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The Best Street-Legal Track Cars for the Road & Circuit

Best Street Legal Track Cars 0 Hero

As the popularity of track day has grown over time, so too has the market for suitable high-performance rides. And it’s not without good reason; after all, adhering to the speed limit makes for some pretty hum-drum driving, so it’s an invigorating experience when you venture outside of your comfort zone and push a car to its limits. Free from the threat of tickets and the danger of other drivers, you can finally unleash every horse for what it’s worth and wrestle all of the traction you can from the tires. Just one problem: if you want to extract the most performance you can, you’ll have to cut some weight. Which likely means buying a car for the track. Which, in turn, means you’ll need a truck and a trailer to get it there.

Well, unless you can find one you can drive on the road, that is. For you see, over the past decade, automakers have been increasingly building their track toys for the street, ensuring that they meet the necessary safety and emissions regulations whilst still offering raw, unadulterated driver’s thrills. Some are basically production cars after an extensive makeover, first put on an aggressive diet and then dressed to the nines with carbon fiber parts. Others, however, barely skirt legality and are more race cars than they are road vehicles. Granted, they may have all the right fixins to be considered compliant, but the six-point safety harness, open-top design, and stiff suspension aren’t fooling anyone. No matter which strikes your fancy, though, know that we’ve looked all over to find the best street-legal track cars money can buy. Read on to find out.

The Best Street-Legal Track Cars

  • Factory Five GTM Supercar

    Best Kit Car

    Factory Five GTM Supercar

  • BMW M2 Coupe

    Best Compact Pick

    BMW M2 Coupe

  • Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

    Best Muscle/Pony Car

    Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Ariel Atom 4

    Best True Driver’s Car

    Ariel Atom 4

  • Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

    Best Daily-Drivable Pick

    Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

  • Show more

Track Weapon Shopping 101

The Main Areas To Consider When Buying A Road-Legal Track Car

Street-legal track cars have to pull off an interesting balancing act, lending themselves to two very different applications. As such, it can be a little tricky knowing exactly what to look for when shopping. Well aware of this reality, we’ve broken down some of the most crucial areas to consider when purchasing a car that can be driven to your local circuit, tracked, and driven home. 

Chassis: As the backbone of the entire vehicle, any car’s chassis will be of immense importance, and road-legal track-day weapons are by no means an exception. The main aspects to consider when reviewing this area is the frame type and material (or materials). And while alloy structures are still the most common, this segment has seen a growing number of models crafted around carbon fiber monocoques

Running Gear: One of the major elements that separates track cars and road-legal track cars from their plainly-road-going counterparts is the formers’ running gear, as track vehicles will almost always feature markedly tighter suspension and oversized braking hardware that can withstand the immense demands and heat that come from late-braking from high speeds and other on-the-track rigors. 

Engine: As the heart of the entire vehicle, it’s also hard to overstate the significance of a track day car’s engine. When examining this aspect of the vehicle — which is an absolute must — you’ll want to look at the engine layout, number of cylinders, displacement, cooling system, and whether it’s naturally aspirated or supercharged or turbocharged, or fitted with a hybrid system. There’s also a growing number of fully-electric road-legal track cars that are kicked along by proton and electron-powered motors in lieu of petrol mills. Whether gas or electric, it’s also become increasingly common for these vehicles to come loaded with dedicated track modes that are, at least intended for track-only use, unlocking the car’s full capabilities. 

Transmission: While the average road-going car in America utilizes an automatic transmission, road-legal track cars are far more diverse in terms of the types of transitions they employ — making this yet another crucial area to review when shopping. Road legal track cars are sometimes available with auto transmissions, but it’s more common to see manual gearboxes, sequential units, or paddle-shifted setups. 

Power: As machines that are focused on performance rather than utility or practicality, road-legal track weapons tend to be markedly more powerful than your average road-going sedan or coupe. In an effort to give a more objective sense of an engine’s power, manufacturers list horsepower and torque numbers — figures that are essential to review when shopping. Often achieved through massaging, the use of upgraded internals and forced induction systems, these high levels of power also play a role in the pricing of these vehicles. 

Bodywork & Aero: Whether or not they’re street legal, track day cars also tend to feature more aggressive bodywork that has an emphasis on aerodynamics, helping the vehicle cut through the wind and creating downforce to keep it pinned to the tarmac. As such, you’ll want to pay close attention to the aero elements such as any front splitters or canards, cooling vents or louvers, rear diffusers, side skirts, and wings and spoilers. It’s also worth looking into the material used to craft the bodywork or aero kit, as a growing number of models use exotic lightweight constructions like carbon fiber. 

