Thursday, 29 November 2012
Monday, 26 November 2012
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14, or ZZR1400 outside North America, is a motorcycle made by Kawasaki that was their most powerful sport bike as of 2007. It was introduced at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show and released for the 2006 model year as a replacement for the ZX-12R. The ZZR1400 is capable of accelerating from 0–60 mph in 2.5 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 186 mph (299 km/h) as a result of an agreement between the major Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers.
The motorcycle was featured in season 10 of Fifth Gear on October 30, 2006.
Motorcycle USA road tested the bike in its October 10, 2006, issue and posted the following stock results:
- 60 ft.: 1.713 seconds
- 330 ft.: 4.349 seconds
- 1/8 mile: 6.447 seconds, achieving 117.39 mph
- 1/4 mile: 9.783 seconds, achieving 147.04 mph
Motorrad magazine in Germany achieved the following test results:
- Top speed 299 km/h (186 mph)
- 0–100 km/h 2.9 seconds / 40 m (130 ft)
- 0–200 km/h 7.6 seconds / 241 m (791 ft)
- 0–250 km/h 12.5 seconds / 548 m (1,798 ft)
- 0–280 km/h 18.5 seconds / 991 m (3,251 ft)
The MTT Turbine Superbike, also known as the Y2K Turbine Superbike, is a wheel-driven motorcycle powered by a turboshaft engine, created by Ted McIntyre of Marine Turbine Technologies. The bike is powered by a Rolls-Royce-Allison Model 250 producing 320 hp (240 kW) at 52,000 rpm. Unlike some earlier jet-powered motorcycles, where a massive jet engine provided thrust to push the motorcycle, the turboshaft engine on this model drives the rear wheel via a two-speed gearbox.
With a top speed of over 200 mph, it is faster than the Suzuki Hayabusa, the MV Agusta F4 and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 too.
The engines used in the motorcycles are second-hand, having reached the FAA-mandated running time limit, after which they have to be rebuilt, regardless of condition. To get around the problem of procuring the kerosene usually used in turbine engines, the engine of the bike is also able to use diesel, or jet fuel.
In 2008, MTT released the "Streetfighter," another jet-bike with a more powerful 420 hp (310 kW) engine.
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
The Porsche 911 GT1 was a car designed for competition in the GT1 class of sportscar racing, which also required a street legal version for homologation purposes. The limited-production street-legal version was labeled the 911 GT1 Straßenversion (Street version).
With the revival of international sportscar racing in the mid-1990s, though the BPR Global GT Series (which then morphed in to the FIA GT Championship) Porsche expressed interest in returning to top level sportscar racing and went about developing its competitor for the GT1 category. Cars in this category were previously heavily modified versions of road cars, usually supercars such as the McLaren F1 and Ferrari F40, but when the 911 GT1 was uneveiled in 1996 Porsche had exploited the rule book to the full and stunned the sportscar fraternity. Rather than develop a race version of one of their road going models, what they created was effectively a purpose built sports-prototype, but in order to comply with regulations a street legal version was created, 911 GT1 Straßenversion - literally a road-going racing car.
In spite of its 911 moniker the car actually had very little in common with the 911 of the time, however its frontal chassis was shared with the then (993) 911, while the rear of the car was derived from the Porsche 962, including its water-cooled, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, four valve per cylinder flat-six engine which was arranged in amid-mounted position, compared to the rear-engined layout of a conventional 911. The engine was making about 600 PS (441 kW; 592 hp). In comparison, the 993 generation 911 GT2, which was otherwise the company's highest-performance vehicle, used an air-cooled engine with only two valves per cylinder.
The new vehicle was an outright success at Le Mans, winning the GT1 class at its debut race, although it lost the overall victory to Joest Racing's Porsche WSC-95 prototype, still a success in that this vehicle used a Porsche powerplant.
