Okay, so there's been quite a bit of Porsche content lately, which no doubt won't be to everyone's tastes, but hopefully we can all agree that a new Nurburgring lap record and a one-of-six 959 rally car are worth covering. And this falls into the same bracket, not just for its remarkable attention to detail, but also for its driver-focused ethos.
Paul Stephens is a name which might ring a bell amongst Porsche enthusiasts and owners alike; the Essex-based specialist is regarded as one of the foremost classic dealers in the country. It's much more than just a dealership though, and since 2007 has also been in the business of selling its own take on what a 911 ought to be: the Clubsport.
Since 2017 the car has entered Clubsport II guise; a 3.2 Carrera rebuilt from the ground up to perform to modern standards. Air cooled flat-six engine options ranging from 240hp to 350hp, dry sump lubrication, a Getrag five-speed transmission and Minilite wheels are just a few of the upgrades, alongside a completely refinished interior, for a weight of 1,000kg. The aim of the Clubsport II said to be to restore "the traditional values of a true performance car featuring lightweight, communicative steering and chassis together with a healthy power to weight ratio."
Now, in association with the organisers of Le Mans Classic, Paul Stephens has unveiled this, the Le Mans Classic Clubsport. Using the 3.4-litre, 300hp version of the Clubsport II as a starting point, just ten examples are set to be created in either Touring (1,075kg) or Lightweight (970kg) form.
The rebuild includes the addition of a lightweight de-seamed roof panel (including sunroof delete), lightweight aluminium bonnet, and lightweight composite bumpers and engine cover. A new cross shaft-less ITB injection system with GT3 RS plenum, RS spec camshafts, lightened crankshaft, lightweight conrods, lightweight flywheel and a limited slip differential complete the mechanical upgrades. All of which adds up to 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 175mph.
Inside, the black leather seats are trimmed with unique Le Mans Classic houndstooth inserts in green, black and white, with Le Mans Classic green door pulls, seat belts and bespoke dials, including a 24-hour clock. Each Touring spec car will feature a luggage box (complete with Le Mans Classic luggage set) mounted in place of the rear seats. The Lightweight, however, does away with such fripperies, and ups the game with lightweight carpets and manual front windows as well as the removal of the soundproofing, central locking, passenger sun visor and even the glove box door.
Set to be officially launched at this weekend's 2018 event, customers are scheduled to collect their cars during the staging of a traditional grid run two years from now. With pricing starting at £250,000, they're likely to be among the most well-heeled drivers to ever take part in the famous spectacle.