Think a Porsche 911 GT3 is pretty tough with its cute little fire extinguisher and half-cage? These road-legal Le Mans refugees would happily flush its head down a toilet. Then eat it
1. 1995 MCLAREN F1 LM
The McLaren F1 was never intended as a race car, but it turned out to be a pretty handy one anyway, securing four of the top five places at the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hour. Five LMs, basically the race car and no fun-killing restrictions, were built to commemorate the feat.
2. 1994 DAUER 962C
In contrast to the McLaren, the 962C was never intended to be a road car. Based heavily on the Porsche 962 Group C racer, the Dauer’s creation as a ‘production car’ allowed Porsche’s return to Le Mans in the GT Class. It successfully won the race outright in 1994.
3. 1999 TOYOTA GT-ONE
In order to qualify as a road car, GT1 regs stated the vehicle must have room to stow a suitcase. Incredibly, Toyota managed to convince the FIA that as the fuel tank is empty when the car is scrutineered, that qualified as luggage space. Absolutely ridiculous, but that’s why we love it.
4. 1995 FERRARI F50 GT
Ok, we’ve cheated a bit here – the F50 GT is not road-legal. But it is the ultimate track toy; stripped to a mere 900kg , its 4.7-litre V12 develops 559kW at an eardrum-shattering 10,500rpm. Just three were built.
5. 1997 MERCEDES CLK-GTR
Compared to others on this list, the mighty Merc is common as muck: 25 were built at $3.75m each. Looks mega, but poor visibility and a flawed transmission robbed it of any road manners. It was also a right handful at the limit.
6. 1998 NISSAN R390
Another über-desirable Japanese racer you haven’t got a hope in hell of ever obtaining, apart from on Gran Turismo. Only two are thought to exist, one in Nissan’s warehouse museum, one in unknown private hands.
7. 1993 JAGUAR XJR-15
The car the XJ220 should have been? Built from carbonfibre with a Le Mans-derived 6.0-litre V12 in its middle, the XJR-15 was used as the basis for a one-make race series that supported certain Formula 1 races in 1991. YouTube ‘Tiff Needel XJR-15’ to see one driven at its limit.
8. 1998 PORSCHE 911 GT1
Porsche stretched the concept of the 911 to breaking point with the GT1. Superior reliability allowed it to outlast faster Mercedes and Toyota opposition (see above) to take Porsche’s 16th (and last) Le Mans win in 1998. One also famously backflipped at Road Atlanta later that year.
9. 1997 LOTUS ELISE GT1
Looking much like an Elise raised near Chernobyl, the GT1 was the perfect embodiment of the acronym: Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious. Despite using a Chevrolet V8 instead of a Lotus engine, it was disastrously unreliable and the project was cancelled.