Apollo Intensa Emozione tests on public roads

Could the 769bhp ‘GT1 car for the road’ be set free from private racetracks?

The Apollo Intensa Emozione is one of the more sensational-looking vehicles revealed in 2017. There’s new military hardware that looks less angry than this. The designer is a Batman fan (can you tell?). The company chairman told Top Gear he wants to build a new hypercar empty of hybrid batteries and electric motors, and free of turbochargers. Self-driving autonomous functions? That’s really not the Apollo way. This is supposed to be a Nineties GT1-racar-inspired, ten-off slice of carbon fibre fantasy.

At the car’s reveal, Apollo boss Norman Choi announced the intention was to build 10 Intensa Emoziones at a cost of around £2m each exclusively for track use, much like the Aston Martin Vulcan or Ferrari FXXK. The lessons learned (and money earned) would then be poured into a street legal, slightly less extreme vehicle.

Thing is, the sort of folks who buy £2m hypercars aren’t often told what they can and can’t have. They don’t even have to ask. And so, Apollo is taking the first steps towards making the IE a road-legal car. That’s a 769bhp, naturally aspirated V12-powered road car – built to LMP racing standards and claiming to generate more mass in downforce (1,350kg) than it actually weighs (1,250kg) – on the street. Our collective mind boggles, indeed.

At a recent preview event in Hong Kong, Apollo unleashed one of its prototypes on the city’s streets. Apollo tells Top Gear that the aim is “not only to attain incredible track performance and robust aerodynamic efficiency…but also to adhere to various road regulations in our target markets in the event we decided to entertain the notion of the cars for road use”. A 9,000rpm V12 in a city underpass sounds like a fun notion to us.

Apollo’s statement is a long way from a firm ‘coming to an Ikea car park near you’. But its tactic is a sensible one, with form. When McLaren announced the P1 road car would evolve into the even more extreme P1 GTR, it was supposed to be strictly track use only. Then Lanzante, the outfit responsible for assisting the McLaren F1’s charge into Le Mans immortality, got involved, and now more P1 GTRs are road-registered then aren’t. 

There’s also talk of the Aston Martin Vulcan being road-legalised, and though Ferrari never endorses it, a couple of Enzo-based FXXs have seen street use in recent years. ‘Track-only’ often is merely seen as an invitation for the uber-wealthy to set about sorting a set of numberplates for the most aggressive, evil-looking high-performance cars on the planet. 

That’s a category the Apollo appears to fit into rather snugly, no?

Photography by Aaaron Chung, Ron Alder and Supercars of Hong Kong