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1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evo

The winner of 13 races and three Canadian GT Championships

Extensive period competition history, including the 2001 Daytona 24 Hours

The only 1997 Evolution-spec 911 GT1 sold new by the factory

Benefitting from a comprehensive restoration by Lanzante Motorsports totalling in excess of £300,000

Just three private owners from new, road-registered in the United Kingdom

Chassis no. GT1 993-117

+44 20 3621 2923

The Porsche 911 GT1 Evo

International sports-car racing enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s, prompting Porsche to re-enter the fray with a top-flight competitor. The Stuttgart marque quickly realised its 911 GT2s could not effectively compete in the BPR Global GT Series, so set about building a new mid-engined car around a composite and steel-tube chassis.

The result was the 911 GT1, a no-compromise racing prototype which could be mildly detuned, fitted with creature comforts and driven on the road. While it did indeed meet the FIA’s homologation requirements, Porsche’s competitors were infuriated because while they had begun with a road-going GT car and adapted it for competition, the 911 GT1 was designed from the outset to go racing.

Porsche’s new car incorporated much of the 993-generation 911’s front end, though double-wishbone racing suspension could be found beneath. The rear of the car was all new, with double wishbones and push-rod shocks. The floor pan and bulkheads were of honeycomb aluminium and composite construction. Mounted amidships was the water-cooled flat-six engine, featuring a pressurised intake system and two large KKK turbochargers of the type used on the GT2. Power was rated at an impressive 600HP.

Porsche’s initial goal was to match the McLaren F1 GTR’s weight of sub-1,000kg. However, the engineers in Stuttgart concluded that a little more weight would work in their favour. At 1,050kg, the GT1 was permitted to run with a larger air intake and could therefore generate considerably more power. Positioning the engine right behind the driver allowed Porsche to maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of the tail section and diffuser.

The Porsche historian and former racing driver Jürgen Barth says the factory built six 911 GT1 competition chassis, numbered 001 through 006, and 22 chassis designed for road use. Eight additional competition chassis were delivered to Porsche’s customer racing teams, numbered 396001 through 396023.

In 1998, one more Straßenversion (street version in English) was built in addition to four further racing cars. In total, just 41 Porsche 911 GT1s left the factory – 18 racing cars and 23 Straßenversions. That makes it among the rarest competition Porsches of them all. It also makes it even rarer than Porsche’s on-track nemesis: the McLaren F1, of which 107 examples were built in its plethora of varieties.

Two factory-entered Porsche 911 GT1s clinched first and second in the GT class at Le Mans in 1996 and, between them, scored three further victories in the 1996 BPR Global GT Series. Amid the unrelenting arms race between the top factory teams, Porsche upped the ante in 1997, introducing the 911 GT1-97 Evolution. The 1996 cars’ chassis and bodies received myriad modifications, although newly issued power restrictions from the FIA meant Porsche now faced stronger competition than ever.


This Porsche 911 GT1 Evo

The squadron of 911 GT1-97 Evos led at Le Mans before agonisingly dropping out in the closing stages of the race. Customer GT1 entries, however, finished fifth and eighth overall. Between 1996 and 2003, Works and privateer Porsche 911 GT1s won an impressive 47 of the 144 races they entered. One of those customer teams was Bytzek Motorsports of Toronto, Canada. Its founders Harry and Klaus Bytzek acquired three 1996-spec 911 GT1 chassis and raced them extensively with the sponsorship of Litens Industries.

According to Jürgen Barth, the 911 GT1 chassis presented here was sold to Bytzek Motorsports by Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) in 1998 as a bare monocoque chassis, to replace a 1996 chassis which was damaged in a race at Mosport Park. The team’s technicians were able to install the drivetrain and suspension components from its damaged car on the new chassis, purchasing additional components from PMNA including, most notably, the Evolution upgrade package. As such, this is the only factory-produced 1997-spec Evolution chassis sold new by Porsche, all the others instead receiving retrospective upgrades.

Chassis number GT1 993-117 enjoyed an extensive period competition career, the Bytzek team scoring consistently strong finishes. Nowhere was this more obvious than at the team’s home track Mosport Park near Ontario, now known as the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Between 1999 and 2003, this 911 GT1 clinched an incredible 11 victories at the circuit. Suffice to say, Bytzek Motorsports comfortably won the Canadian GT Championships in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

At the 2001 Daytona 24 Hours, Bytzek Motorsports entered three Porsche 911 GT1s. Chassis 993-117 was one of them, assigned to the drivers Klaus Bytzek, Scott Maxwell, David Empringham and Richard Spenard. They qualified strongly in 12th position overall, though dropped down the order after the team had to replace the transaxle in the closing stages of the gruelling endurance race. One of the sisters cars finished eighth overall.

Chassis GT1 993-117 is commonly believed to be the most successful of all the Porsche 911 GT1s produced, boasting 13 victories in 31 starts. Klaus Bytzek retained ownership until 2013, when he was finally convinced to part with this car by a prominent British motorsport enthusiast and collector. In 2014/15, a restoration worthy of the car’s historical significance was commissioned to Lanzante Motorsports in the United Kingdom. The cost of the restoration was in excess of £300,000 and included the necessary modifications to make the car road legal.

Since then, the car has been run for less than three hours. Its sole public appearance came at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, when it shared the hallowed West Sussex asphalt with Porsche’s own Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid. Prior to the 919’s victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2015, the previous Porsche to win the French endurance classic was a 911 GT1.

Resplendent in its 2001 Daytona 24 Hours Bytzek Motorsports livery and benefitting from a recent service at Lanzante Motorsports, this 1997 Porsche 911 GT1-97 Evo is currently road-registered in the United Kingdom. Accompanying this ultra-special GT1 racer for the road are a comprehensive file of restoration photographs and invoices, factory documentation and various mechanical and user manuals. Naturally, it’s also eligible for the world’s greatest historic motorsport events, including the Le Mans Classic, the Daytona Classic, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the respective Endurance Racing Legends series, and a plethora of prestigious concours competitions.


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