Pagani Zonda R (2009): first photos | CAR Magazine

Pagani Zonda R first photos

Published: 09 February 2009 Updated: 26 January 2015

Ever been pootling around the Nürburgring in your Zonda and found it was a mite lacking in grunt? Of course you have. So you – and a couple of other like-minded Zonda owners no doubt – get on the blower to Horacio Pagani and ask him to see if he can spice things up a touch. As you do. The quite splendid result is this, the Zonda R, easily the most extreme road/track car to make it into production.

Spill the technical beans then…

The central monocoque is fashioned from an ultra-light and stiff carbon-titanium composite and powered by a mind-mounted Mercedes-Benz AMG V12 racing engine. The 6.0-litre powerplant is dry-sumped and delivers 739bhp at 7500rpm and 524lb ft at 5700rpm. The handcrafted unit is bolted directly to the chassis to enhance torsional rigidity. It powers the rear wheels through a magnesium-cased XTRAC 6-speed sequential paddleshift-actuated transmission that can swap cogs in just 20milliseconds. A self-locking rear differential ensures all that muscle is handled as effectively as possible – that and a 12-stage Bosch motorsport traction control system.

There’s more?

Much more – unusually, the throttle bodies are mechanically operated, the beautifully intricate hydroformed exhaust system is coated in ceramic, the entire body is fashioned from carbonfibre, while every screw, nut and bolt is made from titanium. The cabin is a small work of art in its own right. As well as being beautifully built, the two-seat cabin is functional too – those Toora seats are FIA homologated and comply with latest HANS standards, and the five-point safety belts and CrMo roll-cage are fitted as standard.

How heavy is the R?

The whole thing weighs just 1070kg – just a little more than our long-term Renaultsport Twingo – for an eyeball-flattening power-to-weight ratio of 690bhp per tonne. And because it’s aimed at track performance, the double wishbone suspension and aero package is fully adjustable and the brakes are vast – 380mm carbon-ceramic Brembo discs at each corner with six-pot callipers up front and four-pot units at the rear.

Let’s talk performance.

Well, it’s shattering, no matter which way you look at it. Pagani claims the R will hit 60mph in 2.7seconds and it has a top speed in excess of 215mph depending on the aero setup, which can be tuned to generate 1500kg of downforce. Impressive on-paper figures, but given our past experience of Pagani’s – they are some of the most dynamically brilliant cars we’ve ever driven – we expect the F to be absolutely mind-blowing on the track. The only thing holding us back is the price – we’ve done a quick whip round the office but we’re a few pennies short of the £1.27million asking price… here’s hoping Snr Pagani will do a journalist discount.

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars