Which is not to say there haven’t been plenty in the past. I’ve seen a Porsche 917 with number plates blasting its way up the Goodwood Hill and more recently the 1998 GT1-98 was required at least nominally to be based on a road car.
But the one I want to focus one, only because it shows Porsche at its most resourceful and clever is the racing car that became a road car simply so it could become a racing car again. And win Le Mans. Which it duly did.
Porsche has always been cuter than cute in its interpretation of the rules. Remember it built 25 917s to circumvent rules specifically designed to ensure that such a car never got built? Or what about the 911 RSR which was required to retain its torsion bar suspension when Porsche really wanted coils? The rules never stated the torsion bars needed to function so Porsche designed the suspension it wanted and just left the torsion bars in place, but entirely redundant.
By 1994 it had been seven long seasons since Porsche had last won Le Mans. Financially the company was in a very poor state too. In racing terms the Group C 956 and 962 were not just elderly but obsolete and redundant because of new rules for sportscar racing, based on road going designs. While Group C cars were still eligible to make up the numbers, they had to have 80 litre fuel tanks instead of the 120 litres allowed for the street-based machines, not to mention engines pegged back to perhaps 550PS. Porsche could have raced the venerable 911 but their private customers may not have been too pleased and, besides, what hope was there against the likes of the Ferrari F40 and Dodge Viper?
Of course the dream ticket would have been a 962 that was somehow allowed to run to the GT regulations with a vast fuel tank and far more generous engine restrictor. But that would require it to be based on a road-going 962… Enter stage right, one Jochen Dauer.