The best cars around a racetrack
Designed to put a huge grin on the faces of those behind the wheel, there are some cars out there that put thrills and fun above all else. The term 'track day car' is often used to describe cars of this nature due to their pin-point handling, blistering speed, and inherent ability on famous race circuits from around the world.
Unfortunately, we cannot all spend our time testing our skills around the Nürburgring and Le Mans in some of the world's most iconic race cars. However, plenty of new and used cars possess the abilities to be both a usable day-to-day vehicle and a fantastic track day car for some weekend fun, and we have highlighted ten of the best.
- MINI John Cooper Works GP
- Porsche 911 GT3
- BMW M3 Competition
- Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R
- Toyota Yaris GR
- Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
- Ford Fiesta ST
- Hyundai i30 N
- Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition
- BMW M4 Competition
MINI John Cooper Works GP
The MINI John Cooper Works GP is essentially a MINI Hatch that has had motorsports pedigree injected into its veins, making for a car of the wildest nature. Cars from MINI's John Cooper Works range are brilliant on track as it is, but the JCW GP is in a league above.
With over 300bhp on offer and a 0 to 62mph time of just 5.2 seconds, the JCW GP is seriously quick, but it is through corners and trickier parts of the circuit where it most impresses. Custom dampers and springs, lower than standard suspension, and a distinctive aero kit take the MINI name further than ever before.
Away from the track, the JCW GP is fantastic fun on British B roads, as you would expect. However, to reduce weight, it only comes with two seats, so you can only impress one friend at a time. It can manage over 35mpg though, so it is not overly-expensive to run on a daily basis.Search New MINI Hatch Search Used MINI Hatch
Porsche 911 GT3
Few cars are built quite like the Porsche 911 GT3, so it comes as no surprise to see it on this list. It is a car that is at home on the racetrack, offering unrivalled performance and the iconic 911 silhouette.
The 911 GT3 can go from 0 to 62mph in 3.4 seconds, courtesy of its 4.0-litre, 503bhp naturally aspirated powertrain, but with 346lb ft of torque on offer, performance is seamless across the whole rev range.
Other performance-orientated features include composite brakes for maximum stopping power and Porsche Active Suspension Management, which offers a lower ride height than other 911 models.
Despite its sheer ability on a race circuit, the 911 GT3 is equally impressive on-road, sharing similar road dynamics to applauded Porsche models like the 911 Turbo and 911 Targa.Make a New Porsche 911 Enquiry Search Used Porsche 911
BMW M3 Competition
Just the like the aforementioned 911 GT3, the popular BMW M3 Competition is another common sight at the car park for the Nürburgring, boasting typical BMW M performance and a range of additional equipment to complete its Competition spec.
The sixth generation M3 Competition is the most powerful to date, packing over 500bhp within its 6-cylinder, racing-inspired TwinPower Turbo powertrain. Power is delivered through the rear wheels (or all wheels if opting for an xDrive model), in typical BMW fashion, meaning its driving experience is superb and great fun.
Multiple driving modes are available to ensure the M3 Competition is a match for a variety of conditions. When on track, drivers will want to use the 'Track' mode, but when off it, 'Sport' and 'Road' modes offer a more comfortable ride. Being based on the same platform as the highly popular BMW 3 Series, practicality is more than good enough for day-to-day life, too.Search New BMW M3 Competition Search Used BMW M3 Competition
Mercedes-AMG GT R
As the flagship of the Mercedes-AMG range, the AMG GT R has big expectations to meet, and it does so with great aplomb. The GT R is a race-inspired version of the stunning Mercedes-AMG GT coupé, adding an AMG GT R aero pack and additional performance parts to make a compelling all-round package.
With over 575bhp, 516lb ft of torque and a 0 to 62mph time of just 3.6 seconds, the AMG GT R is a seriously fast car – so fast, that it has earned itself a place as an official Formula 1 Safety Car.
However, Mercedes-AMG have not completely stripped the GT R out in the name of performance, deciding to leave plenty of advanced technology and driver aids that prove useful in day-to-day life.
It is at home on the circuit, but with features such as adaptive dampers and comfortable alcantara sports seats, it is suitable for normal use as well.Search New Mercedes-AMG GT Search Used Mercedes-AMG GT
Toyota GR Yaris
When Toyota unveiled the GR Yaris, very few expected the car to be as good as it is. Heavily influenced by the Japanese manufacturer's success in the World Rally Championship, the GR Yaris is a pure thoroughbred when it comes to racing.
With GR-FOUR (the brand's intelligent four-wheel drive system) at its helm, the GR Yaris is like few other hot hatches, providing immense levels of grip and ultimate cornering ability when out on track. But GR-FOUR makes the GR Yaris a match for a variety of tricky road conditions too, taking rain and snow in its stride.
