1995 ErinSport GT95 S1
When the Group C Development Programme ended in 1993, Erin took a hiatus from prototype racing and instead concentrated on developing the GT version of the Scarlet Mk 2, which would become their only Le Mans entrant until 1995.
It wasn't until that year that a new car for the FIA GT championship would arise, one that followed in the footsteps of the 1994 winner, the Dauer 962 Le Mans. This car famously exploited loopholes in the new regulations for homologated vehicles, leading to Erin to do a similar thing and start a trend that would define the GT1 cars of the 1990s.
Erin designed the 'road going' version of the GT95 before the racing version was launched, building just 20 examples, hence allowing them to comply with the rules whilst still being able to build an all new LM racer from the ground up. More than that though, this car had a number of innovations and advanced technology that were ahead of its time.
First was the partially active suspension setup. Fully active systems were not allowed in GT1 racing, so Erin fashioned a limited system that adapted to the forces the car was experiencing. This system would later be used as the basis for the active suspension systems on the Scarlet Mk 3 and Berlose X-AllDrive, two of Erin's all-time greatest cars. The exterior of the car was based on the Berlose Mk 2 facelift, with very similar lighting fixtures, although the two vehicles shared no parts.
Next was the engine. It was like nothing Erin had built before; a Flat Eight. The reason? It gave the car an excellent low centre of gravity. The twin turbo 3.75l unit sat almost exactly in the middle of the car, and produced some 617 bhp. A 6 speed double clutch sequential transmission attempted to send all that power to the rear wheels with some success, although there's no denying that this was a hard car to drive. 0-60 was dealt with in just 3 seconds, and it topped out at 210 mph.
The third innovation came as a result of the Flat Eight engine, and it was called the Vacuum Air Intake. Early testing of the car proved that it really did have an excellent low centre of gravity, but that cooling was an issue. The problem was that the engine was so low in the car that no enough air was reaching the block, and its unusual flat design meant only the top half of the engine was being cooled at all.
Enter 27 year old race engineer Georgina Carnin. She suggested cutting a hole out of the flat, downforce-focused undercladding of the car to scoop up air from underneath it. It was in researching this that she had a breakthrough. The hole was surrounded by a large pipe and split into two sub pipes so that one section went directly to the air intakes for the engine, while another went into the engine compartment. At high RPM's, the huge amount of air being sucked in by the engine would also suck air into the engine compartment, hence improving the cooling effectiveness of the hole. After adjusting the rear air outlets on the back of the car, she and her team designed a system where air in the engine compartment was kept constantly moving - which reduced drag - but also created a suction effect, forming an area of low pressure underneath the car that would pull the car down on to the road.
In short, the Vacuum Air Intake acted like the magnet of a Scarelectrix car, literally forcing it onto the road. This reduced the need for aggressive aero design on the car, as high-speed stability could be achieved with the intake. While this made the car more slippery in the corners, it was noticeably faster than its competitors, who all generated more downforce than was necessary for cornering due to its need at high speeds.
The Vacuum Air Intake was a huge success, as was the powerful and fairly efficient Flat Eight engine, who's massive 9300 rpm red line earned it the nickname of "The Screamer". The GT95 S1 went on to finish 1st and 3rd at Le Mans in its debut year, although the Vacuum Air Intake was deemed unfair and banned for the 1996 season. That said, the GT95 continued to compete until 1998, after which it was replaced, and the car is remembered as being one of Erin's best entrants into Le Mans and endurance racing of all time.
This car competed in the Late 90s GT Car Challenge.
If this car were a song, it'd be Wake Up by Rage Against The Machine.