Peter Hall18 June 2012

TG drives the Tushek Renovatio T500

Exclusive: New Slovenian supercar makes debut on the streets of Le Mans. TG snatches the keys…

Tushek Renovatio T500

That's quite an audience you've got there, above

Indeed. Some events you shouldn't miss, and one of them is the ‘Grand Parade Des Pilotes' through the town of Le Mans on the eve of the 24 Hours race; as the name suggests, the top competing drivers are ferried around in a fabulous array of classic and modern cars around a 2km street route lined with more than 160,000 spectators demanding tyre smoke and autographs.

This procession also includes a mouth-watering selection of supercars, and TG was invited to be the first in the world to drive the Tushek Renovatio T500, a newcomer from Slovenia that looks very much at home next to the established exotica from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, Pagani, Spyker and so on.

Slovenia? Where's that?

Right in the heart of Europe, next to Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Not to be confused with Slovakia.

Gallery: the Tushek Renovatio T500

You mean Eastern Europe? Did they formerly build tractors, by any chance?

Like Lamborghini, you mean? No. When successful racer Aljosa Tušek retired from competition in 2003, he drove a Porsche 911 at a track day, found it much too slow and decided to build something better, taking the respected K1 Attack kit car as a starting point. Unveiled in Monaco in April, the Renovatio T500 is the first offering from Tushek Supercars, a roadster with a removable roof and side windows, scissor doors and a distinctive, flat rear deck reminiscent of the Porsche Carrera GT. It still looks like the K1, but 80 per cent of the engineering is Tushek's own. Most of the bodywork is now carbon-fibre, for example.

And what's underneath?

A GT racer, basically. Spaceframe chassis, double wishbone suspension, ceramic brakes and a mid-mounted, 4.2-litre, direct-injection V8 from the Audi R8, mated to a six-speed 'box from the S5. With minor ECU tweaks to suit the short exhaust system, you get 450bhp and prodigious amounts of torque.

Racing cars are terribly uncomfortable, aren't they?

They can be, but Tushek has grander ambitions. The Renovatio T500 is actually quite civilised, with bespoke seats, suede trim, a glove box, CD player and even air-conditioning.

Another wannabe supercar, then?

Yes but in a good way, because it makes a Bugatti Veyron look positively bloated. As befits a proper sports car it is compact and weighs very little, just 1,090kg.

That's around the same as a 1,4-litre Ford Fiesta, so it's not just massively fast but agile, too. And even with the suspension set up for track use it rides amazingly well on the bumpy little roads around Le Mans. In some ways it was even more impressive on the Grande Parade, which this year took place in pouring rain; threading a supercar between close-set crowd barriers at less than walking pace is potentially a nerve-shredding experience, but in the Tushek it was easy; the pedals are well spaced, the clutch is road-car light and the visibility is remarkably good, save a couple of rear three-quarter blindspots.

Can I buy one?

You can, but only 30 examples of the Renovatio T500 will be built and Tushek is already working on a new car, not to mention a motorsport debut, so it might not be too long before we see them on the track at Le Mans as well as on the road.

The cost
Price: €300,000 (currently £241,000).

The numbers
4,163cc V8, 450bhp @ 7,900rpm, 428Nm @ 3,200rpm, 0-62mph in 3.7sec, top speed 193mph, 25mpg (Combined), CO2 emissions n/a (Euro5 compliant), weight 1,090kg.

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.