So what car poster was up on your wall as a kid? It probably depends on what era you grew up in. For me it was the 1990’s and cars like the C4 Corvette ZR1, Ferrari F50, Jaguar XJ220, and Lamborghini Diablo adorned many kids walls. I’ve been into cars as far back as I can remember but I was also really into airplanes as a youngster. Once my interest shifted to 90% cars I learned of the McLaren F1 and became infatuated with the car. I know I had a poster of a Porsche 930 Turbo and a Lamborghini Countach as well but those cars didn’t matter anymore once the McLaren came into the picture. Supercars are a rare breed of car when manufacturers spare no expense for ultimate performance and luxury in some cases. They are the epitome of status symbol vehicles for the wealthy and feature many advances in performance that were designed and proven in elite motorsport. Supercars have come a long way since the 1990s though and are essentially land missiles these days. Two hundred plus mph is the norm and 4 second zero to sixty times are not that impressive in this company!
So before we get into today’s supercars i’d like to talk about that 1990s McLaren I used to tell myself that I would someday own, on a fighter pilots salary…or maybe it was a firefighter then i don’t know. So the F-1 is considered by many as one of the greatest cars ever made. They cost over a million dollars to buy back in the day and now they fetch well into the tens of millions for good examples. The F1 was the brainchild of Gordon Murray and followed the same recipe as many others, lightweight and prodigious power. The F-1 was the first production car to use a carbon fiber monocoque and made use of other lightweight and exotic materials like kevlar, gold, and titanium. That’s right, gold. After a bit of searching Murray decided on a BMW M-division designeed 6.1L V-12 engine that sounds absolutely glorious by the way. The engine produced a lot of heat and all of the carbon fiber needed shielding. What better than one of the best heat reflectors on the planet? Each car was built with 0.8oz of gold foil lining the engine bay. Other cool weight savings include a custom lightweight luggage set, specially designed kenwood stereo, and even the tool kit featured wrenched made of titanium weighing 1/3rd of similar steel set. That glorious V-12 produced 627 hp and was mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox. With a weight of just under 2500 lbs the car was and still is ballistic. I could fill up half of this article with just cool stuff about the F-1 so ill get moving.
One of the most anticipated supercars in recent years was from this side of the pond with the return of the Ford GT40. Well, Ford did not necessarily bring back the GT40 nameplate but instead called it the Ford GT. It was originally resurrected in 2005 and I thought that one was pretty cool and really did look like the original. The new GT is a whole new animal though. While im not quite sold on the fact that they dropped the supercharged V-8 from the last GT, the new twin turbo V6 Ecoboost mill does make good power, 647 ponies to be exact. Thats enough gusto to propel the GT to sixty in three seconds flat and run sub 11 second quarter mile times. The GT is built with performance and minimalism in mind. Apart from the infotainment system there isn’t much that isn’t necessary for maximum performance. Downforce is key with any race car and the GT has gobs of it. In track mode the car hunkers down over its Michelin pilot sport cup 2 tires and gets after it. It has a trick rear wing that deploys at 71 mph and increases its angle to function as an air brake under hard braking at speed. The Ford is definitely built for the track and it carries a hefty track weapon price tag setting its owners back a cool 450k!
When people think “supercar” they usually think Italian and for a good reason. The Italians know what there are doing when it comes to exotics and supercars, they have been doing it for a long time! This brings us to the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. As much as I like the Huracan, the Diablo has been Lamborghini’s flagship supercar for years and the SVJ doesn’t disappoint. Back in the day a Diablo was a sledgehammer around a track. Last fall the SVJ became the fastest street legal car to lab the Nordschleife at 6:44.97. In an era of forced induction Lamborghini stays true the Diablos roots with a big mid-mounted, naturally aspirated, 6.5L V-12 that makes a whopping 759 hp and 531 ft lbs or torque respectively. The mill also revs to 8,700 rpm and im sure its sounds great! The SVJ has lots of active aero bits and they all serve a purpose. They serve up 1,100 lbs (⅓ of the SVJ’s dry weight) of downforce at 217 mph. With the V-12’s grunt the big lambo rockets to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and knocks on the 9 second door in the quarter mile. The Lambo features four wheel drive, four wheel steering, and plenty of power making Lamborghini purists proud of their supercars past.
