This week, it was announced that the top class in the WEC and at Le Mans will be extreme hypercars needing road-going counter parts to be legible for entry. This got me thinking to other periods in time and categories when racecars had to be "based off" of road legal cars which I call "homologation cars". Here is my top 5 list of favourite homologation cars:
Number 5: Lancia 037
This car isn't only on this list for its amazing looks and performance. It also has a hilarious story behind it. Back in the days of Group B rallying, the competing manufacturers had to build 400 road going examples of the car. Lancia however, decided to only make 200 and trick the inspectors into thinking there were more. Here's Jeremy Clarkson to explain more:
Number 4: Mercedes CLK GTR
I have always had a soft spot for the Mercedes CLK GTR. It all started when I was a young boy playing Gran Turismo 4, a game on PS2 that featured the CLK. After seeing it in that game, I thought it was an amazing car with the crazy - but still recognisable - looks. Later on in life, I saw the videos from the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours of the car flipping after coming over a crest. As scary as this looked, it has never deterred me from adoring that car.
Number 3: Ford GT
Which era I here you say? Pick one! The Ford GT is a car that has been winning at Le Mans for decades. It all started back in the '60s when Henry Ford devoted himself to beating the Ferraris that were dominating at the time. After a few failed attempts, they finally managed to achieve their goal by winning the top class at the infamous race. Unfortunately, they didn't get to win using the Ford GT during the second time they used it in the early to mid 2000s but when they returned in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of their win, they managed to make the name proud by winning the GTE class.
Number 2: Porsche 911 GT1
As we approach the best part of this list, here is a car that not many people know of. Thanks to the existence of RUF, many people see the GT1 thinking it's a crazy RUF CTR of somesort. However, it is indeed a GT1 racecar based road car. With the typical Le Mans spec long rear end and overall mad look, the 911 GT1 deserves much more recognition than it already does.
Number 1: Maserati MC12
Last but not least, here is one of my all time favourite cars. The Maserati MC12. The MC12 is based on the chassis of the Ferrari Enzo however, in a bid to reduce drag, the final car ended up being much longer than the prancing horse. So long in fact that it became too big to participate at Le Mans in the GT1 class. I very much hope that a car with a trident on it will enter the race in 2020 now that the new "LeMansHypercars" have been announced.
Obviously, we can't talk about all these Le Mans legends without mentioning the McLaren F1. However, though some do, I don't consider it a homologation special car as at 106, there were many more examples of the car than the minimum to be accepted.
Finally, as we spoke about the Lancia 037 earlier, I couldn't leave you without telling you to look at the other mad Group B cars like the MG Metro 6R4 and Peugeot 205 T16.