Image credits: © Porsche.

1998 Porsche 911 GT1 LM Strassenversion news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coupe
Chassis Num: WP0ZZZ99ZWS396005
Sold for $1,175,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.
Sold for $5,665,000 at 2017 Gooding & Company.
In the mid-1990s, Porsche began to seriously rethink its future in GT racing. Their most powerful 911s were no match for the F1 GTR in BPR's GT1 class. The BPR Global GT Series was established in 1994, following the demise of the World Sports Car Championship. It was seen as a way to revive international sports car racing and one of the ways it did that was not requiring a minimum production number for homologation. Instead, in order to qualify for racing, the cars must be certified for use on public roads. This resulted in a remarkable variety of production GT cars, which lead to fierce competition and thrilling races. BRP's leniency also lead to several limited-production supercars.

The 1995 BPR season was dominated by the new McLaren F1 GTR, a racing version of the BMW-powered supercar. Adding to its resume, it captured an overall victory at that year's 24 Hours of LeMans. The F1 GTR finished in three of the top four positions, including First Overall and 1-2-3 in class.

Porsche's participation, up to this point, had been with factory 962 prototypes which they supplied to the Dauer racing team for competition. Zuffenhausen retained control of the cars' technical development and supplied the drivers. These so-called Dauer 962 GT examples were competitive and even claimed a Le Mans victory in 1994. With the new McLaren F1 GTR entries, the thirteen-year-old 962 platform was clearly outclassed.

Just six weeks after the 1995 loss, Porsche management declared its intent for a factory-based GT racing program. Porsche's response was to build a mid-engine 911 based on the current 993-series road car and construct a limited run of street-legal production cars for homologation purposes. The job was tasked to Porsche Engineer Norbert Singer, who began with the front end of the 993-based 911 and essentially grafted it to the rear-end of a 962. This helped avoid the prolonged process of crash testing that an all-new platform would require. A new tubular frame was constructed to accept a mid/rear engine placement and a rear transaxle. It had a sophisticated double-wishbone suspension, large Brembo brakes, and center-lock BBS wheels. It was given a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter water-cooled flat-six engine capable of producing 600 horsepower. The entire package was clothed in a 911-inspired carbon fiber shell. The aerodynamic bodywork was tested in the wind tunnel and constructed from the latest high-strength composite materials. Although it still resembled a Porsche, the GT1 was essentially a pure prototype - more Group C racing car than 911 road car.

The project was developed between July 1995 and January 1996 and made its racing debut at the 1996 24 Hours of LeMans. The two factory entries finished second and third overall, and First and Second in the GT1 class. This impressive effort was followed by other successful outings in BPR events.

After the 1996 season, the FIA acquired the upstart BPR Global Endurance Challenge, renaming it the FIA World GT Championship. Eligible for the series merely by having customer car orders in hand, with physical homologation yet to take place, Porsche further prepared the GT1 for the 1997 season. Considerable improvements and modifications were made to the car, with a redesigned bodywork featuring new teardrop headlamps from the 996 series. Aerodynamic tweaks were made and it was given a revised suspension. After these changes were made, the car was now referred to as the 911 GT1 Evolution (Evo).

The 1997 season welcomed a new challenger to the field, the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR.

Victory at LeMans eluded the Porsche GT1 Evolution in 1997. Porsche returned the following year with the revised 911 GT1-98, which had a completely redesigned carbon fiber tub, making it the first Porsche to use this construction method. The company's efforts were rewarded with a 1-2 finished at the 1998 24 Hours of LeMans.

As development of the 911 GT1 Evo had continued during the 1997 season, Porsche began work in October to build a short run of homologated customer cars, originally intended not to exceed 30 examples. These street versions, or Straßenversion, featured some minimal modifications from the Evo race car, including a higher ride position for improved ground clearance, a slightly softer suspension, more practical road going gear ratios, changes to the fuel tank, and a milder state of tune for the engine. The interior featured upholstered sports seats and carpeting and a trimmed dashboard from the 993-platform 911.

