RM Sotheby’s to auction off road-legal 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution for an estimated $3.3M

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 14, 2016

Car enthusiasts are fixated on the 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution as it is set to grace RM Sotheby's Monaco sale in May. It is specifically exquisite because the "P1 POW" registration at the back indicates that it is road legal and it is the only former racing 911 GT1 Evolution that is legalized for public road use worldwide.

Having said that, the 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution is worth every penny of its estimated cost at $3.3 million. Moreover, it is probably the most stylish racing car in history. It won the Canadian GT championship three-peat from 1999 to 2001, engaged in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and has 13 victories in 31 starts.

The Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution is built with a 3.2-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six engine, producing 600 to 640 hp. It’s no wonder then why the race car has recorded impressive stats since its launch. However, the incredible power delivered by the 911 GT1 Evolution is not as competitive against the Ferrari F40 LM and the McLaren F1 GTR.

Porsche also focused on the aerodynamics, developing a huge rear wing, "fried-egg" headlights from the 996-generation 911, and a number of other racing features. It may not have been as excellent as the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, McLaren F1 GTR, and the Ferrari F40 LM on the racetrack but its edge is that it can be used publicly.

The Porsche 911 GT1 StraBenversion may have enjoyed the similar privilege but it cannot handle the real deal because it came with a detuned engine, offering just 544 hp. The GT1 Evolution is definitely expensive but it is one of a kind, making it ultimately priceless. Created as the Porsche 911 GT1's homologation, it is undeniably one of the sickest and rarest versions.

Often called as Strassenversion, the 911 GT1 Evolution is very different from the racing counterpart aside from its sparse interior. The homologation regulations required that the car shall comply with both road and racetrack rules, which include the comprehensive European regulations that established a golden age of GT1 racing.

As seen in the front and rear lights, the GT1 shared many components with its series-production counterparts but these have been integrated in a more competitive way. The production team has gotten rid of the rear engine layout that is not suitable for prototype GT racing.

The turbocharged flat-six engine is placed in front of the rear axle, supported by chassis tubes in place of the usual 911 rear subframe. Behind the engine, there is a longitudinal six-speed transmission to which the rear suspension is directly attached.

911 GT1 Evolution is based on the 993 body shell. However, it comes with modified exterior panels and a substantial roll-cage, which supports the suspension, gearbox, and engine. This has allowed Porsche to do away with the required crash testing as well as strengthen its ties to the production models. Originally built for the race track, the GT1 featured full-width wing, tiny cockpit, carbon fiber framework, and a maximum power of 600 bhp developed at 7,200 rpm.

The road versions only come with slight modifications compared to the race counterparts. These include a softer suspension, higher ride height, steel brakes that replace the race model's carbon discs, and road-going gear ratios. The engine was also detuned slightly.

The interior, on the other hand, was made with sports seats and a full dashboard inspired from the 993 line. When the first GT1 premiered at the 1996 season, Porsche only released one homologation vehicle. In 1997, the Evo version was launched, featuring new kidney-shaped headlights and enhanced aerodynamics. It was enough reason for Porsche to make 20 examples for selected customers, owning one of the most radical road-going vehicles during their time.

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