mercredi 13 avril 2016

This is the most extreme road-going Porsche 911 in history


A major factor in the value of a collector car is a link to a successful competition variant. But this road-going Porsche 911 GT1 Evo is not merely desirable through association: it’s the very car that competed in the Canadian GT Championship and the 24 Hours of Daytona…
Whether built to satisfy the requirements of homologation or those of its die-hard enthusiasts, Porsche has produced no-holds-barred racing cars for the road on numerous occasions: famous examples include the Carerra 2.7 RS, the 930 Turbo and the current 911 GT3. But the pinnacle of racing homologation – in performance terms at least – came in the late 1990s, when Porsche was required to produce a short run of road-going ‘Straßenversions’ to homologate its 911 GT1 for entry into the top tier of the FIA GT Championship.

A racing car for the road in the truest sense

But this particular car is no homologation spin-off. You’ll find no leather bucket seats, no colour-coded carpets and no crudely fashioned dashboard panels that attempt to soften the car for real-world road use. This 600bhp+ ‘Evo’ version of the GT1 – chronologically bracketed by the original GT1 and the GT1-98 that finally took the overall honours at the 1998 Le Mans 24-Hour race – is a thoroughbred competition car, one of only 14 GT1 racers in private hands. Thought to be the only one that has subsequently been registered for road use, it has a rather impressive track record of its own. Quite literally.

The most decorated GT1 of all

Sold by Porsche as a bare chassis and tub to a Canadian privateer team along with an ‘Evo’ upgrade package, the finished car subsequently took three consecutive titles in the Canadian GT Championship between 1999 and 2001; it was also entered into the 2001 Daytona 24-Hour race. As such, with 13 victories from 31 starts, chassis 993-117 is the most decorated GT1 racing car of all in terms of sheer number of wins. Yes, there are GT1s that took chequered flags in other prestigious international races, but this is the only one in which you can go for an early-morning blast to collect your Sunday newspaper.

A raw rarity

“From the beginning, Porsche always had the idea of building a successful racing car that could be used on the road, and vice-versa,” says Jürgen Barth, former Porsche factory driver and co-founder of the BPR series that ultimately morphed into the FIA GT Championship. “In the late 1990s, the GT1 proved that it was ultimately capable of winning the most prestigious races, yet in road-going form it had leather seats, carpets, sound deadening and even air conditioning. This particular example is very interesting, though – it is not a homologated street version, but a race-winning machine that is road-registered. As a result, it can be regarded as the ultimate example of that original Porsche philosophy.”
This GT1, then, is nothing less than an automotive unicorn. It remains eligible for many significant historic race meetings, but its road-going abilities provide an added dimension of desirability. Admittedly, its raw nature means it will never be a daily driver. But considering its competition history, this GT1 should surely be elevated beyond the iconic homologation specials that have increasingly captured the imagination of collectors in the past few years. What’s more, if you factor in its relative rarity compared to the GT1’s eternal rival, the McLaren F1, its 2.7m – 3m euro estimate seems all the more reasonable. 
Photos: Chris Wilson & Tim Scott for RM Sotheby’s
This road-going Porsche 911 GT1 Evo will form part of the lotlist for the RM Sotheby’s Monaco sale taking place on 14 May 2016.

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