Sometimes, a race car is just too good. Engineers find ways around rules and rulemakers get mad, but the fans love it. Here are your favorite banned race cars.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Super Chevy
10.) IMSA Consulier GTP
Suggested By: BlueSoap
Why It Was Banned: Warren Mosler's Consulier GTP had a stellar racing record in its young career. It was powered by Dodge's turbocharged 2.2 K-Car engine, and found exceptional success on the track, beating out name-brand drivers in factory-backed Porsches and Corvettes, twin-turbo Callaway Corvettes, and Firebirds. It was so good, IMSA decided it was not in their best interests to have this upstart keep beating the factory cars so soundly, so they hit the Consulier with a 300 pound wight penalty before banning it outright in 1991.
Photo credit: The Petrol Stop
9.) Jimmy Gronen's 1973 Electromagnet-Powered Soapbox Derby Car
Suggested By: 4 cam torino
Why It Was Banned: No one could figure out how 14-year-old Jimmy Gronen got such good starts during the 1973 All-American National Soapbox Derby. He was winning heats left and right, and then his victories started tailing off. The electromagnet he'd hidden in the nose of his car was weakening as the day went on. It didn't matter though, by the end of the day, he'd won the whole thing. Triggered by an electrical circuit completed when his helmet touched his headrest, the magnet pulled the car forward off the line as the metal starting gate opened. This gave him a boost into the lead. Jimmy was stripped of his title two days later, and his uncle was indicted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and fined $2,000. Additionally, Jimmy's hometown of Boulder, CO was banned from participating in the National finals ever again.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
8.) 1997 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet "T-Rex" Monte Carlo
Suggested By: My X-Type Is Too A Real Jaguar
Why It Was Banned: Jeff Gordon was given a special car to run at the 1997 Nascar All-Star Race. It wore a Jurassic Park paint scheme, but its name comes from its chassis designer, Rex Stump, who built it specifically for this one race. The car had a custom suspension setup, aerodynamically shaped floor pan, and totally redesigned chassis. It won the All-Star Race, and then was immediately outlawed by Nascar. They even seized it to use as an educational tool.
Photo credit: Picasaweb
7.) Dauer Porsche 962
Suggested By: frankenheidi
Why It Was Banned: In 1992, rule changes occurred in the World Sportscar Championship which saw the numbers of the then-dominant 962 dwindle. Some still remained at Le Mans, but were crippled by the new rules and unable to compete for the big overall win. In 1993 however, the ACO instituted new GT-class rules, and Porsche saw a loophole. Their 962s that had been modified to run on public roads were now eligible to race, and win. Their larger-than-prototype fuel tanks let them stay out on track longer than their faster opponents, giving a 962 in a GT class the overall win in 1993. Immediately thereafter the ACO changed the rules again, and kept the 962s out for good.
Photo credit: Sportsracers.co.uk
6.) WRC Toyota Celica GT-Four
Suggested By: OnePumpChump
Why It Was Banned: By 1995, the FIA decided that something needed to be done about those pesky, unsafe WRC cars running around in the woods of Europe. They decreed that the turboed cars would get fitted with restrictor plates, limiting the amount of air to pass through the turboes, and lowering horsepower. Toyota didn't like that idea. They constructed a system, inside their turbocharger, that would move the restrictor plate away from the walls of the intake when the car was in motion and negate any effects of the plate itself. Air would pass freely, and give the Celica an additional 50 horsepower over its competition. Eventually the FIA found out, banned the car, and Toyota moved from its highly successful rallying career to a highly unsuccessful Formula 1 attempt.
Photo credit: The Phat Dish Collective
5.) Smokey Yunick's 1967 Chevelle
Suggested By: Deathrabbits
Why It Was Banned: Smokey was a master at reading the rulebook, understanding what it was trying to tell him, and then looking for each and every way he could subvert and circumvent the words on the page. He was an expert at following the spirit, if not the word, of the law. According to one of many legends surrounding this car, (and let me tell you, there are some good ones) Smokey modified the bodywork on his car, adding little lips and winglets and smoothing rough edges to squeeze a little more speed out of the car. When he went to show the Nascar officials at scruitineering before the race, he proved the car's legitimacy by using the first body template in Nascar. He measured his race car, and then put those measurements on a Chevelle pulled from the parking lot. They matched exactly. The officials were not aware however that the test car also belonged to Smokey.
Photo credit: Legendary Collector Cars
4.) Lotus 56
Suggested By: Demon-Xanth
Why It Was Banned: After seeing Parnelli Jones' Granatelli turbine car very nearly win at Indy in 1967, Colin Chapman returned with a wedge-shaped racer powered by a 500 horsepower Pratt & Whitney turbine engine, which drove all four wheels. Joe Leonard found himself in the lead of the 1968 Indy 500 with only a few laps to go, when the engine failed. USAC would later decide that both turbine-powered and four-wheel-driven cars were not kosher, and ban them from then on.
Photo credit: Mark Scheuern's Photoblog
3.) Group B Rally Cars
Suggested By: yoda2
Why It Was Banned: What, one hundred plus miles per hour over loose gravel and mud doesn't sound like a great idea to you, FIA? What about if I add hundreds of horsepower and fans literally inches away from these speeding cars? Big wings? Four-wheel drive? I mean, I don't want to influence your call, FIA, but it sounds like a pretty great idea to me. Up until the people start dying, spectators and drivers, that is. Then it gets pretty hairy. In the end, shutting down Group B may not have been the worst idea. It is better to burn out than fade away, after all
Photo credit: Rally Buzz
2.) Brabham BT46B
Suggested By: AMG=All Money Gone
Why It Was Banned: After Lotus started playing with ground effect cars in 1977, Gordon Murray decided he'd take the idea one step further. He attached fans to the back of the Brabham BT46 and connect them to the engine, so that they would spin faster as the engine revs increased. These fans sucked air out from under the car, increasing downforce. Niki Lauda did not enjoy driving the car, even though he would pilot it to victory in the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, its one and only race.
Photo credit: Berlina Sportivo
1.) Chaparral 2J
Suggested By: Space Docker
Why It Was Banned: The Chaparral 2J sucked. Don't let anybody ever tell you any different. In fact, it sucked so much it changed the way engineers, race car drivers and racing teams thought about aerodynamics and how to keep a fast car on the road. Most successful cars only have one engine; the 2J had two. It had a big honking Chevy engine for the go-fast, and a tiny little snowmobile engine for the suck hard. That second engine pulled air out from underneath the car's body, which meant it could take turns faster than its opponents. Those opponents, (mostly McLaren) along with Can Am officials got mad that Jim Hall's Chaparral kept wiping the floor with them (when mechanical problems didn't sideline the car), so it was retired after its only season in 1970.
Photo credit: Ultimatecarpage