The long-term McLaren affiliate is in the process of resto-modding early Porsche 911 Turbos and powering them with actual Formula 1 race engines from the big-boost turbo era of the mid-1980s.
The project was confirmed in an Instagram post by Lanzante, who attended Laguna Seca earlier in the month to display an F1-engined 930 at a Porsche gathering called Rennsport Reunion.
Anoraks among you will be aware that such a car has existed for several decades – a Porsche 930 911 was used to secretly develop the TAG-branded McLaren F1 engine in period – but Lanzante has now announced that unicorn is about to spawn 11 brethren.
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And it appears the program is well under way, with Lanzante having already purchased a small number of ex-race engines from McLaren according to a report by Engine Swap Depot.
Each of the 11 Lanzante 930s will feature a plaque acknowledging the chassis the engine comes from, along with the engine number, a list of events it took part in, and where it finished in each.
While the 1.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine – codenamed TTE PO1 – was branded otherwise, it was in fact developed and built by Porsche, hence the 911 test mule at the time.
It first appeared at the 1983 Dutch Grand Prix, and went on to help McLaren score 26 victories from 68 races between ’84 and ’87, along with the 1984 and 1985 constructor championships and 1984, ’85 and ’86 driver championships.
One of the most staggering things about the original mule and the Lanzante recreations, is their outward appearance, which barely differs from that of a regular 930 911 Turbo fitted with classic five-spoke RUF wheels. There’s no widened bodywork, mutilated arches, or obscene rubber to give the game away, making these 911s perhaps the ultimate sleepers.
The story behind the original F1-powered 911 is a fascinating one.
Porsche developed the TTE PO1 engine in secret, using the 930 body to hide it from prying and unsuspecting eyes while gathering valuable data.
This sort of production car-based mule wasn’t uncommon in the espionage-laden times of 1980s motorsport, but most were crushed once development was completed. Thankfully, McLaren and Porsche opted to squirrel the 930 away in a warehouse, waiting years before eventually putting it on display at the Woking team’s Technology Centre.
What trim the 1.5-litre V6s will be in when fitted to the 11 road cars is unknown, as the twin-turbo unit was significantly upgraded over its three seasons in Formula 1.
Initially, the TAG-McLaren engine had an 11,200rpm redline and produced 485kW in race trim, which increased to 597kW for qualifying.
In 1985 the engine was refined and improved. A lowered limit of 11,000rpm didn’t stop it sending 634kW to the rear wheels during races, and 719kW at its peak. Or at least they’re the numbers on the most powerful tune officially reported by McLaren, however some ex team members have claimed the engine could produce 820kW if needed. Engine designer Hanz Mezger also hinted as much as 790kW was wrung out from the six-pot.
In 1987 new regulations meant the TAG-McLaren engine was restricted to 4.0-bar (58psi) of boost (F1 previously allowed unlimited boost pressures), reducing power to 590kW in race trim, and 630kW for qualifying. However, the rev-limit was lifted to a stratospheric 13,000rpm. In 1988 boost was further reduced to 2.5 bar (36psi), restricting power to around 480kW.
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Lanzante is yet to reveal any specific details about the 11 cars, so we’ll have to wait to learn more about what gearboxes will be mated to the twin-turbo V6s, and how many driven wheels each car will have. Oh, and what the inevitable, eye-watering cost will be.
When the engine was placed in the rear of Niki Lauda’s MP4/2 it was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox co-developed by McLaren and Hewland, while the MP4/3 paired it with a Getrag 5-speed.
It’d be safe to wager the 930s will also be worked over in the suspension and braking departments in order to cope with the turn of speed a Formula 1 engine will provide.
The mid-‘80s was a period of excess in Formula 1, with turbo technology prompting sky-high power levels in relatively primitive chassis. Teams often ran special qualifying tunes with unique fuel mixtures and boost levels.
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At the time McLaren was the only team not using disposable engines for qualifying, with the TTE PO1 reliable enough to receive extra boost for Saturday’s running and survive through to race day… and still exist today to be transplanted into Lanzante’s monsters.
Lanzante is a British outfit that came to prominence as a motorsport team in the 1990s. Its primary business today is the restoration and servicing of classic McLarens, though it also specialises in road-legal conversions of track-only vehicles. A Lanzante McLaren P1 LM (nee GTR) is the fastest road-legal car (not production vehicle) to lap the Nordschliefe.
With that sort of expertise in the mix, this limited run of 11 units, all with actual Formula 1 race engines in the rear, could make the Lanzante 930 recreations both the fastest, and rarest, 911s money can buy.