The 911 GT1 made its debut in the BPR Global GT Series (the FIA championship's predecessor) at the Brands Hatch 4 hours, where Hans-Joachim Stuck and Thierry Boutsen won comfortably, although they were racing as an invited entry and were thus ineligible for points. They followed up by winning at Spa and Ralph Kelleners and Emmanuel Collard triumphed for the factory team at Zhuhai.
The '96 GT1 had around 600 PS (441 kW) and was clocked at a top speed of exactly 330 km/h (205 mph) on the legendary Mulsanne Straight in the practice sessions of the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hours Race (presumably on a low downforce setup).
911 GT1 Evo
In 1997, the new Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR was successful in the new FIA GT Championship that replaced the BPR, as it was developed for racing. Mercedes did not enter Le Mans yet with their new car, though. The Porsche did not prove to be as fast in the FIA series, and failed to win a single race, first against the McLaren F1 GTR, and then against the new CLK-GTR.
Towards the end of the 1996 season Porsche made revisions to the 911 GT1 in preparation for the 1997 season. The front end of the car was revised including new bodywork which featured headlamps that previewed the all-new 2nd generation (996) Porsche 911 which would appear in 1997. The revised car was known as the 911 GT1 Evo (or Evolution). As far as performance goes, the car had the same 600 PS (441 kW; 592 hp) turbo-charged engine, but new aerodynamics on the car allowed the '97 car to be considerably faster than the 1996 model - acceleration was better, although the top speed was still around 330 km/h (205 mph) on the La Sarthe Circuit (in the race, the GT1-Evo reached 326 km/h). However, the works cars suffered from reliability problems and did not last the full race distance; a privately entered 1996 specification GT1 managed 5th overall and third in its class, but was beaten by the BMW-backed and powered McLaren F1 GTRs.
For the 1998 season Porsche developed an all-new car, the 911 GT1-98. Designed to match the also new Toyota GT-One and Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, the 911 GT1-98 featured bodywork which bore more of a resemblance to traditional sports-prototypes than the previous 2 models while a new sequential gearbox was installed. As per the regulations a street-legal version of the 911 GT1-98 was spawned, but it is believed that only one variant was produced which was still sufficient to satisfy the regulations.
During the 1998 FIA International GT season the 911 GT1-98 struggled to match the pace of the Mercedes, which also were improved, with the main reason being down to the air-restrictor rules being which were regarded as unfavourable to the turbo engine (the Merecedes being naturally aspirated). The Michelin tyres of the factory team and especially the Pirelli of the private Zakspeed team were also considered inferior to the Bridgestone of Mercedes.
At the 1998 Le Mans however, it was a different story. The BMW V12 LM retired with wheel bearing trouble, and the Mercedes CLK-LM vehicles had oil pump troubles in the new V8 engines that replaced the former V12. The Toyota GT-One, which was considered to be the fastest car, also suffered gearbox reliability problems.
The 911 GT1-98, despite being slower than the Toyota or the Mercedes, fulfilled Porsche's slim hopes, taking both first and second place overall thanks to reliability, giving Porsche its record-breaking 16th overall win at Le Mans, more than any other manufacturer in history.
At Petit Le Mans race in Road Atlanta, the 911 GT1 '98 of Yannick Dalmas made a spectacular backward flip and landed rear first before hitting the side barriers, as did the BMW V12 LMR at the same race in 2000, and most infamously the Mercedes-Benz CLR at Le Mans in 1999.
The GT1 '98 was set up with higher downforce in the race than the previous two years, which reduced its race maximum speed to 310 km/h (193 mph). However, in the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours test days, the car hit 330 km/h (205 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight on a lower downforce setup.
With Mercedes dominating FIA GT1 in 1998, all other entries including Porsche withdrew for 1999. The GT1 class was cancelled, and the FIA GT Championship was contested with GT2 cars. Porsche could have entered at Le Mans, but chose not to try to defend the win of '98 against new machines from other factories.
