The Zonda R is a bit of a puzzle. It’s essentially a racecar, and yet it’s not properly sanctioned for any particular racing series. And yet it’s not legal to drive on the road, particularly with its deafening F1-inspired exhaust system. Furthermore, it shares only ten percent of its components with lesser Zondas (if you can call the Zonda F “lesser” at all), with a bespoke bare carbon fiber body, a different AMG-sourced V12 engine pulled from the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR racecar, and a gearbox sourced from an F3000 car. It’s probably best not to try to classify the Zonda R, and simply to drive it, because doing so is an experience as unique as the car itself. From the straight-cut gear whine to the manic howl of the 740-horsepower engine, it makes all the right noises. And with the huge rear wing and fully optimized aero package, the 2,500 lbs. car can easily reach 100 mph in less than six seconds on its way well past 200 mph. The performance is enough for TopGear host Jeremy Clarkson to spend much of his track time in the car yelling about how wonderful it was. If you can afford this $1.8 million track-day toy, perhaps you’ll be able to find a place to drive it.
If it had wings it would fly. Well, in truth, the Pagani Zonda R DOES have one big wing and it does fly... on the roads. If you’re looking for subtlety, look elsewhere because the Zonda R is about as extravagant as cars get. Bring a whip for this whip though, because taming its power isn’t for the faint of heart.
The Zonda R's engine is a naturally aspirated 6.0L V12 engine from the race version of the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, codenamed M120. The car features a carbon fiber chassis with a roll cage and a rubber racing fuel cell with 4 fuel pumps and quick refueler filler cap. The engine produces 740 hp (552 kW) and 524 ft·lb (710 N·m) of torque while the transmission is a six-speed transmission driving the rear wheels.
The car weighs only 2359 lb (1070 kg), giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 0.701 PS per kilogram. 0-60 mph is done in less than 2.8 seconds, while a top speed of 217 mph (350 km/h) is claimed along with a high downforce setting of up to 3307 lb (1500 kg).
The Pagani Zonda R currently remains the best-performing Pagani in the Forza series, with excellent handling and acceleration. While not faster than the Pagani Huayra and Pagani Huayra BC in terms of top speed, the Zonda R is still a relatively fast car. Its acceleration is actually very similar to that of the Huayra BC: 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds and 0-100 mph in 5.6 seconds. The Zonda R can reach speeds exceeding its claimed top speed of 217 mph (350 km/h). Due to its lightweight construction and effective downforce generation, the Zonda R can drive through even complex corners with ease and brake effectively, with average cornering at 1.50 Gs.