From any angle and at any speed, it is the perfect picture of what a modern sports prototype should look like

After its 1994 Le Mans victory with a decade-old design, Porsche needed a new long-term strategy for its international sports car competition. Enter the 911 GT1.

Keeping to the spirit of the regulations, Porsche used an existing 911 road car, the type 993, for the body shell. It was stiffened by a substantial roll cage that also supported the engine, gearbox and suspension. In line with 911 tradition, the motor was a horizontally opposed six cylinder, but it was mounted ahead of the rear axle line rather than behind it like the road cars. The 3.2-liter, four-valves-per-cylinder "boxer" was water-cooled and turbocharged with a pair of intercooled KKK turbos. Maximum power of 600 hp was developed at 7,200 rpm and transmitted to a six-speed gearbox equipped with its own oil cooler.

A strong visual association with the 911 road car was necessary, so several subtle styling cues reinforced the link, but otherwise the GT1 looked every inch the purpose-built racer it was. From its huge "shark's mouth" front air intake to the high full-width wing at the rear, there was no question what the car was designed for. Beneath its predominantly carbon-fiber skin, the GT1 incorporated a number of advanced technical developments, including antilock brakes, carbon brake discs and built-in air jacks for speedy wheel changes. Power-assisted steering helped minimize driver fatigue.

In 1997, the "Evo" GT1 saw changes that improved aerodynamics, as the race car gradually morphed away from its production-based origins. The visual connection with the production car was maintained by new kidney bean-shaped headlamps like the ones on the recently introduced type 996 production car.

Still chasing that next elusive Le Mans win, the Stuttgart firm produced a new GT1 for 1998. The car was completely redesigned with a carbon-fiber body tub, the first Porsche to use this method of construction. The gearbox was redesigned, incorporating an F1-style sequential shift mechanism. Despite facing increased competition from faster entries fielded by Mercedes and Toyota, Porsche triumphed in its 50th-anniversary year.

Regulations for the GT1 category stipulated that to be eligible, cars must be capable of road use. In developing the road version of the GT1, Porsche met the most stringent EU requirements-the first car completed in January 1996 was used for compliance testing. Although there would be no series production of the GT1, the factory did produce a handful of road-going models for select customers. The road car's 544 hp and dry weight of 1,100 kg produced shattering acceleration: 0-100 kph (62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds.

Delivered new to Germany in May 1998, this 911 GT1 road car has not been used for any form of motorsport. Unmodified, it has covered a mere 4,400 km from new and is presented in outstanding condition throughout. If super exclusivity appeals to you, forget the Carrera GT. This is the 911 GT1 for your collection.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1998 Porsche 911 GT1
Years Produced:1996-1998
Number Produced:Approx. 20
Original List Price:$912,000
Tune Up Cost:$5,000 at the factory
Distributor Caps:Included in above
Chassis Number Location:On horizontal bulkhead in front compartment
Engine Number Location:On right side of block, forward edge
Club Info:Porsche Club of America, 5530 Edgemont Dr., Alexandria, VA 22310
Alternatives:Ferrari F40, Jaguar XJ 220, McLaren F1 R, Mercedes CLK
Investment Grade:A

This rare road-going Porsche GT1 sold at the Bonhams Europe Monte Carlo auction on May 26, 2003, for $755,790, including buyer’s premium.

It has been said that pretty is fast, and with the 911 GT1, I doubt many would argue. The car from any angle and at any speed is the perfect picture of what a modern sports prototype should look like. I suppose someone someday will design a better-looking car, but I surely can’t imagine it today.

As the first of the historic GT1 cars to sell at auction, its market value was difficult to predict. However, we can compare this to the conceptually similar Mercedes Le Mans cars. A road version of the non-race-winning Mercedes CLK sold for over $950,000 at the same auction. By comparison, and given its tremendous corporate and race heritage, the Porsche seems like a bargain.

On the other hand, there are cheaper supercars to be had. The Ferrari F40 is around $300,000, which seems downright cheap. Or if you really want to go slumming, how about a Jaguar XJ 220? They’re positively giving them away at $125,000, but you’ll have to put up with their wimpy six-cylinder engines. And of course, neither has Le Mans-winning heritage, nor are they as limited-production as the GT1.

This will always be a thin market. After all, few have the resources to buy a car like this, and even fewer have the skill to drive them properly. Will the next GT1 sell at this price? Probably, as there will likely never be more than one or two for sale at a time, and scarcity keeps prices strong. We do know this for sure: The GT1 is the most expensive road-going Porsche ever sold, new or used. Yes, the seller has suffered depreciation to the tune of $150k or so, but we can only assume that anyone who buys a million-dollar car isn’t worried about trifles like a 15% loss of value.

For the Porsche fanatic of means, this was a terrific buy. Wherever he shows up, he’ll be the class of the field, the envy of everyone else at the event. And chances are that as the years go by, this car will become more collectible, rather than less.-Jim Schrager

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