It is extraordinary to behold, and fun to discover the bits that aren’t from the racing car. Items such as the leatherclad seats, which are from the Lotus Elise, and the ventilation controls, from Ford’s Ka. It’s hidden from sight, but ACO regulations of the day also stipulated that the road cars should have space for one small item of luggage, and so half of the race car’s fuel tank cavity was repurposed.
Those are the more whimsical elements, but the very serious business of fulfilling homologation law – that the car should be genuinely usable and safe on the road – goes much deeper. The racer’s sequential dog-ring gearbox remains, yet a custom set of helical gears was machined to replace the straight-cut gears that, along with extra sound deadening, allow the car to pass noise tests. The suspension wishbones are carried over but the geometry is altered and the pushrods are longer to allow for greater ride height. Because orifices wider in diameter than 100mm – bluntly, that of a baby’s head – were outlawed on the road, the bodywork was also fitted with various meshes and, for the huge intakes at the base of the windscreen, metal struts.
As for the powertrain, the road car has less aggressive camshafts, new inlet manifolds and revised fuelling, in part to help make up for the fact that the V8 did without the anti-lag system that kept the racer’s peaky turbochargers on the boil. Catalytic converters – two per bank – and two huge silencers then brought total power down to 550bhp from the racing car’s 620bhp, although at roughly 1100kg all in, on paper a fully working road-going GT-One would still be brutally quick.
In the coming weeks, the suspension will be assessed and the engine turned over by hand. But even if it hasn’t seized, K-LM isn’t out of the woods. For one thing, nobody has any idea whether the original race ECU still has its memory of the engine map for the 3.6-litre V8 (which, when in race trim, requires a rebuild every 3000 miles). And if it doesn’t, they are going to have serious problems, because the laptop used to access the ECU was discarded long ago, being ‘obsolete’.