The front half of the Strassenversion is 993-generation inspired – apart from the double wishbone suspension and 996-style headlights – but the back end is 962 sports prototype. The car is mid- rather than rear-engined and while there’s a 3.2-litre flat six in there it’s got four-valve heads, twin blowers and is water rather than air-cooled. Basically a 962 lump.
Why such a hybrid? With GT racing taking off in the mid-1990s Porsche decided that rather than making a race car out of its road car it would develop a bespoke racer, and then make a road version of it to meet homologation requirements. The 911 GT1 is the only Porsche ever offered by the factory as a race car first and then homologated for road use.
As a race strategy, it riled Porsche’s rivals but it did work: the car won the GT1 class on its debut at Le Mans in 1996, clocking 205mph on the Mulsanne Straight. The evolution versions that followed it went on to win plenty more races – 47 times out of 144 starts in fact, including first and second overall at Le Mans in 1998.
There was only one iteration of the Strassenversion. It was detuned over the racer, which could boast 600bhp or more, but it wasn’t detuned that much, and 536bhp in a road car weighing 1150kg was still a recipe for outstanding performance. The German motoring magazine Auto Motor und Sport tested a GT1 Strassenversion in 1997 and saw 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds, 0-100 in 7.1 and 0-124 in 10.5 seconds, with a top speed of 191mph.