It's that time of the year again, folks. Time for us to put down our laptops, to stop arguing about manual gearboxes on Twitter, and time to stop staring at cars we'll never buy on eBay or Bring-a-Trailer.
Instead, it's time for us to convene on the back roads of northern California as well as on track at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows to determine what car is worthy of earning the title of Road & Track's 2020 Performance Car of the Year.
Our rules for competing are the same as years prior. That means the cars included need to be new to the market or heavily revised. The winner from the year before is not invited back to defend the crown, so our apologies to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 for having to sit and watch.
We'll gather on Sunday evening and then the test starts early Monday at Thunderhill, where we'll collect lap times and instrumented testing. From there, we'll wind through the picturesque region of northern California until we reach Lake Tahoe to conduct our final vote on what will be the 2020 PCOTY.
Be sure to follow along on Instagram all week as we'll be posting incessantly about our days on the road and the track (hey that's our name!). The contenders are below, in no particular order.
After years of waiting, the Supra is finally back. There's been some controversy surrounding its return however, since it's mostly BMW Z4 underneath. It's still fantastic to drive though, meaning it has a real chance at taking the crown at this year's PCOTY.
Lexus RC F Track Pack
The RC F has been around for awhile now, but the Track Pack is all-new. It gets a 472-horsepower naturally aspirated V-8, along with carbon-ceramic brakes, launch control, carbon fiber body panels, and a bunch of other performance-minded upgrades.
Lotus Evora GT
Like the Lexus, the Evora isn't exactly a new car—it's been around since 2011. But the new GT is revised enough to differentiate it from the Evora 400 we had in 2017's PCOTY. It's more powerful and lighter, and even produces more downforce. And it has a manual transmission!
McLaren 600LT Spider
McLaren's Sport Series lineup is full of winners, so it's no surprise to see the 600LT on this list. The car is brutally quick thanks to a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 making 592 horsepower, looks great, and should be a blast to drive. We have a feeling it'll do well.
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
The Huracan got a bunch of updates in its transformation to Evo form. Sitting behind the cabin is the 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V-10 making 631 horsepower from the Performante, plus four-wheel steering and enhanced aerodynamics. We don't expect anyone to dislike it.
BMW M2 Competition
The engine from the M3 and M4 replaced the powerplant from the normal BMW M2 in the Competition for the 2019 model year, meaning a big step up in power and capability. It's arguably the most fun new car in BMW's lineup right now, and best of all, our test car has three pedals.
Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
Ah, the Miata. What group test is complete without it? It's one of the best new cars on sale, regardless of price. It recently received an all-new 2.0-liter engine with a significant boost in power (155 horsepower to 181), making it eligible for this year's PCOTY. We're happy to have it.
Hyundai Veloster N
Don't sleep on the Hyundai Veloster N. Though it may be the only front-wheel drive car in this year's test, it's still massively fun to drive. With a starting price under $28,000, it represents one of the best value cases here. Also worth noting: it's the only car here that can't be optioned with an automatic transmission. That's right, manual only. Just how we like it.
Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette
Yep, we got a new Corvette for PCOTY. It's easily the most anticipated car to debut in 2019 thanks to the relocation of its engine from the front to the middle—something car magazines have been predicting would happen for decades. Another big change is the absence of a manual transmission from the option list, with the 494-horsepower V-8 sending power to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch automatic only. We're curious to see how it performs.
Porsche 911 Carrera S
Porsche debuted a new 911 for 2020, so you should've seen this coming. The 992-generation Carrera S will be joining us for PCOTY, complete with its 443-horsepower twin-turbo flat-six engine and new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. Though it's heavier than ever before, it's still a brutally quick machine capable of decimating any back road you throw at it.
Nissan GT-R Nismo
The GT-R is the oldest car in this test, but a slew of improvements for the Nismo model this year means it's earned a spot at PCOTY 2020. There's a bunch of new carbon fiber pieces, meaning it's lighter than ever, plus the 600-horsepower twin-turbo V-6s now uses turbochargers from Nissan's GT3 race car.
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