Monday, 14 October 2013

REVIEW: Porsche 911 GT1 98 LE Porsche 911 GT1 EVO 98
Le Mans Winners Collection 1998

"In the beginning I looked around but couldn't find the car I dreamt of, so I decided to build it myself" - Ferry Porsche HISTORY

This history from Wikipedia: 'For the 1998 season Porsche developed an all-new car, the 911 GT1-98. Designed to match the also new Toyota GT-One and Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, the 911 GT1-98 featured bodywork which bore more of a resemblance to traditional sports-prototypes than the previous 2 models while a new sequential gearbox was installed. As per the regulations a street-legal version of the 911 GT1-98 was spawned, but it is believed that only one variant was produced which was still sufficient to satisfy the regulations.

During the 1998 FIA International GT season the 911 GT1-98 struggled to match the pace of the Mercedes, which also were improved, with the main reason being down to the air-restrictor rules being which were regarded as unfavourable to the turbo engine (the Merecedes being naturally aspirated). The Michelin tyres of the factory team and especially the Pirelli of the private Zakspeed team were also considered inferior to the Bridgestone of Mercedes.

The front end of a 911 GT1 '98, showing the headlights inspired by the 996-generation 911. At the 1998 Le Mans however, it was a different story. The BMW V12 LM retired with wheel bearing trouble, and the Mercedes CLK-LM vehicles had oil pump troubles in the new V8 engines that replaced the former V12.  The Toyota GT-One, which was considered to be the fastest car, also suffered gearbox reliability problems.

The 911 GT1-98, despite being slower than the Toyota or the Mercedes, fulfilled Porsche's slim hopes, taking both first and second place overall thanks to reliability, giving Porsche its record-breaking 16th overall win at Le Mans, more than any other manufacturer in history.

At Petit Le Mans race in Road Atlanta, the 911 GT1 '98 of Yannick Dalmas made a spectacular backward flip and landed rear first before hitting the side barriers, as did the BMW V12 LMR at the same race in 2000, and most infamously the Mercedes-Benz CLR at Le Mans in 1999.

The GT1 '98 was set up with higher downforce in the race than the previous two years, which reduced its race maximum speed to 310 km/h (193 mph). However, in the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours test days, the car hit 330 km/h (205 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight on a lower downforce setup.'

This from '1998 Le Mans 24-hour race In the 1998 jubilee year, the Porsche team celebrated its 16th overall victory in Le Mans with a double win for the 911 GT1 98. On 6th/7th June, the winning car was driven by Laurent Aiello, Allan McNish and Stéphane Ortelli. It was almost 50 years to the day on which the first Porsche sports car saw the light of day. 911 GT1 98: water-cooled 6-cyl. bi-turbo boxer engine, 3200 cm3, approx. 550 HP, approx. 950 kg.'

The below YouTube video highlights the closing stages of the 1998 Le Mans.



I have always liked's packaging particularly when it comes to their limited edition slot cars.  Typically a Le Mans LE car would be presented in a classes orange box but of recent have decided to customise their boxes to reflect the individuality of the release.  This trend started with CW12 (Audi R18 TDI Le Mans 2011) with a grey carbon fibre type finish.

In this case have released a white box displaying the red and blue art work design that can be found incorporated into the #26 car's racing livery.  At first I was surprised to see that had moved away from the orange box but in my opinion the box art work that is coordinated with the release livery adds to the overall value of the release.

As always, provide you with a limited edition card, in this case 0273 of 3500 - a nice touch that I always appreciate.  The car is secured in place via a single plastic screw pin and although the car is firmly secured to the box base, ship their cars with a clear plastic spacer which protects the car from damage should it come away from the base. If you've ever experienced what I term a 'slot car milkshake', (where a slot comes away from its base during transit) you'll also appreciate's packaging efforts.

The car also comes with an Allen Key which can be used to adjust gearing or wheel placement.  Personally I prefered when shipped their cars with a spare set of rear  silicon tires.

The following slot specifications are from
  • Slot car length: 143mm
  • Slot car height: 31mm
  • Slot car width: 81mm
  • Slot car weight: 79 grams
  • Motor: Flat6, 21.5K
  • Motor mount: Angle-winder
  • Pinion/Gear ratio: 11/28
  • Front Rims: 1159C1
  • Rear Rims: 1167C1
  • Adjustable front axel height
  • ND magnet fitted

Let’s face it; we will never have enough funds to buy all the slot cars we would like and unfortunately there are times we are forced to let one slip through our collection. So I thought I'd add a new section to my reviews regarding the value the slot car represents as a way of helping with the dilemma of, ‘Should I really get this slot?’

