Let's face it, Bloemfontein is famous for roses, not supercars - but that may be about to change, because a locally-grown sports prototype has just successfully completed its shake-down run at nearby Phakisa Raceway.
The BTR7 (Barnard Track Racing; the 7 stands for 700 horsepower) looks like a Le Mans endurance racer - and that's intentional. It's not street-legal and is aimed primarily at the European and North American market, where a strong track-day culture already exists.
Exported price is $250 000 (about R2 million) ready to race.
That gets you 524kW of thundering seven-litre V8 in a tough monocoque chassis with proven components from the big names in international motorsport. It's a big car, 5.7m long with a wheelbase of almost three metres; even the rear tyres are almost 400mm wide!
“You won't find any driver aids here”
It'll hit 100km/h off the start-line in considerably less than four seconds and top 300km/h on the back straight, although it's been set up for all-rounded track ability rather than straight-line performance, with fully-adjustable suspension courtesy of either Penske or Bilstein dampers, Brembo brakes and a beefy six-speed manual transaxle from Tremec.
Designer and company founder Chris Barnard explained: “We've deliberately steered clear of complex electronics such as traction control; you won't find any driver aids here - even that 524kW V8 can run on normal 95 octane pump fuel.”
AUTHENTIC SPORTS-RACING CAR
“The idea is to offer enthusiasts an authentic sports-racing car that's easy to use, requires little maintenance and minimal set-up time.”
In fact, now that the prototype is a runner, Barnard has enlisted four-times SA champion (and sometime Nascar driver) Grant van Schalkwyk for on-track development work.
A more powerful BTR11 (920kW thanks to a supercharged V8) and a more affordable BTR3 version are also in the pipeline.