Porsche has built some bonkers track-focused road cars over the years but there has only been one model to carry the fabled GT1 badge. Around 20 examples of the Straßenversion were ever made and veteran YouTuber Tim Burton aka Shmee had the opportunity to drive Porsche's very own prototype. The original 911 GT1 spends most of the time locked up in the museum in Stuttgart for visitors to admire, but every now and then, it comes out of retirement.
The epitome of a homologation special – along with the Mercedes CLK GTR of the same era – the Porsche 911 GT1 is truly a race car for the road. Its motorsport version triumphed at the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans, two years after this prototype was manufactured. It's an early 1996 build but with the updated 996-styled headlights. Whilst all 911s before and after it have the engine mounted at the rear, the GT1 is the only street-legal model to feature a mid-engined setup. That said, the RSR race car also has the flat-six mounted between the axles.
Porsche 911 GT1
At the heart of the 911 GT1 is a twin-turbo, 3.2-litre flat-six making 544 bhp delivered to the rear axle through a six-speed manual. In 1997, Auto Motor und Sport tested the supercar and achieved a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in just 3.9 seconds and 0 to 124 mph (200 km/h) in 10.5 seconds. That's impressive even by today's standards, made possible by a low curb weight similar to a Mazda MX-5, at only 1,150 kg (2,535 lbs).
Impressive numbers aside, the video is a good opportunity to discover some of the lesser-known details, such as the luggage area located near the engine. It can be accessed by unscrewing a panel mounted behind the rear glass. Speaking of opening stuff, we have the rare opportunity to see the engine after lifting the massive rear panel. At the front, the bonnet also opens to provide access to the fuel cap, battery, radiators, and other hardware.
There are some subtle differences compared to the "regular" production car, including fixed windows. The customer cars rarely come up for sale, and when they do, they go for serious money. At a Monterey auction organized by RM Sotheby's in August 2012, a Straßenversion went under the hammer for $1.17 million (approx. £922,000). It's likely worth a lot more 11 years later. As a matter of fact, in 2017, Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction saw a 911 GT1 Straßenversion change hands for the princely sum of $5.6 million (£4.4 million).