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  Porsche 911 GT1 '98 Strassenversion

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1998
Numbers built:1
Internal name:9R1
Predecessor:Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 12, 2017
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhile the engineers tried to carry over as much as possible from the regular 911 to save cost, most of the mechanicals had to be created from scratch. The original McPherson struts fitted at the front did not offer enough room for adjustment and were replaced by a double wishbone setup. The rear end was completely new and as such required a custom made suspension, consisting of dual wishbones and an advanced push-rod actuated spring/damper setup. Installed the wrong way around, the gearbox also needed attention to prevent the car from having one forward and six reverse speeds. Most of the road car's dashboard and electrical systems were carried over.

The first 993 GT1 racing car was completed early in 1996 and hit the track in March that year. The production of the virtually identical road cars was postponed to the end of the year; the new racing car was in high demand with the company's many privateers. In the first half of the season, the GT1 only saw testing action and it was not until the 24 Hours of Le Mans that the new racer first saw competition. Entered by the Works, the two GT1s finished first and second in class, and second and third only to the Porsche powered TWR WSC95 prototype. Porsche completed the successful debut season of the 993 GT1 by taking victories in the final three rounds of the BPR championship.

The sport's governing body, the FIA, had taken an interest in the action-packed series and for 1997 the FIA GT Championship was introduced. This had even more manufacturers interested and quickly Mercedes-Benz announced their intention to enter the championship with a V12 racer. Another problem for Porsche was the FIA's announcement to restrict Turbocharged engines, leaving the Germans to compete with 50 to 60 bhp less. To counter the new competition and rules, an EVO version of the GT1 car was developed. Now mimicking the new 996 style, the EVO's body was more aerodynamically advanced. Other changes including a considerable track increase required Porsche to build another batch of homologation specials.

The changes didn't prove sufficient for the 996 GT1 to be competitive in the new FIA GT Championship against the Naturally Aspirated competition. Le Mans was a different story and without the FIA's air restrictors Porsche was again at the top of its game. Shortly into the race both Works cars were leading the pack, but in very un-Porsche like fashion neither car managed to make it to the finish. The company's honour was saved by Joest's TWR WSC95. With nothing but purpose built racers taking part, the homologation requirements of the GT1 had become a bit of a joke. For 1998, the rules were drastically changed and road car requirements were all but scratched. At Le Mans the second generation GT1 cars were labeled for what they really were; prototypes.

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