Track Car

5 LMP Track Cars You Can Buy

It doesn't get much more extreme than this: five Le Mans-style racing prototypes that you can take home and swing around the track as fast as you want.

If you've ever watched an endurance race and marveled at the racecars you see lapping the circuit only to wonder what they have to do with the cars you can actually buy, wonder no more. Because while these Le Mans Prototypes may share as much with passenger cars as an F1 racer, there are several companies that can offer this kind of extreme performance that you can actually buy. With little weight and bigger wings than a light aircraft, these track-focused supercars promise to provide all the fun you could ever wish for.

The most estbalished of the breed is Radical Sportscars, a small British outfit that has been making LMP-style racecars for the road since 1997. To date it has sold over 1,000 such track toys, and has a number of models that can be driven on the street (in some countries, anyway), although their real home is on the track: Radical claims the quickest Nurburgring lap time of any road-legal car at 6:48. Most of Radical's products are based on the open-top SR3, but is now developing the new RXC that follows the latest trend in LMP racers with a closed cockpit design. With 380 hp from a 3.7-liter V6 and just 900 kg to push, the RXC is projected to run from 0-62 in 2.8 seconds.

Next on the list is the Caterham SP/300.R, another LMP-style track car jointly produced by Caterham and Lola. The former is known principally for its Lotus Seven continuation cars, while the latter is an experienced racing chassis constructor that has since fallen on hard times, so the future of the SP/300.R is up in the air at the moment. Supported in the US by American Le Mans Series champions Dyson Racing, the SP/300.R is the first in a new series of Caterhams aimed to extend the company's product portfolio. Power comes from a Ford Duratec 2.0-liter four tuned to 300 horsepower for a 2.5-second 0-60 time and a 170mph top speed.

One of the most recent additions to this niche segment comes from Austria, where the descendants of Karl Abarth - whose name is today applied to the performance versions of Fiat's hatchbacks - have founded Milan Supercars. With production limited to just seven examples, the Milan Abarth goes far beyond the low power, low weight formula with engine specifications available up to 1,700 horsepower. (Don't ask us how Milan Supercars plans on delivering those horses, but we wish it the best in trying.) If that isn't extreme enough for you, all we could suggest is climbing onto a Suzuki Hyabusa sport-bike and strapping a rocket onto your back.

Not to be left out of the action, a group just to the south in the Czech Republic has sauntered in with the Praga R1. Strictly limited to track use, the Praga R1 features a more angular, closed-cockpit design from this crop of mostly open-top track toys. It also happens to pack some of the best racing components on the market: a 210-horsepower Renaultsport engine, a Hewland gearbox, AP Racing clutch, Motec engine management system, Koni suspension... the list goes on, but adds up to what promises to be a thoroughly thrilling ride.

Rounding out our list of LMP racecars you can buy comes from the revived Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS), which has launched the Sport 1000 you see here. Developed for the track but legal for the street, the ATS Sport 1000 weighs just 400 kg and is motivated by a an inline-four motorcycle that the buyer can choose from Suzuki, Honda or Yamaha. A fully adjustable suspension offers as stiff or supple a ride as its extreme chassis will allow, but looks poised to revive the age-old tradition of driving your racecar to the track, punishing the hell out of it and then driving it back home.

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