Track-edition cars are talented and tough enough to handle a day of hot lapping and yet docile enough for an easy cruise home. The last decade has seen an incredible spike in these rare dual-purpose sports cars. Here are ten that nail the formula.
2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale
Few cars are as rewarding to drive, devastatingly quick, and downright gorgeous as Ferrari's 458 Italia. But this is Ferrari, with its long and glorious history in motorsports, so the inevitable track version of the 458 debuts this year.
Active aerodynamics? Yes it has that too. And there's more heat under that rear hatch—597 hp, to be exact.
The nearly $80,000 Cayman R took everything that's important about a sports car and amplified it. Make ours Peridot Metallic.
The original Ford Mustang Boss 302 captured the magic of the muscle car era. The original 1969-1970 cars were higher-revving performance Mustangs built to be exceptional (for the time) handling machines.
The Laguna Seca Edition, named after the famed California racetrack, took that capability even further with an even more aggressive suspension tuning and a huge X brace that took the place of the rear seats. It reportedly added huge gains in body rigidity.
The Laguna Seca Edition also wore a giant aero splitter on the front end and a larger wing out back for increased track grip at higher speeds. Less than two thousand were produced so it's already a one of the most rare and desirable modern Mustangs.
Plenty of potent Mercedes-Benz AMG cars hit our roads over the past decade. But there are only a handful of AMG Black Series cars. The Black Series cars are track capable at a level above the normal AMG machines.
To make this coupe a real track star, the original suspension was swapped for adjustable coil-overs, the stance was widened and the corners capped with carbon-ceramic brakes.
The Corvette Z06 has been a performance icon since the first one rolled onto the roads and racetracks across the country back in 2001.
There are specific upgrades to the bodywork, too, designed to cool, vent or deliver more downforce where needed.
The E92-generation M3 felt organic and potent on a canyon road or a tight and twisty track. Perhaps the high point in that car's development was the 2011 GTS with its full roll cage, increased power (444 hp) and reduced weight.
It's difficult to imagine anyone driving a normal 600-hp Viper and then wanting for a more brutish sports car experience.
The ACR didn't receive any power boost—it didn't need one. Instead, the ACR wore firmer adjustable KW coil-over dampers, new stabilizer bars, and lighter wheels and tires, as well as a humongous rear wing and carbon front splitters said to generate more than half a ton of downforce at 150 mph.
Since its inception, the Nissan GTR has been a spiritual cousin to the Corvette Z06—a budget supercar that could devour a racetrack.
Nissan says it will do just 4 mph shy of 200 mph.
Anyone who doesn't believe this GTR will be quite aggressive enough for track work might have an even wilder option coming.
Nissan plans to launch the "N-Attack" package with an Ohilns suspension, adjustable anti-swaybars, and carbon composite aerodynamics. This could be the ultimate expression of what a track-ready GTR can be.
Like the Boss 302, the Z/28 has its roots in the SCCA's Trans Am racing series of the 1960s. But the Z/28 lived a much longer life: It became the top Camaro performance model from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
Chevy trimmed the weight from a Camaro SS by about 100 pounds. Under the hood is the previous Corvette Z06's magical 505 hp 7.0-liter V-8 paired to a 6-speed manual. Overall, the Z/28 has nearly 200 unique parts all selected to make this car seriously cook around a racetrack.
The Evo is one of our favorite track cars of all time. It's fun, capable, and predictable as it approaches the limit.
In that sense, the Evo RS might seem like it's out of place on this list of ultra-performance machines. After all, the RS package doesn't add much besides a mechanical front limited slip differential—instead it removes stuff like air conditioning, sound deadening, ABS, and the rear wing.