From a straight comparison perspective, slots are what I term 'middle of the road', they are a little more expensive than say a Scalextric, Carrera or Ninco but are cheaper than Avant Slot, NSR or Sideways. are more comparable with Flyslot, SRC or Sideways and when compared with these manufactures they represent great value for your slot dollar.

Pound for pound in terms of engineering, detail and finish levels you will find it difficult to beat a offering in my opinion. 

"With the revival of international sportscar racing in the mid-1990s, though the BPR Global GT Series Porsche expressed interest in returning to top level sportscar racing and went about developing its competitor for the GT1 category." (Wikipedia)

As we have come to expect from, the finish levels of the 911 GT1 are very high, paint finish and decal finish is nothing short of top-shelf.  Even the smallest font size decals (driver names and sponsorship) are clearly legible.  The red and blue decal line work on the intricate and complex design are both very well done and an accurate representation of the 1:1 motorcar.
In terms of capturing the overall shape and associated body detail, have done a really good job of making you feel like you really own a 1:32 version of the real thing.  A few years back, I was lucky enough to see the actual number 26 Porsche at the Le Mans museum in France.  I'll let you be the judge but as far as my eye can see, have captured the proportions and uniqueness of the 911 GT1 very well.

There are of course a few little things I have noticed, for one it's hard not to notice the blue alloy wheel nuts that were used on the actual car.  If you own one of the Fly 911 GT1s then you'll know Fly attended to this small detail.  To be honest if this is a major issue for you it's nothing a little model paint couldn't correct.

You will have also noticed that the rear vision mirror of's model are well tucked in within the body extents as apposed to the 1:1 car.  This is the type of modification that even the scale purist will appreciate, there is nothing worse than loosing a rear view mirror on the first running of your new slot.

Probably the only detail if not happy with would be the missing offset roof aerial, you can clearly see the offset aerial in the top photos of the number 26 car ) and it's sister car). seem to be a bit hit and miss in this department, sometimes including an aerial when there shouldn't be one and at other times, (like this case) not including an aerial when there should be one.  I typically wouldn't be so picky but this is a LE boxed slot so I'd expect that attention to detail levels to be at 100 percent.

Front end detail is high including front tow hook, grill, intakes and cooling slots above the front wheels.  Rear splitter, intakes, lights and exhaust (perhaps a little low?) detail look good.  Wheel detail and colour look great along with the Michelin branding on the rubber, driver is excellent and the driver is gripping the steering wheel, something a lot of manufactures seem to miss.  The rear tail is glued in place and has some flexibility ensuring it should withstand all but the heaviest of impacts.
  The obvious question (especially if you're a Fly fan like myself) is does the 911 GT1 stack up against the Fly equivalent in terms of detail, finish and overall quality?  I'm happy to say yes, driver, cockpit and lighting detail are superior from as is the fact that have cut the body in plenty of places accurately replicating intakes and cooling ducts.

All in all the 911 GT1 is a very professionally put together slot car, you wont be disappointed with this slot car in the detail and accuracy department.

Photo: The top #8 car is the Fly Porsche 911 GT1, bottom #26 Porsche is from


Starting from the front, historically I found that guides were too tight preventing free movement of the guide.  I'm happy to report that this has not been the case for some time, the front guide moves very freely allowing the slot to corner well.  From an aesthetic perspective the guide is set at a good height and the front of the slot sits naturally and realistically on the track - something other manufactures seem to neglect when chasing performance.

The front axle is height adjustable 'compatible' which means that you can't actually do it unless you have a spare set of 3mm or 6mm M2 grub screws (pretty cheap if you don't have some).  The first thing I do when I get a new is to remove the front axle plastic spacers that prevent the front wheels from touching the track.  You will need to remove the front axle to do this.  For me when the front wheels of a slot don't rotate when the car is driven it's just a little too strange looking.

Once the plastic spacers are removed you can install the M2 grub screws and adjust the upper limit of axle travel.  Make sure that the front wheels are pushed too far in on the axle, with my 911 GT1 I found that the front axle was sticking at times when moving up and down. Simply loosen one of the front wheels a little until you have complete free movement.

The Porsche 911 GT1 comes setup standard with an angle-winder motor pod, (EVO6 1mm offset) with a Flat 6 20,500rpm motor.  Firstly I like to point out that I love this motor, it is strong and responsive while not being too powerful to control on my home Carrera plastic track.  My track has a good balance of technical elements like reverse curves while still having several long straights up to 4.5 metres allowing slots to stretch their legs.

For more specific information on the track used in this review please have a look at my track layout here.  

In terms of gearing the pinion is 11 tooth and the spur gear is the yellow 28 tooth.  There is the smallest amount of lateral movement in the rear axle allowing the gearing to work their magic, this is a very well engineered setup.

