Los Angeles, CA
Porsche 924 GTR
1,984cc Turbocharged Inline 4 Cylinder
5-Speed G31 "Snailshell" Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Ventilated Disc Brakes
1981 Porsche 924 GTR
The 1970s ushered in a new era of Porsche victories at Le Mans. The Porsche’s 917, which had reigned supreme in the earlier years of the decade, was shelved after racing authorities applied a limitation on motors of three liters and up. The change in regulations brought about a new line up of vehicles. By 1976 their formula was taking shape. Factory and privateer backed 911s, 934s, 935s and 936s would go on to occupy over fifty percent of the racing field with 13 of the top 19 finishers being Porsche racing cars.
As oil crises bookended the decade, many of the world’s greatest sports car brands fell to the pressures they created. In 1976, in order to cope with the changing landscape, Porsche rolled out the first of a new batch of cars. The type 924, a design commission undertaken by Porsche for VW/Audi was abandoned by the client and then sold back to Porsche late in its development. With its wedge shape mid-century form, it offered a unique design for the Porsche brand. The vehicle was fitted with a water-cooled two-liter motor and a manual transmission mated to the rear axle. To keep the car simple, light and affordable, much of the extremities were pulled from the shared family parts bin. Mechanically however, only the block wore an Audi part number with the balance completed in Porsche componentry. This vehicle, technically different from Porsches past, was considered a far departure from its previous designs. Its motor produced just 95bhp in North American-spec and the car was priced well beyond its competition. It was not until 1979 with the type 931, a 924 with a K26 turbocharger, did the car begin its path to redemption.
Motorsport in the 1980s began with the understanding that Group 6 was to be replaced with the newcomer Group C. Professor Ernst Fuhrmann, father of the Carrera motor a decade before and Porsche CEO, announced that the 911 would be discontinued by 1984 and that a range of water-cooled transaxle cars would take on the Mulsanne Straight. "Racing is good advertising for every car”, he would be quoted saying.
In order to compete with transaxle cars at Le Mans, Porsche was required to homologate its intended racer. Using a type 931 shaped much like the design study submitted to the 1979 Frankfurt Auto Show, came the type 937 Carrera GT.
The 937’s body, externally similar to its 931 base, was fitted with widened polyurethane quarter panels, fenders and a hood scoop. It sat much lower than the 931 and wore staggered Fuch wheels. The body cloaked interior surfaces finished in corduroy that could be described as a textile designer’s dreamscape. Mechanically, the 937 used the standard 924 block with a 931-cylinder head, crankshaft, and connecting-rods but with a much larger turbo and intercooler. Uprated materials were used in the braking and suspension systems, and throughout much of its extremities. In all, 406 Carrera GTs were built at the Neckarsulm plant, and finished in 1981. At the same time, Porsche was hand building 937s, intended to deliver a bit more oomph, at its plant in Stuttgart. The 937 Carrera GTS and GTS Club Sport produced as much as 300bhp, weighed as little as 2315 pounds, and carried the highest price tag and at that time for a road going Porsche. Porsche built as many as 60 of these special cars. The competition 937, the GTR, was hand built in Stuttgart and prepared at Weissach.
A car designed and built for Le Mans, the GTR was highly refined. Aluminum was used in the torque tube and titanium was used in the driveshaft and most other driveline components in order to save weight. A type 935 based gearbox was mated to the engine. In race trim, the 937 produced 375bhp from the very two-liter block that in base spec produced 95bhp. Weighing in at approximately 2,000 pounds, Porsche rated the car’s 0-60 time around 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 180mph. It is said that just 19 Carrera GTRs were built, though that figure is perhaps thought to perhaps reach to the mid 20s.
Keeping with the company’s segue into a transaxle lineup, there were no factory works 911 variants at Le Mans in 1980. Perhaps not so coincidently, 1980 would be the first and last year of racing under the direction of Dr. Fuhrmann as it is believed that he likely overstepped his boundary when he dictated that the 911 and 936 were to be cut. Homologation 937s were not yet delivered, therefore racing 937s competed in the prototype GTP class and were given the title 924 GTP.
Group C began in 1982 and would mark the last year for 924 GTRs at Le Mans. Porsche System, under company policy, submitted its new type 956 chassis as the sole factory supported vehicle. Three 924 GTRs competed under privateer teams. The GTR offered here, chassis BS720008, is the 8th example of the believed 19 total chassis, run by privateer group Herman & Miller, and one of the three chassis to submit to Le Mans 1982. Under the sponsorship of BF Goodrich, chassis BS720008 ran as car number 86, alongside sibling car number 87. A gearbox failure after 128 laps, lead to a DNF, however its sibling transaxle car, number 87, would go on to win the IMSA GTO class, securing another successive transaxle victory at Le Mans.
