The Hottest Track Only Cars for 2017
It’s one thing to be a car guy and love the vehicles and engineering which goes into making then, and yet another to seek out tracks and see how fast a lap you can make. The latter is what this list is all about. Specifically which cars in 2017 will be track-only. These machines are built for one purpose and one purpose only, speeding around the track to dominate the competition. Or in some cases, create new racing series to battle each other with the best driver winning. So scroll through the list to see some of the best and baddest track cars for 2017.
Ford Mustang FP350S
Ford’s most track-oriented sports car received some serious changes to turn it into a track only superstar. Mixing the street GT350R with the intense performance of the road racing series GT350R-C, the FR350S is an amazing track-only machine. Designed specifically for Trans Am, SCCA, and NASA club events, the 2017 FP350S keeps the engine, trans and rear end ratio from the standard GT350 but they are prepared by Ford Racing. Additional upgrades from the street going version are a front splitter, carbon fiber adjustable wing, 6-point roll cage, SPARCO seat and a quick release steering wheel.
Of course, this won’t have those awesome carbon fiber rims and ends up wearing 19×10.5 front and 19×11 rears with optional 18×11 racing wheels if the buyer so desires. Slap some racing graphics on and we have ourselves a track-only beast ready for the next club racing event. Of course this will set someone back northward of $90k, but with the racing pedigree, history and new-age ‘stang looks it’s ready to dominate the track in 2017.
Lotus Exige Race 380
Hidden in a smalltown in the United Kingdom is a racing legend. Known around the world for their racing pedigree and their “light is right” approach to everything from track to street, Lotus has made and does make some of the greatest racers around. So it’s no surprise their latest track-only rocket, the 2017 Lotus Exige Race 380 HAD to be on this list.
Based off the already insane Exige Sport 380, the Race version takes track prowess to the next level. While it does maintain much of the Sport 380’s material, it includes all the track goodies necessary to compete like racing seat, roll cage, harness, polycarbonate side windows, fire extinguisher, battery isolator, and tow hooks front and rear. Besides that, the car maintains the 375hp/302ft-lb engine from the sport but it is now mated to an X-trac 6-speed transmission. Additionally, new aero and body parts mostly comprised of carbon fiber are found everywhere which is probably how the Race 380 was able to shed 112kg (247lb). This is no easy task for a car that is already small and light weight.
Needless to say, the 2017 Lotus Exige Race 380 is going to be one crazy track car. In fact, it set an Exige track record at the Hethel test track thanks, in part, to its 3.2 second 0-60 sprint I’m sure. The biggest problem I see here is that I don’t think any will be coming to the US so someone is going to have to buy me a plane ticket to go see one in person. Besides that, the starting price of £99,500 ($121,223) actually seems like a bit of deal considering its race ready and comes from a racing legend. Pricing and availability aside, this is going to be one quick track car.
We stick to the United Kingdom for this one and while the name may lead you to believe I’m talking about a movie about blue people rather than a track-car manufacturer, I’m not. Avatar is yet another amazing little company out of the U.K. who previously built the Avatar Roadster which is now fully homologated. And while typically the standard Ford 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder would normally be enough to power it around any track, they want to outdo themselves for 2017. In steps Marlin Racing who will add the 2.3-liter turbo four seen in the Focus RS to this maddening little racecar.
The composite body and laser-cut spaceframe chassis remains the same from its lesser powered sibling and that’s no joke either because it weighed only 1,532 pounds. And almost like a kit car, or a high end car company, the buyer can tack on any amount of options from there. This includes a seven-speed paddle shifting sequential Quaife tranny, roll cage, fire suppression, data loggers, differential, wing, shocks, brakes, and more.
Surprisingly enough, this souped up go-cart of a car is actually street legal so it doesn’t necessary meet the “track-only” standards for this list…unless of course you delete the front headlights. Needless to say this little thing will likely tear around a track with the base version costing only $48,000 and sprinting to 60mp in just 4 seconds. Unfortunately, there will only be 50 built and not a single one will be coming to the states so this is another car I will have to wait to see until that magical free plane ticket comes in the mail for me. European only or not, for the price, this is going to make a few people extremely happy on track day.
Ferrari 488 Challenge
Now we finally introduce one of the big dogs. Obviously Ferrari has been presenting racing and track-only vehicles for a while. Some of the latest and greatest include the 360 Challenge, FXX, and the insane FXXK. So with such a great history of epic track cars it’s no wonder that Ferrari is at it again for 2017 with the 488 Challenge.
Celebrating 25 years of its own Challenge series, Ferrari will be launching the 488 Challenge for 2017. Just like its road-going sibling, the 488 Challenge comes packed with a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 pushing out 661 horsepower. This time though, the engine has been lightened by 43 pounds. In front the Challenge car gets inverted radiators and plenty of wind splitters and canards to help it on the track. There is also that giant wing from the 488 GTE on the back to command attention. The rest of the car got plenty of tuning to the electronics and gears while the exhaust dropped another 19 pounds.
