There’s something sublime about seeing a race car on the street.
It’s like catching a glimpse of a coyote in downtown Los Angeles or an XR400 in a lecture hall. There’s something perfectly insubordinate about it.
You may know the Porsche 911 GT1 as the the car that Porsche raced at Le Mans in the 1990s. Rightly so. The 592-horsepower 3.2-liter twin-turbocharged flat-6 hellion was the stuff of legend, dueling with other wonders like the McLaren F1 GTR and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR. And, like those bruisers, Porsche had to build a road-going version in order to adhere to class rules. The homologation special is known as the “Straßenversion” 911 GT1.
The car in this video isn’t one of those.
This particular 911 GT1 made its way to the 75th Goodwood Member’s Meeting earlier this year, and Henry Hope-Frost managed to grab a ride. We’re talking about the same 911 GT1 that graced the podium at the 1998 24 Hours of Daytona. As our host finds out, it doesn’t take much to turn the car from track menace to road legal. Namely, swap the springs and dampers for taller, softer versions, replace the slicks with DOT legal rubber, and change out the fuel filler to accept a regular service station pump. That’s all it takes.
If seeing the car on public roads is a treat, hearing the flat-6 wail at the surrounding countryside is a bonus. The owner says there are a total of three boost settings, and said owner keeps it on the softest available for road duty.
The 911 GT1 was a stout departure from 911s of old. For starters, it was technically mid-engined, which explains the long, low shape. While the racer’s front end was largely derived from the 996-generation 911, the rear-half of the car, including much of the engine architecture, borrowed extensively from Porsche’s legendary 962 race cars.