There are many moments from throughout racing history that stick out and make us think “now that was a hell of an era.” For some, late ‘70s F1 encapsulates the glory days of peak driving talent and impassioned engineering. For others, ‘90s DTM offered some of the most thrilling touring car action ever seen. But there’s another series that you might not have heard of, and is worth highlighting for its soundtrack alone: The GT1-entry-heavy BPR (Barth, Peter, and Ratel) Global GT Series. This short clip from the 1995 season at Montlhéry on YouTube perfectly demonstrates why.
When people talk about the sights and sounds of GT racing, the mid-’90s’ BPR is a high watermark. Notable stars include the McLaren F1 GTR, Ferrari F40 GTE, and 993 Porsche 911 Turbo, all battling each other in this higher category. Other top ‘90s icons that also made an appearance throughout the season were the Bugatti EB 110 SC, Jaguar XJ220, and Toyota Supra GT-LM.
When a bunch of Categorically Beautiful race cars with a wide variety of displacements, cylinder counts, and boost pressures—or no boost pressure at all in the McLaren’s case—grid up together, it’s always a good show. And the noise that they all produce is beautiful, glorious music. Especially the exhaust notes produced by the BMW S70-powered McLaren and Ferrari.
Modern GT racing is plenty entertaining and carries a wonderful soundtrack as well, but nothing quite like this.
The series is sort of an ancestor to modern-day SRO Motorsports Group, the folks who run GT World Challenge America and its various accompanying series—motorsports impresario Stephane Ratel was/is behind both. It follows a similar format to SRO as well: There’s no sight of any prototypes in its grids, just GT cars—many piloted by gentleman drivers—that can be lightened and modified to fit within several low-weight, high-output rulesets.
The track in the clip is mighty fascinating, too: Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry. Its first race took place all the way back in 1925, and boy does it look like it. Check out that brutally steep banking, those fast straightaways, and the hard braking zones immediately following. I’m not sure which of its many configurations this race ran on, but what a cool track-turned-semi-relic regardless.
There are many eras of motorsport that we can all look back on and appreciate for their driving talent, engineering, rulebooks, and so on. ‘90s GT racing is among the best of them.
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