Porsche creates Le Mans-style 911 GT3 for Paolo Barilla
9 November 2021 - Autocar
First creation from new Sonderwusch programme pays tribute to Barilla’s 1986 Le Mans-winning 956
Porsche has shown off the scope of its new car personalisation service with a one-off 911 GT3 painted in the same livery as one of its Le Mans-winning 956 race cars.
The first car to be produced as part of the brand’s reborn Sonderwunsch ('special wishes') programme, the custom 911 GT3 has been commissioned for former racing driver Paolo Barilla - who won at La Sarthe in 1986 in a distinctively-liveried 956.
The Team Joest car was well known for its black, white and yellow livery in period. The GT3’s livery predominantly features the number 7 - Barilla’s racing number - alongside special badges bearing the driver’s name.
The colour-contrasting front and rear wheels, with the white front rims representing the ‘aeroblade’ wheel covers that were used in racing, are also homages to the 956.
The car features bespoke rounded end plates on the rear spoiler, with engineers from the series-produced 911 GT3 drafted in to help design it to ensure that the aerodynamic performance remained unchanged.
Inside, the gearshifter has been swapped for milled aluminium gearlever inspired by the lightweight magnesium ball featured on the 956. Special designs relating to the car’s win at Le Mans in 1985 adorn the headrests, with more celebratory logos to be found on the sill plates and dashboard.
The project took three years from first sketch to delivery day, with the 991.2-generation 911 GT3 originally being used as a base, because the 992 model hadn’t been launched yet.
Barilla collected the car on his 60th birthday.
"In the eighties, I had the chance to drive the wonderful Porsche 956, an iconic car in terms of performance and beauty," the Italian said.
"The interpretation of some elements in a modern GT3 makes that memory exciting and vital for me and for people who are close to me.”
This 911 GT3 is the first car to be produced as part of the newly reactivated Sonderwunsch programme. Building on the existing Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur scheme (which offers custom colours and more interior personalisation options), the programme allows clients to work with Porsche in every step of the design and development process.