The popularity of track days and amateur racing is at perhaps an all-time high, with seeming countless versions of track-prepared options out there. Back in the 1970s, there were basically no track-ready options available. Even when supposed track-derived cars arrived in the 1980s, they wouldn’t hold up to hot-lapping for very long. But today you can pop down to your Porsche, Audi, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and even Bentley dealer and walk out with a full factory prepared race car. The Porsche model which traditionally has carried this flame was the 911, first with the RS models followed by the GT3. But they’ve gotten hugely expensive, and Porsche has another popular track platform in the Cayman. Recently gussied up for track duty in the GT4 model everyone is swooning about, the Cayman is better prepared than ever to take on your favorite track. And by track, for many that means garage, waiting for the model to appreciate. But Porsche also released a full turn-key race version of the Cayman to the public this past year. With a mid-mounted 385 horsepower 3.8 flat-6, motivation wouldn’t be a problem. Porsche ups the track-bias with the 6-speed PDK, a factory roll cage, gutted interior and lightweight aluminum/steel hybrid panels, 15″ 6/4 piston brakes, and a slew of GT3 bits. You could even get a 26 gallon endurance fuel tank. But unlike the normal Porsche factory race cars, this fully-prepped GT4 Clubsport would run out the door at $165,000:
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From one iconic Porsche livery in the Martini Racing colors, we move on to another equally if not more recognizable color scheme for Stuttgart; the John Wyer run Gulf Racing with the unmistakable blue and orange combination. Yet, this time we’re not looking at a Porsche, but Volkswagen GTi. Perhaps the GTi doesn’t quite have the racing repertoire of the 911 more often associated with Gulf, but these potent pocket rockets have been popular race platforms since their inception. The original GTi makes an excellent and affordable race chassis, and while the newest models are an amazing 32 years old now they’re still hitting the track and winning.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen GTi on eBay
On the verge of three years ago I took a look at a neat 911 Carrera RSR tribute. Rather than take the typical path of copying the IROC cars, the builder of this particular car chose the “Mary Stuart” Martini Racing example to clone. The car was named because the wrap around rear duck-tail spoiler reminded some of the high collars which were the vogue during Mary, Queen of Scots’ reign. With its unique tail offsetting those iconic colors, it is certainly an attention getter. However, the seller has now attempted to shift this car more or less continually since 2013 – first at an asking price of $165,000, then dropping in 2014 to $135,000, and now back up to $165,000 presumably to try to capitalize on the current 911 market. It is without a doubt a neat build and unique execution, so even though it’s unlikely to trade this time around again I thought it was worth another look:
The below post originally appeared on our site September 9, 2013:
I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I think Martini Racing colors are just awesome. Some people insist everything looks better in “Gulf Blue”, but for me, it’s those Martini stripes that made some of the best looking race cars (and in a very few cases, even improved road cars). Case in point is today’s example; perhaps one of the strangest downforce attempts of the 1970s on a Porsche – the Mary Stuart tailed Martini Racing RSR. While a neat design in some ways, it certainly looks odd from other angles. Today’s 1971 911 is a recreation of the original, but you can’t deny that it looks fantastic in the proper Martini Racing colors of the 1973 RSR:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 911 RSR Martini Racing replica on Ebay
Yesterday saw an interesting comparison in racing; in F1, Mercedes-Benz once again dominated the field with seeming ease, dictating the pace and watching the strategy of its competitors from Maranello. While truth told my focus remained squarely on the Formula 1 race, there were several other popular race series running concurrently; both wildly popular Moto GP and World Endurance Championship races were contested as well. Notably, Audi won the WEC Silverstone 6-hour contest, continuing its quite remarkable run in endurance series amidst rumors that they could be heading to Formula 1. The question posed by me in my conclusion to the investigation of the Silver Arrows period is simply if the racing was necessary? There were other options in terms of racing for both companies to explore, and indeed they could also have taken the Opel strategy in no racing at all. Did the companies choose the right route?
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our readers for the positive feedback to this feature. It’s been wonderful for me to revisit this research and have the enthusiast community enjoy it. I’d also like to thank Dan and Paul at GCFSB for not only affording me the opportunity to put this research up, but indeed for encouraging me to do so. Though they’re not likely to be paying attention I’d like to thank the Saxony State Archives in Chemnitz and the staff at the Mercedes-Benz factory archives, both of which were very welcoming and accommodating during my time there. Lastly, I’d like to thank my family who has been both encouraging and patient while I’ve spent countless hours working on this site. Without further ado, please enjoy the conclusion!
CONCLUSIONS : WAS RACING NECESSARY?
This past weekend weekend we saw a bit of hubris and bad strategy lead to Mercedes-Benz losing to Ferrari in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Despite the massive investment and seemingly pedantic attention to detail, the same problems existed in the 1930s for the company. Increasingly Mercedes-Benz needed to differentiate itself from Auto Union by undertaking extreme efforts. These efforts were not always profitable; indeed, one could argue that – as we saw last week – since they were already having difficulty delivering cars thanks to raw material shortages, undertaking new forms of racing and record-breaking might have seemed ill-conceived for the company. However, still at stake was preferential treatment from the government, especially when it came to lucrative military contracts. As such, Mercedes-Benz undertook some unlikely projects to not only gain international prestige for the Daimler-Benz model range, but indeed to curry favor with the government.
FOUR : PUSHING THE LIMITS – THE GOVERNMENT GOES RACING
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