2019 CarBuzz Awards: Track Weapon

2019 CarBuzz Awards / Comments

If you live at the race track, these are the cars you should consider.

When selecting our Track Weapon Of The Year contenders, we didn't care about things like comfortable interiors, good road manners, or affordable price tags. They just had to be able to slay a race track and put a massive grin on the driver's face. And if you don't see one of your favorite cars here, it's probably because we didn't get a chance to test it this year. Hence why there's no C8 Chevrolet Corvette.

There were many cars that just missed the cut, including the AMG GT, BMW M2 Competition, Jaguar XE Project 8, Lexus RC F Track Edition, Mazda Miata, and Toyota Supra. The three cars we've chosen are all ferociously fast but also feel like they were dedicated to tearing up a track and aren't just fast vehicles that are competent on the occasional track day. These vehicles are hemmed in track weapons.

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Finalist: 2020 Ford Shelby GT500

Our Poster Car Of The Year winner, the exceptional 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 is by far the most track-capable Mustang ever produced and we aren't just talking about its sub-11-second quarter-mile times. Even with a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 pushing 760 horsepower to the rear tires, the GT500 sticks to the tarmac with insane confidence no matter how mad you decide to be with the throttle. Some might question the choice to only offer a seven-speed dual-clutch instead of a manual but on the racetrack, the DCT performs flawlessly.

If you do plan to visit the racetrack often, we recommend the Carbon Fiber Track Package, which essentially transforms the GT500 into a GT500R. The $18,500 package adds carbon fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, Recaro seats, a rear seat delete, and a massive carbon-fiber rear wing. Ford has also equipped the GT500 with massive Brembo brakes with 16.5-inch rotors, which are among the best we've ever sampled. Pricing for the GT500 starts at $72,900, making it the most affordable track weapon on our list.

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Finalist: 2019 Acura NSX

The 2019 Acura NSX may not look too different from the car that debuted in 2017 but it does carry some significant tuning changes under the skin that have massively improved the driving experience. We believe that a more hardcore 'NSX Type R' would have finished as the winner of this category but even as it sits, the NSX is still one of the greatest track cars money can buy right now. The drivetrain is spectacular - a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 paired with three electric motors to produce 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque. With SH-AWD, the NSX rips off 0-60 mph in under three seconds while providing some of the best driving manners we've sampled on any car.

The two electric motors on the front axle help the car around corners, allowing the driver to pull off some mind-boggling speeds. It didn't play a factor in our decision but it's worth noting the NSX is also amazingly comfortable, so you'll be happy to drive it home from the track. With a starting price of $157,500, the NSX can easily go toe-to-toe with cars costing twice as much.

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Winner: 2019 McLaren 600LT/600LT Spider

The GT500 and NSX are both incredible cars but the 2019 McLaren 600LT is the clear winner (along with its Spider counterpart). McLaren positions the 600LT as the most track-focused model in its Sports Series. There may be faster McLaren models on the market but for pure driving enjoyment on a race track, the 600LT is unmatched. A 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 592 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, though we wouldn't be surprised if the engine was truly producing closer to 700 hp. That's because it can rip off 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds.

And it isn't just the performance that's awe-inspiring. McLaren has stripped weight out of the car, so it only tips the scales at 2,749 lbs without fluids (2,859 lbs in Spider guise). This means all the sound deadening is gone, so prepare to hear the howling V8 and the ting of every rock hitting the underside of the car. When you drive the 600LT out on the road, you feel linked with the car as if it's a part of your very being. No manufacturer seems to be able to match McLaren on steering feel, chassis balance, and sheer driving enjoyment and the 600LT is the best of the bunch on the track.

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