14 February 2005

This is probably the fastest car you’ve never heard of. It’s called a Gumpert Apollo and is being built with Audi’s help to take on the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3.

The Apollo is a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive two-seater with a carbonfibre monocoque chassis. Powered by a 650bhp twin-turbo version of Audi’s 4.2 V8 engine and a six-speed sequential gearbox, it should hit 60mph in 3.0secs and go on to an estimated top speed of 223mph. It will go on sale later this year priced from around £110,000. Gumpert says the car is aimed at serious track day drivers and claims that it has as much downforce as a DTM (German touring car) racer. The interior features racecar touches such as seats integrated into its monocoque and an adjustable pedal box.

The car is the brainchild of Audi’s former competitions chief Roland Gumpert, who oversaw its rallying success with the Quattro, and Roland Mayer, owner of German tuner MTM.

Gumpert has an official supply contract with Audi and has promised chief executive Martin Winterkorn the first drive in the finished production car. ‘We can use Audi’s know-how to build our cars so long as we don’t build a direct rival to a model in their range,’ said Gumpert.

The company aims to build 30 Apollos this year, with production rising to 150 cars within three years.

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