Champion Racing brought a 911 GT1 Evo to America to race in the American Le Mans Series, but was only allowed to do so as an LMP (Le Mans Prototypes) class entry, where it proved uncompetitive against actual prototypes such as the BMW V12 LMR.
Following Champion's purchase of a 911 GT1 Evo for 1999, Gunnar Racing offered a custom race car to the team with intentions to race in 2000. The car, known as the Gunnar G-99, was a custom-built 911 GT1 with an open cockpit. The chassis was made from scratch yet remained nearly identical to the 911 GT1 mechanically, even using the bulk of the bodyparts. A large rollbar was put over the open cockpit to help protect the driver. A 3.6 litre flat-6 from a Porsche 911 GT3 was used in place of the standard 911 GT1 unit.
However, Champion would instead turn to buying a Lola B2K/10, so the Gunnar G-99 was temporarily abandoned. The car would resurface in the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2002, yet would not be allowed to race until it had a roof again. Therefore Gunnar Racing rebuilt the car with a near identical GT1 roof, and briefly competed in 2003. The car would take a best finish of second in class twice before being retired due to lack of funding.
Regulations for the GT1 category stipulated that to be eligible, a total of 25 cars must be built for road use. Porsche developed a fully road-legal version, dubbed "911 GT1 Straßenversion", and delivered one in early 1996 to the German government for compliance testing, which it passed. The engine had to be slightly de-tuned to meet European emissions laws, although its 544 PS (400 kW; 537 hp) and dry weight of 1,150 kg (2,535 lb) proved to be more than adequate; the vehicle could accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 308 km/h (191 mph).
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
The Ferrari F50 is a mid-engined range-topping sports car made by Ferrari. The F50 was introduced in 1995 to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The car is a two door, two seat convertible with a removable hardtop. It has a 4.7 L naturally aspirated 60-valve V12 engine that was developed from the 3.5 L V12 used in the 1992 Ferrari F92A Formula One car. It is the successor to the F40 and the predecessor to the F60 Enzo. It competed with the limited edition Porsche 911 GT1.
The F50's engine predated the car; it was used in the Ferrari 333 SP for the American IMSA series in 1994, allowing it to become eligible for the stock engine WSC category.
Following the motorsport theme, Ferrari developed the F50 GT, a prototype based on the F50 that was built to compete in GT1-class racing. The car had a fixed roof, large rear spoiler, new front spoiler and many other adjustments. The 4.7 litre V12 engine was tuned to generate around 750 bhp (559 kW). In testing in 1996 the car proved to be quicker even than the 333SP, but this went unnoticed as Ferrari cancelled the F50 GT project, instead focusing on Formula One. Ferrari sold off the three complete chassis that were built–the test car 001, 002 and 003. Chassis 002 and 003 had bodies fitted before being sold. The remaining three tubs were apparently destroyed.
A custom-made F50 variant named the Bolide was commissioned by the Sultan of Brunei in 1998 and delivered in the same year. It used the F1 derived V12 engine and the same chassis, but was completely redesigned due to the monocoque construction of the body on the F50. One car was produced in the coupe configuration. Very few images and no official performance statistics of this car are available. At least one car was produced in RHD for the sultan, and was subsequently bought by a collector in Ireland.
