2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon Edition
Dutch sports-car manufacturer Donkervoort has unveiled a new special edition of its D8 GTO, and it boasts a curb weight under 1,500 pounds, hits 60 mph under three seconds, and looks like Darth Vader’s personal track transport. It’s called the Bare Naked Carbon edition, and it’s an even more insane take on the high-end street-legal circuit machines we’ve seen from the automaker in the past.
While Donkervoort has used carbon fiber extensively in previous models, the Bare Naked edition is almost purely composed of the composite material. It’s the kind of direction you’d expect from Donkervoort, given the company’s obsession with cutting weight and simplifying design. Only the best bits for creating low lap times remain on the car, each done with meticulous attention to detail. It’s the sort of philosophy that redefines the meaning of superfluous.
For over 36 years, Donkervoort has been hand-building cars with the ethos of “no nonsense and no compromise.” So what’s that mean when aerospace-grade carbon fiber is treated like common printer paper? Read on the find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the Donkervoort D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon Edition.
2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon Edition
Horsepower @ RPM:394
Torque @ RPM:332
0-60 time:3 sec.
Top Speed:158 mph
Donkervoort calls the Bare Naked GTO a “cosmetic-only” special edition, and as such, the changes lie in the exterior, where visible carbon fiber is present from the headlight housings to the rear bumper. The car was already pretty intimidating to begin with, but when given the full composite treatment, it just looks downright nightmarish. The hood is extremely long and heavily louvered, while the front wheels stick out from the body under barely-there fenders. The cockpit is open, and there’s an enormous side-exhaust sticking out on the passenger-side flank. The rear end stops abruptly below a squared rollbar, and there’s a definite dearth of aero. It’s a design that looks simple, purposeful, and brutally efficient.
The regular GTO came with a tubular steel frame combined with carbon fiber paneling. In fact, 90 percent of the standard GTO is carbon fiber. However, the Bare Naked GTO addresses that remaining 10 percent for a full-carbon vehicle, something Donkervoort considers “an important milestone in [the company’s] nearly 37-year history.” The result is even less weight and higher levels of rigidity.
The car was already pretty intimidating to begin with, but when given the full composite treatment, it just looks downright nightmarish.
All of the carbon-fiber components are produced in-house using the latest techniques and developments in the field of composites. Donkervoort collaborates with partners in the aerospace industry to ensure each carbon-fiber piece is of the highest tolerances and standards.
The exterior of each Bare Naked GTO undergoes a unique UV-coating finish that’s applied by hand to individual components in either a matte or gloss finish. Custom colored accents are an available option. However, the automaker claims the use of visible carbon fiber saves “several kilos” in weight.
As the successor to the hardtop D8 GT and cabrio D8 270 RS, the GTO is significantly larger, with 13.8 inches of extra length and 15.9 inches of extra width. However, the bigger size doesn’t make it much heavier, especially in Bare Naked trim.
Aerospace-derived technology abounds. For example, the one-piece doors weigh only 2.2 pounds apiece, but can withstand a lateral impact of 3,307 pounds, while the hinges can handle 2,425 pounds of force.
Additional weight savings come from the wheels, which are 17-inch custom forged aluminum pieces (no carbon fiber here, unfortunately) from Rays Engineering. Each weighs just 13.2 pounds. Optional 18-inch rollers are available.
Non-Bare Naked GTOs weigh only 1,532 pounds, so the full-carbon version will undoubtedly tip the scales a bit below that figure.
Like the exterior, the interior is equally decked out in composites, with highly bolstered seats, door panels, window frames, dashboard and doorsills all done in carbon fiber.
Design wise, Donkervoort kept the minimalist theme running strong in the cabin space, with very little in terms of comfort offered. Seating for two and leather upholstery are the only concessions made to civility. Beyond that, it’s all business: there are racing harnesses to keep passengers secure, while a digital readout and aviation-themed buttons and control switches adorn the dash. It’s the essence of sit down, strap in and go.
