Track days at the Bahrain International Circuit are a far cry from those the UK-born crankandpiston-istas amongst us grew accustomed to, with a Porsche 356B convertible, a Ferrari 250 GT, a Mercedes CLK GTR, a Noble M600, a Ferrari F50, a McLaren F1 and a Porsche 959 just some of the jar-dropping machines on offer.
As a 20-something year old wandering the pitlane at race circuits up and down the UK (mostly down), track days tended to offer me the same formula: scalding ‘coffee’ from the circuit canteen, enough paperwork to lease a flat let alone put your daily commuter on-track, and a barrage of Mazda RX-8s, BMW M3s and Honda Civic Type Rs with bigger exhausts fitted for that oh-so-critical burble lined up to play. Plus the occasional Lotus Exige if you were lucky.
All well and good. The problem was that such events, though still popular, rarely brought the crème de la phwoar to the fold. The reason? Rain mainly, since the prospect of stacking a brand new badass Audi S4 into the tyre barriers after aquaplaning down the main straight didn’t appeal to most punters. A sizeable percentage of your weekly wages being nailed on track fees didn’t help either.
Track days at the Bahrain International Circuit however, as M7M Photography recently found out, tend to be a little different: Porsche 356B convertibles; McLaren F1s; Noble M600s; AC Cobras; Ferrari 250 GTs; the list goes on as a veritable car museum (the likes of which you’re unlikely to find outside a Jubilee celebratory rally) powered its way around the Grand Prix circuit before his very camera lens. Enough gobsmacking metal to drop petrolheads and wishful thinkers to their knees and rend their garments asunder with joy. This, just weeks after the regional debut of the McLaren P1, and turned out to be but a drop in the ocean.
This Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR gets massive thumbs up from crankandpiston. Less than 30 homologated versions with stonking great 6.9-litre V12s and six-speed sequential gearboxes were made for the road (though even these were still considered race cars). Sod’s Law hit Mercedes hard in 1999 when the FIA GT1 Championship class – in which the CLR GTR had been scheduled to compete – was cancelled at the eleventh hour, but Mercedes was still obliged to deliver the road going models it had promised.
And it would be remiss to not mention this 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, since our own Phil McGovern has already set it as his desktop image. The 911 that brought back the Carrera name and designated the RennSport, homologated versions of this Group 4 GT racer had at first been limited to 500 units. Demand rose so quickly though for the 210hp 2.7-litre flat-six powered ducktail two seater that this figure had more than tripled come the end of its production run just a year later. Not often you see arguably the most famous 911 in the flesh.
These are just two of the outstanding models hitting the asphalt at Bahrain – and that included the Team Bahrain Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Middle East contender – during the course of the afternoon, so be sure to check out OUR FULL GALLERY OF PICS HERE – CLICK –
– Huge thanks to M7M Photography @m7m_photo