“If there's one car I would love to have raced, it would be the widow-maker – the Porsche 917K. That car was dangerous, of course, but surely it is one of the greatest sports cars of all time.”
“I started getting interested in motor racing in 1988. I remember watching the Le Mans 24 Hours on TV and I fell in love with that year's Jaguar XJR-9LM. I've always preferred the look of sports cars to Formula 1 cars, and that car in its Silk Cut livery looked like something special.
“I'd love to have done Le Mans in those days with the old Mulsanne Straight without any chicanes. I reckon you would really have had to hang on through the kink and you'd have had plenty of time to think about the consequences if something went wrong at more than 200mph.”
“That's a tough question, but I'd probably choose the Porsche 908/3 – a really fantastic car. Although built only for the Targa Florio and the Nurburgring, it would have been faster than the 908/2(LH) at Spa-Francorchamps, the fastest road course in the world at that time. Of course, you wouldn't want to think too much about your feet being level with the front of the front wheels. There was very little between you and any potential accident!”
“The Ferrari 312PB was around when I started to get interested in motorsport and it has obviously stuck in my mind. Those where the days when drivers were real heroes; perhaps it was a more heroic age. I would love to have had the chance to drive with greats like Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti.”
“The Porsche 956/962 was special because it won so many races in so many series over a such a long period. It's one of the greatest sports cars ever and, having demonstrated a 962 once, I'd say it was also perhaps the first modern sports car in that it was built to be driven hard.
“The other reason I would pick that car is that, back when I was 6 years old, I used to ‘drive' a Shell Porsche 962C on a video game called WEC Le Mans on my Commodore computer.”
“The car that I would love to have driven is the last Group C car Sauber built for Mercedes-Benz, the Sauber C292. When I was in the Sauber factory, they showed me the car. They never raced it, but they tested it and they were so many seconds faster than the previous car.
“It looked really cool – so low but with a massive diffuser you could sleep under. It was stunning. Jean-Louis Schlesser, who drove it, said that the car created 5G forces just under braking! It had so much downforce, he couldn't believe it.”
“It would have to be the No. 2 Jaguar XJR-9LM that won the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours driven by my teammates Jan Lammers, Andy Wallace and Johnny Dumfries. That car was so much faster down the straight than our Jag and it also used less fuel. They had changed the ride height, which unlocked the potential of the car.”
“As a driver, you always want to be in the most competitive car possible and I was lucky in my career to drive the best cars out there with Matra, Porsche and Alfa Romeo. I was in the best machinery possible, so I never wanted to drive any of the cars from our rivals.
“So that's why I'd pick the present Audi R15 TDI or Peugeot 908 turbodiesels. If I were still racing today, I would want to be in either one of those cars.”
“For me it would be the Porsche 917/20, the ‘Pink Pig' – and, in an ideal world, I'd race it at Cleveland's airport track. How's that for a rare fusion?!”
“As a Scot, I should probably say the 1957 Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-type, but one car I've always hankered after driving is the Porsche RS Spyder. I had some great battles against that car in 2007-'08 in the American Le Mans Series when I was driving an Audi R10 TDI. The Audi and the Porsche were in separate classes, but they had very similar performance, yet achieved it in different ways. I'd love to have been able to experience where the Porsche was really quick. I think it would have been a real eye-opener.”
“The Porsche RS Spyder I raced was awesome and the handling was so much better than the Audi, but it was underpowered! We had the best races because they drove by us on the straights and we killed them going through the corners – frustrating but good racing.
“So, if I had to pick one car, I would go for the Porsche 917K, definitely. I'd love to get a taste of that just to sample the sheer power it produced, as well as it being a handful to drive.
“Let's say it like this: my favorite sports car that I have ever driven was the Acura ARX-02a. But the sports car that I saw in Le Mans while I was a kid and would love to test drive there is the Peugeot 905! It seemed like a beast with huge horsepower and mega wing!”
“The Jaguar XJR-14 – a lot of horsepower, downforce and brakes; the Porsche 917K is the iconic racecar; there's the 1966-'67 Ford GT40, an incredible machine with a wonderful heritage… And then there's the Porsche 962 – fun, fast and agile but also mild-mannered and rhythmic.
“The problem is, there are just too many fun cars I want to drive.”
“Although I've driven the '83 Le Mans-winning Porsche 956 up the hill at Goodwood, I want to drive the '87 winner, the Rothmans Porsche 962. When I was a child, I wanted to be Derek Bell and drive that car at Le Mans. It looked so cool with the white BBS wheel covers front and rear.
“Watching that car and Derek win Le Mans was the moment I knew my ultimate dream in racing was to win that legendary race one day.”
“I'd love to drive the old Porsche 917, but if I were to say which car I was never able to drive that I would love to drive, it would actually be the Formula 1 Tyrrells, 001 or 002, that Jackie Stewart drove.”
“I'd love to have raced a Porsche 956 and I think that's partly because I saw my father [three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jack] drive one at Sandown in 1984. That was the first big race I'd ever attended and those cars made a big impression on me.”
“For me, the Nissan GTP-ZX Turbo from the late '80s is the ultimate. When I started racing, I'd watch it go by and it would just blow me away. It was visually stunning, but the sound and vibrations it made were stunning, too! And It was so much quicker than anything at the time. When you saw that car, the feeling you got was what made you want to be a racecar driver.”
• For the full version of this feature article, plus much more, check out the January 2012 issue of RACER magazine, which is NOT available on newsstands. CLICK HERE to subscribe.