Even greater work has been undertaken on the suspension, which features stiffer Eibach Pro springs and heavily recalibrated Mando passive dampers in place of the standard adaptive units. There’s also a modified front crossmember that allows for an increase in negative camber to 2.5 degrees, while at the rear are a pair of extra strengthening bars for greater rigidity and control. Furthermore, the front anti-roll bar has been increased in thickness to 25mm, while at the rear is a 17mm unit.
Six-pot Brembo calipers clamp 380mm discs at the front (connected to the pedal with motorsport grade braided hose), while the standard wheels are replaced by 5kg lighter OZ Racing Leggera 19-inch rims, wrapped in Pirelli Trofeo-R rubber. To cope with the extra grip and retardation both the ESP and ABS have had their software massaged.
Externally, the GT420 is no shrinking violet, mainly due to the fact that the already bold shape is covered in quasi-racing livery that includes the names of those OEM manufacturers that have supplied upgraded parts and technical knowhow. There’s also a front splitter, a larger rear diffuser and an extended tailgate spoiler – although the aerodynamic advantages are moot.
Perhaps the most telling indication of the skunkworks nature of this project are the rather rustic plastic brake cooling ducts that have been inserted into the front bumper.
Driving the Kia Stinger GT420 on track
We were let loose on Silverstone’s International circuit to find out, but not before some sighting laps in the standard GT-S. It’s a timely reminder of what a surprisingly quick and approachable car the Stinger, yet after a couple of laps the tyres and brakes are starting to lose their battle against its hefty 1,855kg kerbweight.
Before going anywhere in the GT420 you have to fold yourself through the narrow gap in the rollcage. You’ll then find you sit nice and low in a Sparco race seat and are clamped firmly in place by the four-point harness. The view straight ahead is fairly familiar, but look away from the dashboard and around the cabin and you’ll see what seem like acres of bare metal and miles of exposed wiring. It looks and feels like a proper racer. It sounds like one too.
Thumb the starter and the V6 crackles noisily into life – and it gets even louder as you start to work it hard. The combination of lower kerbweight and increased power means the Kia feels like a potent performer, even within Silverstone’s wide expanses, which tend to sap speed sensations. Yet it’s that soundtrack that really makes you giggle, the hard-edged metallic note hardening and the volume increasing hilariously as the engine really gets into its stride beyond 4,000rpm. Flat chat upshifts are accompanied by a shotgun crack, while there’s a lovely popping on the overrun – although the changes themselves take a little too long to respond to the paddles.