The 1.6-litre, 257bhp turbocharged powertrain offers performance to match, as well as unexpected levels of economy when driving in a tamer manner; officially rated at 34.4mpg WLTP. Ultrasuede sports seats and plenty of on-board gadgets ensure the GR Yaris is a perfect place to spend time regardless of whether you are on track or off it.Search Used Toyota Yaris
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
As the baby brother to the iconic 911, many would think the 718 Cayman would live in the 911's shadow, but it is a fantastic track day car in its own right.
With a 414bhp-producing naturally aspirated powertrain, and a larger rear wing to other 718 models, the Cayman GT4 is a common sight at most track days. The latest generation lapped the Nürburgring 12 seconds quicker than the previous generation, highlighting the 718 Cayman GT4's nature on track.
It is not the most practical car on this list, offering just 150 litres of boot space, but that is still enough for a weekend getaway's worth of luggage. Furthermore, the Cayman GT4 comes with a range of technology to ensure its suitability for road use, including Porsche Connect app compatibility and satellite navigation with real time updates.Make a New Porsche 718 Cayman Enquiry Search Used Porsche 718 Cayman
Ford Fiesta ST
Ford Performance cars have long been known for offering plenty of power and an affordable price tag. And with plenty of iconic performance cars being produced throughout the years, Ford models are no stranger to a track day.
One of the most popular models currently available is the Ford Fiesta ST due to its nimble handling, punchy performance, and affordable price tag. On track, features such as the Quaife limited slip differential and grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Tyres ensure it can compete with cars from the class above.
The Fiesta ST is a proven everyday partner too, achieving over 40mpg fairly comfortably when driving in an economical manner. Boot space is also fair, offering around 300 litres in its standard form, which should be more than enough for your weekly shop. It is even available as a 5-door if you are after better practicality.Search Used Ford Fiesta ST
Hyundai i30 N
Hyundai's N Performance range has been making quite the name for itself in recent years, building off the back of their success in motorsport disciplines, including the World Rally Championship. At the core of this performance branch is the striking Hyundai i30 N hatchback and fastback, which have become popular due to their fantastic balance of dynamism and practicality.
Bold styling sets it apart from the standard i30 range to the eye, but when behind the wheel, you will know it is in a league of its own. The 2.0-litre, 276bhp powertrain produces a sonorous exhaust note through its active variable exhaust system that is sure to get the heart racing.
On track performance is influenced by features such as launch control and rev matching to give optimal acceleration out of corners and from a standstill. It is one of the most practical track day cars on this list too, coming with five doors as standard and a well-sized boot.Search Used Hyundai i30 N
Aston Martin Vantage F1® Edition
Whilst arguably better known for its grand touring abilities, the Aston Martin Vantage is actually a very capable car on track. To commemorate its use as an official Formula 1 safety car, Aston Martin decided to release a track-focused version of the Vantage, aptly named the F1® Edition.
The Vantage F1® Edition is available in both coupé and roadster bodystyles, giving you the choice dependant upon your preferences. Whichever you opt for, you can bank on a blisteringly quick 0 to 62mph time of just 3.6 seconds and an additional 200kg of downforce compared to its standard counterparts.
Adaptive damping, an electronic differential, and independent double wishbone coils are just some examples of features that enhance performance on track, and improve comfort when off it. Other tech such as an integrated satellite navigation system and a comfort pack ensure the Vantage F1® Edition is a car that is fairly easy to live with on a daily basis if required.Search New Aston Martin Vantage Search Used Aston Martin Vantage
BMW M4 Competition
One of the more recent additions to the BMW M Performance range, the BMW M4 Competition is a fiery coupé that delivers an eye-watering amount of power, making it a perfect track day weapon.
The second generation, which was introduced in 2021, came with a bold new design and plenty of advanced technology. Whilst its looks split opinion, very few can argue with the M4 Competition's expertise on a race circuit. With over 500bhp, and a 0 to 62mph time of as little as 3.7 seconds, this is a proper driver's car.
However, it shines on the road too, with adaptive M suspension, multiple driving modes, and a merino leather interior making it one of the most refined cars on this list. Boot space comes in at 440 litres, too, so you will have no problem transporting a few bags of luggage for weekend getaways.Search New BMW M4 Competition Search Used BMW M4 Competition
Find your next track day car with Stratstone
If you plan on venturing out on track in your own car, remember to stay safe and follow the track's rules at all times. You may also want to consider purchasing track day insurance to ensure your pride and enjoy is protected should anything go wrong.
If you are on the search for a car that is capable both on track and off it, our new and used car collections are home to a wide variety of suitable performance-orientated cars. Alternatively, our blog section offers information on a wide range of topics for further help or advice.