Let just talk a little about the weight distribution of this slot car.  It is only when you remove the body from the chassis that you realise just how light this body is and that means low centre of gravity and that's a good thing.  Why is this so impressive you ask, well when you consider how much detail have incorporate into this model it's hard to believe how light it is.  And example of obsession with weight and performance is the beautifully detailed driver figure.  When you look underneath the cockpit you can see that the driver is completely hollow, right down to the legs.

The body is held on with 2 screws, what I like about these screws is that they come with some very thin (weight is king here again) washers ensuring the screws don't break through the chassis in a substantial shunt.  I know some spotters will think I'm crazy when it comes to floating motor pods and loosening the body on the chassis but I find there are performance improvements achieved by doing so.  Loosen the motor pod screws a full turn but also loosen the body screws a full turn allowing a greater degree of body roll.
From what I can research, the rear rubber is SIPT1152C1, racing tyres 20x10.5mm (C1 rubber compound).  Are they any good?  Well yes they are but the real question is, are they the best and the answer to that question is no.  If your going to casually race your new Porsche 911 GT1 with your mates then you'll be happy with this standard rubber.  However, if you want the best from your new slot then you'll need to upgrade this rubber.

I previously mention in this review that I miss the old days when would include a pair of S1 rear tyres with every new  Basically you would swap over to S1 and somehow find a complete second in performance (that's on my track with a solid lap time of 6-7 seconds).  Now days provide us with an Allen Key, I have dozens.  Anyway probably a good sales strategy, now I have to purchase more performance tyres from 

So in terms on on-track performance it might not completely surprise the experienced spotters reading this that the offering is streets ahead of the Fly slot.  As a result I've noticed a price drop in the average Fly 911 GT1 which is a little bit of a shame.  What this does mean is that you can pick-up a Fly 911 GT1 and with a but of modification (ok ad serious modification) you will find yourself with a lovely slot car to drive.  Of course you could save yourself the trouble and just get a release.

If you do wish to get yourself a Fly 911 GT1 (or have one) and race against the version for comparison then check-out the following How-to article with respect to tuning Fly slot cars.  Ignore the fact that is says Fly Classic, the pressure points for the Fly 911 GT1 (on plastic) is the guide and the rear wheels.

Photo: Porsche on the left and Fly Porsche on the right slightly to the rear. So enough talk, how does the Porsche 911 GT1 run?  Well in terms of 'from the box' performance you will not be disappointed.  I 'slightly' adjusted the braid pick-up (to match the wider spread of Carrera track) and this car ran perfectly straight away.  As I have previously stated, the Flat 6 20,500K rpm motor that comes in this slot is very responsive in acceleration and quick around my track.  Perhaps if your going to run this slot in club events which 10 metres straights and huge sweeping corners then you might consider upgrading it.

Cornering is smooth and the slot is nice a quite, call me biased to Le Mans GT1 prototypes but this slot looks insanely impressive lapping the track!  This isn't the fastest I have run on my track but it did consistently lap at sub 6 seconds which is impressive.  About 0.2 of a second slower than the McLaren F1 but about 0.15 seconds faster than a Mercedes C9 or Jaguar XJR9. 

Occasionally the rear end would dramatically step out and fall back in but this was the exception.  I did end-up upgrading the rear rubber with some S1 and as expected there were immediate handling improvements allowing me to hold more speed through the corners.

In terms on non-magnetic performance, this slot is smooth on the track.  Even with the vertical relief that is incorporated into my track the 911 GT1 was very enjoyable to drive.  The bar magnet has 2 positions, 1 behind the angled motor and one in front.  I did not try the magnet in the forward position but this would obviously allow you to hedge your bets somewhat, some magnetic downforce without completely controlling the slot.  You will have to completely remove the rear axle in order to remove and refit the bar magnet.

It's worth noting that the bar magnet is a little fragile in the centre, be careful when fitting and removing it from the pod - I managed to shape mine with very little force.

In terms of straight out lap times, non magnetic the Porsche 911 GT1 could lap around the 7.35 second mark which wasn't that impressive when compared to other models or even other manufactures.  I have a Fly Racing EVO3 911 Gt1 and it can match this speed.  For a more detailed comparison have a quick look at the 'lap times' page here.
  Photo: Porsche on the left and Fly Porsche on the right.
Manic Score Breakdown
  • Sex Appeal: 6th gear
  • Collectability: 6th gear
  • Build Quality: 7th gear
  • Attention to Detail: 6th gear
  • 'RTR' Performance: 6th gear
Overall Manic Score: 6.2 Gears.

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