A brief overlap in racing rules took place between 1996 and 1998 -- as the World GT race series was acquired by FIA and folded into LeMans and the World Endurance Challenge proper. Previous rules for the GT cars like the McLaren F1 GTR stated that the car had to technically be available for customers to buy and use on the road.
This rare piece of legislation led to road versions of the ultimate racecars of the time, including this Porsche 911 GT1 and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR.
The Porsche 911 GT1 was by far the most successful racer of the trio mentioned, instantly knocking the McLaren F1 off the top podium spots from 1996 forward.
The GT1 was so fast and so extreme in its later Evolution spec that it dominated LeMans for 1997 and 1998 -- winning the races outright over Toyota, Panoz and Mercedes by a huge margin.
Porsche made 22 overall GT1 road cars -- the first three with 993-style round lights, and the last 19 with 996-style lamps as shown here.
The GT1 Strassenversion (road version) was priced from $912,000 and road-legal throughout the world... except for California, where the car did not pass emissions.
That price equals $1.3-million in 2015 dollars, or $1.28M in 2012 dollars. This car sold at RM's Monterey auction for $1.17-million --- but is sure to appreciate massively over the next few decades.
Eventually, the 911 GT1 could become one of the most-valuable Porsches ever made. It already represents the last LeMans winner that even vaguely resembles a road car.
1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Evo Strassenversion
17-18 August 2012
1998 Porsche 911 GT1 'Strassenversion' (Street Version)
To be auctioned on Saturday, August 18, 2012
Sold for $1,175,000
- Chassis no. WP0ZZZ99ZWS396005
- 544 bhp 3,163 cc twin-turbocharged dual overhead cam horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine with sequential multipoint fuel injection, six-speed manual rear- transaxle, four-wheel independent double wishbone suspension with coil springs and anti-roll bar, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98.4"• One of approximately 25 examples produced
• The only example known to be imported into the United States
• Homologated roadgoing street version of the 1997 911 GT1 Evolution Race Car
• A pristine, low mileage example