In 1976 it was sold to the Mexican Quintinella brothers and languished, hardly used until 1979 when it was sold back into the U.S. and raced by Doug Lutz. It finally hung up its racing boots in 1986 when Garretson Enterprises of California bought it and restored it back to its original 1973 IROC specification. In 1989 an English Lord couldn't resist and bought it, bringing it to Britain where it's remained ever since.
The restoration was obviously meticulous but the history, the patina, the sweat remain locked inside. It's not some prissy trailer queen, rather an exquisitely preserved piece of motorsport legend. The green paint (officially termed "Pistachio") has a shine so deep I reckon I could sink my arm right into it-astonishing seeing as it's 22 years old.
Its history and importance to the Porsche canon are beyond question and standing here, admiring its brutal good looks, ducking for cover when the revs rise and the flames flare, I wish I'd been able to see it in action in 1970s America. To be able to climb inside, strap on a harness and roar towards a Yorkshire horizon comes a mighty close second, though. So, with miles and miles of empty road at my disposal, I take a deep breath, fire up the angry engine and head back out until my senses can't take any more and only fumes remain in the tank. It's an experience that will live with me to the day I die.
It's the greatest Porsche I've ever experienced or am ever likely to experience. Lord Mexborough is doing the right thing: he never gets to use it and he wants someone else to look after it, drive it and most of all enjoy it, so it's for sale. The ultimate air-cooled 911? You're looking right at it and it could be yours for a million dollars.
Thanks to Specialist Cars of Malton, www.specialistcarsltd.co.uk, where the RSR is currently being offered for sale.
Porsche 911 3.0 RSR IROC
Longitudinal rear engine, rear-wheel drive
3.0-liter flat six, air-cooled
Peak Power: 330 hp @ 8000 rpm
Peak Torque: 232lb ft @ 6500 rpm
Top Speed: 155 mph
Curb Weight: 1,984 lb
*With a million dollars up for grabs, the International Race of Champions was obviously a big draw for drivers who relished the opportunity to prove their mettle by competing with peers in totally identical cars. The format never changed: twelve drivers from differing backgrounds, all chasing glory and a fat pay check.
After the Porsche RSR season, each year saw American cars used to cut costs, which alienated European motorsport fans. No Chevrolet or Pontiac could hope to have the same appeal as a race-bred 911, but the series continued (apart from 1981, 1982 and 1983) to run and grow, with subtle rule changes brought in whenever a new sponsor arrived.
From 1992 to 2005, oval circuits were used, which reduced the spectator appeal even further. In 1990, Britain's Martin Brundle beat all comers at Cleveland, but the contest was becoming less international with each passing year. It seemed that IROC had its blinkers on and the series ended up with only American drivers being invited to participate.
In 2007, it was announced that IROC had no main sponsor and that the season was to be delayed. On March 7 and 8 this year, IROC finally closed its doors and liquidated everything at auction. An era had sadly ended, but back in the beginning, in 1973, it was Porsche that started the legend with the Carrera 3.0 RSR.
Who knows? If the series had remained truly international and used cars from European as well as American manufacturers, perhaps the world would have taken to IROC in the way it has embraced Formula 1.