Bugatti turned the supercar world on its head when they released the Veyron into the wild in 2005 after 6 or 7 years of teasers. The Veyron took the production car speed record from the F1 with a 252mph top speed. It has since evolved into the Chiron, Bugattis latest monster car. I for one think the Chiron is a big leap forward in design over the veyron and it’s a very pretty car. Baugatti says the Chiron is limited to 261 mph and will sprint to 60 in 2.3 seconds with help from its monstrous power and four wheel drive system. The beating heart of the car is an eight liter W16 engine with 4 turbochargers. The whirlygigs work together in a sequential format to produce a wide torque range. The lump is good for 1,500 hp and a diesel-like 1,180 lb-ft of torque. While the top speed of the Chiron is it’s claim to fame the thing downright moves out considering it weighs over 4,000 lbs. The 0-60 time is impressive but it will hit the 124 mph mark in 6.5 seconds and doesn’t seem to peter off as it will blast from 0-186 mph is just 13.6 seconds. Keep your foot in it and you can hit the magical 250 mph mark in about 33 seconds, The thing is a beast! The car is limited to 261 as there is no tire manufactured that could safely deal with the stress of going faster. Baugatti reasons the car is good for almost 290 mph unrestricted. The Chiron comes loaded from the factory so the $2,998,000 base price isn’t too bad if you think about it, haha. Hey, if I had that kind of money to throw around id have one with the optional painted exposed carbon fiber look, so sexy!
Last but not least on this list of supercars is the new Koenigsegg Jesko. This thing along with the Chiron are really in hypercar territory now. The Jesko is Chritian Von Koenigsegg’s newest creation named after his father, Jesko Von Koenigsegg. While not as pretty as the Bugatti, the Jesko is a whole other animal. I have a lot of respect for Koenigsegg as they really push the limits with their cars not only in performance but design and engineering as well, all in house. The new car is powered by a new power plant, a 5.0L, flat plane crank V-8 engine. With the assistance of two turbochargers the very efficient engine produces 1,280 hp on pump gas and 1,600 hp on E85 or as I like to call it, corn juice. Fun fact: the 5.0L V8 features the world’s lightest crankshaft coming in at 27.5 lbs or so. The rods and pistons are also lightweight yet strong adding the efficiency of the rotating mass as it spins to it’s 8,500 rpm limit. It also features heads built by formula One supplier Grainger and Worrall. One would also think 1,600 hp with two turbos would be accompanied by lots of lag but Koenigsegg has combated this with a system that blows air on the compressor wheels at 290 psi to aid in spooling, pretty trick! The engine is also backed by koenigsegg’s innovative, in house designed, 9 speed LST (light speed transmission). It works similar to a DCT but has better ability at preselecting any of the 9 speeds for maximum performance and acceleration. It can jump to any gear where a dct has to pre select gears in order and only on upshifts. The LST can do it on downshifts as well and features 7 clutches. The Jesko’s large rear wing and aero body work produce over 2,200 lbs of downforce on the 3100 lb car so I imagine the thing corners at speed like it’s being helped by the hand of god. Christian says the Jesko has enough power and downforce to make its way over the 300 mph mark all out!
So we could go on and on with this list as there are quite a few supercars out there that I didn’t mention such as the McLaren 720S, Porsche 918 spyder, or Ferrari 488 GTB to name a few. These days sports cars are blurring the lines between supercars and supercars are blurring the lines between hypercars. They are just so damn fast anymore. Tenths of seconds separate them. The attention to detail and the high levels of refinement and luxury, as well as price tags, keep supercars in there respective category. From all of us here at gearbox have fun, be safe, and keep the shiny side up, especially if your driving any of these machines!