Some coachbuilt custom supercars are all show. But the owner of a Bertone Mantide is eager to prove that his has got the go to back up his show. Dan Watkins, the British gentleman-racer who bought the first Mantide, is so eager, in fact, that he's pondering personally financing a run at the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1's Nürburgring lap record. And there's every reason to believe his car could reach that goal.
At 7 minutes, 26.4 seconds, the 2009 ZR1 holds the current lap record for a stock, street-legal, series production automobiles (excluding such track-focused machinery as the Viper ACR and Radical SR8). Nissan has its eyes on the ZR1 and is closing in fast, but as delicate and fragile as it may look, the Mantide arguably stands the best chance of besting the supercharged Vette's time – mostly because it's based on the ZR1. Only it's 80kg (176 pounds) lighter and 30% more aerodynamic, thanks to the improvements made to the body by Jason Castriota and his team at Stile Bertone.
To test the theory, Watkins is mulling renting out the 'Ring for three days, hiring an expert Nordschleife driver, and of course, donating the use of his $2 million supercar. All in pursuit of the ultimate bragging rights. If it happens, well, be watching.