One of the most desirable modern Porsche road cars is up for auction; one more is currently for sale online.
Porsche doesn't take defeat well. Particularly at Le Mans, the endurance race which it has won more times than any other manufacturer in history. So it didn't take long - just six weeks - after the McLaren F1 GTR finished first overall and 1-2-3 in its class at the race in 1995 before Porsche declared its intent to develop a brand new challenger. The result was the 911 GT1 race car, which debuted at Le Mans in 1996 and finished first and second in class.
Rules state, however, that GT racecars have to be based on road cars, and so we were given the GT1 Strassenversion. Bridging the gap between the 959 and Carrera GT, the Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion was one of the marque's most extreme road cars. Porsche engineer Norbert Singer built the new machine, taking the front end of the 993-generation 911, grafting it to the rear-end of a 962 and constructing a new tubular frame designed for a mid/rear engine. A 600hp twin-turbo 3.2-liter flat-six was dropped into it, with a svelte 911-inspired carbon-fiber shell completing the package.
For 1997, the GT1 received a revised suspension and aero tweaks to the bodywork, as well as headlights that went on to define the 996 911. Dubbed the GT1 Evo, the revised racer didn't win that year, but with a lightweight carbon-fiber chassis incorporated for the 1998 season, the 911 GT1-98 took a one-two finish. It was during the 911 GT1 Evo's development in 1997 that Porsche began a short run of homologated customer cars, so-called street versions or "Strassenversion" in German. These featured suspensions, gear ratios, detuned engine with 544 horsepower, and a refined interior all designed to make it more user-friendly.
It still managed a 0-60 mph sprint in 3.6 seconds and a 194 mph top speed. Roughly 25 examples were built, retailing for $912,000. This particular model is the only example known to have been imported into the US and is going up for auction at RM Auction's Monterey Sale on August 18 with an estimate of $1,250,000 - $1,400,000. If you can't make it to Monterey, however, another Strassenversion is currently for sale at DuPont Registry. Claimed to be the last example made and in "museum condition", the car just completed a service at the Porsche factory in Germany and is priced at $2,325,000. (Photos by Darin Schnabel, courtesy of RM Auctions)