The supercars and hypercars that made it through the chaos.
The bizarre train wreck that was 2020 is finally over, and the train wreck that is 2021 has now started. As a distraction from the chaos the first week has already brought us, we've been remembering some fantastic cars that still managed to come to light in 2020, despite the global pandemic. What was particularly interesting were the supercars and hypercars that shone through in the dark times. These are cars that help give us hope that 2021 will be a better year, and a year of recovery.
The Aston Martin Victor came out of the blue. It's a one-off special by Aston Martin's bespoke Q division and inspired by the Aston Martin V8 Vantage from the 1970s and 1980s. This tribute to the Vantage is based around the carbon monocoque chassis from the One-77. The Victor also uses its 7.3-liter V12 engine but with even more power on tap. The V12 made around 750 horsepower in the One-77, but Aston handed it over to Cosworth for this project who upgraded it from around 750 hp to 836 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque. That makes the Victor the most powerful naturally aspirated Aston Martin model yet.
Czinger's hybrid hypercar was set to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, but ended up being unveiled online. The California company's neck-snapper is powered by an in-house designed 2.9-liter flat crank twin-turbocharged V8 and two electric motors. It uses a cutting edge level of technology on the chassis and suspension and weighs just 2,685 lbs. That's impressive, but even more noteworthy is that it's built using 3D printing technology and a proprietary additive manufacturing process developed by Kevin Czinger's other company called Divergent 3D. It would be easy to describe the Czinger (pronounced with a silent C) as a 3D printed car, but it's so much more than that. It's a serious look at things to come and using a technology that's set to make low-production runs easier and more common in the future.
Gordon Murray Automotive put a 100 unit cap on the T.50 supercar's production run and is sticking to that limited number. It's an incredible car and an exercise in weight reduction. It weighs just 2,174 lbs and is powered by a bespoke naturally aspirated 3.9-liter V12 engine with 645 hp and 344 lb-ft of torque.
We also expect to see people driving the hell out of the T.50 rather than storing them in climate-controlled storage spaces. Like McLaren did with the legendary F1, Murray plans to keep track of and build close relationships with T.50 customers after vetting them.
It's not just new companies creating incredible low-volume production vehicles. Koenigsegg dropped a four-seater hypercar on the market and sticking four seats in a hypercar with enough legroom for six-footers without making it look silly is just one of its innovations. It uses an evolution of the Koenigsegg Direct Drive system first seen on the Regera, featuring a newly developed and mid-mounted 2.0-liter twin-turbo three-cylinder engine matched to three electric motors. The electric motors develop 1,100 hp, and with the combustion engine added, the Gemera has a total output of 1,727 hp and 2,581 lb-ft of torque.
We've been getting the feeling over the past decade that Maserati is fading as a brand. Hopefully, the new powerful looking MC20 will be the shot in the arm and halo car Maserati needs. Intensive testing with aerodynamics and a carbon-fiber body and chassis means a light vehicle that will stick to the ground. Combined with a mid-mounted 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 621 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque, the MC20 has a wicked weight/power ratio of 5.3 pounds/horsepower. According to Maserati, the MC20 hits 0-62 mph in less than 2.9 seconds, 0-124 mph in 8.8 seconds, and tops out at 202 mph.
Slowly but surely, hydrogen fuel cell technology is creeping towards the mainstream. Trying to further the cause is California-based startup Hyperion. It's the second Golden State car on the list, a preview of what hydrogen-fueled cars will be able to do in the future. After nearly ten years of development, testing, and research, Hyperion showed the world the car that can accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than 2.2 seconds and has a range of up to 1,000 miles.
"The XP-1 was partially designed to function as an educational tool for the masses. Aerospace engineers have long understood the advantages of hydrogen as the most abundant, lightest element in the universe, and now, with this vehicle, consumers will experience its extraordinary value proposition," said Angelo Kafantaris, CEO and founding member of Hyperion Motors.
This one-off speedster comes courtesy of Lamborghini's Squadra Corse motorsport division. It's based on the Aventador and continues the renewed interest in speedsters following the McLaren Elva and Aston Martin V12 Speedster. The SC20 takes its design cues from the Diablo VT Roadster, Aventador J, Veneno Roadster, and Concept S and is powered by the 6.5-liter V12 found in the Aventador SVJ Roadster, generating 759 hp and 530 lb-ft of torque that's delivered to all four wheels. It's a design exercise, and it's pure Lamborghini in its audaciousness.
Bugatti showed us in 2020 that building the fastest car in a straight line isn't the limit of its ambition. It's another prototype, and it gets its 1,824 hp from a W16 engine from the Bugatti Chiron. However, it weighs just 1,240 kg (2,733 lbs). That's an incredible power to weight ratio of 0.67 kilograms per PS and achieved using a light, high-strength carbon fiber as a basis for the car. It's also a track weapon rather than a street car like the Chiron. According to Bugatti, it will lap the Nurburgring in 5:23.1 minutes. Over a full minute faster than the current production car record holder, the AMG GT Black Series at 6:43.616 minutes.
Like Bugatti, Delage is a French company steeped in history, including Grand Prix wins in the 1920s and 1930s. Unlike Bugatti, though, Delage went out of business in 1953. However, the Delage brand is being reborn in the 21st century and its first new car in over 70 years is a hypercar inspired by Formula 1 racers and jet fighter planes. It's a mid-engined monster with the 7.6-liter V-12 powerplant mated to an electric motor to generate a total of 990 hp. The fighter jet style cockpit includes a passenger seat behind the driver. "We want the feeling in the D12 to be the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula 1 car that has ever been experienced in a street-legal car," said Delage's new CEO, Laurent Tapie.
The development team includes Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and Technical Director Benoit Bagur, a two-time FIA Touring Car World Champion. That's a group of people with a combined 16 FIA World Champion titles between them.