A 217mph, 739bhp track special costing £1.5m, and the pinnacle of a story that started in 1999, when Pagani launched its first supercar.
Although the Zonda R first surfaced in 2007, its appearance here is timely because in July, one had lapped the Nürburgring in 6min 47sec. While the R is not road legal, Pagani claims it is based on a production car. Making that a new record.
Without getting drawn into the murky world of Nordschleife records and definitions the facts are this: however you cut it, 6min 47sec is flipping fast, and some 11 seconds quicker around the ‘Ring than the equally road-illegal Ferrari 599XX.
Unfortunately I’m not at the Nürburgring but at an Areodrome just outside Modena. Still, there’s more than enough opportunity to explore where the Zonda R sits in the league of seriously brisk cars.
For the sake of the clutch I’m asked not to perform a standing start, so instead I squeeze full throttle in second. The response is instant and frankly shocking. For an engine tuned to provide 123bhp/litre at 7500rpm, the pick-up from low revs is faultless. From there the power simply unfolds with breathtaking linearity.
Compared to current road-going Zondas, the R actually uses a smaller capacity engine. But one lifted from a Mercedes CLK-GTR GT1 racer. Except that here the V12 runs without restrictors to produce its 739bhp - in a car that weighs 1070kg dry.