Welcome, one and all, to the new Pagani Huayra R | Top Gear
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Welcome, one and all, to the new Pagani Huayra R

Inspired by 60s and 70s racers, the Zonda R’s successor gets huge power and speed

Published: 18 Mar 2021

This is the new Pagani Huayra R, which in normal automotive terms could be unenthusiastically described as the ‘range-topping model’. We’re not, however, talking about a normal automotive product.

So. This is the new Pagani Huayra R, also known as Maximus Supercarus. “The Huayra R, just like the Zonda R, is the freest, most extreme and performance-oriented Pagani car of all time,” Boss Horacio Pagani himself explains.

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Mention of the Zonda R provides some indication of the Huayra R’s prowess. We begin our descent into otherworldly, track-only performance through the traditional Pagani route: a big, fat V12. “The new engine had to have the charm, romance, sound and simplicity of the F1 engines of the 1980s, while incorporating state-of-the-art technology available today,” explains Horacio.

As such, there is no hybrid assistance. There isn’t even a trace of turbocharging or supercharging. Just 6.0-litres of AMG fury, breathing in free air and thwacking out some 840bhp. It was designed in partnership with HWA – who run AMG touring cars – with a keen focus on lightness. Indeed, it weighs just 198kg, but manages to deliver 553lb ft of torque and redlines at a faintly troubling 9,200rpm. Despite its track-specific job duties, Pagani assures us it only requires servicing every 6,200 miles (10,000km). You could daily it, if you could drive it on the road. Which you can't.

That titanic V12 is mounted directly onto the Huayra R’s central monocoque as a structural element, as is the Pagani/HWA-developed, all-new six-speed sequential gearbox. That monocoque features such hits as ‘Carbo-Titanium’ and ‘Carbo-Triax’ and is said to incorporate the seats fully. Pagani mentions increased flexural and torsional rigidity, which means – we think – it’ll resist bending and twisting a helluva lot better (51 per cent and 16 per cent respectively) than the road car.

It’s all very technical – indeed, the car was mercilessly honed to deliver peak aero – but Horacio wasn’t satisfied. He wanted beauty; he notes how the racing prototypes of the 60s and 70s delivered not just speed, but a certain aesthetic too.

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So in his quest to deliver something better looking, the team ‘unexpectedly’ discovered the Huayra R was delivering better aero. It now claims some 2,204lb of downforce at 199mph. Scan over the additions: new side air intakes, a roof scoop, new wing profiles for the bonnet, wheel arch air vents, and lots of ‘rear aerodynamic appendages’.

There’s active suspension supporting the active aero – active shocks, refined elasto-kinematics, and better bump-steer correction. Brakes? Mighty. Technically, they’re carbon ceramics, but in layman’s terms: just mighty, and massive (410mm up front, 390mm at the back, six-piston calipers all round).

Unbelievably, the Huayra R weighs just 1,050kg dry, and it’s normally at this point we’d make some gag about ‘having a light breakfast’ and so forth. Really, it’s just numbing. Elsewhere, and because it’s a track-only product, there’s a full roll-cage, fire extinguishers, flame-proof materials and lots of driver and passenger protection. Everything meets FIA GT safety standards. All the controls for the traction control, ABS, radio and so forth are on the quick-release steering wheel, while everything else is on the centre console. There’s a high-res display, and overall we’re assured the Huayra R’s interior “cannot fail to impress”.

Pagani plans on building just 30 of these track-only Huayra Rs, each costing €2.6m (plus tax) – somewhere around the £2.7m mark in the UK.

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“Prototype sports cars like the Ferrari P4 or the Ford GT40, or the Le Mans cars, had extremely attractive lines, which are still a huge source of inspiration for our cars today,” Mr Pagani said. “The Porsche 917 is my favourite, with its romantic yet bold shape, which gives the impression of a very fast car. It is beautiful, elegant and timeless.

“From this desire for freedom, and from the experience of the Zonda R and the cars of the past, came the idea of the Huayra R, like a breath of fresh air.”

Speaking of 'fresh air', Pagani has revealed what that naturally-aspirated V12 sounds like. Have a listen below. You might want to turn it up a tad...

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