RAC Cars News


How To Buy a Le Mans racer

By raccars Published

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While most of us couldn't - and probably wouldn't want to - buy a Formula One or NASCAR racer for everyday use, buying a car which has made its mark at Le Mans 24 hour endurance racing isn't totally unreasonable.

Nissan GT-R

There were three GT-Rs racing around La Sarthe this year but the version you can buy is a vastly different machine. The road going GT-R is, nonetheless, a formidable beast, with savage acceleration - 62mph arrives in just 3.5 seconds, glue-like grip on the tarmac and a top speed of 190mph. Popularly considered the affordable way in to supercar performance, a GT-R still isn't exactly cheap. Launched in 2008, those early models can now be found from about £35,000 but beware of modifications and make sure you get a full service history.

Porsche 911 GT3

911 GT3 RSRs made a significant mark on Le Mans and the road going 911 GT3 is a very entertaining machine. It's not the fastest car flat out - 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and topping out at 187mph - but offers such elegant handling, the agility of a ballet dancer and really engages the driver - and it sounds magnificent! You're looking at £67,000 plus for a 1999-2005 model but, as prices hold well, it's not a bad investment.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

This one fulfils so many dreams - driving one you can imagine that you're pounding a Prodrive tuned model around La Sarthe or that you're James Bond, as the marque is inextricably linked with the secret agent. The road going V8 Vantage is relatively slothful compared to the others here, taking 4.9 seconds to get to 62mph and holding at 175mph, but it's stunning to look at and carries all the prestige of that Aston Martin badge. Available from 2005, those early versions can be picked up now from about £30,000 with low mileage and a full history - just make sure you leave plenty in your wallet for running costs!

Chevrolet Corvette C6

Probably the cheapest way into Le Mans racer ownership territory, the Corvette is heavy, brutal and feels deliciously retro to drive. There's plenty of power to play with from its 6.2 litre V8 - 62mph arrives in 4.8 seconds and it will keep going to 190mph - but it's actually very well behaved for everyday driving. 2008 models with low mileage go from about £27,000.

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