- Price (1995): $480,000 – $555,000
- Manufactured in: Maranello, Italy
- Number produced: 349 (1995 to July 1997)
- Inspiration: 1990 Ferrari 641 as driven by Alain Prost
- Weight: 2712 lb (1230 kg)
- Distribution: 42%/58 % (front/rear)
- Length: 177 in (4,496 mm)
- Height: 44.1 in (1,120 mm)
- Width: 78.2 in (1,986 mm)
- Wheelbase: 101.6 in (2,581 mm)
- Front track: 63.8 in (1,621 mm)
- Rear track: 63.1 in (1,603 mm)
- Type: Tipo 040-derived, model SFE 4.7 VJGAEA
- Position: mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
- Configuration: longitudinal 60-valve 65° V12, derived from F1 unit
- Aspiration: natural, with variable length intake manifold via butterfly valve in intake manifold
- Intake manifold: carbon fiber
- Block: nodular cast iron
- Heads/Pistons: might-alloy aluminum heads/forged Mahle pistons
- Oil sump: aluminium
- Connecting rods: forged titanium
- Crankshaft: forged steel
- Cam covers/Oil and water pump housing: magnesium sand castings
- Exhaust manifold: stainless steel
- Engine weight: 436.5 lb (198.0 kg)
- Timing gear: 5 valve/cyl (3 intake, 2 exhaust), 4 overhead camshafts (2 per cylinder bank) driven by low-noise Morse chain
- Displacement: 4698 cc/286.68 ci
- Max. power: 520 PS (382 kW; 513 hp) @ 8000 rpm
- Max. torque: 347 lb·ft (470 N·m) @ 6500 rpm
- Power/Disp.: 109.1 bhp/litre
- Weight/Power ratio: 5.8 lb/bhp
- Bore x Stroke: 3.35 in (85 mm). x 2.72 in (69 mm)
- Bore:Stroke ratio: 1.23:1 (oversquare)
- Compression ratio: 11.3:1
- Redline: 8500 rpm
- ECU: Bosch Motronic 2.7 (controls the fuel feed, ignition timing, and variable length intake and exhaust systems)
- Fuel feed: Sequential injection
- Ignition: Bosch static electronic distributor-less ignition
- Lubrication: dry sump, tank incorporated within the final drive housing, 3 scavenger pumps
- Variable intake: butterfly valve in carbon fiber intake manifold closed at low rpm, open at high rpm
- Variable exhaust: butterfly valve in upper tailpipes closed at low rpm, open at high rpm
- Fuel tank: foam filled, aeronautical-style Sekur rubber bladder, 27.7 US gal (105 L; 23 imp gal)
- Configuration: longitudinal 6 speed manual + reverse, limited slip differential, RWD
- Gear ratios: 2.933:1 (1st), 2.157:1 (2nd), 1.681:1 (3rd), 1.360:1 (4th), 1.107:1 (5th), 0.903:1 (6th), 2.529:1 (reverse)
- Final drive: 3.70:1
- Flywheel: steel
- Final Drive Assembly: aluminum sand casting
- Remaining gearset housing: magnesium sand casting
- Support bracing: steel
- Clutch: dry, twin plate
- Cooling: oil-water intercooler between gearbox lubricant and engine
- Type: central carbon fiber tub, light-alloy suspension and engine-gearbox assembly mounting points co-polymerised to the chassis
- Materials: carbon fiber, epoxy resin, Nomex honeycomb core, sandwich construction
- Weight: 2,249 lb (1,020 kg)
- Torsional stiffness: 25,500 lb·ft (34,570 N·m) per degree
- Front: Rose-jointed unequal-length wishbones, push-rods, coil springs, Bilstein gas-pressurised monotube dampers, electronic adaptive damping, electronic height adjustment (40 mm max)
- Rear: Rose-jointed unequal-length wishbones, push-rods, coil springs, Bilstein gas-pressurised monotube dampers, electronic adaptive damping, mounting points on a spacer between the engine and gearbox
- Travel: 55 mm bump, 60 mm rebound
- Camber angle: -0.7 degrees front, -1.0 degrees rear
- Anti-roll bars: front and rear
- Max. roll angle: 1.5 degrees
- Type: TRW rack and pinion, 3.3 turns lock to lock, unassisted
- Caster angle: 5.5 to 5.7 degrees
- Turning circle: 41 ft (12 m)
- Electronic adaptive damping (based on steering wheel angle and velocity, the body’s vertical and longitudinal acceleration, brake line pressure, and vehicle speed)
- Maximum reaction time (from minimum to maximum damping force or vice versa): 140 milliseconds (0.14 sec)
- Average reaction time (from minimum to maximum damping force or vice versa): 25 to 30 milliseconds (.025 to .03 sec)
- Wheels: magnesium alloy, manufactured by Speedline
- Hubs: titanium
- Brake disc bells/suspension uprights/brake calipers: aluminum
- Upper and lower wishbones: black powder-coated steel
- Front wheels: 18 in. x 8.5 in.
