1996 Porsche TWR WSC-95 #7 Pilots: S. Johansson, M. Alboreto, T. Kristensen Team: Joest Porsche Racing Race: 1st overall (LMP) at Le Mans in 1997 Spark - 43LM97 (resin)
Way back in 1774 Lavoisier postulated that ”Nothing is created, nothing ends – everything is transformed”. And that’s how the WSC-95 came to be. In 1995 Porsche started to develop a prototype for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) series under the World Sports Car (WSC) regulations. To do so, they established a partnership with Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). Porsche would provide the engine and help in the development and TWR would provide the chassis. For the project, TWR used an old Jaguar XJR-14 Group C car chassis (chassis #691). Porsche provided the venerable (and oldie) Type 935/76 engine, a twin turbocharged flat-6 with 2994 cm³. Unfortunately though, the IMSA WSC regulations changed prior to the 1995 season, so Porsche canceled the project.
However, in early 1996 the Joest Racing team went to Porsche to ask for the unused prototype. The idea was to use it that year’s 24 Heures du Mans. For Porsche, it was a very interesting proposal, since Joest was always a serious contender at La Sarthe. So the deal was that Joest would make the car compatible with Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) regulations. And Porsche would give them all the necessary technical assistance and an engine. Joest started working on the car and the first issue they had was in the engine bay.
The old Jag had a Ford-Cosworth V8 in the engine bay. So to use again the Type 936/76 Porsche had a lot of work to modify the carbon fiber tub to accept it. But in the end they managed to fit the flat-6 in there and two cars were ready. They went to La Sarthe in 1996 and came in first. And with a different livery were back there in 1997 and won again. Not bad for a Porsche that was born a Jaguar chassis using a 20 year old engine, huh?
And just like Lavoisier predicted, as with the real car, this model also transformed. Or at least figuratively speaking… This is my second 1996 winner. I had the Troféu version of the WSC-95, which in all honesty is pretty decent. But when I got the 1996 winner from Spark, it was apparent that I needed to upgrade the 1997 car. Especially because of the form. Troféu’s car is too wide, and that became evident when I put it side to side to the Spark. But, as I noted with the 1996 car, this Spark ain’t perfect either. They swapped the front wheels for the rear wheels, just like with the 96 car. So there’s that 🙄. But if you close your eyes to the wheel issue, Spark’s model is nicer, since it’s closer in form to the real car. Therefore, an upgrade nonetheless.