Automobile racing has been going on for well over a century. In that time, hundreds of race cars have been cheered on by fans both to victory and (unfortunate) defeat. With so many cars having crossed the finish line over the years, it’s a wonder that anyone can narrow the list down enough to pick out the best ones to exist. Some cars, however, have become legends in their own right, and that alone is enough to mark them as legendary. Here are some of the cars that have taken their rightful place as one of the best cars in racing history.
Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2
Audi dominated the 1980s with their Quattro line of race cars, but none of the cars were better than the Sport Quattro S1 E2. It overtook every other car in the Group B rallies before they were canceled for good with its 2.1-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. The engine made it to 470hp, but it’s rumored that toward the end, the S1 E2 closed in at close to 600hp.
The Chaparral 2J didn’t see the track in over a year, but that year proved it to be faster than any of its competition. The design of the 2J included a vacuum suction made by two fans attached to the back of the car. The fans would suck the air up from under the car and, with the help of the Lexan skirt on the design, obtain the optimal downforce to gain speed as with aerodynamics. Though faster than its competition, the 2J was labeled unreliable and outlawed from being used on the race track a year after its debut.
The Ford GT40 was created out of pure spite. Unable to succeed in purchasing Ferarri, Ford designed the GT40 to beat the other company at its own game in endurance racing. It won the 24 hour Le Mans race for four consecutive years and, with four different versions of it, has become one of the most recognizable car models in the history of motorsports.
Though powerful, the Porche 917 met obsoletion not once, but twice. Originally designed for endurance races like the GT40 was, the car found success in its run until a rules change made the model useless. Rather than retire the model, Porche switched its focus to Can-Am racing, where upgrades such as a turbo engine helped it reach nearly 1,500hp. Much like the endurance races, a rule change rendered the car obsolete again and forced it into retirement. Even so, many still believe the 917 to be one of the most powerful cars in history.