- Image credit: Favcars.com

      The 8 Greatest road-going racecars

      When racing technology is taken to the street.

      50w ago


      The conservatives have won. There's no other way of putting it and being a political subject, everyone is entitled to their own opinion regarding it.

      All over social media, you'll find people who are disappointed by the result. They're arguing that Britain's voting system is hardly democratic and that those who voted Tory are blind and clueless. Other people have been saying some pretty negative things about Labour as well. It's a never-ending seesaw of chaos and allegations.

      I'm not going to mark my personal opinion on the result here, as I like to keep a relative balance of views online. But if there's a single word to describe what's happened over the past few days: well, it would be bonkers.

      Funnily enough, bonkers is just how anyone would describe any racing car with number plates! Here's eight of the greatest.

      Jaguar XKSS

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Jaguar won Le Mans three times with the D-Type in 1955, 56 and 57. It remains to this day as the brand's most successful racing car - and possibly even one of the greatest ever.

      To celebrate Jaguar's winning form, they decided to build 25 road-going versions of it. The XKSS was born and shared exactly the same 3.4 litre straight six and race-spec running gear underneath.

      Sadly though, the Browns Lane factory caught fire in 1957 which destroyed all of the remaining D-Type chassis'. Only 16 XKSS' were completed until very recently - where the continuation cars complete the missing chassis numbers.

      Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Another successful racing car of the 1950s comes from Mercedes Benz in the form of the 300 SLR. Sir Stirling Moss wrestled it to victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia, but its potential was cut short due to the horrific crash at Le Mans that year. A 300 SLR ploughed straight into the crowd and over 80 spectators were killed.

      Mercedes pulled out of motorsport until the late 80s. But before they did, a coupe version of the 300 SLR was conceived. It was owned by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the SLR's chief designer, and kept it as his personal car.

      It was quite a beast; allegedly, it roared 137-miles from Munich to Stuttgart in just over an hour via the autobahn. It housed a 3 litre straight eight that pushed out around 300bhp and could sail well-over 180mph.

      Aston Martin DB4 GT

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Aston Martin's DB4 was already a swift grand tourer which also boasted a sporting personality, but to compete against Ferrari's 250 SWB, they had to make an even harder version to fight Enzo where it hurts: the track.

      The GT arrived and was much lighter than the regular DB4. It used thinner aluminium sheets and had a shortened wheelbase. Most had their back seats stripped as well for extra weight-saving.

      Not only did it house a more powerful version of the 3.7 litre straight six engine, Sir Stirling Moss drove one to victory at Silverstone on its debut in 1959. It stands as one of Aston's most important cars. So much so, they even built 25 continuation models on top of the 75 originals!

      Ford GT40 MKIII

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      This is the result of the one time Ford tried to make a road-going customer version of its legendary Le Mans victor.

      Just seven road-going GT40s were built. Power from the 289 V8 was reduced from 385bhp to 306 and included user-friendly luxuries such as an ashtray and the gear lever being moved to the centre.

      It was truly atrocious as a road car though; the cabin made you a roast turkey every time the sun came out, and the skinny road-going tyres made it a nightmare to handle. It may have been quicker off the mark than a Lamborghini Miura, but it certainly wasn't as nice.

      But still: a GT40 for the road is an incredibly cool concept.

      Porsche 917K roadcar

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Chassis NO.30 of Porsche's 917 racer actually started out as a development prototype. Porsche used it extensively to test anti-lock brake systems amongst other things.

      They eventually sold it to loyal Porsche customer, Count Rossi - who made a fortune from the Martini drinks company. He planned to road-legalise the car by adding mufflers and a pair of wing mirrors. European authorities did not like this...

      He eventually got the car registered under various plates and took the car on many road trips around Europe. What a baller!

      Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      After being humiliated by the McLaren F1 at Le Mans, Porsche needed to create something fresh to aim squarely against Gordon Murray's centre-seated monster. The 911 GT1 was born in 1996.

      Built as a homologation special to the GT1 racer, the Strassenversion (or street version in English) came to exist and my lord, was it a beast.

      Its 3.2 litre twin-turbocharged flat six kicked out 536bhp and could shoot from 0-60 in well-under 4 seconds. Top speed was around 191mph. It may not have necessarily been the fastest supercar of the time, but it was certainly one of the most insane.

      Mercedes CLK GTR

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      The ethos of the GT1 swiftly continues onto Merc's answer to it: the CLK GTR. It was very fast and very aerodynamic. So much so, Mark Webber was involved in a rather scary take-off in a similar CLR at Le Mans in 1999.

      Nevertheless, 20 hardtops and 6 roadsters made it as road-going versions of the GTR. The 'standard' one housed a 6.9 litre V12 making 604bhp whereas a Super Sport version had a 7.3 litre unit with 655bhp. Top speed was around 214mph and at the time, it was priced at over $1 million - making it the most expensive new car in the world.

      It may have been called the CLK, but I can assure you it shared very few parts with the mediocre car your dentist drove.

      Ferrari 360 CS

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Normally, you'd expect a hardcore, track focused version of a supercar to be based... on the existing supercar. Ferrari has done it for ages; the 458 Speciale is logically based off the normal 458 and the same applies to the 599 GTO, F12 TDF and so on.

      The 360 Challenge Stradale though, was different. Because to make this car, Ferrari took the Challenge racer and road-legalised it.

      Power was up from the normal 360 to 420bhp and only had the F1 flappy paddle gearbox available. The racing ethos showed as the Stradale lapped the Fiorano circuit over 3 seconds quicker than the standard car.

      Even the options mattered on the Stradale; having things like a radio or speakers could've added as much as 30kg to the weight.

      Thanks for reading

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      Image credit: Favcars.com

      So, there we have it. Eight of the coolest road-going racers. If I've missed anything out, feel free to throw it in the comments.

      Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed reading the article.


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      Comments (34)

      • The GT1 days really made some crazy stuff. Excellent list and it's obviously hard to include everything. Some honorable mentions: Dauer 962, Toyota GT-One, Nissan R390, Jaguar XJR-15, McLaren F1, and Walter Wolf's Porsche 935. Also thanks to Count Rossi, there are two other road-going 917's. Since he set the precedent, Italy is likely the only country where you can have a road-legal 917 ;)

          11 months ago
        • Oh yeah, the homologation specials of the time were truly ridiculous! And damn, I'm jealous of Italy, lol

            11 months ago
        • The Toyota was trade the homologation base modells in company . The Toyota Motor Europe to The Mother Comopany .

            11 months ago
      • Great list. Another great article.

          11 months ago
      • I'm feeling proud to have known about all of these

          11 months ago
      • Wasn’t the jag featured in The Grand Tour on a road trip. I recognised the story of the factory burning down

          11 months ago
      • The Jag is far more special because I love how it looks

          11 months ago


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