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Spent My Afternoon With a 911 GT1

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Specifically chassis 107 which was campaigned by a Canadian team (Bytzek Motorsport / BMS Motorsports / BMS Race Team) between 1997-1998, to great success. Considering they also parked a 919 in a mall last year, I suppose it would again be Porsche Centre Oakville who be brave enough to park this legend in their dealership. When I was here for Cars and Coffee a week ago, there was an empty space behind the 2016 Turbo S and now I understand why.

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This 1996 chassis was driven almost exclusively by Klaus Bytzek in the Canadian GT Championship and entered a fair number of events (Mosport 8x, Shannonville 4x, Road Alanta 1x, Mont-Tremblant 1x) winning 7 of then and surely securing at least one championship title.

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And you can see why - one look at the rear end and you can instantly tell that this is far from a road car turned racecar, but a racing prototype with road car bodywork grafted on top of it. Just take a peek at that carbon diffuser! The flared wheel arches are also something, and the camera doesn’t quite capture just how wide - or long for that matter - the car really is. Since it’s just on display, I suppose some Pirelli Wets will suffice.

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Illustration for article titled Spent My Afternoon With a 911 GT1

I suppose Bytzek had plans to campaign this GT1-96 car throughout the GT1 era but it was cut short following an incident where it crashed out at Mosport some time in 1998. Upon visual inspection I could only see some minor paint chipping above the right rear wheel, and there is scarce coverage on the event so I’m not entirely sure what was damaged. Regardless, it was apparently enough to convince BMS Race Team that they needed to buy the GT1-97, which they used to continue their Canadian campaign.

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A closer look at the rear diffuser and an admiration of 1990s carbon work. I still retain the opinion that the GT1-97 cars looked the best overall, but from the rear the earlier 96 car doesnt look too bad either.

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Talk about aggressive aero, that canard is at a pretty extreme angle compared to modern day prototypes! On top of that, there was a small gurney flap on the already massive carbon rear wing, although now that I think about it none of the tracks this chassis raced at really demanded a low DF package. Would have been amazing to see these things in the wet though, and watch where the plumes of water exit from.

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Illustration for article titled Spent My Afternoon With a 911 GT1

The very sparse driving compartment - very Maserati MC12 feeling where you have a solid metal panel between you and the engine, which means you have pretty horrid rearward visibility. The wing mirrors are mounted right on the tops of the wheel arches, which I guess would give you a good sightline right under that table top rear wing.

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At a wheelbase of 2.5m, I struggled to capture the length of this car even with my lens at its shortest (16mm). There is maybe another 30-40cm of overhang past the axles, but as you can see it pretty much dwarfs a Macan GTS.

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Peeking under the rear wing to look at the air intake.

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The aforementioned wing mirrors; not exactly sure how good the visibility is, but the historical results showed that they clearly made it work. Parked up behind a Turbo S, you begin to contemplate just how far Porsche has progressed over the 18 years that have passed between these two cars.

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Unfortuntely none of the staff were too keen on opening up the car, so I never got a chance to look at the 3.2L twin turbo charged flat six under this rear deck. BMS Race Team took parts that were salvageable off of this 1996 car onto the 1997 car to cut down cost, so I’m not entire sure whats left but I bet its spectacular regardless. Fun fact: BMS Race Team are the only team to have purchased a brand new GT1-97 from Porsche Cars North America that year, with all other 1997 spec cars being upgraded 1996 chassis.

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When I said the wing is massive, I meant it. It’s probably 30cm from leading edge to gurney flap, and it sits atop carbon wing stands. Amazing stuff.

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The dealership lighting didnt make it easy to shoot through the glass, but the interior was pretty barren on the drivers side. Just a simple race wheel with a couple of buttons and gauges.

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At some angles, the light just catches the carbon weave on such things as the side skits - not to the degree where you can see it right through the paint like on an F40, but neat if you can find it.

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The official plague from Porsche to signify that this is indeed a 993 GT1, chassis 107. The above plaque also shows that this is CASC (Canadian Automobile Sport Club) registered, which means it is allowed to run in most of the events put on by organizers in Ontario - anything from regional time attacks to the Historic Grand Prix at Mosport, which is coming up in a few weeks actually (I’ll be going!)

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And that brings us to the end of Chassis 107, concluding with a mobile wallpaper should you wish to use it.

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The story of Chassis 117 is equally, if not more, interesting; BMS Race Team took their GT1-97 Evo to three Canadian GT championships between 1999-2002, entering 24 events (Mosport 16x, Daytona 5x, Shannonville 3x) and winning 9 of them. After it was retired, it somehow made its way over to the UK where it was fully restored by Lanzante Motorsports and legally road registered.

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This is by far the most infamous of the road going GT1s, as I imagine it didn’t garner much international interest competing only in Canada (well, it did do Daytona too). It is the only road-legal GT1 Evolution (remember it was also the only brand new customer 1997 chassis) and it makes 22 Straßenversion chassis look absolutely tame.

Ironically if you search 911 GT1 street car, you’ll most likely be seeing images of the BMS Race Team GT1 Evo on google images. It was recently sold by RM Sothebys in Monaco back in March for 2,772,000 euros and I highly recommend you check out it’s history (Lanzante Motorsport’s restoration costs were only £300,000).

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Chassis 117 is regarded as the most successful 911 GT1 during that era, but again it mostly competed in Canada where we never really saw the challenge from McLaren or Mercedes, so take that as you will. As it now resides somewhere in Europe, I’ll probably never see BMS Race Teams later car in person but being able to get so close their championship winning 1996 car will more than suffice.

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