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5 grand tourers to whet your passion

For gear heads, summer  entices a road trip with friends,  exploring the great outdoors with your dream machine. With less traffic and more time on your hands, what better time to dust off those gloves and racing shoes and buckle up for some all-out Gran Turismo fun.  Here are five GT cars you might want  to put through their paces.

Peugeot 907 Concept

Dream machine: Peugeot 907 Coupé

First on my list is Peugeot’s 907 Concept. Although still in its conceptualization stage, this French supercar has some serious horsepower to shame its Italian and German counterparts, and it’s a looks good too.

The 907 is a two-seater coupé, modern but also classic. As in the time of the great coachbuilders, this coupé embodies one of the finest engineering dreams of combining a large capacity engine within a classical shape, achieving a genuine synergy of advanced technology and motoring tradition.

The 6.0 liter V12 engine (368 kW or 500 bhp) is positioned longitudinally behind the front axle; connected by a small propshaft, it transmits its power to a six-speed gearbox placed longitudinally in front of the rear axle.

The wheelbase of this GT coupé is 2.50 m, its length 4.37 m, its width 1.88 m, while its height culminates at 1.21 m and its passenger compartment, designed to accommodate two people comfortably, is situated just ahead of the rear axle to allow for a long bonnet. The kerb weight is around 1 400 kg. 

MANSORY CARBONADO Lamborghini Aventador GT

As if the Lamborghini Aventador’s looks and performance are not enough, renowned tuner Mansory decided to chop up their version and replace panels of the supercar with carbon fiber.

The ultralight and high-strength material of carbon fiber finds ample uses even in the series version of the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4.

MANSORY has completely reworked the 6.5 liter V12 cylinder and fitted it with twin turbochargers. Furthermore, the pistons, connecting rods, rod bearings, crankshaft, crank and cylinder head have been replaced by motor racing parts and now meet the high demands of Kourosh Mansory. Together with the newly designed exhaust system from the manifold right up to the stainless steel tailpipes, which give superior performance characteristics. Instead of 700 hp (515 kW) the CARBONADO GT achieves an impressive 1600 hp (1176 kW), while the maximum electronically-limited torque increases to 1200 Nm. This accelerates the bi-turbo twelve-cylinder from zero to one hundred (km/h) in a breathtaking 2.1 seconds. The MANSORY top speed is faster than 370 km/h which is also significantly higher than with the base vehicle.

New GT-R Track Edition

My list would not be complete without Japan’s ultimate supercar, the Ferrari and Lamborghini slayer, the mighty Nissan GTR Track Edition. This new model is designed to take Nissan’s legendary 545-horsepower street supercar even closer to a pure motorsports competition machine. It features a specially tuned suspension, special brake cooling guides, front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts and a lightweight quilted cloth mat where the rear seats usually reside. Production of the GT-R Track Edition is limited to 150 cars unfortunately intended for the U.S. market only.

Changes to the GT-R’s sophisticated 4-wheel independent suspension for the Track Edition include specialized Bilstein DampTronic gas pressure shock absorbers and higher spring rates. Much of the 2014 GT-R’s suspension development took place on the Nürburgring, one of the world’s most challenging racing circuits, where the Track Edition damping force and handling benchmarks were further refined by GT-R development driver Toshio Suzuki. The Track Edition’s air guides for the front and rear brakes were also refined through rigorous track testing.

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse

Coming in at fourth is the world’s fastest roadster, and every car enthusiasts dream machine.

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse has been on the market since the spring of 2012. Its power comes from an eight liter W16 engine, which pumps out an astonishing 1,200bhp and a torque of 1,500 Nm at 3,000 to 5,000 rpm to the road. Its high performance handling can be attributed to a racing chassis which together with extremely fast-acting shock absorbers and reinforced anti-roll bars guarantees exact control of both the four-wheel drive system and the entire vehicle. Other factors that enable such performance at the upper limits include a standard carbon monocoque with high torsional rigidity and an outer shell made entirely of carbon fiber. Keeping wind noise and air turbulence to a minimum in the vehicle’s interior is a particular concern with open-top vehicles. Last year, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse set the world speed record for open-top production sports cars at the Volkswagen Group’s proving grounds in Ehra-Lessien where TÜV, the renowned independent German organisation for Technical Inspection and Certification, has officially confirmed that a top speed of 408.84 km/h (254.04 mph) was achieved.

“When we introduced the Vitesse, we established the top speed for open-top driving to be 375 km/h. Still, we could not let go of the idea of reaching the 400 km/h mark with this car as well. The fact that we have succeeded in reaching 408.84 km/h is a thrill for me, and it reaffirms once again that Bugatti is the leader when it comes to technology in the international automotive industry”, said Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.

For the record-breaking drive, the Vitesse received a powerful dual-colour scheme in black and orange, perfectly translating its inner qualities into its exterior appearance. This special Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse will be available in a World Record Car (WRC) Edition, which is limited to eight vehicles. This exclusive edition is worth 1.99 million euros.

McLaren MP4-12C with Hennessey HPE700 Upgrade

Topping off my list of dream GT cars is a British supercar modified even further by a Texas-based tuning firm. McLaren’s P1 hybrid supercar is an astounding machine, with an output of 903 horsepower and a staggering $1,150,000 sticker price. But consider that a blood relative can approach its performance for a mere fraction of its price: McLaren’s very own 12C fortified with Hennessey’s HPE700 upgrade that endows the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 with 14 percent more power.

“The Hennessey McLaren HPE700 broadens our reach in performance tuning to European supercars. Both midrange power and torque are bumped, but the real hair-on-fire ride begins from 4000 rpm to the 8500-rpm redline,” says John Hennessey, president and founder of Hennessey Performance.

For $19,500, the HPE700 package increases the McLaren’s output to 704 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 538 lb-ft of torque at 5800 rpm, enabling a 0-60 sprint of 2.8 seconds and a scorched-earth quarter-mile time of 10.3 seconds at 137 mph. The extra power comes from an ECU software upgrade that increases peak boost from 21 to 23 psi. Charge cooling from the standard water-to-air heat exchangers is further enhanced by HPE’s heat exchanger upgrade whose cooling effect increases sequentially as boost levels rise.

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