American cars, especially muscle cars, aren’t exactly enthusiasts’ first choice when it comes to having track toys, and we really can’t fault them. Sure, they have a lot of power from the big-block V8s and could easily reach triple-digit speeds effortlessly in a straight line, but they’re big and bulky, putting excessive load on the outer tires and breaking traction quite easily. as the car approaches. towers.
We all know it’s not just about absolute power when it comes to circuit racing, cars that are light on their feet can handle faster cornering speeds. Lately, American automakers have started to catch up with their Japanese and European rivals and have come up with sports cars that might hold up when driven on a racetrack. Here are a few.
Dodge Viper ACR
Take a look at the Dodge Viper ACR with the Extreme Aero pack, and you’ll know it’s a serious track machine, especially with its aggressive aero kit which consists of a massive rear spoiler, a front splitter and the large diffuser that simply keeps the car planted on the ground. You’d be forgiven if you thought this car isn’t street legal due to its GT3 style look, but it is.
According to TopGear, the Viper ACR could produce 2,000 lbs of downforce at 177 mph and, in turn, slow the car in a straight line compared to the standard Viper. However, swapping top speed for huge grip seems to have paid off very well, as the car clocked a lap time of 7: 01.3 around the Green Hell, which was the 5th fastest time for a car. production in 2017.
There really is no need for an introduction when it comes to the Ford GT, the modern iteration of the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT40 that single-handedly dethroned Ferrari in the world’s most prestigious endurance race. .
Ford managed to repeat the feat 50 years later with the racing version of the GT, and the road version is just as good. According to Motor1, the new Ford GT was 5 seconds faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder on the Virginia International Raceway.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
It’s not every day that you see an American car smoking German sports cars on their own set, but the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE did just that after setting a lap time of 7: 16.04 around the legendary NÃ¼rburgring. Nordschleife.
What’s the secret ? Well, Chevrolet did it the old fashioned way. No fancy fuzzy logic here. Just a 650bhp, 300lb downforce supercharged V8 engine, 6-speed manual gearbox, and F1-style Multimatic spool shocks, which gives a rocky ride on a daily basis, but keeps the car stuck on the road. high performance driving.
Ford Focus RS
Before Ford switched to the smaller Fiesta, the Focus RS was its own rally machine. And while the car is no longer Ford’s main challenger, it still has its rally pedigree.
Especially the latest model, which has four-wheel drive, a 345bhp EcoBoost engine and a trick button called Drift mode, which Ford says channels 70% of the car’s torque to the rear wheels to initiate oversteer. for some people. lateral action.
Factory Five 818
Here’s an American car that you can certainly throw on the track – the Factory Five 818. Basically it’s the equivalent of the British Caterham 7 and the BAC Mono, a featherweight two-seater American car on the track that you can. driving on the road.
It uses the undercarriage of a Subaru Impreza WRX, which means you have a 270bhp mid-boxer engine with a low center of gravity and it only weighs 1,800 lbs.
Ford Fiesta ST
Top Gear calls the Fiesta ST “a fun old-fashioned hot hatch,” and it certainly is, because Ford’s subcompact sedan has long been widely regarded as one of the best modern hot hatches ever. manufactured.
It’s small, punchy and extremely economical thanks to the 197bhp 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which could even run on two cylinders in cruise mode to save fuel.
Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06
Before Chevrolet had its success with the Camaro ZL1 1LE, they had already gained the upper hand with the Corvette C7 Z06, a track-oriented version of the American supercar.
The car shares the same engine with the Camaro ZL1 1LE, but the Corvette weighs 300 lbs less, and it could compete with the Porsche 911 Turbo and Mercedes-AMG GT while being expensive. less, which gives the Z06 incredible value for its price.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R
Terms like flat crankshafts and red lines over 8,000 rpm aren’t exactly what you’d expect from a Michigan-built car, but the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R is an exception, and it’s the only one. American production car (so far) to have a flat-plane V8.
The terms we mentioned are usually found in exotic supercars like Ferraris, which makes the GT350 special. The naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V8 produces 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, and howls gloriously at 8,250 rpm. Ford used old-fashioned mechanical grip with an advanced suspension system to effectively reduce horsepower, whether out of corners or just pulling on the freeway.
Chevrolet Cobalt SS
Chevrolet produced the Cobalt SS from 2005 to 2010. In this short model run, it managed to become the fastest front-wheel-drive production car of its time, overtaking the NÃ¼rburgring Nordschleife in just 8 minutes and 22 seconds. . For comparison, this lap time was also achieved by the iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R R32.
On a drivetrain setup where understeer is inherent, and from a country often criticized for making cars that don’t spin, the Cobalt SS is a huge slap in the face of those stereotypes. And at the time, the car’s 2.0-liter engine was producing 260bhp, which is even more than what you’ll get from an all-new Civic Si.
Dodge SRT Challenger
The Dodge SRT Challenger is a perfect example of how American muscle cars are no longer single-lap ponies. In fact, the car even serves as an official track toy for teaching performance driving at Radford Racing School.
Formerly Bondurant High Performance Driving School, co-owner of Radford Racing School is none other than former F1 champion Jenson Button. And when someone like that doesn’t mind using an American car to teach track racing, you probably realize that the Challenger could perform really well on the track.
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