Small screen screamer

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A road-going hypercar with celebrity history

Some say it’s the fastest car around the Top Gear track and features a 4163cc, twin-turbo, intercooled version of Audi’s V8 engine. All we know is it’s called the Gumpert Apollo.

One of the most exotic supercars of the early 2000s is being sold by Mark Donaldson, and it comes with impeccable TV provenance. The Apollo Sport featured here is chassis W09GUA2157A964014, which arrived in the UK in August 2007 as the promotional demonstrator for Gumpert’s distributor.

Because of this, the car went on to feature in many magazine articles at the time. It hit the big time in June 2008, when it appeared on Top Gear, fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond when the TV show was at the height of its popularity. The car was driven by Hammond and then the Stig took it on a Hot Lap. It posted a time of 1.17.1 and became the new leader on their Power Lap Board, faster than Bugatti Veyron and Pagani Zonda. The achievement went some way to securing the then relatively unknown company’s name in the UK market.

Gumpert was founded in 2004 by Roland Gumpert, the engineer who had been in charge of Audi Motorsport in the quattro’s glory years of the 1980s, winning 25 World Rally Championship events and four World Rally Championship titles. With Audi’s approval, Gumpert founded the new company with the aim of producing a new race-inspired but street-legal, no-frills supercar with Roland Meyer, the founder of Audi Tuning legends MTM – Motoren Technik Meyer.

The Apollo was the first fruit of their labour. It came with a choice of three engine types: Basic 650bhp, Sport 700bhp and Race 800bhp. The 0-62 mph took 3.0sec, 0-200kph (124mph) in 8.9sec and a maximum speed of 224mph. This example is in Apollo ‘Sport’ specification (a €77,910 upgrade) and features a full carbon-fibre bodyshell, metallic paint, carbon front wheel well louvres and vortex generators, carbon trim, air jacks, fully adjustable traction control system by RaceLogic and motor sport carbon rear spoiler. Cosmetically the car was finished in Aero Blue metallic with Nero and Cristalgrey leather trim with silver and black thread.

Despite its track-focused nature the Apollo boasts limited race pedigree. It made its racing debut in the Divinol Cup driven by the Belgian Ruben Maes who finished third on the Hockenheimring race track. Gumpert also entered a hybrid version of the Apollo in the 2008 Nürburgring 24 Hours, driven by the 2004 winner Dirk Müller and ex-Formula 1 driver Heinz-Harald Frenzen.

But it is as a road-going hyper-car that the Apollo really made its name. “We believe this to be the only road-registered Gumpert Apollo in the UK and it is therefore a unique opportunity to acquire a monstrously capable slice of motoring history,” says Mark Donaldson. “Gumpert infamously claimed that the Apollo could drive upside-down in a tunnel if driven at a high-enough speed but we wouldn’t recommend validating that claim!”