Wish Prototypes Looked More Like Actual Cars

While many of my friends are busy volunteering this weekend, from MotoGP races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to Tudor United SportsCar Series at Road America to NASCAR at Watkins Glen; I am stuck at work wishing I was somewhere else… picking fights on my facebook timeline with brainwashed Singaporeans and browsing the Internet for pictures of cars that look incredibly good.

It’s no secret that my favorite type of racing now is Le Mans Series, whether the 24h race in France, or the regional derivatives including European Le Mans, Asian Le Mans and the remnants of American Le Mans. With a number of 24h endurance events under my belt, including the LM24 this year, I was absolutely in love with the Porsche 911 GT1 on display there (for the second year in a row).

So why don’t current Prototypes resemble production road cars? There’s not even a hint of it when looking at the current Porsche 919 or the Audi / Toyota LMP1’s… Why is that?

Looking back in history… and far beyond the point when I got involved as a volunteer (all the way back to 1997-1998), I clearly remember seeing and loving the photos of the slammed, wide body Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR’s or the McLaren F1 GTR Longtail. Kind of like the photos below from SpeedHunters:

1998 FIA GT Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Porsche 911 GT1

Photo linked from SpeedHunters: www.speedhunters.com/2010/04/retrospective_porsche_911_gt1_98/

1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail

Photo linked from SpeedHunters: www.speedhunters.com/2010/03/museum_cars_of_the_mclaren_technology_centre_woking_uk/

To familiarize yourself with each of the models, do read the Wikipedia entry on each car, by clicking:  Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR; McLaren F1 GTR; Porsche 911 GT1. And I will agree with anyone claiming that technically none were “prototypes” in the sense that is Le Mans Prototype class. But each were “supercar” enough using enough exotic materials to make them closely resemble what we consider LMP cars… Also considering Porsche 911 GT1 ran as a prototype in ALMS, and the Mercedes-Benz CLR (or Mercedes-Benz CLK LM) versions ran in the top class of Le Mans 24h, they are prototypes.

But semantics don’t matter. Style does. And all three of the examples I pointed out, have serious style being futuristic looking while also resembling the production version whether of the homologated car, or the street version of the base model. I’m not quite sure why Mercedes-AMG chose to focus on a CLK-class when it was one of their cheaper cars in the overall line-up. But certainly Porsche 911 and McLaren F1 were something you could purchase provided you were financially capable. There were also smaller race cars including Porsche 911, McLaren F1 and Mercedes-Benz CLK which raced in everything from club events to DTM and various country specific GT series. Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM is the other crazy example.

I would love to see more prototypes in the future look more like the production cars we could actually see on the streets.

1998 FIA GT Porsche 911 GT1 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail

Photo linked from SpeedHunters: www.speedhunters.com/2010/04/retrospective_porsche_911_gt1_98/

1998 FIA GT Porsche 911 GT1 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM

Photo linked from SpeedHunters: www.speedhunters.com/2010/04/retrospective_porsche_911_gt1_98/

Read more about each one of the race cars on SpeedHunters and other motorsport outlets. And please share any photos you may have of these cars with me. My goal is to add each one of these models in a 1:18 diecast form to my collection in the near future.