Chassis BS720008’s season began in January of 1982 at the 24hrs of Daytona, sponsored by BF Goodrich, alongside a sibling transaxle car. The vehicle, raced by Paul Miller, Pat Bedard and Jürgen Barth, placed 4th in GTO class, 11th overall. BS720008 continued its motorsport career post Le Mans. At the Trans-Am Trois Rivières, driven by Paul Miller, it would finish the race with a bronze metal. The following year 1983, chassis BS720008 would take part in a host of events, unfortunately without much success. The 12hrs of Sebring resulted in a DNF due to an engine malfunction. The Riverside 6hrs resulted in a 24th place outcome while in the summer, at the Mid-Ohio 6hrs, another DNF for the privateer team. Competition Trans-Am races from 1984-1985 at Portland, Atlanta, Trois Rivières, and Mosport proved more successful with a series of top tens, top fives and a win at the later, The Mosport Budweiser Can-Am Trans-Am weekend in September, 1984. Chassis BS720008 campaigned until it made its final appearance in period at the Budweiser Speed Week in September of 1985.
It is said that BS720008 exchanged hands in 1988, purchased by a collector of Porsche racing cars. The GTR’s days of wheel to wheel racing were replaced with regular on-track exhibition events throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s. The car would remain under single private ownership for 32 years until trading hands to a close friend of the long term owner early in 2020 as part of a multi-car sale.
As it is offered now, this 924 GTR wears its 1982 Le Mans BF Goodrich livery which was cautiously reinstated sometime between 1985 when the car last ran competitively and 1988. It appears that car was only given an exterior livery treatment with the cockpit, engine compartment, and underside remaining in unrestored condition. The seller states that the car has not been started and ran since the early 2000’s but that the engine turns over freely and that the original mechanical components of the car remain intact after 15 years of storage.
This transaxle Era, which in road-going form, saved the company from a negative fate, is oft maligned in conversation. Race going 924s entered Le Mans in 1980, 1981 and 1982. From their surprise finish in 1980, to their triumphant 1981 performance, to its final outright class win in 1982, each year can be considered a massive success.
Chassis BS720008, although without the accolades of its siblings, still holds real motorsport heritage. It remains 1 of only 7 GTRs to have taken part at Le Mans. Perhaps thanks to its history, much of chassis BS720008’s integrity has been left intact. It is believed that the drivetrain and driveline are original as are much of the unique Weissach components.
Porsche 924 GTRs have left a great mark on Porsche’s overall motorsport history. Their water-cooled technology was applied to the next generation of the Porsche System racer, the type 956, while the prototype two and ½ liter motor and Bosch Motronic system of the victor Barth/ Röhl 924 GTR, spawned the next iteration production transaxle car, the type 944. Although so little time was spent on the Mulsanne Straight, transaxle Porsches historically have, dominated at Le Mans.
Today, the car wears the BF Goodrich livery it ran with at Le Mans in 1982. It’s unclear exactly when the livery was updated from the Trans Am livery it finished its career with, but known history would indicate this was done 1985 and 1988.
Overall, the exterior condition shows expected wear for its age after years of mild track use followed by long term storage, with most of the visible wear appearing on the front bumper, as seen in photos. To prevent the fenders and front bumper from track wear and tear, protective film was applied but never removed, still being visible throughout.
Appointments and luxuries, common touches for Porsches of the era, are all but foreign on this purpose-built racer. The layout, although arguably of a similar fit and design, shares very little with it road-going homologation siblings. This GTR appears to not have lost any of its original equipment. Both the instrument cluster and Momo steering wheel appear to be to spec, as do the door panels. Further indication that the car remains largely original to how it was last raced, the interior remains in preserved condition. The roll cage appears to be original and unchanged, and even features a hand stamped identification number: G07 759.
Engine and Drivetrain
The motor, gearbox and all other various driveline components are said to be original to the car as it completed its racing career. The seller states that the car has not been started and ran since the early 2000’s but that the engine turns over freely with no visible updates being made to the car’s running gear or engine management systems.
Documentation and Spares
Accompanying this GTR are spare fiberglass body panels and 1 full set of BBS Center lock wheels. Additionally, there is an air jack hose system. Note that this car will be sold on Bill of Sale.
This Porsche 924 GTR is currently available for viewing at The Motoring Club in Marina Del Rey, CA. Interested parties must arrange a viewing appointment through the “Schedule a Viewing” prompt on the listing.