7. PORSCHE 911 GT1

Motor Sport News - - Le Mans Preview: Retro -

BEST RE­SULT: 2nd (1996) Not for the first time, Porsche moved the goal­posts in en­durance rac­ing with the 911 GT1, even if it was per­haps not quite within the spirit of the pre­vail­ing reg­u­la­tions.

The two works GT1S led at the start of the 1996 Le Mans, but were soon over­come by the Joest TWR Porsche WSC95S. The Hans Stuck/bob Wollek/ Thierry Bout­sen 911 GT1 was the only car to lead the metro­nomic Davy Jones/ Alexan­der Wurz/manuel Reuter Joest ma­chine, which had far bet­ter fuel econ­omy than the other open pro­to­types and more speed than the GTS.

The Joest-run car also suf­fered no se­ri­ous de­lays, which could not be said of the tricky-to-han­dle GT1S, both of which lost time due to driver- in­duced ex­cur­sions. Stuck suf­fered an al­ter­ca­tion with an­other car, while the #26 ma­chine had a num­ber of mi­nor offs.

“I think the sports-pro­to­types were un­beat­able to­day,” reck­oned Stuck, whose car suf­fered no re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues. “We are nearly 200kg heav­ier and have nar­rower tyres, so to be so close to vic­tory is great.”

Stuck/wollek/bout­sen led a Porsche 1-2 in class, thrash­ing the Mclaren F1 GTRS, which were not quick or re­li­able enough to chal­lenge, but fell a lap short of over­all hon­ours.

Things looked even bet­ter for the re­vised GT1 in 1997, but the re­sult was worse.

This time the closed Porsches had the edge over the solo Joest WSC95 for much of the con­test. Stuck/wollek/bout­sen led through the night be­fore vet­eran Wollek un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally went off at the Porsche Curves and re­tired on Sun­day morn­ing. That still left the other ex­am­ple, driven by Yan­nick Dal­mas, Em­manuel Col­lard and Ralf Kel­len­ers, out front. Vic­tory looked as­sured with three hours to go, but then a dra­matic fire – caused by an engine oil leak – forced Kel­len­ers to make a rapid exit, leav­ing Joest to win again. The older pri­va­teer GT1S weren’t in the fight, so ri­val Mclaren even took the GT class hon­ours.

The 911 GT1-98 fi­nally gave the works squad an­other Le Mans suc­cess the fol­low­ing year, but that was es­sen­tially an all-new ma­chine.

Joest chased in 1997 For­ma­tion fin­ish in ’96, but it was sec­ond and third

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