The venerable racing minmax master has returned to grace the circuits of the AGTC calendar this year with a large interesting green monster sprouting enormous side mounted exhausts and a massive hood intake. Despite it’s somewhat dated outward appearance it sits on double wishbone suspension all round and uses very advanced DOHC valvetrain technology. Weighing in at 1155.4kg and packing an exotic naturally aspirated 4L V12 pushing 449hp, it sits right on the edge of the rules beckoning any driver who is brave enough to push it to it’s limits to see who will break first. This, like any car to come from Smooth Motors, will be one to watch out for.
Riding on the already legendary shoulders of the Torana A9X which famously has caused a huge sensation down in Australia, taking victory after victory, the Holden looks to be a looming giant that is unstoppable… however out here there are even greater leviathans out here with very sophisticated set ups so it remains to be seen if the legend will simply be outclassed. However, with over six hundred horsepower on tap from the monstrous 5 litre pushrod V8, it will be no easy feat to beat it. The only fact other competitors may take solace in will be that this GTX spec Torana comes in at a portly 1366kg. What should be noted is the hilarious 2km/L fuel economy predictions for this thing.
Hailing all the way from the frozen depths of Finland, a few plucky Scandinavians have stuck out the journey all the way out to Daytona bringing a rather styling looking coupe, the Birch Firestarter. Despite the basic shape not being very rounded it manages to pull off a sleek almost futuristic look. Driving the rear wheels is a 347hp 3.2 litre naturally aspirated dual-overhead cam V6. Even more intriguing is the use of double wishbone suspension all round, you wouldn’t believe it’s not some low production count mid engined spaceship from Europe, although it is quite the sports car. Birch has spared no expense in developing this car.
Over here sits the imposing figure of the Nohda 500V which ironically has humble beginnings. The engine can trace it’s roots to the V6 in the Nohda Assent Sports, and the bodywork is made of fibreglass making it easy for the small company to produce. As much fun as we can poke at the Japs, we need to keep an eye on their moves, for a good reason. Apparently Nohda has been pouring money into expanding into the American market for years with not much success but with the halo racing car that is the 500V, they aim to spearhead a new effort into the US using the coverage that the AGTC will be affording to them as a launching pad to put some traction into growing their brand recognition. And the 500V is not some crude tool, not at all, with a potent 487hp 5L V12, good cornering ability and good acceleration courtesy of the 1215 and a few odd kilograms of weight - almost sitting right at the minimum.
Erin, the British heavyweight in the automotive world, has also decided to join in the fray with… a teal hatchback. One one hand, all the cars up to and including this one almost perfectly sum up the essence of the AGTC really, with a wide variety of cars from all over the globe - on the other hand this Merna will have to be one hell of a shapeshifter to realistically have any hope of finishing decently in the order. Under the bonnet is a rather normal looking 2.1L four cylinder, but attached is a mysterious lump… that’s no lump. That’s a great big turbocharger, kicking up the output of this unassuming hatchback to an impressive 345hp. Even more intriguing is the fact that the model is actually rear wheel drive. Well let’s see what other surprise punches the Erin may throw once the race is on.
Oh my goodness, this is one sleek and sexy lady, one that needs respecting. You thought the exotics were done, you thought wrong. A small 3.5L V8 with all the fancy DOHC things shoehorned behind the driver puts out a healthy 393hp to the rear wheels. Wrapped in it’s small little steel capsule of a body, this 1130kg Estoc certainly looks like a rocket. Here’s hoping that it does go like one.
Next up is yet another Scandinavian team, this time originating from Sweden. Scarab Aurora is the name and it’s wearing a similar suit to the baguette munching wine sipping eccentrics as last time albeit in a different colour. It is visually a whole lot more aggressive and shouty with great big vents and gaping ventilation cutaways so it doesn’t retain the elegance but it’s far from awful, simply different. Underneath though they continue to be suspiciously similar with the Scarab sporting a 3L V8, a 5 speed manual, double wishbones all round and the same steel monocoque setup. Of course, power is down to 324hp but with the smaller engine it can qualify in a lower class and it does end up lighter, nearly 60kg lighter.
This is a whole new level of shouty design, the Scarab is a common household appliance in comparison to the bright blue Bogliq with fat wheel arches and squared off, sharp black edges contrasting with the small curvy body. Interestingly, it is in the same vein as the Firestarter, using a 464hp 4L single overhead cam naturally aspirated V8 mounted in the front of the car spinning up the rears. There are some differences however, in that the Bogliq uses single point fuel injection instead of the near-ubiquitous mechanical fuel injection systems.
Here to throw a curveball is the oddly familiar sounding and looking Borch. By far and away, it has got to be the most hideous and awful thing present. Completely ignoring that, the Borch has a small DOHC 3L V8 but this time twin turbocharged and of course mechanically injected. Also noteworthy is the choice to place the car on a chassis using McPherson struts both in the front and rear. Weighing 1065kg and generating a prodigious 505hp - in fact the first to break the 500 horsepower mark! Of course this will come at the expense of the driver since this is going to one mighty beast to control.
