2021 CarBuzz Awards Finalists: Track Weapon

2021 CarBuzz Awards / Comments

This is for those who want to find the limits and then dance on them.

It's that time of the year again when we have to look back at what we've driven this year to see what the best cars of the past 12 months have been. We focus on cars that are new for 2021 or were refreshed this year, and every test drive we've conducted this year leads to this, the CarBuzz Awards.

The Track Weapon category is one that focuses on the car that you will have the most excitement with on a track and is not always the most powerful or the quickest around a given circuit. Instead, this is the car that will keep you coming back for more and more, time after time, egging you on to better your lap times. Last year, the award went to the Lotus Evora. This year, our nominees included BMW's M4, Subaru's WRX STi, Mercedes-AMG's CLA 45, the Porsche 911 GTS, and the Toyobaru twins. Along with the finalists (in no particular order), almost all 2021 nominees are nothing like the plucky little Brit.

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Cadillac

Cadillac CT4-V & CT5-V Blackwing

It's cheating a little, giving Cadillac two cars in one finalist's spot, but the Blackwing brothers are so damn good that we couldn't even split them when we drove them side by side. The former sports a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 producing 472 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque sent to the rear axle. The latter gets a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 668 hp and 659 lb-ft, again on the rear axle. Both can be had with either a 10-speed automatic or a proper six-speed manual, but it's not just the option of a stick that attracts us - both of these cars are genuinely brilliant on a circuit. As you'd expect, straight-line stuff is effortless, but as Managing Editor Jake Lingeman puts it, both cars "were flawless on the street," while track stuff felt "manageable and sharp, but forgiving."

Both cars are effortless on the daily drive, encourage you to go faster on the track, and can help you out if you get things a little wrong. Some cars may be cheaper or faster, but nothing in this price range encourages you to bury your right foot like these two, nor reward you when you give in to temptation.

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Pagani Huayra Roadster BC

The Huayra Roadster BC is a 2020 model year car, but we only got to drive it this year, and it's just too extraordinary to ignore. Although its styling speaks of pantomime and theater, the truth is that those moving flaps all over the body, the almost excessive use of carbon fiber, and that magnificent suspension setup are all there to do a job. And they do it so well. Of course, we have to mention the engine.

AMG produced the 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine and gave it a whopping 791 hp and 774 lb-ft. In the coupe version, this engine delivers "only" 745 hp and 738 lb-ft. Power goes to the massive Pirellis on the rear axle via an Xtrac seven-speed single-clutch automated manual gearbox. That's because a dual-clutch is heavier, so don't think that Pagani's engineers didn't take performance seriously.

This is a car capable of 2.2 g of lateral acceleration, a top speed of over 200 mph, and the ability to stop so quickly that your face may depart from your skull. It's theatrical and loud and attention-grabbing, but don't for a second fool yourself - this is a drop-top that will eat some thoroughbred racecars for breakfast.

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Lamborghini Huracan STO

The Huracan STO isn't just some ordinary Huracan, which, if we're honest can be pretty boring. No, the STO is what the Huracan Performante would be on performance-enhancing drugs. When we called it a roadgoing race car, we really meant it - it was developed using all Lamborghini's know-how from its Super Trofeo one-make race series. Like the other finalists in this category, this car sends its power to the rear wheels only, but unlike them, there's no forced induction.

A 5.2-liter V10 engine produces the same 630 hp as in the Performante, but here, the car weighs under 3,000 pounds and can hit 60 mph in three seconds dead. On a track, its adjustable wing, ultra-thin windscreen, carbon body panels, roof-mounted air scoop, and rear-axle steering all combine with the rest of the car to create a road-holding experience second to none.

If we could distill our experience with it into one sentence, it's probably gonna read something like this: The Huracan STO makes driver engagement and better lap times its chief concern better than anything else that Ferrari or any other established exotic outfit dares.

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