What is Homologation and How Does it Make Cool Road Cars Possible?

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The link between race cars and road cars is one with a deep and storied history.

Homologation is a simple term, meaning the granting of approval by an official authority. So, how does this apply to race cars and road cars? In many racing series the rules require manufacturers to build a road legal version of the race car in order to compete. This many be as little as one road car or as many as 5,000 units. The rules of homologation are completely up to the race series organizers. In many cases the homologation rules have given us some of the coolest cars ever.

ferrari 288 gto homologation

The BMW M1 is the perfect example of an awesome road car that would never have been built if it weren’t for homologation rules set forth by Group 5 racing. The series created a category called special production cars and BMW built the awesome M1 to compete. Unfortunately the rules changed and the M1 never competed in Group 5, but we still got one of the coolest BMWs ever built. The same goes for the Ferrari 288 GTO (pictured above), which was built to go racing in Group B. It was built as part of the 200 car homologation requirement for the series. It was based on the 308 GTB and got two turbos with a special wide-body for racing. Without the 288 GTO we likely would have never had a Ferrari F40.

ALSO SEE:Watch TaxTheRich Hoon a Priceless Ferrari 288 GTO

In modern racing series production requirements for homologation seem to have all but disappeared. Instead we end up with silhouette race car which just need to resemble the outline of a road car. Racing series like Germany’s DTM early homologation rules made BMW build the iconic M3, but today’s DTM cars are just silhouette cars. Of course this is more cost effective for manufacturers, but it denies the car buying public from getting cool race cars for the road. This is all very sad, in fact, it’s too sad for us to continue to talk about. So, while we weep, let us know what you think in the comments.

Patrick Stevenson is an Internet Brands' contributor to 6SpeedOnline, Honda-Tech, Corvette Forums, 5series.net, and MBworld. He is also a host on The Motor Affair Podcast.

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