Part two of our look across the wide world of GT1 cars starts with one of the biggest names in the business:
Ferrari’s F40 saw a number of developments for racing in the early days of GT1, notably by Pilot Aldix (F40 LM) and Strandell (F40 GTE). Both outfits would score race wins, Strandell one apiece in 1994 and 1996, Pilot one in 1995, but McLaren dominated otherwise, before Porsche’s 911 GT1 moved the goalposts beyond the Ferrari’s available shooting range.
Another of the cars listed here that never raced. You can read more about the car’s history HERE
Prodrive-built venture involving enthusiast and financier Frederic Dor and Prodrive, the package raised the game and took race wins and titles around the world including class wins at Le Mans, Petit Le Mans and an overall win at the Spa 24 Hours plus class titles in FIA GT and LMES racing. You can read more about its racing career HERE
German entrepreneur and engineer Franz Wieth launched his ow racing version of the 550, developed by Baumgartner Sportwagen Technik, two cars were built, one contested the FIA GT Championship in 2001, and then from 2003-5. One car also contested the 2004 Bahrain GT Festival and the car also competed in the second string Euro GT Series scoring two race wins.
A pair of cars were built, with Ferrari’s blessing and raced in a limited FIA GT Championship programme in 2003 with JMB Racing, the cars proving to be fast but unreliable. One car went on to be a regular in European Hillclimbing!
In 2000, private investors led by Stéphane Ratel, created a Ferrari 550 race car to the then-current GT class regulations, later GT1’s third iteration.
The car first raced in the FIA GT Championship in 2000 with Team Rafanelli campaigning a pair of cars the following year and a single car in the ALMS GTS class in 2002.
The Rafanelli car was sold on to Maranello Motorsports and contested selected Australian Nations Cup events in 2004 before winning the one-off Bahrain GT Festival at the end of the year in the hands of David Brabham and Allan Simonsen.
The 2005 575 GTC was developed by Ferrari Corse Clienti with N.Technology. The car relied heavily on Balance of Performance to be competitive with the earlier CARE Racing 550 Maranello, the Maserati MC12 and the Aston Martin DBR9.
The cars would take a handful of wins in the FIA GT Championship in 2005 and 2006 and would also see competition in the Le Mans Series and at Le Mans in 2004 and 2005 but without notable results.
Matech Concepts-developed for the new for 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship, Thomas Mutsch taking second in the Drivers Championship where four cars were entered. Three cars entered Le Mans the same year, all failing to finish. The cars competitive career ended after another four-car entry in the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship.
Lester Ray’s Harrier concern dates back to Group C days in the early 1980s with a series of neat and tidy little prototypes built and raced.
Into the 1990s and the LR9 appeared, an early car raced at Le Mans in 1994 as an open-top car listed in LMP2.
Thereafter though the LR9 was more usually a closed top GT car and it became a staple in the British GT Championship, taking race wins in the hands of Win Percy with highly tuned Ford Cosworth power, the LR9C racing in both GT2 and GT1 forms, the latter with predictably more power and better aero.
With the GT1 game moving on apace Harrier looked to move along too, an interim evolution in 1997 led to the final GT iteration in 1998, the GT1-98, but even with the emerging talents of Jamie Campbell Walter on board one of the cars, podiums proved to be out of its reach.
A new Harrier GT1 was proposed for 1999 but never came to pass, new owner Richard Austin had his eye on more power and downforce than the Harrier package could deliver – See Sintura!
See Renault Sport Spider V6 in Part 5
A factory-backed effort for the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours which saw bets being hedged in every possible way, after a three-car GT2 effort the previous year three NSX made the grid in 1995, one in GT2 and a pair in GT1.
The pair though had different powertrains, one turbocharged, the other normally aspirated. The n/a car failed to finish, the turbo car suffered repeated delays and was eventually not classified.
Revealed in 1993 the racing version of Jaguars XJ220 supercar won first time out in the BRDC National Sports GT Challenge at Silverstone, the forerunner of the British GT Championship.
Three works XJ220-Cs were entered at Le Mans in 1993 by Tom Walkinshaw Racing, John Nielsen, David Brabham and David Coulthard won the GT class with the other two cars retiring.
The winning car though was disqualified when senior steward Alain Bertaut complained that they were not running catalytic converters. The cars ran in the race under appeal.
IMSA officials wrote to the ACO confirming that the cars complied with IMSA rules. Jaguar won their appeal (supported by the FIA) but was nevertheless disqualified, as the ACO confirmed that the appeal had not been lodged in time.
Two cars raced in the GT1 class for the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, one ran fourth into the early morning until engine failure hit.
XJ220Cs made other race appearances in a variety of series but in particular BPR and British GT.
You can find part one of this feature Here
With thanks to John Brooks, David Lord, Marcus Potts, Regis Lefebure, David Downes, Peter May, David Lister, Jeremy Jackson and Racingsportscars.com for pics