Speed & Acceleration: With engines that tend to have stables of horsepower and gobs of torque, most street-legal track cars boast impressive acceleration and speed capabilities. When coupled with the vehicle’s weight (and gearing, amongst a handful of other minor factors), its horsepower and torque figures will have a direct impact on a car’s 0-60mph time and acceleration off the line, as well as its top speed. 

Safety Equipment: As anyone that’s ever prepped a car for a track day can tell you, these vehicles need to pass safety inspections in order to be piloted on most closed circuits — whether racing or merely tracking the thing. As a result, it’s pretty standard to see even road-legal track cars outfitted with supplementary safety gear that wouldn’t be found on most road-going automobiles such as partial roll-cages and seats with multi-point harnesses. 

Practicality: If you’re looking for a practical vehicle, a road-legal track car might be the worst possible choice, though, with that said, these vehicles can vary pretty significantly in terms of practicality and luxuriousness. Though most road-legal track cars are fairly spartan in nature, some feature markedly more storage space than others, some are completely devoid of creature comforts while others come loaded with a myriad of luxury features. Seating is another major area that impacts practicality, as some road-legal track cars have features such as rear-seat deletes to save on weight. Because these cars are made for both track and road use, practicality is a monumentally important area to consider when shopping. 

Versatility: Versatility is another pivotal aspect to consider, as these vehicles need to lend themselves to both street and circuit use — a trait that demands versatility. It’s also worth looking into each model’s price in order to consider the level of value it offers.

Tune & Upgradability: While pretty much every high-end road-legal track car will come loaded with an enormous host of upgrades and high-end name-brand equipment and running gear, though these machines can still be further up-specced through tuning or the addition or more aftermarket items. While the cost of these types of projects have a funny — and exorbitant — way of snowballing, building out and upgrading a road-legal track car can be incredibly fulfilling, even more so when done with a kit car that you’ve built yourself. 

Series & Event Eligibility: Certain cars will be eligible for certain race events. If you’re interested in competing, this is an important area to review when purchasing a track day car, as different models are eligible for different series, classes, and races. There’s also a growing number of single-make/single-model series that are often organized by the manufacturers of the cars themselves. 

Factory Five GTM Supercar

Factory Five GTM Supercar
Photo: Factory Five Racing
Summed Up
  • An American-made DIY kit cat that utilizes readily-available Corvette components & can normally be built for between $35K & $50K.

Best Kit Car: If you’re looking to build your own street-able track car on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Factory Five’s GTM Supercar kit. Assembling at home with in-depth instructions and everyday hand-tools, it comes with practically everything you need apart from an engine and some assorted running gear pieces. Because it’s a roller, performance is ultimately left up to you; however, Factory Five recommends dropping in an LS engine pulled from a C5 Corvette. Just imagine the pride you’ll feel when rolling up to the track in a car built in your garage.

Engine: N/A
Power: N/A
Weight: N/A
0-60MPH: N/A
MSRP: $24,990

BMW M2 Coupe

BMW M2 Coupe
Photo: BMW
Summed Up
  • A pint-sized twin-turbocharged M car with an available manual transmission & the ability to crack the 4-second 0-60 barrier.

Best Compact Pick: If you’re feeling put off by the nearly 90-grand that BMW’s asking for the M2 CS, don’t fret; the Competition spec offers practically all of the same componentry in a slightly less exclusive (and therefore more affordable) package. Under the hood, it comes powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six good for 453hp and 406lb-ft of torque — enough to take the car to 60mph in 3.9 seconds. And while it’s available with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, the fact that it’s still offered with a 6-speed manual is a true testament to its driver-focused intent. Riding on a set of 19″ M wheels with 6-piston front and 4-piston rear brakes, the 2-series may be the littlest BMW to get the M treatment over here in the US, but it’s just as performance-focused as its more powerful siblings.

Engine: Twin-Turbocharged 3.0L Straight-Six
Power: 453HP & 406FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 3,814LBs
0-60MPH: 3.9 Seconds
MSRP: $63,200

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Photo: Chevrolet
Summed Up
  • A retro-inspired Chevy with an understated — albeit aero-equipped — appearance that conceals a 650-HP V8 delivering 3.5-second 0-60 runs.

