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Geneva: track cars for the wealthy racer

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Supercars for the very wealthy have always been an essential part of the Geneva motor show, but a more recent trend sees such supercars and even more specialist hypercars being developed into track specials, so those very wealthy owners can pound around a race circuit living out their dreams of being the next Lewis Hamilton. This year’s Geneva event revealed a small but highly exclusive selection of such machines.

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

In the Valkyrie, Aston Martin believes it has the world’s most extreme road car, and at Geneva this year an even more potent track version was revealed. The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro is, like the road car, mainly the work of Adrian Newey, chief technical officer of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and responsible for several Formula One world championship-winning cars.

The Valkyrie AMR Pro boasts a hybrid V12 powertrain developing more than 1,100hp, and totally redesigned aerodynamics generating downforce of more than 1,000kg.

According to its creators, the AMR Pro offers track performance akin to a current Le Mans LMP1 prototype or Formula One car – full technical details are yet to be revealed but it is capable of 225mph.

Ferrari 488 Pista

Ferrari always produces a new car for Geneva, and there is always a huge crowd around it all day long. This time it is the 488 Pista – it can be driven on the road but considering it is powered by the most powerful V8 engine in Ferrari history and boasts the most technology ever transferred from the brand’s F1 and GT racing programmes, why would you want to?

The 488 Pista deliberately celebrates Ferrari’s motorsport heritage. The V8 pumps out 720hp with 700Nm of torque, while the Pista is also 90kg lighter than the 488GTB that has proven such a successful car for Ferrari. And it boasts a clever ‘S duct’ that makes the aerodynamics 20% more efficient than the 488GTB…

McLaren Senna GTR

The names McLaren and Senna are indelibly linked and when the British brand launched an extreme road car named after the double world champion, they sold out pretty quickly. So now a further 75 are being made, specifically built for track use and dubbed the Senna GTR.

The McLaren Senna GTR promises more power, more grip and more downforce – up to 1,000kg – than the Senna, although we are not being given precise details just yet. But McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt is in no doubt just how potent a machine will result; “The very limited number of customers who secure this car will be buying the closest experience you can get to a race car without actually lining up on a circuit grid,” he says.

McLaren is making major efforts to get owners of its cars onto the track. A single-make race series has been launched as part of the programme of Pure McLaren track events, allowing McLaren owners with the minimum of an International D-grade licence to take advantage of a full ‘arrive and drive’ package to race in a 570S GT4 car. However, we understand that the Senna GTR will not be developed into a full race car for competition.

Pininfarina H2 Speed

Pininfarina H2 Speed The Car Expert Geneva
Italian styling house Pininfarina first showed its H2 Speed concept, with a hydrogen fuel-cell engine using four electric motors, at the 2016 Geneva show and won the concept of the show award. Now the car is back, and set to become a production model, just 12 being made and all for track-only use.

The latest version of the H2 Speed is larger in all areas than the 2016 concept, but with no increase in weight. Its powertrain, developed by Swiss specialist GreenGT, produces 653hp, good enough for a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed of 186mph.

Pininfarina describes it as a car for “speed- and performance-loving gentleman drivers who also respect the environment and are attracted at the same time by the exclusivity typical of a Pininfarina-designed vehicle.” What they are not saying yet is how much it will cost…

Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder

The Performante version of the Lamborghini Huracan was developed as a more focused version of the Italian supercar brand’s current road car, drivable on the road but more suited to being exploited on the track, and now there is a drop-top Spyder variant.

Apart from the folding fabric roof, this is basically the Performante, with its bespoke carbon fibre body styling, including the dramatic and enormous rear diffuser. The convertible weighs in at 35kg less than the stock Huracan Spyder, but with the same engine as the Performante coupé so enjoying a 30hp power increase to 640hp.

The Spyder is not quite so quick as the coupé due to the body strengthening needed to accommodate the soft top. Even so, it will hit 62mpg from rest in 3.1 seconds, double that in 9.3 seconds and go on to 201mph. Pricing is yet to be announced – industry sources believe it will be from around £238,000 which is £23,000 more than the Performante coupé.

Bugatti Chiron Sport The Car Expert GenevaBugatti Chiron Sport

The Bugatti Chiron Sport, unveiled at the show, boasts no changes to the 8.0-litre W12 engine used by its Chiron inspiration – but that won’t matter, as the regular Chiron puts out a mere 1,500hp together with 1,600Nm of torque! Changes to the Sport model involve a diet, with such areas as the intercooler cover and even the windscreen wiper being made of carbon fibre, and the rear screen being formed of lighter glass.

The chassis is returned for a more track-focused performance, with 10% stiffer dampers, more rapidly-reacting steering and torque vectoring on the rear axle to aid handling with all that power.

The Chiron sport will pass 62mph in a mere 2.5 seconds and by 6.5 seconds an owner will be going at 124mph plus. It will also cost said owner in excess of £2.3 million to buy one…

Photos: Andrew Charman/Newspress

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.