Yesterday, a few lucky souls got a chance to test drive the very rare, VERY expensive Gumpert Apollo at Monticello Motor Club. (An excellent private track in New York’s Catskills region.) The German-produced supercar costs $600,000 and up, and there are only TWO of them in the U.S. right now.
I got my shot early in the day — right after some other dude had spun it on the track. Not an auspicious start. He didn’t hit anything, thankfully, but when you’re doing unintentional doughnuts in a piece of machinery worth more than most houses… Well, not good. The guy in the right seat, pro driver and chief track instructor Sam Schultz, was looking a little ashen when they pulled back in.
I crammed myself inside, put on my helmet, and looked over at Sam. “Baby it,” he told me. Um, yeah. No heroics for me. You DON’T want to be that guy. (I’ll talk about actually driving the damn thing in an upcoming column.)
I wasn’t that guy, thank god. The next guy was a member of the club. Wearing a race suit, looking cool. He climbed in, roared off.
And then we waited. And waited ….
The Gumpert came back under the power of a pickup, being towed.
Uh-oh. HE was that guy.
Apparently he was going to fast, went down a descending right-hand sweeper (Turn 3 for those who know the track) and jammed on the gas too early. This car has more than 700 horsepower, via twin turbochargers, which means the power comes on in a tsunami-like surge. And once you break the rear wheels from the asphalt…
They went off, slid onto the grass, and hit a tire wall, nose first.
The good news: The crew at Evolution Motorsports, who distribute the Gumpert, were able to put it back together with the help of bolts, tape (really), and some know-how. The Gumpert would live. But it sucked up a LOT of time, and also all of the good energy of the day.
The dude who wrecked? He stood around with his arms crossed, looking sullen for a while, then disappeared for the day.
More pics of the car, and the carnage, below.