Anyone can drive Pagani’s new hypercar

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 5, 2019.

Pagani Huayra Roadster BC in CSR Racing 2.

The Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta.

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Rev those engines, stretch your thumbs: Last Wednesday, Pagani gave video game fans a first look at the US$3.4 million (RM14.14 million) hypercar it will debut during Monterey Car Week in California next month.

The 20-year-old Italian brand unveiled its Huayra Roadster BC in the popular Zynga game CSR Racing 2, which lets players drag race a stable of over 150 meticulously-rendered vehicles. It is the top-grossing mobile racing game in the US, with a daily haul of US$60,068 and 12,593 new installs, according to ThinkGaming.com.

It is also a valuable tool for making real-world sales, says Christopher Pagani. Bugatti took a similar approach with the debut of its US$5.8 million Divo.

“Many people know about Pagani through what has been done with Grand Turismo, Forza, and CSR Racing — all the video games,” Pagani, the son of company founder Horacio Pagani, says via telephone. The Pagani family owns 97% of the company, a rarity in an age when even small automakers are owned by large holding groups.

“Kids are showing the fathers who Pagani is,” he says. “We like this kind of relationship with father and family. We are Italian. It’s very important to us as a family, and it makes sense for the company as well.”

The specifications for the new car are even more extreme than the existing Huayra BC, a 789hp twin-turbo V12 coupe. The just-released open-top version sports an all-new 800hp V12 engine called the Pagani V12, the first made by longtime supplier Mercedes-AMG to carry the Pagani name.

“We are the only company that has the official engine produced and developed for us,” Pagani said. “It’s years of development and a lot of effort and sacrifice from them and from us.”

And where the Huayra BC coupe was sold as production run of only 20 units at US$2.55 million apiece, the roadster version will be expanded to reach a production of twice that — 40 models sold for roughly US$1 million more each.

At just 2,755 pounds (1,249.65kg), the rear-wheel-drive Roadster BC is nearly as light as its predecessor, the 2,700-pound Huayra BC. Considering that a simple Ferrari California tops 3,700 pounds, it is a near-record weigh-in for a car of this speed and power.

The new car comes with an open top (hard, removable rooftop available) with a short, curved front hood chopped up with deep vents near each headlight, large air vents near the rear wheels, and a high, slim spoiler perched on the back. It has the same jumble stack of tailpipes and insect-like rear-view mirrors that have become signature to the Pagani brand.

The Pagani Huayra Roadster BC will make its real-life debut the week of Aug 12 in Carmel, California. — Bloomberg