Supercars that make you feel like a Formula One driver

March in Melbourne is all about horsepower with the annual influx of the fastest, most advanced race cars in the world for the Australian Grand Prix.

As well as the honed F1 machines there's an assortment of go-fast support cars, from Porsches in the Carrera Cup, V8 Supercars and every other supercar in the Australian GT races.

In the interests of ramping up the on-track excitement, here's a way to get some of that high-octane excitement for the road.

Ferrari 488 GTB


It's tempting to focus on the V8 that defines Ferrari's top seller.

But it's the steering wheel that provides a glimpse into the F1 world. The Manettino switch is inspired by the dials used on the wheels that form the control centre of an F1 machine.

Flicking between Wet/Sport/Race/CT-off/ESC-off instantly tailors throttle response, traction control, damper settings and the electronic differential to change the car's behaviour.

Out back, it's the glorious 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 that gives the 488 so much character – and pace.

While it lacks the shriek of the V8 it replaced in the 458, it makes up for it with immense pull in any gear. And the 492kW/760Nm pull is virtually devoid of turbo lag.


Read the full review here.

Mercedes-AMG GT R


Its old school V8 engine – complete with a satisfyingly brutal bark – is a long way from the V6 hybrid drivetrain in the F1 W08 EQ Power+ that promises to be somewhere near the pointy end of the Albert Park field on Sunday.

Upping the output of the 4.0-litre to 430kW helps, but it's the dynamic talents that seriously improve its focus.

Finished in "AMG green hell magno" – a colour that celebrates the green hell Nurburgring race track where development took place – it certainly stands out.

Read the full review here.

Honda NSX


If it's technology you're chasing look no further than Honda's second generation NSX supercar.

With 427kW it's the fastest hybrid car in the country, teaming a twin-turbo V6 with a trio of electric motors (two up front, one in the rear).

Pace is hampered by kilograms – lot of them (blame that on the weighty battery packs) – although the NSX is still quick, dashing to 100km/h in a little over three seconds.

For some, though, the NSX may be a tad too sensible, lacking some of the drama you'd get in a Ferrari or Porsche.

Read the full review here.

Aston Martin DB11


Under the guidance of personable Pom Andy Palmer Aston Martin is a car maker on the move. As well as a tie-up with Mercedes-Benz to utilise AMG's potent 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 the British brand best known for kitting out the world's most famous spy is also planning a hypercar like no other.

The Valkyrie is a collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing's technical genius Adrian Newey and promises F1-like pace for the road.

Not that the DB11 is blisteringly quick. The 447kW V12 certainly lacks nothing in grunt, but the near-1.8-tonne weight of the car makes it more grand tourer than race track bruiser.

Perfect, then, for a grand Albert Park entrance.

Read the full review here.

McLaren 720S


It doesn't arrive until late 2017, but the recently revealed McLaren 720S – the replacement for the 650S – has the interweb frothing.

A new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 punches out 537kW (or 720 horsepower, hence the nomenclature), making it one of the most powerful cars on the market.

But it's the intricate aerodynamics and new carbon fibre tub that make the 720S such a clever road car with hints of F1 thinking.

The 720S incorporates some clever aero solutions, such as headlights that incorporate air intakes, hot and cool air paths down each side (the deep scallop on the doors channels hot air from the wheel arches while the upper scoop over the wheel arches feeds fresh air into the engine), and the airbrake wing that pops up for added stability and shorter stopping distances.

Read the full review here.

Porsche 911 GT3


GT3 to Porsche fans means the ultimate in race track excitement - at least until the arrival of the GT2, which adds even more thrust to the equation.

Adopting the 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine previously reserved for the GT3 RS and exclusive 911 R, the soon-to-arrive GT3 pumps out 368kW. As before, it's all about big revs, with that peak achieved at 8250rpm.

Enthusiasts may relish the return of the manual gearbox to the GT3, but those wanting the ultimate in pace and precision will choose the seven-speed PDK, which darts to 100km/h half a second quicker (3.4 seconds versus 3.9).

Read the full review here.



It'll go down as the most powerful car to ever emerge from Australia, and the HSV GTS R W1 is the closest thing you can experience to a V8 Supercar for the road.

It starts with the bellowing supercharged V8, which makes a phenomenal noise courtesy of the carefully tuned bi-model exhaust. The mighty 474kW/815Nm punch isn't bad, either.

Potent AP Racing brakes provide immense stopping power, while the sticky track-ready Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres do a brilliant job of harnessing all that punch.

Read the full review here.

Check out the gallery above to see the cars that offer a Grand Prix experience on the roads.