The Pagani Zonda R, the special non-homologated version of the Modenese built Zonda sports car with a 750 bhp AMG V12 engine and 200 kg lighter than the production Zonda F, has just smashed the record for a production-based car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, slicing over ten seconds off the record-holding time posted by the Ferrari 599XX just months earlier.
The Italian sports car, the ultimate performance expression of the decade-old Zonda line which made its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show last year, was taken to the Nürburgring Nordschleife by the factory's engineers and completed the 20.83 km and 73 bends in 6 minutes and 47 seconds to claim the record. (The 599XX completed the course in 6 minutes and 58 seconds).
For the attempt tyre manufacturer Pirelli developed a special set of PZero slick tyres for the car and other partners involved in the record-breaking attempt included Bosch, ASPA, Logical, Bagatti, Ennegi, Mercedes-AMG and MHG. Company founder and owner Horacio Pagani described the Zonda R as "fireproof" after the event.
The target of the Zonda R project, according to Pagani, was "ultimate performance at the racetrack without any implications of rules, except for safety, where no compromise is allowed." In September 2006 the first drawings were ready but it was crucial to get the support of Mercedes-AMG to use a high revving engine with a power output of 750hp, dry sump, light and with a low centre of gravity. The basis chosen was the race-bred self supporting engine from the CLK GTR. The Zonda R was designed from scratch with only 10 percent of the production Zonda F's components carried over. The suspension was forged in Avional, and the sports car featured a new Pagani-developed six speed transversal sequential gearbox, a carbon-fibre monocoque and an aeronautical four pump fuel tank. The wheelbase grew by 47mm, the overall length by 394mm and the track increased by 50mm. The bodywork and aerodynamics were also revised to offer maximum downforce.
The engine, featuring an ingenious dry sump system that allows for a very low centre of gravity, was built by Mercedes AMG. This unit is rated by Pagani at 750 hp at 8000 rpm as well as 710 Nm of torque in the Zonda R application and has a lightweight carbon fibre high performance intake system, a racing multiple disc clutch and a Formula 1 style exhaust system, hydroformed in Inconel 625 and ceramic coated for optimal heat dissipation.