Although a street version, the Strassenversion GT1 was capable of 194 mph and 3.6-second 0–60 mph sprints and retailed for $912,000. Roughly 25 (three 993-styled road cars chassis 001-003, and a one-off GT1-98 road car that has never left the factory collection) examples were built, making them even rarer than the McLaren F1 GTR that originally inspired it. These were hand built cars with the Motorsport department taking exceptional car and attention to detail, including the individually engraved serial numbers on the carbon fiber panels and chassis components. All examples were pre-sold to Porsche VIP customers. Even with their expensive price tag, it is believed that Porsche lost money on every car sold.

This particular example finished assembly in January of 1998 and delivered through Porsche Zentrum Munich Olympiapark to its first owner, German collector Tobias Kemper. He took delivery on May 29th of 1998. While in his care, the car accrued just 4,400 km. Don Wallace acquired it in October of 2003. It is believed that Mr. Wallace imported this GT1 to the United States and registered it under EPA and DOT 'Show and Display' restrictions, and that the car is the only such GT1 Straßenversion to legally enter the U.S. and receive the unusual exemption. It arrived in the US and was EPA certified by JK Technologies in Baltimore, Maryland, and delivered to Mr. Wallace's climate-controlled facility.

Mr. Wallace used the car sparingly and displayed it at concours events on rare occasions. It remained in his care until May of 2009, when it was sold to Mark Wilson of Oldsmar, Florida. Along with minor maintenance, in September of 2010, the factory alarm system was disabled. The following May, the valve cover gaskets, o-rings, radiator fans, and low-speed fan resistors were replaced. In fall of 2012 - with 7,100 km - it was acquired by Manfred and returned back to Germany. In 2015, it was purchased by its current owner who had it returned back to the United States.

The car currently has 7,900 km on its odometer.

It is chassis number 005, which is believed to be the second example built, as chassis number for the model range from 004 to 023. It is finished in Arctic Silver Metallic with black leather upholstery. It was optioned with air-conditioning, and special 'comfort' seat cushions that can be stored in the rear compartment when not in use.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
With the return of internationals sports car racing in the mid-1990s, Porsche decided to develop an entry for the GT1 category, originally intended for manufacturers to showcase their 'Supercars.' Úp until then, cars competing in the category were heavily modified versions of road going McLaren F1s and Ferrari F40s. But when the 911 GT1 was unveiled in 1966 it became obvious that Porsche had once again taken advantage of the rule book, extracting every advantage possible. What had been developed was not a race version of the 911, but what was effectively a purpose built sports prototype wîth a little 911 thrown in.

Despite being called a 911, the car had little in common wîth the 911 of the time. The front clip did come from the production 911, while the rear of the car was essentially a Porsche 962, including its water-cooled, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, four valves per cylinder flat-six engine, which put out about 630 horsepower.

The 911 GT1 and its successor, the 911 GT1 Evo, while achieving a modicum of success both in Europe and North America, never achieved its primary goal - an overall win at Le Mans. Porsche did take the overall victory at LeMans in 1966 and 97 wîth Joest Racing who was running the Porsche powered WSC-95 prototypes.

For the 1998 season Porsche developed an all-new car, the 911 GT1-98. New GT1 rules stipulated that cars could be built from scratch and homologated if a road going version was also made available for sale. The ante had also been raised by the addition of the Toyota GT-One and a new Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR.

The 911 GT1-98 featured bodywork which looked even more like a traditional sports prototype than the previous GT1s. During the 1998 FIA International GT season, the 911 GT1-98 struggled to match the pace of the Mercedes which had also been revamped and improved. The new rules also favored normal led aspirated engine powered cars and handicapped turbo engines.

At Le Mans, however, it was a different story. The BMW V12 LMs retired, as did the Mercedes CLK-LMs. The Toyota GT-One, which was the fastest of them all, suffered gearbox failure.

The 911 GT1-98, despite being down on power to both the Toyota and Mercedes, more than fulfilled Porsche's hopes by finishing one - two overall thanks to its reliability and consistency. This gave Porsche its record breaking 16th overall win at Le Mans, more than any other manufacturer in history.

Source - Porsche
 
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