Only Monster #1: Brabham BT62
Top Gear journalists described the Brabham BT62 as an ‘awesome machine’—high praise indeed for this mid-engine track monster from Brabham Automotive, an Australian-based carmaker. It was first introduced in 2018, and a run of 70 units is planned in honour of the company’s 70-year racing heritage.
The Brabham BT62 is built around a tubular space frame steel chassis; no carbon fibre here. A naturally-aspirated 5.4-litre V8, positioned just behind the driver’s cockpit, develops 710-hp and 492 lb-ft of torque.
As impressive as that sounds, it pales in comparison to the massive amount of downforce generated by the car. At 125 mph, the Brabham BT62 generates an incredible 2,645 pounds of downforce. That’s significantly more than the weight of the 2,143-pound vehicle, meaning that you could quite literally drive upside down at that speed!
The original plan was to offer the BT62 exclusively as a track car, but apparently, some owners wanted to enjoy the car on public roads as well. So, Brabham Automotive relented and now offers an optional road conversion kit for the car.