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Horacio Pagani, an Italian born in Argentina, first directed the Department of composites Lamborghini before founding the company Pagani Composite Research in 1988.
This new company then worked for several projects Lamborghini, whose edition of the Countach for its 25th anniversary, the concept design of the P140 and Diablo. In the late 1980s, Pagani began designing his own car at the time known as the C8 Project. Pagani's projects was to rename Fangio F1 at its output, to honor the five-time world champion Formula 1 Juan Manuel Fangio.
In 1991, the company creates Pagani Modena Design to meet the growing demand of the parent company for its designs, engines and prototypes. In 1992 he began building the prototype Fangio F1 and in 1993 the car was tested in the Dallara wind tunnel with convincing results. In 1994, Mercedes-Benz agrees to provide the firm with its V12 engine.
Pagani's first model, the Zonda, is propelled by mid-mounted V-12 DOHC engines manufactured by Mercedes-Benz's AMG division. The car's design was inspired by jet fighters and the famous Sauber-Mercedes Silver Arrow Group C cars, and features several unique design elements, including its circular four pipe exhaust.
The Zonda production run includes 15 track-only Zonda R models of which 5 will be Revolucion models as well as several "limited edition" Zonda cars in following years.
The successor to the Zonda was the Pagani Huayra. It is named Huayra after the Incan god of wind. Pagani expects to build no more than 40 each year and each will sell for £1,000,000. The engine is a M158 twin-turbo 6.0 Litre V12 from Mercedes' AMG division producing 720 horsepower (537 kW) and 1,000 N·m (740 lb·ft) of torque.
The Huayra's main body is made from carbotanium; a composition of carbon fiber and titanium, thus it is reasonably lightweight. The Huayra has been redesigned from the ground up, but shares many visual qualities with the outgoing Zonda. The top speed has gone up from the 220 mph (350 km/h) (set by the Zonda F Roadster) to 235 mph (378 km/h), and the 0–100 km/h time is 3.2 seconds. When the car was driven round the Top Gear test track by The Stig it set a lap time of 1:13.8, making it the fastest road car round the track.