Donkervoort: One of the Craziest Supercar Manufacturers in the World Hails from Holland
The Nürburgring Nordschliefe. “The Green Hell,” as it’s affectionately known by the automotive world, is one of the world’s most famous race tracks, and more car makers subject their pre-production vehicles to the daunting 13-mile road course than any other track in the world. With more than 150 turns, corners, and bends and an elevation change of 1000 feet, the track is a perfect place to stress test any new sports car, with lap times proudly marketing the worthiness of a potential buyer’s money. Reviewing the list of fastest production cars around the ‘Ring is an automotive Who’s Who, and is filled with the usual suspects, from well-known names like Lexus, Porsche, and Dodge, to Radical and Gumpert, who are at least known to the general populace thanks to appearances on Top Gear. Near the top, however, is a name that you probably have never seen on that program or in newspaper headlines at all. Just who the hell is Donkervoort?
The company was founded in 1978 in the Netherlands by Joop Donkervoort, and produced modified Lotus Super Sevens stuffed with a Ford 4-cylinder. In 1999, the company switched to using turbocharged Audi units, a trend that will continue this year when the D8 GTO is released, featuring a 2.5L turbo 5-cylinder.
The Donkervoort RS that set the Nürburgring lap time
The D8 RS that set the unbelievable ‘Ring time in 2005 was a modified D8, fitted with a fixed roof and extra spoilers and ground effects to plant the already capable, lightweight chassis to the ground. The engine produced 350hp, an incredible amount of power for a turbo-4, and the car sans driver weighed roughly 1400lbs. The result? A blistering 7:14:89 lap time, making it the second fastest production car around the Nordschliefe at the time (25 examples were built for road use, albeit with the standard roofless top and a 270hp engine).
Donkervoort D8 GTO
The D8 GTO will be the successor of the 270 RS that was based on the record-setting, race-prepped original. In a nod to the limited-edition road cars, only 25 2013 models will be built, with full production planned for 2014. That car will feature the aforementioned 5-cylinder, with power output somewhere between 340 and 400hp.