The V8 has also been dry-sumped, dropping overall height by four inches and benefiting the center of gravity. This dry sump swallows 9 liters of oil, 2.5 liters more than the M5 motor. However the new intake manifold is taller, so the package ends up the same height as the stock BMW motor.

The unique stainless steel exhaust is ceramic coated and shielded with Darchem motorsport-grade heat reflective material to cut down heat in the engine bay. A 90-liter racing fuel cell sits in the chassis between the cabin and engine bay.

The engine is mated to the same six-speed CIMA gearbox used on the Pagani Zonda. Where the M5 has a dual-mass flywheel weighing a massive 50 pounds, the Ascari flywheel weighs just 17.6 and transfers power via a twin-plate organic AP Racing clutch. Ascari claims that the slightly lighter and more powerful KZ1R slingshots to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, to 100 mph in 8.2 seconds, and on to top out around 200 mph.

The engine and gearbox, with bespoke bell housing, are mounted on a steel subframe. The race-style double wishbone suspension uses steel arms mated to machined alloy uprights, Intrax height adjustable coilovers with helper springs, and Intrax race dampers with separate reservoirs. The anti-roll bars are three-position adjustable in front, with no rear bar.

Massive AP Racing 362mm cross-drilled vented discs with six-pot calipers in front and 330mm discs with four-pot calipers with Lucas ABS are connected to a hydraulic booster rather than a servo. The 9x19 and 12x20-inch Dymag three-piece lightweight wheels are shod with 255/35ZR19 and 335/30ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The British-made wheels have magnesium alloy centers and carbon barrels and are the lightest road-legal wheels money can buy. At 15.4 and 20.4 pounds respectively, they are about 20 percent lighter than a forged wheel, and up to 50 percent lighter than a conventional cast alloy wheel.

First impressions are of a very fast, civilized, and highly driver-focused car. The cabin is a bright and airy place to conduct business. Power delivery is smooth and strong, and thanks to a moderately weighted clutch and balanced controls, the car is easy to drive in traffic. Both primary and secondary ride are good, and it's obvious that the significant structural stiffness lets the suspension do its work properly. Many manufacturers seem unable to get their power assisted steering right. Ascari has succeeded, and just the right amount of assistance delivers good feel and linear reactions at all speeds without a hint of turn-in nervousness.

Ascari benefits from having its own 3.5-mile, 26-corner racetrack where I could give the car its head. Unlike a turbocharged car of similar power and weight, which would be trying hard to break traction at the slightest provocation, the LM is wonderfully linear and progressive in its power delivery.

Strong and unrelenting from just above idle to cut-out, the big V8 is almost deceptively smooth, and with your race helmet blocking out a lot of its rumbling decibels, the reference points to your pace come more from the rate at which the scenery hurtles past.

Off the gas and hard on the anchors, the big AP Racing brakes deliver tremendous retardation. They proved to be fade-free even though I pushed them to the limit in a series of flying laps.

Equally impressive is the superb handling and grip. Before I took the wheel myself, Klaas drove me around the track at full pelt. Although the LM was wearing Michelin road rubber, I was astonished by the sheer mechanical grip it could generate, and felt that it was not that far behind a Porsche GT3R on slicks.

As a driver's car and an object d'art, the Ascari KZ1R LM is a stunning achievement for a small specialist manufacturer. Its straight-line go is up there with the major league supercars, while its handling and grip and general usability are a wake-up call to bigger names in the business.

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