This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

If there’s one thing that’s great about the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, it’s that they run a variety of otherwise normal cars that were prepared for race duty. This Bodymotion Racing Porsche 911, for example, still has its road car key to prove it.

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Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

Look inside this car, and sure enough, there’s a big fat road car key sticking out of the dash. There’s a dealer tag dangling off of it and everything.

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According to Bodymotion team manager Geoff Abel, the car started off as a normal 997-generation Porsche Carrera GTS road car. It was bought straight off of a dealer’s lot, broken in for about 400 miles or so, and then built into a race car.

Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

You can always spot ze Germans at Circuit of the Americas because they’re the ones who are most likely to wear a cowboy hat.

The original owner was supposed to run a full season, but ran out of money after the third race last year. Bodymotion brought it back out now to get used to running a two-car effort, using driver (as well as member of my ill-fated original Porschelump ChumpCar team) Michael Johnson to help get the car sorted. That’s the team’s plan for 2016: two cars!

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Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

If anything, many of the CTSCC cars like this one are just nicely modified road cars. This Porsche 911 has the same little pads in the rear bumper around where a license plate would go, the same six-speed manual, and the same 3.8-liter flat six in the trunk, which makes around 420 to 430 hp in CTSCC trim.

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Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

Interestingly, this very car hit 188 mph on the Daytona banking — faster than the GTD-class 911s in IMSA’s flagship United SportsCar series. The reduced downforce from running the street car aero as opposed to the more intense GTD-class 911 GT America’s kit is what the team credits for the crazy high speeds there.

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Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever

Running a modified street car in a race series isn’t all insane speeds and good times, though. Sometimes certain bits of street car kit hinder things in hilarious ways.

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That key, for example, includes an immobilizer that will keep the car from running if it’s away from the vehicle. When the car was first built into a race car, the team had several problems with that.

“Just don’t lose the key,” said Abel.

Illustration for article titled This Race Car Must Not Lose Its Road Car Key Under Any Circumstances, Ever
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Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.

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DISCUSSION

Fun fact: the reason Porsche puts their key hole on the left side of the steering wheel goes back to the days when Le Mans and other endurance races featured a running start. That is, the drivers lined up on one side of the track and their cars sat on the other side of the track. At the start, the drivers ran across the track and jumped into the cars.

Placing the key on the left enabled the driver to start the engine with their left hand and simultaneously put the car in gear with their right hand, so that the car would be ready to go immediately as the engine fired up.

Every second counts in racing.