- Front tires: 245/35ZR-18 Goodyear Eagle F1 GS Fiorano (35psi)
- Front brakes: 14.0 in. Brembo cross-drilled & ventilated cast iron discs, 4 piston aluminum Brembo calipers, Pagid brake pads, (without ABS)
- Rear wheels: 18 in. x 13 in.
- Rear tires: 335/30ZR-18 Goodyear Eagle F1 GS Fiorano (30psi)
- Rear brakes: 13.2 in. Brembo cross-drilled & ventilated cast iron discs, 4 piston aluminum Brembo calipers, Pagid brake pads, (without ABS)
- Unsprung mass: 99 lb/121 lb (front corners/rear corners)
- Rosso Corsa (Red): 302
- Giallo Modena (Yellow): 31
- Rosso Barchetta (Dark red): 8
- Argento Nurburgring (Silver): 4
- Nero Daytona (Black): 4
- 0-60 mph: 3.7 sec
- 0-100 mph: 6.0 sec
- 0–1000 m: 21.7 sec
- 0-1 mile: 30.3 sec
- 60-0 mph: 118 ft (36 m).
- 1/4 Mile: 12.1 seconds @ 123.0 mph (198 km/h)
- Top speed: 194 mph (312 km/h)
- Downforce: 970 lb (440 kg), 40%/60% (front/rear)
- Cd: 0.372
- Skidpad: 0.95g
- Slalom: 71.8 mph (115.6 km/h)
- Fuel economy: 8/11 mpg (cty/hwy) (US gallon) (Factory numbers: 8.4/14.1 mpg)
Sunday, 18 November 2012
The Porsche 959 was a sports car manufactured by Porsche from 1986 to 1989, first as a Group B rally car and later as a legal production car designed to satisfy FIA homologation regulations requiring that a minimum number of 200 street legal units be built. It is a very expensive auction today. It's main rival was the iconic Ferrari F40.
In 1986, it held the title as the world's fastest street-legal production car, boasting a top speed of 195 mph, with the sport model capable of reaching 197 mph. This was until the Ferrari F40's introduction in 1987; which was capable of reaching a top speed of 201 mph. During its production run, it was hailed as the most technologically advanced road-going sports car ever built and the forerunner of all future super cars. It was one of the first high-performance vehicles to use an all-wheel drive system, providing the basis for Porsche's first all-wheel drive Carrera 4 model. In fact, it convinced Porsche executives of the system's viability so well that they chose to make all-wheel drive standard on all versions of the 911 Turbo starting with the 993 variant. In 2004, Sports Car International named the 959 number one on its list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.
Porsche today makes the iconic 911, the Boxter, the Cayman, the Cayenne SUV, the Panamera saloon and the 918 hypercar.
Development of the 959 (originally called the Gruppe B) started in 1981, shortly after the company's then-new Managing Director, Peter Schutz, took his office. Porsche's head engineer at the time, Helmuth Bott, approached Schutz with some ideas about the Porsche 911, or more aptly, a new one. Bott knew that the company needed a sports car that they could continue to rely on for years to come and that could be developed as time went on. Curious as to how much they could do with the rear-engined 911, Bott convinced Schutz that development tests should take place, and even proposed researching a new all wheel drive system. Schutz agreed, and gave the project the green light. Bott also knew through experience that a racing program usually helped to accelerate the development of new models. Seeing Group B rally racing as the perfect arena to test the new mule and its all wheel drive system, Bott again went to Schutz and got the go ahead to develop a car, based on his development mule, for competition in Group B.
