• 2017 Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS Special Editions

Dutch automaker promises improved importance with these two SE models

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The Netherlands isn’t exactly the first place you look to if you’re in the market for a sports car. But even if the country isn’t particularly known for building and developing hell-raising performance models, the Dutch sports car cupboard isn’t completely barren. That’s thanks in part to Donkervoort, the Lelystand-based manufacturer of authentic and ultra lightweight sports cars. Donkervoort isn’t a big automaker by any means; it’s model lineup consists of just the D8 GTO. But where it lacks in model variety, it more than makes up for with the D8 GTO-RS, a souped up version of the open-wheel sports car that packs improved performance characteristics.

The D8 GTO-RS is limited to just 40 units, but given the overwhelmingly positive reception of the car, Donkervoort decided to expand the range with a pair of special edition versions, namely the D8 GTO-RS Bare Naked Carbon Edition and the D8 GTO-RS Race Edition.

Both models come in extremely limited numbers as the Bare Naked Edition will be limited to just 15 units while the Race Edition will only have 10 units available. Each variant will also come with features unique to itself, hence the decision to differentiate one variant from the other.

The good news is that both the Bare Naked Edition and the Race Edition are D8 GTO-RS models at heart. That means that, among other things, they come with a tuned version of Audi’s 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine. The Dutch automaker didn’t say how much power these SE D8 GTO-RS models have at their disposal, but considering that the five-cylinder is capable of producing 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, it wouldn’t be impossible for both models to have similar numbers.

Whatever the case may be, these two special edition D8 GTO-RS units are performance cars at their core. That should be more than enough to convince people of their capabilities in and out of the race track.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS Special Editions.

What makes the Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS Special Editions so special?

Given that the car they’re based on is already special in a lot of different ways, it’s tricky to pinpoint exactly what makes the Bare Naked and Race Edition variants more appealing than the model they take after.

So before we dive into these two SE models, let’s take a look at the D8 GTO-RS model first.

Note: Side-by-side image of the Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS and the Caterham Seven

2017 Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS
- image 674833
2017 Caterham Seven 310
- image 684352

The overall character of the D8 GTO-RS takes after the Caterham Seven, one of the most iconic recognizable open-wheel performance cars in the business today. That said, there’s something to be said for Donkenvoort embracing a more modern styling language for the D8 GTO. The rectangular body of the Caterham was replaced with a wider and more sharper nose. The model also has a larger grille that dominates the front profile of the car. A pair of intakes flank the grille, just below the angular integrated headlights, which themselves count as massive departures from the styling of the retrofitted Caterham Seven.

If there are design similarities between the Seven and the D8 GTO-RS, one of them is the length of the hood, which extends halfway through the car’s overall length. It’s a styling nod to the halcyon days of those classic open-wheel racers and Donkervoort’s adoption of it gives the D8 GTO-RS a spiritual connection to that cars it was inspired from.

The side and rear profiles of the D8 GTO-RS are consistent with the car’s front looks as splashes of retro designs combine with modern aerodynamics, specifically the carbon fiber bottom plate and skirts, as well as the smattering of small spoilers and vanes at the back of the car. The rear end, in particular, also ends abruptly just below a squared roll bar. It’s a similar take to the Seven, except that the D8 GTO-RS is inundated with aerodynamic bits and pieces to help it function the way a track racer is expected to. All told, Donkervoort says that the aero upgrades on the D8 GTO-RS are enough to create a downforce of “no less than” 50 kg (110 pounds) on the front axle and rear axles of the car while also reducing the air resistance by as much as 20 percent.

The design of the Bare Naked and Race Edition versions of the D8 GTO-RS should largely be the same as the car they’re based on. That said, the Bare Naked Edition, in particular, comes with a dearth of exposed carbon fiber elements that allows owners to bask in the recognisable structure of material. The Race Edition, on the other hand, will come with what Donkervoort describes as “lap-time enhancing track day features.” No specifics were mentioned, but expect it to get more aero upgrades than what’s already included in the limited run D8 GTO-RS.

Much like the exterior, the cabins of both the D8 GTO-RS Bare Naked and Race Editions shouldn’t veer to far away from the D8 GTO-RS. That’s not a slight to the two special edition models since the 40-piece D8 GTO-RS’s cabin already contains some surprising features.

The dash layout is simple and straightforward and the notable absence of any digital readings – it’s all analog there – tells you that Donkervoort is still embracing its retrofied spirit. The materials though are another matter entirely. The pillars, door panels, and dashboard are pure carbon fiber. Even the floor plate and tunnel are also made from carbon fiber. Meanwhile, the two sports seats, the central tunnel, and the sports steering wheel aren all wrapped with a thick layer of Alcantara. There’s a spartan-like vibe to the cabin, which is to be expected, but Donkervoort also made sure to give it premium materials from this era, once again creating a nice balance of old and new school design methods.

It’s unclear if the Bare Naked and Race Edition versions of the D8 GTO-RS will carry even more unique features to highlight their heightened exclusivity, but based on the automaker’s description of the Bare Naked Edition, there’s a chance that the same carbon fiber surfaces are going to be more “natural” than the D8 GTO-RS.

The Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS looks like the kind of track car you’d want to be seen in. There’s no mistaking that the Dutch company did its homework in terms of making the car stylistically memorable. The only issue I have though is that details about the car’s power and performance numbers have yet to be mentioned and that, by default, extends to the Bare Naked and Race Edition variants of the D8 GTO-RS.

What we do know is that the car will be powered by a tuned version of Audi’s 2.5-liter five-cylinder R5 TFSI engine. Considering that the 2017 Audi TT-RS packs an output of 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, there’s a sliver of chance that the D8 GTO-RS and its two special edition off-shoots could approach those numbers since the D8 GTO, the model that the GTO-RS is based on, already has 340 horsepower at its disposal with the option of bumping the output up to 400 horsepower courtesy of a “race module” switch included in the car.

Either way, the combination of enhanced aerodynamics and tuned engine should be enough to give both the D8 GTO-RS Bare Naked and Race Edition models the kind of power and performance that can take full advantage of all the special mechanical and technical attributes they already have.

At the very least, we can hope that both special edition variants of the D8 GTO-RS can justify the car’s starting price of €151,173, which converts to about $162,280 based on current exchange rates. Not that it should matter though because according to Donkervoort, 42 of the 65 D8 GTO-RS models, including both special edition variants, are already spoken for, leaving only 23 available.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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