The Ten Most Interesting Failed Endurance Cars

Every so often endurance racing teams like to think outside of the box and attempt new technologies and strategies for use in races. Sometimes that doesn’t work.

10.) Nissan R390-GT1


The R390-GT1 had a great run, but it was short lived. Reader J-Tenno can explain:

While they initially performed well, only 1 out of 3 of the cars that entered the 1997 24 hours of Le Mans finished, being the 12th overall. This with two gearbox changes.

After 1998 rule changes, Nissan had to develop a new racecar, with a rather innovative name, the R391. This project was also short lived.

Suggested By: J-Tenno, Photo Credit: 本人撮影 via Wikipedia

9.) Derichs Audi A8 W12


This racing team attempted to run a nearly stock W12 Audi A8 in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Needless to say, it never made it very far toward the front of the racing pack.

Suggested By: JayHova, Photo Credit:

8.) Jaguar XKR GT2


In celebration of Jaguar’s 75 year anniversary, the company had planned to bring their American Le Mans XKR race car to Le Mans. What they had not planned was a DNF four laps into the race.

Suggested By: Vlan132 , Photo Credit: Getty Images via Jalopnik

7.) Howmet TX


Though the car had seen a couple of wins in small, short-distance SCCA races, almost any time the team attempted to run in an endurance race, the car saw mechanical failures and faced DNFs. If it weren’t for reliability issues and design faults that couldn’t be overcome, I think this little racer could have had a much more promising and eventful future.

Suggested By: JayHova, Photo Credit: Brian Snelson via Flickr

6.) BMW M1


The BMW M1 could have been so much more, reader DCV has the low-down:

BMW M1 - it was meant to challenge Porsche 935, but because of the problems at Lamborghini (who was the chassis builder), not enough cars were homologated and as a result none were raced in the Group 5 by the factory. It did win a couple of races in private hands, but it was a far cry from what it was supposed to do.


Suggested By: DCV, Photo Credit: David Merrett via Flickr

5.) Pagani Zonda GR


From the time of preparation for its first race, it was clear that fielding this car would be no easy task. Carsport America, the team designated to field the Zonda, only began prepping and putting the car together 11 days before its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring. All seemed well and good until the motor went out of commission, six laps in during the race. Its go at Le Mans didn’t fare very well either, dialing in only 11 laps before gearbox failure.

Suggested By: Alazander2, Photo Credit:

4.) Nissan DeltaWing


Our love for the DeltaWing has made it very hard for us to watch the car fail and get hit in so many ways, so many different times. Maybe other drivers just have some vendetta against it, we don’t know. Even at this year’s Daytona 24, the car faced transmission issues, forcing its retirement from the race.


Suggested By: DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane, Photo Credit: Getty Images via Jalopnik

3.) Ford P68


Up until the program’s end in 1969, the P68 was raced, rather unsuccessfully at Brands Hatch, Nürburgring, Spa and several other extremely historic race tracks. Unfortunately due to a laundry list of various mechanical failures the team faced failure at the majority of races it entered.

Suggested By: Mike Paoli, Photo Credit: Andrew Basterfield via Wikipedia

2.) Toyota GT-One


A race car with seemingly ageless design. There’s wonder as to how exactly it was approved to race at Le Mans, because of how Toyota skirted the rules. The car was incredibly fast and notably reliable, but the team never saw the top a race podium.

Suggested By: TheHondaBro™ is the Stig’s Persian cousin, Photo Credit: Mytho88 via Wikipedia


1.) Mercedes-Benz CLR


It says a lot that this car is best known for one of the worst and one of the most spectacular wrecks in recent Le Mans history. If you’re racing a car at a track that is largely about aerodynamics, what sense does it make to put aero design on the back-burner?

Suggested By: Mini Cooper from 1969, Photo Credit: Marc Oliver John via Wikipedia


Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik 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!

Top Photo Credit: Marc Oliver John via Wikipedia

Share This Story