Best Muscle/Pony Car: Sure, by and large, muscle cars don’t belong within spitting distance of a corner, but the Camaro is one option that proves an exception to the rule. That’s because Chevy’s 1LE tuning package is actually quite the competent track upgrade, adding magnetic ride control, powerful Brembo brakes, and an electronic limited-slip diff amongst a slew of other performance-focused features. While it’s available across the entirety of the ‘Maro range, we’d have it in the range-topping ZL1 shown here. With its ultra-aero carbon bodywork and 650hp supercharged 6.2L V8, it’ll put your average straight-line American sprinter to shame.

Engine: Supercharged 6.2L V8
Power: 650HP & 650FT-Lbs
Curb Weight: 3,907lbs
0-60MPH: 3.5s
MSRP: $69,995

Ariel Atom 4

Ariel Atom 4
Photo: Ariel North America
Summed Up
  • A super-stripped down, minimalist vehicle with premium components & a 320-hp Honda 2.0 VTEC turbo engine.

Best True Driver’s Car: No list of street-legal track toys would be complete without the Atom, a true driver’s car that’s not just Ariel’s claim to fame but one that’s also responsible for many of the lightweight rockets currently on the road today. A true parts bin special created in the pursuit of all-out thrills, it’s fitted with the cream of the suspension crop, such as Bilstein dampers, Eibach springs, and AP Racing brakes. Not only that but it also features a turbocharged 2.0L Honda i-VTEC engine, offering iron-clad durability and over 500hp per ton. When you consider that it’ll do 0-60mph faster than a Ferrari (2.8s) with more grip than a Porsche, the result is a stripped-back racer that has everything required to be a true supercar killer.

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L Inline-Four
Power: 320HP & 310FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 1,312LBs
0-60MPH: 2.8 Seconds
MSRP: $83,750

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Photo: Porsche
Summed Up
  • A naturally-aspirated, daily-drivable Porsche that’s still capable of reaching a new 200-mph top speed thanks to a 493-hp 4.0L flat-six.

Best Daily-Drivable Pick: With the 911 now more of a sedate grand tourer than it is a spritely sports car, it’s fallen to the 718 series to carry on the platform’s legacy. And while that’s a pretty tall order for more middling-spec Caymans and Boxsters, the GT4 RS-spec is one option that does so with flying colors. In losing its two turbos for an extra liter of displacement, the 4.0-liter flat-six has rediscovered its soul, retuning the mill to churn out a cool 493hp, allowing for a top speed of 196mph and a 0-60mph time of only 3.2 seconds — all while snarling all the way to 9,000rpm. Complemented by a grip of choice-cut components pulled from Porsche’s high-performing GT3 and GT4 cars and a manual-only transmission option, it makes for an exercise in scalpel-like precision.

Engine: 4.0L Straight-Six
Power: 493HP & 331FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 3,227LBs
0-60MPH: 3.2 Seconds
MSRP: $160,700

Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70

Donkervoort D8 GTOJD70
Photo: Donkervoort
Summed Up
  • A 415-hp, four-wheeled homage to the marque’s founder, as well as the world’s first supercar capable of exceeding 2Gs as it corners.

Best Limited Production Pick: Built in honor of founder Joop Donkervoort’s 70th birthday, the 415-hp Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 is the most powerful car the Dutch automaker has ever produced. And while that in itself is no small feat, the rest of the package proves even more impressive. Coming in at just a tad under 1,500lbs because of its extensive carbon fiber bodywork (95%, to be exact) and lightweight battery setup, the D8 GTO-JD70 is the world’s first supercar capable of exceeding 2Gs as it corners. Even in straight lines, it’s a pretty formidable opponent, matching the above BAC Mono R’s 0-60 time and requiring a mere five seconds more in order to reach 124mph. With only examples 70 total, though, you better be on Mr. Dronkervoort’s good side if you want one of these exclusive open-topped beasts for yourself.

Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Inline-Five
Power: 415HP & 413FT-LBs
Weight: 1,499lbs
0-60MPH: 2.7 Seconds
MSRP: $215,300

BAC Mono R

BAC Mono R
Photo: Briggs Automotive Company
Summed Up
  • An insanely high-performance single-seat track weapon with acceleration, speed, & cornering that can put most hypercars to shame.

