Top 10 homologation specials of all time

Tyler Heatley

10 Nov 2021

Pesky motorsport rules resulted in some of the most extreme road cars ever made.

The world of motorsport is full of innovation and incredible engineering achievements, however, competition also comes with pesky rules and regulations. What happens when you put talented brains in a confined space? They find ways around problems, and that’s exactly what homologations specials are. When the rules say your racer needs to be based on a road car, simply fix some numberplates to your motorsport machine. The good news for us is that they are then sold to the public.


Here are our top 10 homologation specials.


Toyota GR Yaris




The GR Yaris was designed to give Toyota’s WRC car a series of baked-in advantages. Its lower roofline aided aerodynamics, a clever all-wheel drive system boosted traction, and extra space allowed for the fitment of special suspension without modification. It might be small but this little hot hatch is mighty.


Could this be one of the last homologation specials? Quite possibly.


BMW M1




The BMW M1 had a troubled birth with Lamborghini originally struggling to get the project together on behalf of the German marque, but it eventually resulted in a legend. Designed to homologate a Group 4 racing car, the M1 remains BMWs only supercar to this day.


A BMW M1 ProCar one-make series supported the F1 calendar for two years with the likes of Niki Lauda competing.


Lancia Stratos




Designed with rallying in mind, this unique little Italian Sports car was styled by famed design house Bertone. Every inch of this car was born of motorsport, but Stradale variants also hit the road and are treasured by their owners. 


The Lancia Stratos is powered by a Ferrari V6 engine.


Porsche 911 GT1




When the GT1 class ruled the roost at Le Mans, some very special vehicles were created. The Porsche 911 GT1 was such a machine and was very much a racer with numberplates in road-legal guise. Sharing very little with an actual 911, extreme doesn’t even cover it.


Just 20 street cars were ever built.


Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR




Just like the 911 GT1, the CLK GTR had very little to do with a Merc CLK. This car is powered by a naturally aspirated V12 engine cloaked in some extreme aerodynamic bodywork. Again, the road cars were simply a formality of the rules.


Mark Webber famously flipped a CLK GTR at Le Mans… Twice! This was due to an aerodynamic stability issue.


Peugeot 205 T16




The Peugeot 205 T16 rally car was an incredibly successful machine in the era of Group B, but it wouldn’t have made it to the starting line without its road-going counterparts that satisfied rule-makers.


The 205 T16 might have started life as a regular hatchback, but it was transformed into a mid-engine all-wheel drive hot hatch.


Audi Sport Quattro




Audi revolutionised the world of rallying when the Quattro introduced all-wheel drive – a formula that still dominates today. The Sport Quattro modified the original legend with a shortened wheelbase, larger turbo, and kevlar bodywork.


Subaru Impreza 22B STi




Subaru came to dominate the world of rallying, but the 22B remains one of the most iconic homologation specials. This rarified coupe model featured a larger 2.2-litre boxer engine and was officially built to celebrate the marque’s WRC glory.


Even Colin McRae had to pay full price for one.


Mitsubishi Pajero Evo




When we say Mitsubishi Evolution, typically we’re talking about a Lancer, but not this time. The Pajero – Shogun to us UK folk – was modified to the extreme to compete in the T2 class in the Dakar rally.


Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth




A true legend amongst fast Ford fans. The Sierra Cosworth was built to do battle in the world of touring car, but here was a motorsport machine that Joe Public could go and buy. Its 2.0-litre Cosworth engine is one of the greatest mainstream performance motors of all time.


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Tyler Heatley

10 Nov 2021