Let’s Take A Long Moment To Open The Porsche 911 GT1’s Wonderfully Complicated Engine Lid

Let’s Take A Long Moment To Open The Porsche 911 GT1’s Wonderfully Complicated Engine Lid

In the case that you recently spent $US5.7 ($7) million on a Porsche 911 GT1 Straßenversion and still haven’t figured out how to open the rear clamshell covering the entire half of your homologation special, DK Engineering is here to help.

DK very kindly uploaded a user manual to your 911 GT1, all 20-odd of you. (Porsche claims 21 in this official video, RM Auctions claims 23 in this for sale listing. The racing rules of the FIA sort of wanted 25 in total but Porsche got away with only building two in its first year of competition.) There’s lots in the video, like how to plug into your OBD port and get your diagnostics, scrolling through the Porsche menu to the “miscellaneous” drop down. My favourite is the elaborate procedure of opening the engine lid. It kicks off a bit after four minutes into this lovingly obsessive video:

This being a race car with some extra leather on the interior, basically, the engine lid is meant for racing and racing speeds. As such, you don’t just get a little clasp that could flip open if you’re doing over 322 km/h. You get a very long wrench.

It’s hiding in your rather useful trunk (which has its own lovely hydraulic struts), a long t-shaped hex wrench that will look familiar to any bike mechanic. You open the door, gaze deeply into the mysterious hole and insert the wrench until you get a very satisfying click. You spin some sort of something in there until it releases, then do it again on the other side. What’s going on in there, deep in the depths of the 911 GT1? Is it a screw acting on a spring, the same way it is for adjusting left/right tension on 1980s Shimano Deore XT cantilever brakes? Is it some sort of extended tumbler lock? Is there a little gnome living in there, and you are reaching into its home, charging via your twisting its complicated magneto-based energy system, and in exchange the little gnome releases grip upon the latch? We may never know.

Even with both sides released, you have a multi-stage process of lifting the lid up, not greatly unlike a front-hinged 1970s BMW hood but backwards. There is also a spectacularly ’90s anodized red locking plate that holds the huge lid open. You must press it closed with your foot to release it when it’s time to close the thing back up.

All I can say is that it takes a terrifically long time to do, and grants the engine compartment of the 911 GT1 with the sufficient sense of occasion it deserves. That’s something of a development of Porsche’s Group C powerplant, a twin-turbo flat six and a Porsche 962 transmission hooked up to it.