There has always been an allure about racing for actors, and some pretty famous ones have been associated with the Porsche brand. The list of famous movie stars that have piloted racing Porsches is pretty illustrious; Steve McQueen certainly made a splash, but then so did Paul Newman. Of course, James Dean is always linked with the brand. So does Patrick Dempsey belong in that storied group? You could argue that perhaps that wasn’t the case for acting, but in terms of passion for racing Dempsey has shown through his actions that heading to the track is a top priority for him. He even went so far as to say he’d quit acting if he could get a full-time racing ride. His exploits at Le Mans are at least on par with McQueen’s famous movie. And yes, you can say that too much has been made of it – but in my mind, Dempsey’s spotlight on the privateer competitions has only highlighted how fantastic the sport is, how diverse the drivers are, and represents the best aspects of the passion of racing. To prove that he’s serious, coupled with factory driver Patrick Long, Dempsey secured 2nd at Le Mans in 2015 and 3rd in the GTE Championship overall. That’s seriously impressive no matter how you slice it. Today, you can buy a piece of that Dempsey magic and plant your bottom right where Dr. McDreamy sat:
If you were a gentleman racer over the best part of the past decade and a half, there was only one natural choice for your steed; the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car was, and still is, the most popular choice for factory supported full race cars to buy brand new. But we can thank the success of the Cup formula for an entirely new lineup of racers, from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo to the track-oriented Laguna Seca Mustangs. In the FIA mandated GT3 field, the advent of the Pro/Am designations have similarly diversified the field from the standard Porsches to new entrants, from the seemingly outrageous Bentley Continental GT3 to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. But while those names may seem like newcomers on the international circuits, the reality is that both the heritage of Bentley and Aston Martin lay exactly with those gentleman racers. No, the real newcomer to the block is the Audi R8; a name steeped in Le Mans history but a chassis built for the street, the GT3 effort resulted in the popular and sonorous R8 LMS Ultra, as Audi shifted its focus from showcasing quattro all-wheel drive in racing to the lightweight technology incorporated into the new mid-engined racer:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi R8 LMS Ultra on Race Cars Direct
There are countless enthusiasts who have converted street cars to track cars for their own pursuit, this author included. Few of them are professionals, though (this author included), and consequently buying a used one is always a bit of a mixed bag of dealing with shortcuts, ill-conceived modifications or poor planning. At their base, these cars were also often used street cars initially, with years of miles on the road softening their chassis and electrical connections. Shifting gears, though, there are special cars built by enthusiasts that really stand out. These are close to factory builds; pro teams who take brand new street models and convert them to race cars for specific series. Today’s 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera was one such car; built for the popular production-based Koni Challenge, it’s an upgraded version of the already potent 911 that’s available for a fraction of the cost of the original build:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera X51 on eBay
The Porsche 996 is arguably the best deal going in the rear-engined Porsche world. I say arguably because there are many who utterly detest the water-cooled replacement for the venerable air-cooled 911. On top of the revision in power, the 996 power unit has come under scrutiny for potential failure of the intermediate shaft bearing. But let’s be honest for a second; Porsches are expensive cars that can be very expensive to maintain, regardless of chassis and configuration. And in terms of driving experience, the 996 was quite fun. It was not the fastest or wildest version of the 911, but in two-wheel drive Carrera form it was great fun. I was lucky enough to drive a brand new 40th Anniversary Carrera around a race track, and though it was certainly a road-biased machine, the brakes, suspension, transmission and importantly engine and soundtrack were a stirring experience. Add some real track-dedicated modifications to one, then, and it should be a great dual-purpose weapon:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Porsche 911 Carrera on eBay
There are few marques in the automotive industry whose name is as synonymous with road racing as that of Porsche. While Porsche’s reputation has been built largely through their racing success it also comes through their continued desire to make available to their customers lightened or more powerful variants of their road cars. Or in the case of the car we see here, a 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, a full on racer. The homologation requirements of many of the road-racing series that Porsche competes in do make this somewhat of a necessity, but that still doesn’t change the fact that for a (considerable) sum of money interested buyers can live out their dreams to take part in semi-professional racing behind the wheel one of the most renowned road-racing machines in its class.