“Ready to Race” isn’t simply a slogan at KTM, it’s the very DNA of the Austrian manufacturer. It defines the approach to new projects and the motivation behind them. It’s the vision for developing, testing and producing cars to win races around the world. Where second place is no option.
All of these qualities apply just as much to the latest KTM Sportcar GmbH project, the KTM X-BOW GT-XR. We caught up with Hubert Trunkenpolz, Managing Director of KTM Sportcar GmbH and KTM AG Executive Board member, to find out more.
KTM launched its first four-wheeled vehicle, the X-BOW, in 2008. The X-BOW quickly became one of the leading lightweight sportscars on the market. At the time KTM was mostly known as a motorcycle manufacturer, so this marked a major milestone for the whole company. What were the biggest challenges with the X-BOW back then?
Right from day one we wanted to produce a car that reflected KTM values such as uncompromising lightweight construction, pure performance and outstanding design. We had to find a number of special technical solutions, such as the extraordinary carbon monocoque. We also had to build an entirely new production facility. Those were major challenges, but we were certainly up to the task. Ultimately we established a new KTM manufacturing facility in Graz, with the most high-tech small-series production in Europe. When the idea became a reality and the first X-BOW emerged out of the plant, petrolheads from around the world were blown away. There’s no question that it was all worth it.
A lot has happened since then and new X-BOW models and evolutions have been released. How happy are you with the development of the X-BOW range?
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we are very proud to see how everything has developed. Since we began production, we have delivered more than 1,400 X-BOWs to people who want to enjoy pure driving pleasure. We have become one of the world’s most successful small-series sportscar manufacturer. In addition, with the X-BOW BATTLE, we have created one of the most successful amateur racing series in Europe, which has also helped us to continue developing the X-BOW. We have recorded countless victories in many categories of racing. The KTM X-BOW GTX and GT2 were the next major step for us. They laid the groundwork for our dream of building the most uncompromising super sportscar for the road.
KTM has now announced a new X-BOW called the KTM X-BOW GT-XR. What does the XR stand for?
XR stands for Extreme Racer. The X-BOW GT-XR is by far the most extreme road-going car ever produced by KTM. Our main focus was on overall performance. We wanted to design a car that is capable of setting fastest lap times at any time at a track day. Achieving this aim is all about combining low weight with high performance and sophisticated aerodynamics. That’s why every aspect of development centred on the power to weight ratio.
How did motorsport help in the development process?
Motorsport is the best test bench for pure performance and endurance. Any deficiency costs time and any error can mean retirement. Perfection is the only way to win, which is why motorsport came first for us, followed by the development of the road-going car. We crystallised the strengths of the car and were able to identify and eliminate any vulnerabilities.
What can fans expect from the new car?
We are currently conducting our endurance testing in which I have already been able to drive some kilometres. I don’t want to say too much, but fans will be seeing something extraordinary and extreme. The impressive agility combined with raw power and a throaty engine sound give me goosebumps! That’s exactly the feeling we want to create with all our products. There are also a number of technical solutions that we have developed to get the racing car on the road. Racing fans will definitely recognise quite a bit of motorsport technology. We have also made sure that the car is suitable as a daily driver, for instance that you can drive long distances without taking a break and can take some luggage with you. What we are creating here will surprise quite a few people. And then there’s the aggressive and spectacular design. This car is definitely an eyecatcher, and to us simply “a car like no other”.
Who is the target group for the new X-BOW GT-XR?
It’s definitely not a car for everyone. People who drive an X-BOW GT-XR are a different breed and have individual lifestyles. If you are sitting here in the cockpit then you love the thrill of driving and like to push the boundaries of what you can achieve. You definitely know what you want and don’t do things by halves.
When will the new KTM X-BOW GT-XR be officially unveiled and where can you get one?
We can’t wait to lift the lid on the new car and are doing everything in our power to unveil the GT-XR in September. We have some digital renderings of the new model for those who can’t wait until then. The computer graphics are a very good likeness of the finished article.
The car is available for pre-order now. Those who would like to get their hands on one should contact their KTM X-BOW dealer, as only a very small number will be produced each year.
Find your nearest dealer here: https://www.ktm.com/en-int/find-a-dealer.html