For 85 years, the Geneva Motor Show has been the international showcase for the world’s fastest, most expensive, and beautiful dream machines. While dozens of cars are unveiled each year in hopes of capturing the public’s imagination, this year’s show seemed to be a little different. Plenty of concepts and ultra-luxury cruisers filled the floor of the prestigious show, but many of the world’s best automakers seemed to have only one thing on their mind: racing.
And with the sheer number of race-ready cars unveiled in such a short amount of time, the level of competition at the show began to mirror the high-stakes tension at the track. When Aston Martin released photos of their new Vantage GT3 and Vulcan racers just ahead of their official auto show debuts, Mercedes and Glickenhaus responded by quickly releasing photos of their cars – leaking their own new models just to keep up with their competitors.
Amid the high-octane atmosphere of this year’s show, a number of groundbreaking road cars were unveiled that were designed for the road, but bred on the track. From an affordable hatchback that happens to be the fastest front-wheel drive car to ever lap the Nürburgring to the world’s most powerful production car ever built, this year’s Geneva Motor Show was one of the most exciting shows in recent memory, and its competition-ready class is sure to dominate on the track for years to come. In no particular order, here are 10 of the most exciting track-ready cars from this year’s Geneva Motor Show
1. Glickenhaus SCG 003
Not only is the Glickenhaus SCG 003 a track-focused hypercar, it also has the potential to change the way performance cars are built. While the road-ready version has a Honda-sourced twin-turbo V6 tuned to produce a screaming 530 horsepower, the SCG 003 has a detachable subframe that allows a racing engine to be easily swapped in. Company founder James Glickenhaus plans to put this innovation to the test in May, when he plans on driving his personal SCG 003 from Turin, Italy to Le Mans, where it will compete in the legendary 24-hour race. When the race is over, he’ll swap engines, then drive on to Paris.
2. Honda Civic Type-R
Amid a sea of supercars, Honda chose to debut the next-generation European-spec Civic Type-R at Geneva, proving that great track day cars don’t have to cost six figures. A few days after its big reveal, Honda announced that a prototype of the car had become the fastest front-engined car to ever lap the Nürburgring. Last May, a pre-production Civic lapped the storied course in 7:50.63 – shattering the last record-holder’s time by nearly four seconds. With Honda announcing that the Type-R’s engines will eventually make their way stateside, American Honda fans are hoping that a U.S. spec model is in the works to take on the upcoming Ford Focus RS.
3. Aston Martin Vulcan
A few months after Ferrari unveiled their track-only FXX K hypercar, an equally storied but highly unlikely automaker became the next to follow suit. Unveiled at Geneva, the gorgeous-looking Aston Martin Vulcan is a bold departure for the company known for building luxurious and highly-capable grand touring cars. Powered by a 7.0 liter V12 engine producing 800 horsepower, Aston Martin will build only 24 of the carbon fiber-bodied cars – and none of them will be street legal. Still, the Vulcan’s combination of breathtaking looks and exclusive status will almost certainly make it one of the most coveted cars ever to wear an Aston Martin badge, even if it’s projected to cost around $2.3 million.
4. Mercedes-AMG GT3
After years of stock-bodied GT3 cars tearing up the track, Mercedes has decided to buck tradition with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. The fearsome-looking racer is mechanically based on the all-new AMG GT S supercar, but an aggressive new front fascia sets it apart from anything else on the track. A carbon fiber, aluminum, and high-tensile steel construction makes the GT3 significantly lighter than the previous generation car, but it keeps the old model’s naturally-aspirated 6.2 liter V8 under the hood. For buyers who love the looks of the GT3 but find the already wild-looking AMG GT S a little too conservative for their tastes, Mercedes has announced that a road-ready GT3 version – complete with the fearsome front end, is in the works.
5. Aston Martin Vantage GT3
While the introduction of the Vantage GT3 was largely overshadowed by its track-only stablemate the Aston Martin Vulcan, the Vantage is a legitimate bare-bones racer that you can (theoretically) drive home at the end of the day. The car is stripped of all its creature comforts, and designed to take on the new Mercedes-AMG GT and next-generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS in both factory-sponsored and privately-backed events. Powered by Aston’s 6.0 liter V12 tuned to produce 592 horsepower, The Vantage should be a formidable opponent for its German rivals, and with only 100 cars offered for sale, it’ll be easier to get ahold of than a Vulcan – though not by much.
6. Porsche 911 GT3 RS
With the introduction of so many track cars at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, it’s almost possible to forget about the original GT3 car– almost. Introduced in 1998, the 911 GT3 RS has been in production since before there was an official GT3 racing class, and with this new model having sharpened its teeth testing at the Nürburgring, it looks like its track-day dominance will carry on at least another few years. The next-generation car is powered by a 4.0 liter flat-six engine tuned to produce 500 horsepower, taking it from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 193 miles per hour. Mercedes and Aston Martin may have some serious contenders in their GT and Vanquish cars, but for many, the only name synonymous with “GT3″ is “Porsche.”
7. McLaren 675LT
Few other automakers have a more track-focused reputation than McLaren, and the 675LT is being touted as the most track-focused car in its lineup. Inspired by the iconic McLaren F1 GTR Longtail, the McLaren’s 666 horsepower twin-turbo V8 nearly puts it in a class by itself, and its extended rear wing gives the car an incredible amount of downforce to aid in handling. Legal on both the road and track, the McLaren has more than enough power to give the new GT3 cars built by Mercedes, Porsche, and Aston Martin a real scare.
8. Lotus Evora 400
For many auto enthusiasts, the idea of a fast, lightweight, roadster with world-class handling originated with the tiny British brand Lotus. After years of financial woes, the heavily-revised Evora 400 is the company’s first update to their lineup in several years. The new Lotus draws 400 horsepower from its Toyota-sourced mid-mounted engine, and with a claimed top speed of 186 miles per hour, the new Evora is the fastest Lotus ever built.
9. Audi R8 LMS
Audi’s venerable R8 has been considered of the world’s best supercars since its introduction in 2007. But with the original model beginning to show its age, Audi unveiled the next-generation R8 at Geneva – right alongside an all-new track-day version. The new R8 LMS has a 585 horsepower mid-mounted V10 similar to the road car, but advanced aerodynamics and a carbon fiber-based construction helps the competition car shed weight and makes it compliant with the new standards set to go into effect for the 2016 GT3 racing season. With its eye on the future, the next-generation R8 is primed for success on both the road and track, just like its predecessor.
10. Koenigsegg Regera
Whenever a new car comes out of Koenigsegg’s factory it’s a big deal, and the Regera is a very big deal. With a 5.0 liter twin-turbo mid-mounted engine mated to an electric drivetrain, the Regera produces 1,500 horsepower, making it the most powerful production car ever built. The Regera features an active aero system to keep the ultra-light carbon fiber car on the road in corners, and at $1.89 million, it’s a relative bargain compared to the nearly half as powerful Aston Martin Vulcan.
While the Geneva Motor Show has long been considered to be the showcase for the world’s fastest and most exclusive cars, this year’s event could go down in history as one of the most track-focused auto shows in recent memory. These 10 track-ready monsters each represent the next generation of speed, and with blinding power and avant-garde technology, they’re sure to lead the charge for performance cars going well into the next decade.
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