Porsche developed an already existing engine instead of creating a new one from scratch. The powerplant, a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder boxer engine with an air-cooled block and water-cooled heads, displaced 2.85 liters, about half a liter less than a contemporary 911 engine. It was coupled to a unique manual gearbox offering 5 forward speeds plus a "G" off-road gear, as well as reverse. The motor had originally been developed for the "Moby Dick" race car and then been redeveloped slightly for the short-lived Porsche Indy Car and several other projects before being "tweaked" a last time for use in the 961, the 959's racing counterpart. The water-cooled cylinder heads combined with the air-cooled block, 4-valve heads and sequential turbochargers allowed Porsche to extract 331 kW (444 hp) from the compact, efficient and rugged power unit. The use of sequential twin turbochargers rather than the more usual identical turbochargers for each of the two cylinder banks allowed for smooth seamless delivery of power across the engine RPM band, in contrast to the abrupt on-off power characteristic that distinguished Porsche's other turbocharged engines of the period. The engine was used, virtually unchanged, in the 959 road car as well.
In an attempt to create a rugged, lightweight shell, Porsche adopted an aluminium and Aramid (Kevlar) composite for body use along with a Nomex floor, instead of the steel normally used on their production cars. The vehicle's weight of 3,190 pounds (1,450 kg) helped to achieve its high performance level.
Porsche also developed the car's aerodynamics, which were designed to increase stability, as was the automatic ride-height adjustment that became available on the street car (961 race cars had fixed suspensions). Its "zero lift" aerodynamics were a big part of keeping it drivable. The 959 also featured Porsche-Steuer Kupplung(PSK) which was at the time the most advanced all-wheel-drive system in a production car. Capable of dynamically changing the torque distribution between the rear and front wheels in both normal and slip conditions, the PSK system gave the 959 the adaptability it needed both as a race car and as a "super" street car. Under hard acceleration, PSK could send as much as 80% of available power to the rear wheels, helping make the most of the rear-traction bias that occurs at such times. It could also vary the power bias depending on road surface and grip changes, helping maintain traction at all times. The dashboard featured gauges displaying the amount of rear differential slip as well as transmitted power to the front axle. The magnesium alloy wheels were unique, being hollow inside to form a sealed chamber contiguous with the tire and equipped with a built-in tire pressure monitoring system.
All Porsche 959s were actually produced at Baur, not at Porsche, on an assembly line with Porsche inspectors overseeing the finished bodies. Most of Porsche's special order interior leather work was also done by the workers at Baur.
The 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show was chosen for the unveiling of the Porsche Group B prototype. Even in the closing hours of October 9, finishing touches were being applied to the car to go on display the next morning. After the first two prototypes, the bodywork was modified to include air vents in the front and rear wheel housings, as well as intake holes behind the doors. The first prototype modified like this was code named "F3", and was destroyed in the first crash test.
The street version of the 959 debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show as a 1986 model, but numerous issues delayed production by more than a year. The car was manufactured in two levels of trim, "Sport" and "Komfort", corresponding to the race version and the street version. First customer deliveries of the 959 street variant began in 1987, and the car debuted at a cost of $225,000 USD per unit, still less than half what it cost Porsche to build each one. Production ended in 1988. In total, 337 cars were built, including 37 prototypes and preproduction models. At least one 959 and one 961 remain in the Porsche historic hall in Stuttgart, Germany.
In 1992/1993, Porsche built eight 959s assembled from spare parts from the inventory at the manufacturing site in Zuffenhausen. All eight were "Komfort"-versions: four in red and four in silver. These cars were much more expensive (DM 747,500) than the earlier ones (DM 420,000). The later cars also featured a newly developed speed-sensitive damper system. The cars were sold to selected collectors after being driven by works personnel for some time and are today by far the most sought-after 959s.
