The front-drive section of the all-wheel-drive system has been removed to shave weight, and the transmission features a Guard Transmission GT2 80/80 limited-slip differential designed to handle what is more than two times the amount of power a stock transmission endures. The axles are also stronger EVOMS 300mm units, and a Tilton carbon-carbon triple-disc clutch and 8-pound flywheel have to manage clutch duties. Future reinforcements will include Guard’s forged main shift rod, gears and steel syncros and a billet diff cover.

Being that it was, and still is, the most powerful car I had ever driven, you can understand my apprehension as I dropped into the GT3 carbon bucket and secured myself into the five-point harness. We’re talking about a better power-to-weight ratio than a Veyron. I imagined Gargano having second thoughts as well considering that it was the first time he would be in the passenger seat while someone else drove.

“Don’t worry, I’m not a maniac,” I told him. Gargano chuckled nervously. And then as I feathered the revs and slowly let out the clutch, the engine died. The Tilton carbon triple-plate clutch and lightened flywheel wouldn’t let this interloper off the line so easily. More revs and a slower clutch release got us rolling onto a deserted stretch of a Long Island highway that ran along the beach.

One thousand-plus horsepower is something you want to work up to instead of letting rip on the first go, but I didn’t have much choice because Gargano said that there was a good chance the locals would call the police. We’d get two runs, maybe three before we’d have to tone it down and pretend like we’re driving to the store for ice cream.

As expected, the big turbos took some time to wind up before they did their best work. From low revs there was a wall of torque pushing the car forward, the tach making lazy progress and the monster still snoozing. To prod the monster from its slumber, I dropped it into Third to the get the revs up, checked the mirrors and scanned as far down the road as possible.

I saw Gargano being thrown into the back of his seat, arms and legs flailing as if he had been blown back by a multi-megaton bomb.

When I pulled the trigger, I saw Gargano, who was leaning forward at the time, being thrown into the back of his seat, arms and legs flailing as if he had been blown back by a multi-megaton bomb. And that was with the revs just past 3000 rpm, when the turbos were just getting warmed up. But they came on quickly and with a ferocity that defied description. You can feel the spike in the power curve just after 3500 rpm, and on a dyno chart it would look like one of those stages in the Tour de France where the ascent is so steep it defies categorization.

The tach needle spun as if the car was running on slicks in the snow. While Gargano sat silently impaled to the back of his seat, I looked down just in time to catch the needle at 7000 rpm and make the shift up to Fourth. Gargano takes it up to 8000, but I didn’t want to risk anything to an $80K engine.

Into Fourth and it was another fast-forward surge of violence multiplied by brutality and sprinkled with absurdity. Then into Fifth, foot to the floor and the surge is just as demonic, as if wind resistance wasn’t an actual physical phenomenon. And then the road imperfections, which I couldn’t feel at cruising speeds, started to make the car jiggle and shake. I backed off the throttle, looked down and we were at 150 mph. That all happened so quickly there wasn’t even enough time for my life to flash before my eyes. So I did it again. And a third time just so it would burn into my mental hard-drive, just to somehow remember it. Then we went for some ice cream.

People use that tired cliché about “taking it to another level” so often that it’s lost its meaning and been thrown into the bin with “pushing the envelope.” More often than not, all that talk about the next level is really just a slight improvement instead of a noticeable shift or a new standard. Until people start building them to post the types of numbers that this EVOMS 996 can produce, there should be a moratorium on that phrase or else those claims will ring hollow.

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