List: Top Ten Racecars Of 2011

By Brandon Turkus

December 28, 2011


Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: Racing in the SCCA World Challenge GT Series, the V Coupe looked like a racecar before the crew at Pratt And Miller (yeah, the same crew that’s dominated Le Mans with Corvettes since the beginning of time) got their hands on it. The V Coupe racer still retains the 6.2-liter V-8 of the road-going car, although it lacks a supercharger and power is limited to 460 horsepower. Besides the loss of the supercharger, the V racer is around 1000 pounds lighter than the road car.


Ferrari 458 Grand Am: Based off of the Ferrari 458 that is raced across the pond, the 458 Grand Am is Ferrari’s dedicated effort to compete in the Rolex Grand Am sportscar series. It isn’t as extreme as the 458s running in Europe, featuring a restrictor plate and a revised aero package. Still, it’s a hell of a good looking car, that we’d love to get some seat time in.


Aston Martin Vantage GT3: If you want to go really fast around a race track while still looking great, then Aston Martin’s Vantage GT3 is the car for you. It’s the replacement for the DBRS9 in the GT3 series, and is one of the few cars on this list you can actually run out and buy. Of course, you’ll need nearly £300,000 (about $470,000 at today’s rates). But for that money, you’ll get a 6.0-liter V-12, a sequential racing transmission, race-tuned brakes and electronic aids, and you’ll be the best looking car in the paddock. Sounds like a deal.


Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype: The spiritual successor to the IMSA Corvettes of the 80s, the Corvette Daytona Prototype is set to make its race debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, but began shakedowns in November.


Mini Countryman WRC: Mini has a great rallying history, having won the Monte Carlo Rally four times (three if you’re French) back in the 60s. While the Countryman WRC is a far cry from the near-production Cooper that tackled Monte Carlo, the British brand’s return to the world of rallying is plenty exciting in its own right. The Countryman WRC is being campaigned by Prodrive, and finished its freshman season with two podium finishes.


Audi A5 DTM: There’s an old saying that if a race car looks good, it’ll drive well too. By that logic, the new Audi A5 DTM should be a hoot to drive. Set to replace the A4 DTM, the A5 has some mighty big shoes to fill, as it’s succeeding a car that won five championships and 34 races over the course of seven years.


Lotus Exige R-GT: When you think of rallying, the brands that come to mind are Subaru, Mitsubishi, Ford, Peugeot, and Citroen. Lotus, is usually, not associated with rallying, but the Exige R-GT is seeking to change that. The V-6-powered Exige will participate in the GT series of the World Rally Championship, and should debut at the Monte Carlo Rally.


McLaren MP4-12C GT3: Joining the Ferraris and Aston Martins in the FIA GT3 series is the McLaren MP4-12C GT3. The 12C GT3 is powered by the same 3.8-liter, biturbocharged V-8, albeit detuned to fit within the FIA regulations. Other changes include a revised aero package and safety enhancements.


Ford Focus ST-R: The Ford Focus ST-R is interesting in that it’s been designed for multiple series, being able to race in the Grand-Am Series, World Challenge TC series, and the series it debuted in, the British Touring Car Championship. Power comes from the same 2.0-liter EcoBoost found in the Focus ST, while suspension, brake, and safety upgrades are included in this turnkey racer.


Red Bull RB7: Perhaps no car on this list has been so dominant. The Red Bull RB7, piloted by two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, features a Renault V-8 and a body designed by renowned aerodynamicist Adrian Newey. It won 12 of 19 races and only retired twice on the way to Red Bull’s second Constructor’s Championship in a row.

Cadillac Ferrari Aston Chevrolet Mini Audi Lotus McLaren Ford Red
Being an automotive journalist is a pretty cool job. We drive sweet cars, do a lot of traveling, and generally get to be car guys for 40 hours a week. That being said, if you asked any of the staffers at Winding Road if there’s another job they’d rather have, odds are racecar driver would be pretty high up on the list. That’s right, we’re all big race fans, and 2011 has been a great year for new race cars. Why list our favorites? Because racecar.
Read on for our list of the top ten racers of 2011, and stay tuned to Winding Road issue 78, when we’ll be releasing our list of the best cars of the year.