Did You Know That Porsche Will Sell You A Race Car?

Did You Know That Porsche Will Sell You A Race Car?

It’s no surprise to learn that Porsche has been heavily involved in customer racing since its earliest days, as the company’s name is practically synonymous with racing. However, looking back in time – to the era of the iconic 356 sports car – reveals Porsche owners have been racing their cars and asking the German automaker for support for nearly 70 years.

Acknowledging the demand and recognizing the business potential, Porsche didn’t take long to begin its line of race “works” programs that were soon extended to customers. Again, the success was nearly immediate – the celebrated “Porsche” nameplate captured rally, hill climb, and sports car racing victories in the 1950s and ‘60s. 

Porsche owners raced in both local amateur venues and at professional events. According to the automaker, the first appearance by a Porsche customer racing car in the 12 Hours of Sebring (the first major domestic sports car race for the brand) came in 1953 when Richard Toland entered his privately owned Porsche 356. This year, 16 Porsche race cars entered in the two feature races of the 2022 Rolex 24 weekend – seven Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and nine Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport in Michelin Pilot Challenge – all run by “privateer” teams.

Today’s customers may transform a showroom stock street-legal Porsche into a race car – a process that is both time-consuming and expensive – or they can reach out directly to Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and buy a turn-key race car straight from the automaker. PMNA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, was founded in 1985. The company is headquartered in 15,000 square feet of the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles (PECLA). 

The list of race cars Porsche offers changes year-over-year. Still, its current lineup includes the 911 RSR-19 (a single-seat, mid-engine, 911 build for FIA/GTE – Le Mans and the other rounds of the World Endurance Championship), 911 GT3 R, 911 GT3 Cup, and 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport models. In addition, the company will also sell its new LMDh prototype (a hybrid racer set to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023) beginning next year.

High-performance race cars aren’t inexpensive, yet Porsche’s pricing appears very reasonable when considering the premiums consumers are paying for street-legal sports cars in showrooms today. For example, a 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport has a base price of $229,000, while the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (992 chassis) starts at $269,000. A revered 2020 Porsche 911 GT3 R lists for $535,000. Keep in mind that those prices don’t include tax, duties, transport, color schemes, or the optional “spares” package – that’s right, bona fide racing teams must have additional wheels and components on hand to be competitive. And don’t worry if you don’t have the liquid assets, as Porsche Financial Services (PFS) offers financing programs. 

Customers who purchase race cars from PMNA received support from Porsche in a couple of different ways. First, the company supports its customers by keeping a complete parts department at the PECLA. Second, a stocked PMNA Parts Trailer travels to all major racing series that Porsche customers are likely to complete (e.g., IMSA WeatherTech, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Porsche Carrera Cup North America, and SRO). As a result, not only are high-turnover parts (e.g., brake pads, oil filters, etc.) readily available, but the company keeps a limited number of electronic components, engines, and body panels at the ready in case a customer needs them – and they have the capability to overnight items in a hurry. 

Parts are only a portion of Porsche’s support for its racing clients – the brand’s overall philosophy is to support all aspects of customer racing. This means that PMNA staffs every major race series with multiple on-site engineers and expert product engineers to troubleshoot and offer technical advice for the various platforms (e.g., 911 GT3 R, 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, 911 GT3 Cup). Servicing is also crucial for a race team’s success. Hence, PMNA offers maintenance and rebuild services – at established prices – to ensure that customers have service support and can budget accordingly.

Whereas Porsche’s franchised dealer network typically has an array of street-legal vehicles on sale at any given moment – ready for immediate customer delivery – things are a bit different for those in the market for a Porsche race car. According to the automaker, lead times can run from six months up to a year, depending on the product cycle and demand for a product. Moreover, mirroring the company’s road cars, production of the race cars is limited – especially for those cars that share platforms and componentry with its standard production line, such as the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport and 911 GT3 Cup car (the GT3 street and race car share the same high-revving 4.0-liter flat-6 engine). 

Porsche’s race car program has been very successful, with the company selling about 400 cars annually to a global market (the number fluctuates based on what platforms the automaker is producing). And remember, the hundreds of race-ready PMNA vehicles supplement the thousands of road-legal Porsches converted to track duty each year, which complement the tens of thousands of Porsche customers who track their daily drivers – that’s a lot of happy Porsche owners.

If you are committed to making the leap and owning your very own factory-built and supported race car, you can find more information at Porsche Motorsport North America.