Audi Quattro GmbH, working in partnership with Donkervoort Automobielen based in Lelystad, has officially unveiled the Donkervoort GTO, the next generation of what can be called as open sports cars. This is big news for many fans considering that development took two and a half years. For Donkervoort, this is considered as a big milestone in its 34 years of operation as the Donkervoort GTO was created using methods originating from the aerospace and aviation industries. According to founder Joop Donkervoort, this model will be the first generation of cars to come from the company and this is why the chassis number was started back at “0”. In terms of size, the Donkervoort GTO is larger compared to the open D8 270RS and even the closed GT.
Specifically, the new model is longer by 35 mm and wider by 15 cm. These changes are important as it was needed to be able to longitudinally position the large Audi TFSI 2.5-liter five-cylinder motor capable of output at 340 hp. The new dimensions also allowed it to have the right balance. For its parts, only 30% of it is similar to the GT with 5% being shared with the D8 270RS. What this means is that the Donkervoort GTO is indeed a new car. Proof of this is how the most current auto techniques have been employed and combined with excellent form in order to offer the best driving experience.
While the power output is between 340 hp and 400 hp, peak torque is at 450 Nm starting at 1,600 rpm. Even with all of these, total weight is estimated at 700 kg. It is clear with these figures that the Donkervoort GTO is slated to be Europe’s fast sports car. This is why when the company conducted a private preview for its Ambassadors across Europe, it was so well received that of the first 25 specially designed units that were shown, about half of them were sold within a few hours. As mentioned earlier, the 25 units are all fitted with the TFSI 2.5-liter motor which is lighter by as much as 30 kg when compared to the engine in the standard Audi.
According to Joop Donkervoort, the lower weight was a result of some of the motor’s accessory parts being redesigned, working with technicians from Audi. A good example of this is the new intake manifold. Donkervoort revealed that since the intake goes through a more advantageous route in the motor region, it was not simply lighter but had a positive effect on the motor.
On its dashboard, he added, there is a special race module switch that when activated can have the 340 hp capacity immediately increased to 400 hp. Connected to this is an innovation from Donkervoort. Specifically, it will be the first ever car from the company to be fitted with the traction control, a good feature especially when driving in the rain. It does not stop there as by using glue to connect the carbon composite large panels with the tubular frame made of steel, this resulted in an increase in the rigidity combined with an ultra-light weight. In fact, the carriage work itself is entirely made up of carbon composite, same as the one-piece door and the hinges integrated to it.
The door can endure a force of around 1,500 kg with the hinges themselves being able to absorb a force of at least 1,100 kg. All of these were achieved with an overall weight of 980 g. This is not a new thing in the aviation industry but it is indeed a first for a car.
Then there is the locking devices placed on its bonnet, which is made up of aluminum. Using techniques by the rocket industry, Donkervoort was able to focus on qualities that include smooth finish, easy operation, and low weight. Its undercarriage has been redesigned as well to deliver extra stability. Thus while the rear axle comes with an entirely new design, the front axle has been fitted with an anti-roll bar.
Donkervoort has long been known for its experience and with the new GTO, it has come with a new meaning and initial tests conducted on the first unit is proof of this. Indeed, the new GTO shows it is truly manageable. Production of the Donkervoort GTO is slated to begin by 2012 with the first units set to be delivered by the summer. The first regular variants though are projected to be driven on roads in Europe by 2013. Excluding taxes, the Donkervoort GTO is priced from €100,000 and can go as high as €150,000.