The Pace Museum is a Hidden Gem Among Germany’s Automotive Delights Where Nothing Stays The Same

Photography: Jeroen Willemsen

  • The Pace Museum is an ever-rotating collection of automotive history in Dortmund, Germany and was founded by Jean Pierre Kraemer.
  • The museum’s footprint, a repurposed three-floor car dealership, is a testament to Kraemer’s passion for all things automotive.
  • Highlights of this rotation included an R8 LMS GT2 Color Edition, a BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion, and a Strosek GIGA Turbo.

As a true petrolhead, Germany offers a smorgasbord of automotive delights; the Nürburgring and the myriad of car museums—Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and BMW—are just the beginning. But there’s one lesser-known gem that’s equally exhilarating: the Pace Museum in Dortmund, Germany.

This hidden treasure is the brainchild of Jean Pierre Kraemer, the driving force behind JP Performance. Kraemer’s journey began as a car salesman at Porsche, and he has since become a multifaceted entrepreneur connected to Rotiform Germany, the Big Boost Burger restaurant, and, of course, the Pace Museum among others.


What sets this museum apart is its ever-evolving collection. Every six months, the entire exhibit is revamped; not just a car or two, but the whole shebang gets a fresh look. With backing from automotive giants like Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, JP consistently fills his museum with exceptional cars, each with its own story. He even invites private owners to showcase their prized vehicles. Just a few weeks ago, it was that time again. In a whirlwind two-week transformation, the old collection made way for a new ensemble of automotive marvels. Naturally, I had to see it for myself, so off to Dortmund I went.

Upon arrival, I stepped into the central hall and was immediately greeted by the sight of a Porsche 961, a beast based on the Porsche 959. This was a promising start, as cars of this caliber are usually reserved for the official Porsche museum. This particular model competed in the 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans where it finished seventh.

After ogling the Porsche 961, it was time for a coffee break and a delicious cinnamon roll. Refreshed, I browsed the merchandise before passing through the ticket barrier into the museum proper. The building is an old car dealership that spans three floors with a lift in the middle to load cars. I decided to start at the top floor, the so-called ‘Car Heaven’ and work my way down.


Once the lift doors opened, I was greeted by this beautiful race car from Audi: an R8 LMS GT2 Color Edition. As if the Audi R8 LMS GT2 weren’t special enough, Audi decided to celebrate their success on the Monza circuit in the GT2 class by releasing six Color Editions. These cars, while mechanically identical to the customer versions with a robust 640 horsepower, boast six unique color schemes.

This particular model is finished in Vegas Yellow, making it one of a kind. The other five colors in this exclusive collection are Kyalami Green, Misano Red, Nogaro Blue, Sebring Black, and Tactical Green. I’m positive that this stunning spectacle, with its exclusivity, is unlikely to grace a racetrack anytime soon. Instead, it’s destined to become the crown jewel of a private collection, admired for its rarity and beauty.


In the previous collection, there was a BMW E36 M3 GTR Art Car by Sandro Chia. Now, on display is this BMW E30 M3 painted by Australian artist Ken Done. I’m not a fan of the flamboyant color scheme—especially when you consider that the original livery was the classic black and gold of John Player Special (JPS)—but this particular car was originally used during the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship which it won with Jim Richards behind the wheel.

But as with all art, it’s a matter of taste, and everyone’s got a different perspective. While I might miss the original livery, the transformation into an art car certainly adds a unique twist to this piece of racing history.

What could be more intense than a 993 GT2? The answer is surprisingly straightforward. Add an “R” to its name, and the GT2 transforms into a track-time killer: the GT2R. In 1996, this GT2 entered the fleet of Krauss Motorsport, competing in the FIA GT Series and at the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unfortunately, it had to retire because of an engine failure. In that same season received a factory upgrade to dual ignition at the Porsche factory. Over time, this endurance-tested 993 moved into private hands, taking part in sporadic races until it was sold to a collector. From 2015 to 2017, the car underwent a meticulous overhaul, costing around 300,000 euros. This extensive restoration brought it back to its former glory, ensuring it remains a formidable presence on the track and a coveted piece of automotive history.

Further into the floor plan, I met a special breed: a Zakspeed Ford Escort Group 5. Only five of these were ever made, this being one of them. This was affectionately dubbed “Der Mampe” by the Germans. Mampe, one of Germany’s premier schnapps producers, sponsored this Ford Escort Mk2 back in the ’70s.

Under the hood, it’s powered by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine churning out a robust 275 horsepower and a 5-speed gearbox. With rear-wheel drive and a featherweight body tipping the scales at just 830kg, it’s no wonder this car was a force to be reckoned with on the track.


