My first entry for the Rennsport themed week is Hot Wheel’s take on one of the cars from the wildest age of Le Mans, a time when manufacturers attempted to outdo each other in their attempts to bypass the rulebook.

When the McLaren F1 GTRs conquered Le Mans in 1995, soundly trouncing everyone else, Porsche came back with their own homologation special - the 911 GT1 Straßenversion (how do you even pronounce that??).

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The GT1 was very successful in 1996, but not without active assistance from the organizers themselves, who went out of their way to make Porsche’s life easy. By 1997, though the competition had seen through Porsche’s tactics and the race series was being run by new management. And the car was not very competitive either with reliability issues plaguing their ‘97 Le Mans campaign.

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So in 1998, Porsche brought 2 of their all new GT1, the GT1-98 to Le Mans. With mechanical issues plaguing their competition, the two Porsches finished 1-2, giving Porsche a record 16th overall win at Le Mans.

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But the Gt1-98 was not able to repeat the Le Mans performance in any of the other stops in the FIA GT calendar in 1998 and at the end of the year, Porsche made the decision to stop competing in the series.

The Wikipedia page for the 1998 Le Mans race informs me that Porsche’s “sabbatical” was rumored to be part of a plan to let Audi (a sister company) develop their own sports car racing program “without competition from within the alliance.”

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This is Hot Wheels’ take on the 911 GT1-98, from the 1999 First Edition Series. Though it lacks the wheel flare mounted mirrors and rides much higher than I’d like, the casting still retains the flowing lines of the real car.

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And I see that the Speed Machines version of this casting, although in plain white with no tampos (to match the single road version that Porsche built to meet FIA’s homologation requirements), looks much better with much better wheels too.

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