If you think the current crop of race cars are all a bit too anodyne, with too much aero and not enough auditory theatrics, then you and Horacio Pagani have something in common.
Instead of bemoaning the trend, Mr Pagani went and built a track-only weapon that lives up to his lofty expectations – the bonkers 615kW Pagani Huayra R.
Limited to 30 examples worldwide, the Huayra R takes on where the ridiculous Zonda R left off in 2008 and promises to be “the most extreme and performance-oriented Pagani of all time” according to Horacio Pagani.
Answering to no regulations, the Huayra R is far more than a technical case study; but a romantic ode to internal combustion performance inspired by historic racing greats of yore.
The centrepiece is undoubtedly its engine: a free-breathing naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 sourced from Daimler’s HWA AG. The engine will be largely familiar to Pagani fans, however Pagani says it has undergone a significant redesign.
The figures are astounding: 615kW at 8250rpm (with a heady 9000rpm redline), 750Nm of torque deployed between 5500-8300rpm. The whole engine package weighs just 198kg and is attached to the central monocoque as a structural element, suspended by chrome-moly alloy steel subframes.
A bespoke exhaust system minimises back pressure and maximises power delivery. Ceramic coated for superior heat dissipation, the exhaust system’s equal-length construction gives the Huayra R an absolutely sonorous set of vocal chords and almost sounds reminiscent of a vintage F1 car– as seen in Pagani’s Instagram teaser.
The new six-speed sequential transmission also forms part of the structurally-integrated rear section, and is a totally new construction designed in collaboration with Affalterbach’s HWA AG. In the name of unabated performance: the dog-box transmission houses a non-synchronised gearset matched to a four-plate racing clutch, which equates to 95 per cent friction efficiency, maximising shift precision and minimising shift times. The whole gearbox weighs just 80kg and ties in to the chassis and suspension system to maximise architectural efficiency.
While the engineers at Affalterbach were pouring over the engine and gearbox, Horacio had his focuses set on arguably the Huayra R’s most commanding aspect, its styling.
Horacio had high hopes for the car’s aerodynamic principles, and targeted 1000kg of downforce at 320km/h. Every line and surface of the reworked racer was laid with intent to generate maximum aerodynamic load. Horacio’s targets were met swiftly, achieving a near perfectly balanced 46:54 downforce distribution throughout the entire speed envelope. However, man whose name is on the wall couldn’t give his final approval as he sought a more captivating and emotive aesthetic.
It was Pagani’s admiration of vintage racecars which fuelled his quest for beauty. He believes that today’s racecars are a “product of the wind tunnel”, but was inspired by cars from the 60s and 70s where “the cars were very fast, certainly dangerous, but beautiful”. Mr. Pagani cites the Ferrari P4, the Ford GT40 and – his personal favourite – the Porsche 917 as his design muses.
Visual impact is a punch to the gut, with two new side intakes at the front to assist with front brake cooling efficiency, as well as channelling air to the rear apparatus’. New wing profiles were fitted to the bonnet to improve air extraction and front-end stability while a roof scoop feeds air to the engine. A flat-bottom floor works in unison with the sizeable rear diffuser and wing to keep the Huayra R sucked to the ground.
The Huayra R benefits from a new monocoque tub, comprising of Carbo-Titanium and Carbo-Triax composites with occupant seats fully integrated into the floor. When matched with the rear powertrain assembly, the new Huayra R claims a 51 per cent improvement to flex rigidity and a 15 per cent increase in torsional rigidity over the standard road-going Huayra. Fully assembled, the Huayra R boasts a dry weight of just 1050kgs, some 230kgs trimmer than the full-fat road car.
In comparison to Gordon Murray’s T.50s Niki Lauda Edition, the Huayra R outguns Murray’s creation by 93kW, but yields 198kgs to the ballistic Brit.
Pirelli comes to the party with a newly developed slick version of its popular P Zero and will be available in both wet and dry versions, whilst Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and revised suspension aid dynamic precision.
Inside the cabin, the driver won’t be greeted by swathes of supple leather; but instead a bare bones race setting with a comprehensive roll cage, bespoke AP racing pedal box and a quick-release steering wheel which features all the essential settings for traction control, ABS map selection, radio communication and other functions. Rest assured, every bolt, screw and fitting will be finished to the utmost standard expected of Pagani.
With the Huayra R, Pagani too debuts a new experiential program for its exclusive family of customers. In similar ethos to the globetrotting ‘Pagani Reduno’ grand tour, Pagani’s new “Arte in Pista” program invites Pagani customers to participate in a full calendar of track events with dedicated assistance from the Pagani team and the support of professional drivers. The program promises tailor-made track events for customers in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East but the buy-in certainly isn’t cheap.
Pagani Automobili asserts that the base price for the Huayra R begins at €2.6 million Euros, which equates to an eye-watering AU$4 million and that’s before you factor in nearly $1.2 million of luxury car tax, plus a few hundred thousand for stamp duty.