With such obsessive attention paid to saving weight, it wouldn’t take much muscle to make the Bare Naked GTO absurdly fast. However, Donkervoort still found it necessary to stuff the car with lots of power. Under that extended hood is a 2.5-liter R5 TFSI engine from Audi laying down 380 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque at an incredibly low 1,750 rpm. Donkervoort has worked closely with the four-ring brand since 1996, and the lumpy, offbeat soundtrack of an inline-five cylinder fits the GTO aesthetic just right.
Hilariously, ABS and ESP have been disregarded, not to make the car more visceral, but to save weight.
Official acceleration figures are unavailable, but should eclipse the standard GTO’s 2.8-second 0-to-60 time.
The fanatical weight shedding continues in the engine bay, where Donkervoort stripped out any “unnecessary elements,” and modified what was left over, including a lightened intake manifold, alternator and water pump brackets, flywheel, clutch, and other items. This level of fanaticism nets another 66 pounds saved. There’s carbon fiber in the ignition cylinder housing and belt-and-roll bar trim. Hilariously, ABS and ESP have been disregarded, not to make the car more visceral, but to save weight.
The transmission is a five-speed manual pushing the power to the rear wheels through a Torsen limited-slip differential. The suspension includes independent double wishbones, with a separate adjustable 12-mm anti-roll bar in the front and trailing arms in the back. There are three-way adjustable Anti Roll Control (ARC) shock absorbers from the Dutch suspension specialists at Intrax, which feature an “intelligent hydraulic system” for softer damping on the straights and minimal roll in the curves.
Steering comes from a rack and pinion setup with no servo assistance. For braking, six-pot calipers clamp lightweight ventilated discs in front and back.
Pricing and availability for this special edition have yet to be announced, but the bottom line is sure to be above the 163,000-euro ($174,393) sticker affixed to the D8 GTO Performance edition. I’m expecting at least $200,000 for the Bare Naked edition. What’s more, Donkervoort offers a plethora of customization options that will bump that figure up to even loftier heights.
Ariel Atom 3.5R
Low weight, big power – that’s what makes a car go fast. Donkervoort is obviously quite familiar with the formula, but so is the UK-based Ariel Motor Company, hence, the Atom’s lack of body panels. Instead of stuff like doors, you get a bare tube frame with huge wings attached at either end. You also get twin projector headlight pods and LED turn signals and taillights, but let’s just say this isn’t exactly the kind of car you’d wanna use to cart Grandma around. That is unless she enjoys going 0-to-60 in 2.6 seconds, thanks to a supercharged 2.0-liter iVTEC engine mounted directly behind the open-air cabin.
Read our full review here.
KTM X-Bow GT
Looking like some Martian insect android, the KTM X-Bow is every bit the speed machine as the Atom and GTO, although not necessarily in a straight line. It’s got a mid-mounted 2.0-liter TFSI four-banger producing 281 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 309 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm. When properly applied to the rear wheels, the car can launch to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 143 mph. However, it’s the way the 1,900-pound chassis feels in the corners that justifies its $94,323 price tag. Throw in civil things like windows and a removable fabric roof, and this plaything is relatively adaptable for use beyond the track.
Read our full review here.
Seeing the D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon edition approach from the rear would be enough to make grown men screech in terror. All that carbon fiber suits the aesthetic absolutely perfectly – not only does it look the part of black-clad executioner, but Donkervoort’s infatuation with shaving the pounds is enhanced with all the extra composite work. Quite frankly, I think this is how all GTOs should come outfitted.
The major problems I see with this car are inherent to six-figure track toys of every shape and size – its in your face, no-prisoners attitude is awesome for hot laps at the local circuit, but will quickly grow old out in the real world. Sure, you could drive it in public, and you’ll fit right in around Halloween, but the rest of the time it’s quite unusable. That is unless you want to scare the strawberry milk out of little children.
Another issue is the price. When put next to an Atom or X-Bow, it’s hard to see exactly what the GTO can offer. All three are brutally fast, all three will turn insane lap times. So why pay more?
But when it comes to the intimidation factor, the GTO Bare Naked has them all beat. Long story short – some speed machines are scalpels, this one’s a carbon-fiber buzz saw.