The 959 was not street legal in the United States prior to 1999 when the "Show and Display" law was passed, although an unknown number were imported via the "grey market" during the late 1980s as show pieces. During the model's development Porsche refused to provide the United States Department of Transportation with the four 959s they required for crash testing, and the car was never certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for street use in the U.S. With the passage of "Show and Display" the crash test requirements were removed and importation of the 959 was allowed, assuming the car could meet the emissions standards applicable in 1987. The 959 can be fitted with a catalytic converter and a rechipped computer which allows it to meet those emissions requirements. As they are pre 1996 they would not be required to pass any emissions testing anymore.
Most owners refuse to modify their 959s, however, and the cars remain collection pieces. Most 959s are in the hands of collectors, but a few do occasionally come to market, with prices in the region of 180,000–250,000 EUR (cars produced in 1987/1988). It is impossible to estimate the price of cars from the highly limited batch of 1992/1993.
The lessons learned from the 959 project about engine management, aerodynamics, suspension tuning, and 4-wheel drive were what enabled the production life of the 911 to be extended to the present day.
The performance of the 959 Sport is as follows:
- 0–100 km/h: 3.7 s (62 mph)
- 0–160 km/h: 8.3 s (99.5 mph)
- 0–200 km/h: 13.0 s (124 mph)
- 0–1000 meters: 21.6 s (standing)
- 0-1/4 mile: 11.9 s (standing)
When Porsche began development of the 959, it looked toward Group B racing as a road-racing laboratory with which to develop technology for production cars. When Group B became focused on rallying events, however, Porsche felt the relevance to production cars was greatly reduced, and the goal of the 959 project shifted to frank state-of-the-art, cost-no-object technological innovation.
In 1984, however, three 911s modified to 959 specifications (due to the requirement that Group B cars be based on production cars with at least 200 built) were used in the Paris-Dakar Rally, with Jacky Ickx the prime motivator. By 1985 the 959 rally variant was ready, but it experienced a disappointing start: all three cars failed to finish. However, in 1986 the 959 finished 1-2. The 959 was never seriously considered for a Group B Rally season; the cost of completing a full season far outweighed any technical information that would have been gained. The car was produced as a 1/12th scale radio control model from [Tamiya] which is now widely collected by fans (see collectors models)
1986 was also the year that the racing variant, the Porsche 961, made its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driven by René Metge partnering Claude Ballot-Léna, it finished first in its class and 7th overall. It returned in 1987 but failed to finish after a spin (missed gear change) while in 11th place by Canadian/Dutch driver Kees Nierop of Vancouver. Upon rejoining the track the car was observed on TV monitors in the Porsche pits to be on fire and the driver was told to stop and get out of the car. Sadly Nierop pulled over between marshal stations and this extra time taken to get to the car by the marshals allowed the fire to consume most of the rearend and writing the car off for further racing. Thus ended the career of the 961.
Canepa Design modifications
In 2003, Canepa Design initiated a 959 program. By making their own modifications to the 959's turbo, exhaust and computer-control systems, Canepa could enable the 959 to pass emissions requirements (thereby making it street-legal in the United States) and extract more power from the 959's engine. Total power output from the Canepa-modified 959 is 640 hp (477 kW) and 570 lb·ft (773 N·m) of torque, making the car capable of 3 second 0-60 times and top speeds in excess of 220 miles per hour (350 km/h). Canepa also modifies the 959's lightweight magnesium wheels to allow the fitting of tires without the unique Dunlop Denloc bead, and fits a modern Michelin high-performance tire capable of handling the increased performance.
The "Gates 959" is an infamous car, one of the Porsche 959s built in the mid-eighties, imported by Bill Gates to the United States in 1987. Gates' fellow Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen imported another one, as did Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld. These cars had not been approved by regulators and had no Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency approval. The "Gates 959" was stored for 13 years by the Customs Service at the Port of Seattle, until regulations were changed to allow "Autos of Interest" to be imported with severe limitations on their use. Gates and Allen both helped pass the "Show and Display" law.
Replicas and conversion kits
Due to the scarcity and price of existing genuine 959s, several companies have offered body kits over the years for Porsche owners to apply to their own cars, mainly the 911 model.