As with all the Challenge cars put out, Ferrari didn’t hold back with this one. Proving that is the fact it went around the Fiorano test track 4 seconds faster than the street legal LaFerrari. Of course, all of this amazingness comes with a hefty price tag which will likely be above the $300,000 mark. But hey, if you have the money for a track-only Ferrari, you likely don’t care to much for the pricetag.
Radical SR1 and SR8
Source: Bahrain International Circuit Facebook
Radical has been a top name in track cars since its inception in 1997. Anyone who has ever gone to a racetrack has likely seen a Radical. Now for 2017, they are updating both their SR1 and SR8 vehicles to provide even more thrills to their clientele.
Starting with the outside, the body has been redone to provide a more aerodynamic, modern design and it shows with beautiful curves that provide both form and function. Just take a look at that massive front splitter and you know this car means business. Both the SR1 and SR8 retain their engines in the form of an entry-level pleasing 1340cc 4cyl Suzuki for the SR1 and a mind altering, pro-oriented 2.7-liter V-8 for the SR8. Other minor updates include the dash and the “interior” but other than that a lot of the same.
While they both are about the same power-train wise, the new body will definitely help weave around a track with more ease. In fact, they expect the new SR8 to best the previous one which set a record on the Nurburgring for fastest road-legal car. Ok, there I go with the term “road legal” again, but honestly it’s not like these cars are to be daily driven.
Aston Martin Vulcan
Yes, the Aston Martin Vulcan was announced way back in 2015. So why is it on a list for track only vehicles of 2017? Because the Vulcan has been in the media a little bit the last couple months. If any of you watch The Grand Tour, you will know what I am talking about.
The Aston Martin Vulcan is the grand-daddy Aston Martin. It’s a viciously brutal, unrelenting machine reigning king over the other Astons. In other words, James Bond doesn’t have anything on the Vulcan. Not only does the car look insane (and by insane I mean awesome), but the sound coming from that glorious 800hp 7.0-liter V-12 is nothing short of glorious. Oh, and it has freakin flame spitting side exhaust too! The extensive use of carbon fiber for the body and chassis is able to keep the weight down while the massive front splitter and rear wings keep the car planted firmly on the ground.
While it was a brutally punishing car that seemed extremely difficult for Clarkson to drive, I see this as Aston Martin’s latest masterpiece. Born from their extensive racing history and knack for combining beauty with power and elegance, the Vulcan is amazing. That being said, there are only 24 being produced and it costs $2.3 million so the majority of people reading this can’t afford it. But who care, it’s a modern engineering marvel that is also a driving work of art.
A list like this wouldn’t be complete without at least one oddball. This one was chosen because it comes from the heart of Detroit U.S.A. Superlite Cars is a fairly young business too in the grand scheme of things since it has been in business since just 2003. Even so they have made some killer track cars and have a sister company, Race Car Replicas, which as the name implies builds authentic replicas of famous racers. One of the most dynamic creations to come out of this shop is the Superlite Aero.
Now this car isn’t necessarily new for 2017, but I think the shop name may be new to a lot of us and this car is rightfully impressive. Built to dominate NASA ST classes, the body is expertly designed and crafted to optimize aerodynamics (hence the name) and suspension geometry. And while the body design went through thousands of iterations to perfect it, the engine is a tried and true 6.2-liter LS3 from Katech performance restricted to a modest 380 horsepower and 405 ft-lb of torque. The restriction is done so every engine that goes into each car has the same power characteristics. Of course, all the other typical track-only goodies come along with the package from roll cage to seat, harness, etc.
This intense single seater comes in at just 1,800 pounds so that 380 horse engine is bound to make it scream around the track. Speaking of track, the Superlite Aero qualifies to compete in the Superlite Aero Championship which as the name suggests is open to all unmodified Superlite Aero cars. This is a bonus for those wanting to race a lot as they can potentially race in this series along with the NASA and SCCA events. All said an done, this no-frills track car doesn’t give the buyer the choice of options, which may be a sigh of relief to those who have trouble deciding. The single package racer is available for $69,995 and compared to the other cars on this list, that sounds like one heck of a deal!
In the end this list should provide everyone with an idea of how wide and expansive the world of track-only competition cars is. From hometown heroes building relatively affordable racers in Detroit, to the supercar powerhouses that cost well into the six figures there is a vehicle for everyone. Whether someone is a first time track novice or a hardcore, rich veteran there is a car out there for you. So for 2017 let’s put racing and track days at the top of the resolution list; I guarantee that’s a resolution you will be glad you kept!