Porsche 911 GT1 (1998), total number made: 21, photographed at Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany, May 2017
The origins of the 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Le Mans winner can be traced back to a roadgoing version of the Group C 962 launched five years earlier. In order to homologate the 911 GT1/98, the FIA required a single street legal version of the race car to be made. You could call it ‘White Lightning’ because this road legal version of the race car had a top speed of 193 mph (310 km/h), thanks to its race bred 544 bhp (406 kW), 3164 cc flat-six engine. But in order to get to grips with this street version, you need to take a step back and explore the background of the racing version, and understand how and why the GT1 came about in the first place.
The 1994 Le Mans 24 Hour race was won by Mauro Baldi, Yannick Dalmas and Hurley Haywood driving a Porsche 962 LM GT. But that wasn’t just any old 962 that had been pulled out of the Museum, dusted off, upgraded and prepped for the race in the hope that it might do well. The car that won Le Mans in ’94 had in fact started out as the Dauer 962 Le Mans GT road car that Norbert Singer saw at the 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show.