for your iPhone
for your iPad
Other Articles

Cameras, Radar, Laser, Oh My!

Are new cars just too good?

2007 Special Corvettes

2007 Detroit Auto Show photos

Satisfying man-urges with a Lotus clone.....

World Car of the Year: 2006 Winners

Ferrari 15,000 Red Miles - Tour of China

Scenes from 55th Concours D'Elegance

Diesel: Friend or Foe

Scenes from 2005 Detroit Car Show (NAIAS)

Tweel: Michelin lets the air out of future tire innovation

500 HP Corvette C6 Z06 Photos and Specifications

Cheating: inside look at NASCAR

The American Mercedes

A return of the Muscle Car wars?

New 2005 Corvette C6 photos and specs

Scenes from the 2004 Detroit International Auto Show

Take 2 Toyota PM and call me in the morning

New BMW 6 Series Convertible

Mercedes debuts innovative paint

Dodge unleashes 500 HP Viper powered Dodge RAM Pickup

The venerable pushrod engine

Where did all the carburetors go?

Technical specifications of Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8 poster

Ford GTB Poster

CART Mustang Pace Car poster

2003 Toyota Atlantic Poster

2003 CART Poster

Don't throw away that used cooking grease - How to turn cooking grease into fuel

The new MINI Cooper

Driving a Winston Cup stock car

Honda S2000, One foot over the line?

What does HP have to do with horses

2001 Mercedes CLK55 AMG

69 Shelby Mustang Cobra

2000 Porsche BoxsterS

2000 Plymouth Prowler

2000 Toyota Tundra


AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review
Advertisement

10 Best Track Cars of 2018

by Ali Arsham
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Advertisement

Recently we got to sample some of the best track cars of 2018 around the fabulous Laguna Seca Raceway and here is what we learned.

Hell Cat
Dodge Challenger Hell Cat Widebody
Most Insane. Dodge Challenger Hell Cat Widebody

  • Ridiculous horsepower
  • Leaves everything in the dust in a straight line
  • Surprisingly good in corners too

The Challenger Hellcat is a beast.  With 707hp under your foot, you need to be careful when you floor the throttle.  Once you find a long straightaway, the Challenger is a thrill ride with ridiculous power but surprisingly it is actually not that bad in the corners either.  The Widebody version comes with bigger 305/35-20 tires which really help.

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works
Mini Cooper John Cooper Works
Pocket rocket.  Mini Cooper John Cooper Works

  • There is a Mini for you at every level from all electric to the JCW
  • The JCW was much faster than anticipated around Laguna
  • Great handling, great brakes, nice power
  • Would be a lot more fun with race tires

The Cooper JCW doesn’t seem that impressive on paper but wait until you drive it.  There is an element of fun built into every Mini but this is the best one to date.  Thanks to a small size, stiff suspension, and light weight, the Mini drives around the track at a very quick pace and it devours corners.  While the Hellcat is at home on straights, the Mini loves the turns and the tighter the better.

Lexus RC-F
Lexus RC-F
Muscle car done Lexus style.  Lexus RC-F

  • Sweet sounding engine
  • Nicely crafted interior
  • Easy to drift and the electronic differential works great
  • Transmission too slow to respond

We like to think of the Lexus RC-F as a Japanese pony car.  The American pony cars are great but they lack luxury and sophistication.  The RC-F is the muscle car you drive when you have matured and want the comfort and luxury of a Mustang with the luxury of a Lexus.  It works great as the RC-F can be driven like a crazy person and the V8 sound of that engine is fantastic.

BMW M5
BMW M5
Quickest way to shuttle five people. BMW M5

  • Awesome grip
  • A few cheap touches inside feel out of place for a car of this price
  • Such an easy car to drive at speed with this much power
  • It is amazing how fast you can go with five people and a big trunk

BMW defined sport sedans long ago and they are still great at it. The new M5 is crazy fast with 600 hp under the hood and the ability to run 10.9 second quarter mile times.  If you can afford it and want a fast family car, there are not many other cars out there that do it better.

Volkswagen Golf R
Volkswagen Golf R
Great performance at a bargain.  Volkswagen Golf R

  • You can think of it as a bargain BMW M5
  • Feels great and handles beautifully
  • Just the right amount of power for street

You don’t need more car than the Golf R.  It does not have exotic car power nor does it have exotic car bills.  It is roomy, comfortable, fast and handles great.  Think about it as a mini M5 that gives you usable performance that is more fun on the street.

Subaru STI RA
Subaru STI RA
Easiest to drive for a beginner.  Subaru STI RA

  • Anyone can drive this car fast
  • Power band is so linear that you have to watch the tach otherwise you hit the rev limiter
  • Great grip and safe balance
  • Good power for street use

The WRX STI RA is a limited edition STI with more power, a stiffer suspension and less weight.  It handles so well that anyone can drive this car fast.

Kia Stinger GT AWD
Kia Stinger GT AWD
Best Sport Sedan.  Kia Stinger GT AWD

  • Actually power oversteers on corner exit
  • The engine feels very strong all the way to 7200 rpm redline
  • Great shifter and responds well
  • Seat is too soft for track driving but great for street use or long drives

The Kia Stinger was a terrific surprise. It handles like a proper sport sedan and it has more power than expected.  Kia is going after the Europeans and the Stinger has menus and buttons that are easier to live with.  Kia also gives you a better warranty and a much lower base price.  That twin turbo V6 engine is just terrific too.

Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio
Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio
Best Car.  Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio

  • Best car for the price
  • Awesome power
  • Tremendous grip
  • Looks gorgeous

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the best all-around car here.  It is gorgeous, roomy, crazy fast and has steering made by people who understand what a good steering should feel like.  It is just so much fun to drive and has loads of grip.  Ultimately it is slower than the M5 and has less room but who cares?  It is more fun and costs $45,000 less and did we mention that it is gorgeous?

Mustang GT
Mustang GT
Most popular.  Mustang GT

  • The best sounding engine
  • Great manual transmission and shift linkage
  • Easy to drift
  • Brakes hold up to track use
  • Most popular car at the track
  • Soft seat detracts from track day fun

There were a lot of expensive and fast cars present but the car that everyone wanted to go for a ride in was the new Ford Mustang GT.  When I asked some of them why they liked the Mustang, every one of them said the engine sound.  The way this Ford V8 sounds at its 7200 rpm redline is just magical.  The rest of the car is pretty nice too but the seats are too soft and too wide.

Mercedes AMG GT R
Mercedes AMG GT R
Quickest.  Mercedes AMG GT R

  • Best Supercar
  • Ridiculous HP and grip
  • Brakes are out of this world. Stops so quickly and with no drama even when turning
  • Expensive!

The Mercedes AMG GT R has set track records everywhere.  It is easy to see why after driving it.  It is a race car with a license plate.  It has tons of power.  It has a transmission that shifts quicker than you can blink.  It has huge sticky Michelin tires that stick like glue. And it has out of this world brakes that stop the car with no drama even in challenging situations.  This car was not made for beginners.  It is a serious car for serious people who can afford it. And not much is faster around a circuit.


Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article