1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GT Pilots: J. Barth, W. Röhrl Team: Porsche System Engineering Race: 7th overall (1st in GTP) at Le Mans in 1981 Spark - S0984 (resin)
By 1980, the venerable 911 had a very uncertain future. The top brass at Stuttgart believed the future of Porsche was in water-cooled front-drive cars. That being so, it became important to Porsche to develop the 924. Consequently, to Porsche that meant that the 924 had to go racing. The 924 however, though good-looking and with good handling, was lacking in the engine department. So the engineering department began to work on a bigger and turbo-charged engine. In spite of that, Porsche’s three 924 Carrera GT LM (or just GTR) were still too slow at La Sarthe. In early 1981 upper management decided that the 924 needed improvements, and as a result came the 944. The 944 was the evolution of the 924, with better handling, better brakes and a more powerful engine.
In a bold move for Porsche, they debuted the new 944 nowhere else but at La Sarthe. However, to keep it a secret until its official debut later in June, they named it as “924 Carrera GT”. This car was nothing but a prototype 944, with important improvements over the 924. Weissach built only two examples, and they inherited many traits from the previous 924 Le Mans racers. The chassis was basically the same, but with larger brake discs and bigger rear wheels. Nevertheless, the big difference was the new Typ 949 engine. It was a water-cooled inline-4 with 2478 cm³, with DOHC and 16 valves. With a KKK turbo-charger it delivered 410 hp, connected to a 4-speed manual transmission. The car was pretty good, and as a result Jurgen Barth and Walter Rörhl brought the Carrera GT #1 in seventh place overall and first in the GTP class.
I’m not really sure why Porsche called this a 924 Carrera GT instead of 944. In my mind racing at La Sarthe would be a VERY good introduction for a new model, but who knows. Granted that, what I’m certain of is that in scale this is a beauty. Spark nailed the lines of the real car, and it looks fantastic in 1:43rd – really, it’s superb! Not a very famous Porsche model but a great addition to my Le Mans line-up.