The Porsche 911 GT1 is a car designed and developed by German automobile manufacturer Porsche AG to compete in the GT1 class of sports car racing, which also required a street legal version for homologation purposes. The limited-production street-legal version developed as a result was named the 911 GT1 Straßenversion.
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With the revival of international sportscar racing in the mid-1990s, though the BPR Global GT Series (which then morphed into the FIA GT Championship) Porsche expressed interest in returning to top level sports car racing and went about developing its competitor for the GT1 category. Cars in this category were previously heavily modified versions of road cars, such as the McLaren F1 and the Ferrari F40.
However, when the 911 GT1 was uneveiled in 1996, Porsche exploited the rule book to the full and stunned the sports car fraternity. Rather than developing a race version of one of their road going models, what they created was effectively a purpose built sports-prototype but in order to comply with regulations a street legal version was developed called the 911 GT1 Straßenversion - literally a road-going racing car.
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In spite of its 911 moniker, the car actually had very little in common with the 911 of the time, only sharing the front and rear headlamps with the production sports car. However its frontal chassis was shared with the then (993) 911, while the rear of the chassis was derived from the 962 along with its water-cooled, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, 4 valves per cylinder 3,164 cc (3.2 L) flat-six engine fuel fed by Bosch Motronic 5.2 fuel injection, which was longitudinally-mounted in a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, compared to the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout of a conventional 911. The engine was generated a power output of about 600 PS (441 kW; 592 hp). In comparison, the 993 generation 911 GT2, which was otherwise the company's highest-performance vehicle at the time, used an air-cooled engine with only two valves per cylinder.
The 911 GT1 made its debut in the BPR Global GT Series (the FIA championship's predecessor) at the Brands Hatch 4 hours, where Hans-Joachim Stuck and Thierry Boutsen won comfortably, although they were racing as an invited entry and were thus ineligible for points. They followed up by winning at Spa and Ralf Kelleners and Emmanuel Collard triumphed for the factory team at Zhuhai.The 1996 911 GT1 clocked at a top speed of exactly 330 km/h (205 mph) on the legendary Mulsanne Straight in the practice sessions of the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hours Race.
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Regulations for the GT1 category stipulated that to be eligible, a total of 25 cars must be built for road use. Porsche developed two fully road-legal versions, dubbed "911 GT1 Straßenversion", and delivered one in early 1996 to the German government for compliance testing, which it passed. The second vehicle is in the hands of Bahrain-based private car collector Khalid Abdul Rahim. These two cars feature 993 style front headlights. A further 20 units were built in 1997 with 996 style front headlights. A single car was built in 1998 to homologate the all-new racing version under the new FIA regulations.
The engine had to be slightly de-tuned to meet European emissions laws, although its 400 kW (544 PS; 536 hp) at 7,200 rpm and 600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft) of torque at 4,250 rpm proved to be more than adequate; the car could accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 308 km/h (191 mph).