Recently added to the Donkervoort stable, the Donkervoort D8 GT Coupe is something new: a coupe version of an open-wheeled sports car.
Donkervoort has been building Lotus Seven replicas for 30 years, but recently has forged ahead in developing cars that look a little different from others of this type, and which have proven performance.
These are very fast sports cars; the D8 GT Coupe, with 270 bhp engine accelerates to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and reaches 155 mph.
Donkervoorts don’t just accelerate very fast, but they are very nimble with good handling, which is proven by the very fast lap times at the Nurburgring. Powered by a 270 bhp Audi engine, the Donkervoort D 270 RS has lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 14 seconds, which compares with the Pagani Zonda F at 7:28.
Only one production sports car has lapped faster than the Donkervoort, and that is the Radical SR8 which is even more of a trackday special.
Audi 1.8 liter engines and five-speed manual gearboxes are used in all models, and outputs of 180, 210 and 270 bhp are available. As these are turbocharged engines, they have an excellent spread of power. Generally, peak power is produced at around 6,000 rpm, and peak torque at around 4,000 rpm.
On the Coupe model, the car has been lengthened by about 12 inches (300 mm), and the tracks are slightly wider to improve handling. Also, dampers with adjustable ride height and damping stiffness are used.
The 270 RS models need extra cooling, so in addition to the narrow grille, there are side grilles in the body just behind the wheels to feed the extra radiator.
Gull wing doors, which open out into the roof, as on the Ford GT40, provide access to the small cockpit. Like the roof, these are made from carbon fiber.
The cycle-type front fenders are retained, but there is a carbon fiber and sandwich construction undertray beneath the whole car which improves aerodynamics and increases torsional stiffness.
The undertray works with front and rear crash boxes to improve passenger safety, but also with the rear diffusers to reduce lift.
Other features of the Coupe include six-pot front brake calipers and 17-inch wheels.
Donkervoorts are not quite as light as Caterham Sevens, but are nevertheless truly lightweight sports cars, with a kerb weight of 1,433 lb (650 kg) for the coupe and about 1,390 lb (630 kg) for the open cars. With a driver onboard, the open car has a power to weight ratio of about 380 bhp per tonne, which explains why the car accelerates so quickly