Tony O'Kane | Feb 20, 2009

South Africa isn't really known for its supercar industry. In fact, we'd be so bold to say that the nation can't really claim it has ever had a proper, bona-fide indigenous supercar produced within its borders.

However, thanks to the efforts of one determined South African, the country finally has a big-engined supercar to call its own - and it's called the Barnard.

barnard_04

Not exactly the most exciting name is it? Koenigsegg, Spyker, Pagani, they're all exotic-sounding badges. Barnard on the other hand is more like Gumpert: it sounds like the name of a tractor manufacturer, not a supercar-maker.

Badge aside, at least it'll be quick. The brainchild (and namesake) of endurance racing fan Chris Barnard, the South African supercar is an uncompromising road-legal race car. A tubular steel chassis provides enormous rigidity, while the lack of any assistance for the brakes and steering means you'll need to be as fit as Mark Webber to drive the thing.

Barnard supercar

You'll need Webber's cat-like reflexes too, for there's no traction control to keep that 460 kW (617 hp) twin-turbocharged mid-mounted Porsche V8 in check. Launch it from rest and it'll hit 96 km/h in under four seconds, with top speed estimated at an asphalt-scorching 300 km/h.

Not enough for you? Barnard hints a 400 km/h version could be in the works, while the rear subframe has been designed to accommodate a range of high-performance motors should you want even more power.

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A smooth composite body, completely flat undertray and rear diffuser will help keep the Barnard glued to the road at high speed, while a huge array of aircraft-inspired gauges will allow the driver to keep an eye on engine vitals. The Barnard's styling is more Le Mans racer than Ferrari Enzo, so make no mistake - this is one for the hardcore enthusiasts only.

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The Barnard Is expected to cost 1.1 million Rand ($168,000 AUD) with the first deliveries commencing mid this year.

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