After dark days in the late 80s and the early 90s, 1994 saw the rebirth from the GT races with the creation of the “BPR” championship, which raised an immediate success and soon in 1997 turned into “FIA-GT” attracting a lot of manufacturers. The golden age of GT racing was back and Porsche was the first to especially develop a car upon GT1 regulation. Back then, the front runners were Ferrari F40s and McLaren F1s but were actually only road cars modified to race specifications. The work started in mid 1995 during a very difficult economical period for Porsche. The “993 GT1” had to be a quick racer but without using “exotic” costly means and road registerable in Germany. Indeed the GT1-BPR regulation required the race car to be developed from a road car with only minor changes. The idea was then to re-use as many as existing components so has to reduce the cost. Keeping this is mind the concept was to assemble a 911 front end with a central Porsche 962 3.2 liter power plant. The new car would be trimmed with a 911 “lookalike” body fitted with huge aerodynamic elements for the down force. The car was first seen at Le Mans preliminary testings ( where both GT1s appeared unpainted due to a lack of time ). After two month of development the GT1s qualified 2nd and 4th for the race, beating many Sport Prototypes and finished an incredible 2nd and 3rd OA, winning by far the GT1 class. This year they also appeared at the last part of the BPR season and were unbeatable but not allowed to score points at the championship, the organisers considering the 911 wasn’t respecting the spirit of GT1. In 1997 the Championship went into the hands of FIA attracting other manufacturers such as Mercedes, Lotus and Panoz. However Porsche focused on Le Mans and upgraded the GT1 with an “EVO” version, which was now tuned into a 996 “lookalike” with a wider front. The new car was extremely quick and lead for 21 hours when the remaining car suffered from engine overheating which plagued most of the private GT1s. In FIA-GT the GT1 was less successful, being actually outdated by the McLaren GTRs and Mercedes CLKs. For 1998 Porsche designed an all-new GT1 based on an Carbon chassis whilst the 993 and 996, GT1s continued racing with private teams. Only 14 of these fabulous GT1s were raced, Porsche still owns some, the others being already into collector hands. There is only a handful of Porsche race cars which are at the pinnacle from the motorsport history such as the 550RS, 917,935&936, 956&962, the GT1 is part of them.
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