Winning Porsches at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the 911 GT1
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Winning Porsches at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the 911 GT1

Le Mans winner in 1998, the Porsche 911 has had a busy 50 years in La Sarthe. Here are a few highlights.

When the Porsche 911 was born in 1963, who could predict that it would become one of the biggest automobile icons, both on and off the track ? Already 50 years old, the 911 model is still as sporting as it ever was, thanks in part to its numerous victories in auto racing, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Porsche 911 first appeared on the list of entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, with two French drivers Jacques Dewez and Jean Kerguen… finishing the race in 14th place. In 1969, two Belgian racers, Yves Deprez and Jean-Pierre Gaban, give the model its first top 10 finish. In 1973 and 1974, running in its Carrera version, the 911 finishes fourth and then second thanks to Herbert Müller and Gijs van Lennep. The Carrera RSR raced in 1974 is the predecessor to the 935, which would later take overall race win in 1979.

It would be a nearly 20 year wait before seeing the Porsche 911 on the top step of the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Taking advantage of rules and regulations favouring GTs for overall victory, the marque Stuttgart officially entered two cars in 1996, finishing second (Hans Joachim Stück-Bob Wollek-Thierry Boutsen) and third (Yannick Dalmas-Scott Goodyear-Karl Wendlinger). The following year's 911 GT1 cars entered by the factory both retire, before giving Porsche a superb 1-2 finish in 1998:  winners Allan McNish, Stéphane Ortelli and Laurent Aiello finished ahead of teammates Bob Wollek, Jörg Müller and Uwe Alzen.

Fifteen years after its last success in La Sarthe, the 911 celebrated its 50 year anniversary by winning the LM GTE Pro and Am classes in the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, giving Porsche 100 wins at Le Mans, all classes combined. And it's surely not over...In addition to the marque's return to LM P1 in 2014, Porsche has announced it will continue its factory engagement in GT as well.