Continuing on the theme of oddball wildcard entrants brings the wildly styled, obnoxiously large Sinistra Savage into sight. This vast muscular hunk is powered by a Herculean near-11-litre V8 with not one but two turbochargers strapped on. That Borch made a valiant 505hp but that number is simply dwarfed in the grotesque brutishness of the Sinistra and it’s vulgar one thousand and nine horsepower. Honestly, this is probably some kind of engine from a locomotive stuck in a car. The car itself however defies conventional American standards of muscle, where the idea is to stick a great big engine into not very much of a car and have it be wildly fast, rather opting to go with double wishbone suspension at all four corners. Apparently this barbaric car closes in on a top speed nearing 300kph, which is, to say the least, frighteningly quick.
This here is another American muscle, however this one doesn’t have a 11 litre V8 making 1000hp like the Sinistra, far from it actually. A 5.5 litre V8 powers this car, but it only makes 417hp, and it weights over 1200kg which probably won’t translate into performance on the track, especially on tracks requiring fast top speeds. The Conte will have to prove itself on the tighter courses as it’s strong point will be cornering. Whether or not we will be proven wrong is something we will have to find out.
Orchid, the company behind this car, claims that “comfort, safety, low emissions and individuality are key” defining features for their produce, however this yellow angry hornet they’ve entered called the Lyrel ticks exactly none of those boxes other than individuality. At first glance there is a lot going on, but taking in the bigger picture of the low weight and the highly strung turbo four banger gives the Lyrel a whole new meaning. A kerb weight of 931kg paired to a 235hp engine means this thing will be quite poky. And credit where credit is due, but it does raise doubts when other cars in the field commonly have twice the overall power output with not much worse fuel economy… so unless this furious little car can pull off some major upsets at the tighter tracks, the future will be bleak for the poor Lyrel.
Yet another European exotic joins the crowd, and this time from a small Spanish marque, Cavallera. This oddly proportioned dark green machine would appear to be British, yet it is not, and while it appears exotic it actually houses a workhorse-like 3.8L DOHC N/A V6. According to the company the car is supposed to be a low cost alternative to other expensive competitors using less complex technology. Offering up 429hp, but weighing 1154kg, it will have to fight to secure a spot. There will be plenty of action at Daytona for sure.
Now GBF is a company to look to for breathtaking designs, and they have not failed to deliver this time again. Lashings of muscular, jagged vents on a white square body puts it as it is. There’s no exaggeration from viewing at certain angles or as a result of it being any certain colour. And as always it’s quirky as all hell, with 3 seats inside, a 500hp 5L SOHC 2 valve per cylinder V8 that is indeed turbocharged. As always, these too-good-to-be-true Italian sex kittens are all pacts with the devil so fuel economy is sacrificed, being an abysmal 3.7km/L. Is it worth it? All will be known sooner or later.
Following the GBF is the Interceptor. Cool name, but not a hint as to what the company is. Or if Interceptor is the company, then what would the model name be? Anyway. This one is not offense per se but the scale of the front styling just does not match up to the size of the body. Either way, what matters is what is inside, and what this Interceptor contains is a welcome change. An inline six! To be more specific, an aluminium SOHC 2.9L N/A I6 which only coughs up a comparatively anaemic 274hp. Considering the car also weighs 1065kg, it does not look like an easy time for the Interceptor.
Borch. Yes, another one. Fortunately not as eye searing as before, the rear end is actually pleasing to the eye, but very very similar nonetheless. There’s not much known about what this WSD tune means but what is known is that the cars don’t share engines, and the WSD actually makes 3hp less while weighing 1115kg, so significantly more. The WSD also makes use of double wishbone suspension setup. This mysterious pair are something to investigate.
Finally, a car with a slick name to go with a… not very slick look. Stryker Scimitar, yet all it does is make the viewer want to decapitate themself with a scimitar. Moving on. 6L naturally aspirated SPFI DOHC aluminium V8 making a strong 547hp. With a total weight of 1280kg it seems like a sensible racecar setup.
Getting back onto the wildcard trend, we have what appears to be a racing van. I don’t know what these people were thinking, but this isn’t gonna win races, that’s for sure. This van weighs a whopping 1375kg. The twin-turbocharged 4.1 litre Flat Plane V8 produces almost 600 hp to compensate, and is placed longitudinally in the rear. The power helps this thing get to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds, which is impressive considering the front runners are up in the 3-4 second mark. But if this advantage will help power this van to the front is something I can’t answer.
Meanwhile the Soviets appear to have sent a gig van with a lighting rig on the outside. A van with a 442hp 4.5L DOHC SPFI V8 in the rear. Literally, it is rear engined. Plus it uses double wishbone suspension. Strange, it must be one rich company if they can afford to develop something like this and send it all the way to the US during the Cold War. It weighs 1256kg and drinks fuel at an alarming rate of 3km/L. For all that power and being rear engined, it is surprisingly slow to 100kph from a standstill, taking nearly 4.8 seconds.
And last but not least is the offroad specialist DMA bringing a strange looking orange thing with a wing oddly placed. It’s very bare looking, there are hardly any vents or even any complex light assemblies. And an initial glance at the specs doesn’t belie it’s averageness. 4.6L naturally aspirated V8, 451hp and 1281kg. This is not the case though. The engine is actually carbed, using a 4 barrel carburetor to breate and it sends power to a sold rear axle. Despite all this it still manages a very decent yet average 4.2km/L. What a curious car. DMA say they even sell the roadgoing version with 4 wheel drive.
Just to clarify, these were Ram’s idea, only 2 were mine, so I thank him for doing these as it gave me time to get the first race post ready, which will follow very shortly after this post.