After being treated to two consecutive weekends of endurance racing with Le Mans and N24 (and not forgetting our podium at the 12 Heures du Norfolk), we’ve been dreaming up ways to get a GT racing-related supercar into the dream garage. Obvious choices include the Ferrari 488 GTB or Audi R8, because the competition variant of both models topped their respective classes in France and Germany. But for those who prefer their motorsport specials a little more leftfield (and Dutch), the Spyker C8 LM85 currently listed for sale in the classifieds is worthy of attention.
Admittedly, the C8 never earned silverware like the aforementioned options, but the car’s race-worthiness is not to be questioned. The Spyker Squadron racing team (a nod to Spyker’s aviation history) fielded C8 GT cars in eight consecutive Le Mans from 2002, during which time the model went through three evolutionary phases and was even driven by Peter Dumbreck. The earlier cars, the Double-12R and Spyder GT2-R, failed to finish, but the Laviolette GT2-R that came from 2008 completed the distance twice, finishing fifth in class in 2009 and then ninth the year after.
Although the outfit – which operated completely independently from the short-lived Spyker F1 team in 2007 – had begun to prove itself, Spyker’s financial troubles forced it to close the factory GT squad in 2010. From then on, the brand’s presence on track was restricted to privateer entries, meaning no more money was being poured into developing track stuff. Spyker’s twenty-first century motorsport story had officially closed before it was allowed to really get going – although that didn’t prevent the firm from producing a limited-run model to celebrate its achievements.
The C8 Laviolette LM85 arrived in 2008 in dedication to the Spyker Squadron’s then brand new Laviolette GT2-R, using a space frame aluminium chassis and an Audi-supplied V8 like its racing cousin, although the road car’s motor was close to 200cc larger at 4.2 litres. The RS4-derived unit remained naturally aspirated to produce 400hp at 6,800rpm and 354lb ft of torque at 3,500rpm, enabling the 1,275kg Dutch to sprint from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 186mph.
This left it lagging behind the fastest supercars of the time, but the Spyker was developed to be an old school option at a time when the ‘digitalisation’ of supercars was really picking up steam. Spyker had already sought chassis tuning help from Lotus for its mid-engined supercar, but the LM85 was enhanced further with a lighter centre-locking wheels of 19-inch diameters, more powerful AP Racing brakes and extra bits of carbon fibre. The model was also wrapped in a GT2-R-inspired livery.
Despite the tweaks, the car’s taut proportions and exquisitely detailed interior remained unaffected. The C8’s exposed gear linkage system has to be one of the most impressive ever placed in a car and its retro dials and switches that come set in a turned aluminium dash are about as far from touchscreen infotainment screens you can get. The C8 LM85 was also offered with Chronoswiss dials as an option, drawing an even closer link to 24-hour racing. There were more options, too, because with only 15 LM85s put into production, each was customised to its buyer’s demands.
Today’s Showpiece, one of only two right-hand drive C8 LM85s, has covered just 890 miles in its nine years of life, having arrived in 2010 shortly after Spyker’s motorsport dream had died. It’s been equipped with about every option that the company offered at the time, including motorsport-spec towing rings, a carbon fibre rear spoiler and sports exhaust. There’s even a fire extinguisher system in the passenger footwell.
While Spyker never reached its podium-filling ambitions for GT racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it did at least succeed at creating one of the most peculiar race-influenced performance machines for the road. For that reason, it’s a real shame that this one has seen such little use; here’s hoping someone with £260k that’s high on endurance racing fever will be able to put that right.
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