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  Spyker C8 Spyder GT2-R

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Country of origin:The Netherlands
Produced from:2005 - 2007
Numbers built:5
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 03, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWith an unprecedented pace Spyker rushed onto the scene; less than two years after the launch of the first production car, the manufacturer made its debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2002. Spyker, however, was not able to produce enough road going examples of the C8 Double 12 racer to fully homologate it. The car was allowed to run, but with smaller restrictors and a weight penalty, which heavily hampered the car's performance. After two years of struggling Spyker abandoned the racing program, which had a finish in the 2003 Le Mans race as a highlight.

Spyker made a return to motorsport in the 12 Hours of Sebring race in 2005, with a completely new racer. Based on the regular C8 Spyder, homologation was not an issue for the C8 Spyder GT2-R. The silver and orange racer was the most remarkable car on the Sebring grid, which since the days of the AC Cobra had not seen an open GT car. Under the aluminium engine cover a slightly smaller version of the Audi V8 is installed. It was downsized to optimize it for use with the mandatory restrictors. The dimensions are similar to the road car, but widened to the maximum allowed width of 2 metres. Spyker could not disclose the exact weight of the GT2-R, but additional ballast is needed to bring it up to the minimum weight.

In the first two outings at Sebring and Spa, the Spyker showed promise, but it still lacked the pace and reliability to compete with the top runners. Next on the agenda was a trip to Le Mans for the third time in four years. Only eight hours in the race, the Spyker was forced to retire after a spectacular spin caused by an oil fire. In the following Le Mans Series and FIA GT the development work started to show resulting in two podium finishes in the Nürburgring 1000 km and the Dubai FIA GT race. With its deep rumble and fire spitting exhausts, the C8 Spyder was a welcome addition to the field and an immediate favourite of the fans.

With high hopes and a second car the 'Spyker Squadron' entered the 2006 season. At Sebring it was immediately apparent that the GT2 class was no longer a Porsche affair and that the Panoz Esperante and the new Ferrari F430 were now the benchmarks for pace. At the back of the field the short wheelbase Spykers were struggling with the bumpy track and never really got going. With the always difficult season opener out of the way, Spyker focused on the 'European' season, which saw the Dutch team race with two cars in the Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

With the bar raised by the arrival of the new Ferrari, Spyker had their work cut in the highly competitive European races. The cars were further developed with more and more carbon fibre being used for the body panels and rear wing instead of aluminium to lower the centre of gravity. A hard-top roof was developed to cut the drag and improve the airflow to the rear wing. Despite the improvements, the Spykers struggled to keep up with the fastest Porshes and Ferraris. Highlights of the 2006 season included two third place finishes in the Nürburgring and Jarama 1000 km races. At Le Mans poor reliability let the C8 Spyder down once again.

The biggest change for 2007 was the addition of a customer team; Spyker's Swiss dealer Speedy. With full factory support they raced their car alongside the Works C8 Spyder in the Le Mans Series. For Le Mans the factory entered two cars, one piloted by Speedy's drivers. The season was again kicked off at Sebring, where the sole Spyker finished 10th in class. Back in Europe, the addition of a brand new Porsche racer further increased competition, throwing Spyker back. A third and two fourth places were the best the C8 could manage. The 24 Hours of Le Mans again took the better of the Dutch racer with both cars out of the race before half distance.

After three seasons of intensive racing, Spyker replaced the C8 Spyder GT2-R with the similar, but fixed-head C8 Laviolette GT2-R for 2008. Although the quirky Spyker did not score class victories, history should by kind on the C8 Spyder. With its short chassis, underpowered engine, limited the Spyker was a compromise to begin with. Compared to the might of Ferrari and Porsche, the various podium finishes were more than commendable. The C8 Spyder's last public appearance was during the 2008 Le Mans Series Test at Paul Ricard. It was a spectacular final outing as it ended in a ball of fire.

Featured are the five chassis produced and raced from 2005 to 2007 at a wide variety of events. The specific race and result is listed below each picture.

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  Article Image gallery (137) Specifications