Even the pace of these early BPR race cars, but more specifically this GT2, takes some explaining to appreciate. Take for instance the qualifying times at the Silverstone 4-Hours race in 1995. This car qualified in an overall fifth place with a time of 1:57.637 (raced by Lilian Bryner and Enzo Calderari), the first of no less than ten GT2s. However, what really shows its strength is the fact that it was only five seconds slower than a McLaren F1 GTR raced by Andy Wallace and Olivier Grouillard. But 1995 was only the start of this particular car’s impressive racing CV. In 1995, 1996 and 1997 it qualified and raced at Le Mans. However, racing is a cruel game and a mechanical problem and an accident kept the car from finishing this iconic endurance race. This car’s ultimate victory came in 1995 when it won the Porsche Cup with the same race duo behind the wheel. Needless to say, this car has seen several of the most notable racetracks around the world. Originally covered in black paint, the car’s colours evolved over the years to its current yellow hue, which has been in place since 1999.
But this was not the only aspect of the car that evolved over the years. Originally, it also had the smaller rear wing, but that changed through the car’s racing life to include the EVO race car specification ‘banana’ wing – with the end tips bending towards the front. I might be wrong, but if my memory serves me correctly it is the largest oicial Porsche wing to ever grace a 911! As mentioned, this GT2 originally featured the standard restrictors, but once it ended its classspecific racing career, they were removed. As I walk around the car, I also notice the wheels and tyres are similar to the EVO specification cars.
There are three-piece, centre-lock BBS wheels wrapped in 285/645 tyres at the front and massive 325/705 tyres at the rear. Not to my surprise it says “Competition use only. Full slick” on each tyre’s side wall. Peek through these multi-spoke 18-inch wheels and you will note the perforated and ventilated discs at the front and rear. At the rear, once the engine lid has been opened there is a huge intercooler below the teatray wing, while the owner has added specific air filters in those triangular air intakes, which form part of the rear deck. The Perspex windows (side and rear) scream race car, while the rear unit features two exterior carbon-fibre straps to keep the window in place at high speeds as the pressure lowers outside the cabin. As I kneel down, I can barely run my hand between the tyre and the wheel arch, that is how hunkered down this GT2 is.
An interesting fact is that the front, extended wheel arches are actually a single unit and not bolted on as is the case with the road car. Open the very light door and the interior features a full roll cage, three fire extinguishers, switches for the fuel pump, ignition and a start button to name a few. A further lure is the open gearshift mechanism. The only feature in the cabin that reminds you of the road car is the dashboard, the rest is all purposely added or stripped out for race purposes. Move to the front, and the compartment lid can be removed in its entirety within seconds. Below this lid rests a large, 100-litre competition fuel tank. At Cape Town’s Killarney Raceway circuit, where we did this shoot, the owner has managed a 1:14 lap time with this car – without it being properly set up. To put this time into perspective, a new McLaren 650S supercar manages around 1:17.9. He has also driven the car on international circuits such as Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as well as Spa-Francorchamps.
It is on the latter where our owner has a particular favourite corner: “Eau Rouge is probably one of the most memorable corners I’ve taken with this car. In a car such as this GT2 you can’t go flat-out through there, so at the bottom, close to the river, you tap of, just ever so slightly. Once you have turned, you put your foot down and hope the laws of physics stay on your side.” In South Africa he has also participated in the African 2-Hour endurance race, winning twice.