Brought into existence under the watchful eye of the legendary engineer Norbert Singer in less than a year’s time, the Porsche GT1 made its debut at the all—important 24 hour struggle at Le Mans. Pitted against Ferrari F 40s, Nismo Nissans GT-Rs, and—count them—seven of the 6.0 liter McLaren F1 GTRs dominant the previous year, they had a formidable job ahead. Basically a mid-engine take on the 911–the front bodywork of the ’96 version was pretty much stock 993 — the GT1 seemed to me to have that kind of space-ship aura that harkened back to the 936, particularly in the fanciful, swooping Warsteiner war paint that they wore for the battle that year.
This shot was done as light faded and the car was being returned to its garage before the race the next day. I was lucky enough to have a vantage point above the Porsche pits instead of being below at the time, and the combination of the fading light, the orange suits, and the starkness of the scene seemed a nice prelude to the Porsche victory that was to come, with the two GT1 entries crossing the finish line just behind the P1 Porsche WSC-95 Spyder (also massaged by Singer) which won overall, and chased by the GT2 winning twin-turbo Porsche 911.
About Leonard Turner and “The Last Turn”
With a background in photography spanning more than 5 decades, Leonard Turner was Porsche Panorama’s chief photographer for some 40 years, shooting several hundred covers for the magazine and countless feature spreads involving racing, new car introductions, portraits, technical illustrations, and a plethora of other topics. In the course of doing this, he has traveled widely over the United States and Europe, visiting the Porsche factories and shooting at many venues, including a portfolio of the world’s greatest race tracks.
Leonard’s photographs have been published in many books including Porsche: Portrait of a Legend; Porsche Specials; Porsche, the 4-Cylinder, 4-Cam Sports & Racing Cars; Sebring, the Official History; Carrera RS; and Porsche: Prototype Era 1964 to 1973. His magazine credits, other than Panorama, include Autoweek, Road & Track, Automobile, Christophorus, and Excellence.
It was with this background in mind that we asked Leonard to open up his archives to share with you here on FLATSIXES.com. His personal files, both digital and film, contain tens of thousands of images of Porsches, Porsche people, and events they shaped and which shaped them. Our plan is to share one of Leonard’s images with you every other week, and the story behind it, in this newest feature, “The Last Turn” here on FLATSIXES.com.
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
The Last Turn – Derek Bell at Watkins Glen
The Last Turn – Jo Siffert At Sebring In 1971
The Last Turn – Press Intro Of The Porsche 993
How I’m Learning to Become a Better Porsche Motorsport Photographer
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