FULLY FOCUSED. CONCENTRATING ON THE ROAD AHEAD. NO bleating of satnav instructions, no music, and ideally, no other traffic. Just empty tarmac wriggling off into the distance and a machine to get you to the other end.

The cars on the following pages are designed for moments such as these. They’ve been excused from the mundanities of the daily grind, given a hall pass from family duty. Some have been built from the ground up with no other goal than pure entertainment, others started with an even purer purpose – winning races.

What they all share is an ethos, a sometimes intangible quality that elevates them beyond more conventional performance cars. Jethro Bovingdon explores this theory with the first of our tests, revisiting a model that many consider the ultimate incarnation of the ultimate sports car – the remarkable Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 (page 78).

Aston Martin is no stranger to the road racer concept either, with both the Vantage GT8 and Vantage V600 (page 86) offering alternative and perhaps more luxurious takes – one inspired by racing, the other paying homage to a car that took its name from the crucible of road racing, Le Mans.

John Barker then walks us through the line of ‘special series’ Ferraris (page 94), from the 348 GT Competizione to the latest 488 Pista, that have formed the basis of the firm’s customer racing scene for decades. And to conclude, we look at a potted history of road racers (page 108), with evo’s writers each choosing a car that best represents the genre.

Now buckle down that harness and let the journey begin…