Best Go-Kart-Stye Pick: From its single-seat cockpit to its scant 1,223-pound curb weight, the Briggs Automotive Company’s Mono R is a go-kart-esque vehicle that’s minimalist in every sense of the word. Of course, BAC’s offering is a far sight less practical than most road-going production cars — what with its track-tuned suspension and its noticeably absent flyscreen — but that’s because it’s a vehicle that pushes the very limits of street legality. Powered by a mid-mounted, Mountune-developed 2.5L inline-four, it takes just 2.7s to leap to 60mph before finally ripping your face off at top speed of over 200mph — 217 to be exact. And, if you for whatever reason need any further proof of the Mono R’s race car pedigree, just check out its grippy Pirelli tires, off-set dorsal intake, and open-wheel rear end.

Engine: 2.5L Inline-Four
Power: 342HP & 243.4FT-LBs
Top Speed: 217MPH
0-60MPH Time: 2.7 Seconds
Curb Weight: 1,223.5LBs
MSRP: $244,335


Photo: KTM
Summed Up
  • A road-legal X-BOW GT2-based track weapon with a full carbon monocoque chassis, top-shelf components, & an aircraft-esque cockpit.

Best Overall Pick: The KTM X-BOW GT-XR is just about the closest thing you can get to a road-legal GT2 competition car from the Ready To Race outfit. Designed by KISKA and made ion Austria, the X-BOW GT-XR is based on KTM’s X-BOW GT2 and is constructed around a carbon fiber monocoque housing an Audi-derived turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox. Delivered via a rear-wheel drive setup with a limited slip differential, the GT-XR-spec X-BOW makes nearly 500hp and 430ft-lbs of torque, allowing for a sub-3.5-second 0-60mph time and a top speed that’s been electronically limited to a still healthy 175mph. Furthering its road-going capabilities, the GT-XR B-BOW doesn’t come equipped with a tiny tank either, with a 25-gallon cell that affords it a range of over 620 miles per fill-up. Rounding out this road-legal track weapon are Sachs Sport dampers, a laser-cut stainless steel exhaust system, a suite of super sleek all carbon fiber bodywork, an optional lift-axle, and center-locking forged Y-5-spoke OZ Racing wheels.

Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Inline-Five
Power: 493.5HP & 428.5FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 2,755LBs
0-60MPH: 3.3 Seconds
MSRP: $310,155

McLaren 750S Coupe

McLaren 750S Coupe
Photo: McLaren
Summed Up
  • A model that’s not only McLaren’s lightest and most powerful production car to date, but one that also retains the comfort & storage space needed for touring & daily driving.

Best Exotic Pick: Successor to the already wildly-capable 720S, the McLaren 750S Coupe stands as the UK company’s lightest and most powerful production offering to date, thanks to a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 cranking out a cool 740hp and 590ft-lbs of torque — figures that enable the road-legal track weapon to achieve a 0-60mph time of just 2.8 seconds, a top speed of 206mph, and the ability to fire off standing quarter-mile runs in only 10.1 seconds. And, thanks to a 19-gallon tank and a collective 260 liters of storage space front and rear, the 750S Coupe is a lot more practical than the other incredibly spartan models on this list, making it much easier to live with day-to-day. 

Engine: Twin-Turbocharged 4.0L V8
Power: 740HP & 590FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 3,062LBs
0-60MPH: 2.8 Seconds
MSRP: $324,000

Lamborghini Huracán STO

Lamborghini Huracan STO
Photo: Lamborghini
Summed Up
  • A track-focused, road-legal Super Trofeo Omologata-spec of what is already one of the most exotic & high-performance cars on the planet.

Best Premium Pick: Since 2009, Lamborghini has been holding its one-make Super Trofeo series in an effort to put the Squadra Corse’s automotive mastery on full display. With the addition of the Huracán STO, the illustrious Italian marque essentially took the event’s Huracán EVO racer and made it legal for the road. Much more than a mere derivative, however, it sheds nearly 80lbs from the lightweight Performante car, whilst being markedly more aerodynamic and making as much as substantially more downforce. Add to that one of the Raging Bull’s naturally-aspirated 5.2L V10s and you have a car that’ll do 62mph in 3.0s flat, 214mph in 9.0s flat, and climb all the way to 192mph.

Engine: 5.2L V-10
Power: 493.5HP & 428.5FT-LBs
Dry Weight: 2,952LBs
0-60MPH: 3.0 Seconds
MSRP: $334,395

The Best Street Legal Go-Karts

Best Street Legal Go Karts 0 Hero
Photo: Morgan Super 3 Speedster

If you’re partial to road-legal track cars, you’ll also likely possess a proclivity for street-legal go-karts — the latest and greatest of which we’ve rounded up for our guide to the best street-legal go-karts for behind-the-wheel thrills.