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The Roundabout Blog

Six race-ready newcomers from the UK

  • Naughty Brits

    A new age of British speed is upon the land, and the heaths and hillocks shake under the sheer magnitude of it all. Specialised sporting cars from the UK have arrived at a breakneck pace in the past year – some track-inspired, some track-optimised, all of them ready to run. Here is a half-dozen of the most monstrous. (Photo: Arash AF8, courtesy Arash Motor)

  • Bentley Continental GT3-R

    Inspired by Bentley’s Continental GT3 endurance racer, the roadgoing Conti GT3-R arrives as the venerable marque’s quickest-ever production model. Bentley engineers have bumped the output of the Continental GT V8 S’s twin-turbo 4-litre V8 from 521 horsepower to a healthy 572hp and, starting with the rear seats, stripped out more than 200lbs of nonessentials. (Admittedly, the car still tips the scales at a beefy 4,839lbs.) Lowered gearing makes this racy Conti quicker off the line (zero to 60mph in 3.6 seconds, compared to 4.3sec for the V8 S coupe) but a tad slower (a top speed of 170mph, compared with the V8 S coupe’s 192mph). Bentley has yet to announce pricing but, with production limited to a scant 300 cars (all of which will be white), it is safe enough to expect a six-figure upgrade from the standard V8 S coupe’s $199,225 starting figure. (Photo: Bentley Motors)

  • Bentley Continental GT3-R

    Inspired by Bentley’s Continental GT3 endurance racer, the roadgoing Conti GT3-R arrives as the venerable marque’s quickest-ever production model. Bentley engineers have bumped the output of the Continental GT V8 S’s twin-turbo 4-litre V8 from 521 horsepower to a healthy 572hp and, starting with the rear seats, stripped out more than 200lbs of nonessentials. (Admittedly, the car still tips the scales at a beefy 4,839lbs.) Lowered gearing makes this racy Conti quicker off the line (zero to 60mph in 3.6 seconds, compared to 4.3sec for the V8 S coupe) but a tad slower (a top speed of 170mph, compared with the V8 S coupe’s 192mph). Bentley has yet to announce pricing but, with production limited to a scant 300 cars (all of which will be white), it is safe enough to expect a six-figure upgrade from the standard V8 S coupe’s $199,225 starting figure. (Photo: Bentley Motors)

  • Jaguar F-Type Project 7

    In 2013, Jaguar revealed a humpbacked homage to the D-type racing car of the 1950s. Nominally an F-type Convertible with a deleted roof and the top-spec supercharged V8 engine, the Project 7 – which was green-lighted in June 2014 – is a limited-edition laser beam. Having shed 80kg (176lbs) and gained 80hp in its transformation from F-type V8 S convertible trim, the Project 7 accelerates from zero to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. Production is capped at 250 units, with pricing to be announced closer to its mid-2015 delivery date. (Photo: Jaguar Cars)

  • Jaguar F-Type Project 7

    In 2013, Jaguar revealed a humpbacked homage to the D-type racing car of the 1950s. Nominally an F-type Convertible with a deleted roof and the top-spec supercharged V8 engine, the Project 7 – which was green-lighted in June 2014 – is a limited-edition laser beam. Having shed 80kg (176lbs) and gained 80hp in its transformation from F-type V8 S convertible trim, the Project 7 accelerates from zero to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. Production is capped at 250 units, with pricing to be announced closer to its mid-2015 delivery date. (Photo: Jaguar Cars)

  • McLaren 650S GT3

    Having debuted in June 2014 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this race-ready variant on the new 650S supercar is poised to terrorise GT racing grids in 2015. Its 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, capped at 500hp to comply with class regulations, is paired with a six-speed sequential automatic transmission, and the car’s track has been widened to improve lateral stability. Out back is a gargantuan, downforce-abetting carbon-fibre wing that likely could accommodate a full picnic setting. McLaren is offering the 650S GT3 to privateer teams for roughly $565,000 apiece, or double the going rate for a street-legal 650S. Given the championship hardware amassed by its predecessor the 12C GT3, however, it would appear to be money well spent. (Photo: McLaren Automotive)

  • McLaren 650S GT3

    Having debuted in June 2014 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this race-ready variant on the new 650S supercar is poised to terrorise GT racing grids in 2015. Its 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, capped at 500hp to comply with class regulations, is paired with a six-speed sequential automatic transmission, and the car’s track has been widened to improve lateral stability. Out back is a gargantuan, downforce-abetting carbon-fibre wing that likely could accommodate a full picnic setting. McLaren is offering the 650S GT3 to privateer teams for roughly $565,000 apiece, or double the going rate for a street-legal 650S. Given the championship hardware amassed by its predecessor the 12C GT3, however, it would appear to be money well spent. (Photo: McLaren Automotive)

  • Ariel Ace

    Take an Ariel Atom – a car that almost turned Jeremy Clarkson’s face inside out – and subtract two wheels. That in essence is the Ariel Ace, a sportbike for those who take a minimalist approach to maximalist performance. Built in collaboration with Honda, which supplied engines for the Atom, the lightweight Ace “naked bike” will be configurable in a number of different riding positions to suit the preference of its purchaser. At the heart of the Ace is a V4 engine developing over 170hp, roughly equivalent to the power of a standard Honda Accord sedan. This is Clarkson’s clarion call of “Powerrrr”, writ small. (Photo: Ariel)