Imagine this: it’s 2001, and you want to compete in the American Le Mans Series. You build a new aluminum 4.0-litre V8 engine (P60B40) and drop it into the BMW M3, dubbing it the BMW M3 GTR. Then you discover that the regulations require you to race a series-produced car.

Oops. Now you have just 12 months to produce a series of cars using the P60B40 engine. This led to the creation of the BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion, this being one of only ten examples ever made. With a price tag of 250,000 euros, it was a hefty sum for a BMW M3 at the time, but in hindsight, it was a brilliant investment. BMW has lost track of the remaining nine cars and whether they were ever registered for road use. This one, however, is the only known example with a license plate, making it a rare and coveted piece of automotive history.

On almost the opposite end is this Audi Group S Prototype. I affectionately call it the ugly duckling, because let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a beauty queen, but it was developed to compete in the Group S class of the WRC; however, this class never got off the ground due to several fatal accidents in 1986. The FIA promptly pulled the plug on Group B and consequently scrapped plans for Group S as well.

In the Group B era, you could still recognize cars based on their production counterparts, as many shared components. But this Audi was a different story altogether. The only parts borrowed from Audi were the door handles. Everything else was specially developed for this car. Underneath the skin lies a tubular frame housing a turbocharged inline-five 2.1-liter engine, churning out a monstrous 700 horsepower.


Why does this Porsche 962 look like a Porsche 956? Simple. The 962, introduced in 1984, is essentially a variant of the 956. This particular iteration was crafted to meet the regulations of the American IMSA racing series. In total, there are about 90 racing versions of the 962. Many customers heavily modified their cars, with some even creating unique builds based on the 962 chassis. These modifications were primarily aimed at making the car faster and safer. Interestingly, a few of these machines found their way onto public roads, sometimes under different names. This version is powered by a 3.2-liter flat-six twin-turbo motor and a 5-speed gearbox.

Speaking of modifications, this car started its life as a Carrera 4. I found a clue to the owner’s identity on the tachometer: “Dr. Crazy.” That’s a nod to none other than Rouven Mohr, who, since 2022, has been the Chief Technical Officer at Lamborghini, after spending years as the Head of Verification/Validation Whole Vehicle at Audi AG. Not your average Joe, but awesome to see he is a true petrolhead at heart.

Initially destined for an RWB transformation, fate had a different plan. A friendship with Vittorio Strosek sparked the birth of the GIGA Turbo. Every aspect of this car has been meticulously restored and upgraded. Alongside the iconic 3.6-liter turbo engine, every performance component has been fine-tuned and modified, resulting in a staggering output of around 400 horsepower and up to 650Nm of torque. This isn’t just about raw power; it’s about sophistication, paying homage to Strosek’s legacy as a pioneer of wide-body design since the ’70s. The GIGA Turbo project proudly carries that heritage forward, creating a sophisticated counterpart to its bold Japanese rivals while carving its own path in automotive history.


Returning downstairs and passing through the entrance, I stumbled upon a door that was previously closed. Behind it lay a newly curated space housing Time Attack simulators and even more cars from JP’s collection, including his custom-built Momentum. The adventure continues, and the thrill of discovery never ceases at the Pace Museum.


Just a 10-minute drive away in the city lies the headquarters of JP Performance. Unfortunately, it was closed this time around due to renovations. However, I did catch a glimpse of Jean Pierre’s own M3 Touring parked outside, specced in BMW Individual’s mint green. This BMW, with a few tweaks, now boasts a staggering 770 horsepower and 871Nm of torque. Zettll has worked its magic on the interior, decking it out in vibrant purple—a combination that shouldn’t work on paper—but in reality, it’s undeniably impressive.

Crossing the street leads you to BBB, or Big Boost Burger, where you can satisfy your hunger and admire more cars. As expected, the menu is filled with burgers that you can customize to your heart’s content. Judging by the time and the packed seats, they’re a hit. I skipped it this time, but I can assure you they’re absolutely delicious. While you wait in line, there’s plenty to see. A real standout, in my opinion, is the sliced-in-half Golf Mk2 above the pool table, with its headlights illuminating the surface. But my favorites in BBB were JP’s cars: an S55-swapped E30 M3 and a wild V12-swapped 500E. Some may consider these creations somewhat sacrilegious, but I think they are both masterpieces in their own right.

After taking my time checking out the cars in detail it was time to go home. I’m sure I will be back when the next rotation is finished in about six months from now.