The McLaren Technology Centre is the McLaren headquarters for all things McLaren. So why is there, of all things, some old Porsche sitting on the same floor as some of their championship-winning Formula 1 cars? What purpose did/does this car serve?
McLaren is best known for their late 1980s-into-early-1990s Formula 1 season with Honda where their car, the MP4/4 and its successors: the MP4/5 and MP4/6 won the constructor’s championship almost without any challenge (except in the case with the MP4/6 but I digress). Did you know, though, that Porsche dabbled in Formula 1 as well? More specifically, did you know the McLaren that took Niki Lauda to his final Formula 1 Championship was a TAG-Porsche-powered MP4/2?
I bet you knew that.
But I bet you didn’t know that there is a secret Porsche with the same engine in the back as the ones used in the F1 cars.
This car is still kicking. What you see here is a normal-looking Porsche 930 Turbo with, what looks to be, Ruf wheels…until you see what’s powering it.
That there is a 1000hp (in qualifying trim) turbocharged V6 and those huge aluminum boxes at the top are the radiators that keep the engine from utterly exploding while in use. One can only imagine what had to be done to the engine bay in order to get the engine to fit. I’m also wondering what else was done to this 930 Turbo. Does it have upgraded suspension bits? Quicker steering rack, maybe? Is the gearbox an F1 gearbox? Does it run? All of these questions and more are running through my head!
So why was there an F1 V6 stuffed into the back of this unsuspecting car? Mostly for secret development and testing purposes. Engine developers had to design and build these engines way ahead of time in order to work out most of the kinks before their first race. Because Formula 1 then, and now, was also a game of espionage, many companies (not just Porsche) would shoehorn their F1 engine and gearbox into a donor production car and sent it off to the race track in order to gain precious data.
Most of these workhorses end up being crushed so it’s good to see that there still are some around and that they’re not abandoned.
I really want to see this 930 Turbo in person.Martin Spain of Drive Cult sure is one very lucky person.
Maybe one day..
Pictures from: http://www.drivecult.com/features/a-visit-to-the-mclaren-technology-centre