We are blessed to have such a busy and vibrant automotive events calendar in the UK. When summer chooses to outshine the heavy grays and mauve of the seemingly non existent season of Spring, we are treated to a variety of gems that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. From the likes of the Goodwood Festival of Speed to Salon Prive at the astonishing birthplace of Winston Churchill – Blenheim Palace, there is plenty to look forward to.
Aside form the established foundations of the calendar, there are a host of up and coming events that are recent additions. The Blancpain Super Series is nothing new, it is an amateur racing series powered with GT cars and the barriers to entry are comparatively low assuming your pockets are deep enough to cover the cost of the cars, teams and transport – no small change. What is new is the introduction of the Ultracar Sports Club from SRO that recently ignited a partnership with Blancpain. The concept is fairly simple – Ultracar brings together the most sensational supercars and displays them in the paddocks directly alongside the racecars. The results are incredible and create an unparalleled atmosphere that also allows GT car racers to see the latest and greatest supercars for the road that may take their fancy.
Pagani UK were invited to Brands Hatch for the Blancpain Super Series by Ultracar to showcase a Zonda S Roadster and a Huayra equipped with the menacing Tempesta package. As you could imagine, I was fairly quick to respond to the invitation to ride shotgun to Brands Hatch with my good friends from Pagani.
Upon arrival I was taken aback by the sight I was greeted with. Seeing the Zonda having its rag top being peeled back along side the Huayra with it dramatic doors and impressive clam shell glistening wide open is enough to drop the jaws of many. The addition of a lairy and superbly rare black Lexus LFA on a set of custom ADV1 wheels created a scene that would not be incongruous in a dream. If that was not enough we were joined by a 997 Porsche Turbo that appeared to be rather ordinary given the company it was joining. On further inspection it was equipped with some serious engineering including a methanol tank resulting in it being able to produce – are you ready? – 1,500 hp courtesy of some trick tuning from ASM Performance.
Introductions over it was time to rock the streets in our $5 million convoy. Heads turned, camera phones pointed and the sun shone. The one hour drive was beyond surreal, looking in the retro mirrors of the Zonda and seeing the other three cars had me rubbing my eyes in disbelief. In Italian style we were fashionably late and siphoned into a queue of florescent painted GT cars, even in the butch company of widebody M6s and 458s all eyes we’re firmly fixed on the Pagani’s. Stopping for just a second the cars were swamped, very flattering considering we had arrived at the paddock and the line up of the other Ultracar club attendees was far from average. Having battled through the adoring crowd it was time to take a closer look at the other metal gracing the paddock with their presence.
To say Ultracar had blown my expectations out of the water was something of an understatement. There were two McLaren P1 GTRs, three P1s, one LaFerrari, two Aston Martin Vulcans and many more mind-blowing machines. Seeing the cars alone would have been enough, but there was more to the show. Between the many GT races there was an opening for the Ultracars to hit the track. I donned a helmet and took my seat in the Tempesta Huayra.
Francis Falconer was at the wheel and guided the Pagani onto the scorching hot tarmac. It was astonishing just how composed and planted the car felt. Coming out of tight hairpins and acute apexes, full throttle could be applied and the sticky Pirellis just bit into the surface launching the car into the next corner. From the passenger seat one thing was apparent to me. I have had the pleasure of being driven around other Huayras and the gearbox mapping has always been something Pagani have wanted to improve upon. The shifts in the Huayra with the Tempesta upgrades were significantly more refined and better suited to work on track.
Having the breath kicked out of my lungs and gasping for air through the infamous gradient on the first corner a gray flash appeared in the art from that is the side mirror on the Huayra. It was a Vulcan being hounded by P1 GTR squatting close to the scorching tarmac with it towering carbon wing reaching for the sky – sights rarely come as spectacular as this. The Pagani brought a smile to my face with its aero flaps dancing through direction changes and heavy braking.
The sound of the AMG hand built V12 has always been a talking point on the Huayra with the overwhelming whistles of the turbochargers. The sound the Tempesta exhaust makes is much more pronounced and takes the aural experience to a new level, the snorts and whooshes are still there but underlined by a new and very throaty tone.
Following a lap in anger it was time to dive back into the pits to prepare for the parade lap. The safety car led a train of cars worth more millions of pounds than I could work out without the aid of a maths tutor or calculator, the safety car itself being a shiny new Audi R8 V10+. Following the parade the cars lined up in formation on the grid. Under the rare sight of the British sun the cars twinkled and stunned.
Having strutted their stuff the Ultracars sauntered back to the paddock for all to see. Before long the sun hid behind the horizon and our cue to leave along with it. Just as we had arrived we left in style albeit with an addition to the convoy – none other than Nightrider!
Many thanks again to Francis and Pagani UK for inviting GTspirit to join them and to SRO and Ultracar for their hospitality.