  • Ariel Ace

    Take an Ariel Atom – a car that almost turned Jeremy Clarkson’s face inside out – and subtract two wheels. That in essence is the Ariel Ace, a sportbike for those who take a minimalist approach to maximalist performance. Built in collaboration with Honda, which supplied engines for the Atom, the lightweight Ace “naked bike” will be configurable in a number of different riding positions to suit the preference of its purchaser. At the heart of the Ace is a V4 engine developing over 170hp, roughly equivalent to the power of a standard Honda Accord sedan. This is Clarkson’s clarion call of “Powerrrr”, writ small. (Photo: Ariel)

  • Arash AF8

    The Arash V8 follows in the tire tracks of such cars as the Sunbeam Tiger and the Jensen Interceptor: brawny Brits with American engines. Within its carbon fibre composite bodywork and stiff tube-steel spaceframe structure, the rakish AF8 packs the 550-horsepower 7-litre V8 from the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, matched to a six-speed manual transmission. Arash claims the AF8 (which weighs a significant 1,200lbs less than the very quick Z/28) will sprint from zero to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and press on to a nice round 200mph. Amenities are few but useful, including air-con, bi-Xenon headlamps and a five-stage traction control system. From its factory in Newmarket, the company will build a scant 36 examples of the first-edition AF8, all of them painted bright yellow. UK pricing starts at £165,000 (about $280,000). (Photo: Arash Motor)

  • Arash AF8

    The Arash V8 follows in the tire tracks of such cars as the Sunbeam Tiger and the Jensen Interceptor: brawny Brits with American engines. Within its carbon fibre composite bodywork and stiff tube-steel spaceframe structure, the rakish AF8 packs the 550-horsepower 7-litre V8 from the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, matched to a six-speed manual transmission. Arash claims the AF8 (which weighs a significant 1,200lbs less than the very quick Z/28) will sprint from zero to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and press on to a nice round 200mph. Amenities are few but useful, including air-con, bi-Xenon headlamps and a five-stage traction control system. From its factory in Newmarket, the company will build a scant 36 examples of the first-edition AF8, all of them painted bright yellow. UK pricing starts at £165,000 (about $280,000). (Photo: Arash Motor)

  • Avatar One

    The newly established competition-car division of the UK’s Marlin Sports Cars claims its first model, fittingly called the One, was designed as a “no-compromise track and race sports car designed from the ground up to be at home on both track days and race championships.” Power comes from an Audi-sourced twin-turbo 2.7-litre V6, good for a stout 400hp (a VW Group 1.8-litre turbo four with 300hp is also available). With the V6, the feather-light One will make the dash from zero to 60mph in 3.5sec and touch a breezy 170mph on a long straight. Apparently designed with both Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson in mind, the One’s cockpit can accommodate drivers as short as 5ft or as tall as 6ft 6in. (Photo: Avatar Sports Cars)

  • Avatar One

    The newly established competition-car division of the UK’s Marlin Sports Cars claims its first model, fittingly called the One, was designed as a “no-compromise track and race sports car designed from the ground up to be at home on both track days and race championships.” Power comes from an Audi-sourced twin-turbo 2.7-litre V6, good for a stout 400hp (a VW Group 1.8-litre turbo four with 300hp is also available). With the V6, the feather-light One will make the dash from zero to 60mph in 3.5sec and touch a breezy 170mph on a long straight. Apparently designed with both Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson in mind, the One’s cockpit can accommodate drivers as short as 5ft or as tall as 6ft 6in. (Photo: Avatar Sports Cars)

  • BONUS: Lister Jaguar 'Knobbly'

    In September 2013, a wrinkle in the space-time continuum allowed a 1958 Lister Jaguar to re-enter the public consciousness. Thanks to a recent investment in Lister Cars – the Cambridge-based outfit that customised the cats for competition – the racing car has been reborn. Nicknamed the “Knobbly” for its curvaceous bodywork, the Lister Jaguar utilised (as this faithful new run will continue to do) Jaguar’s 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine from the D-type, as well as that car’s gearbox. No mere garage queen, the new Knobbly is expected to race – and with 330hp on tap and a top speed of 181mph, who would begrudge it? Circa-1958 Lister Jaguars in good repair can top £1m at auction, making these latter-day Listers something of a bargain. Race-ready models sell for £249,000, with street-legal models priced at £259,000. (Photo: Lister Cars)

  • BONUS: Lister Jaguar 'Knobbly'

    In September 2013, a wrinkle in the space-time continuum allowed a 1958 Lister Jaguar to re-enter the public consciousness. Thanks to a recent investment in Lister Cars – the Cambridge-based outfit that customised the cats for competition – the racing car has been reborn. Nicknamed the “Knobbly” for its curvaceous bodywork, the Lister Jaguar utilised (as this faithful new run will continue to do) Jaguar’s 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine from the D-type, as well as that car’s gearbox. No mere garage queen, the new Knobbly is expected to race – and with 330hp on tap and a top speed of 181mph, who would begrudge it? Circa-1958 Lister Jaguars in good repair can top £1m at auction, making these latter-day Listers something of a bargain. Race-ready models sell for £249,000, with street-legal models priced at £259,000. (Photo: Lister Cars)