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Unraced Porsche LMP2000 makes public debut

The unraced Porsche LMP2000 designed to take on Audi at the Le Mans 24 Hours has made its public debut nearly 20 years after the project was axed.

Unraced Porsche LMP2000 makes public debut

Porsche's still-born open-top LMP900 class contender built for the 2000 season has gone on static display for the first time at this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed as part of the German manufacturer's 70th anniversary celebrations.

It has remained under wraps in a storage facility near Stuttgart after brief shakedown at Porsche's Weissach research and development facility at the end of 1999 until now.

The only photographs of the car were grainy spy shots from this test until Porsche released the first official images earlier this decade.

Development of the LMP2000, which was powered by a normally-aspirated 5.5-litre V10, started after Porsche decided to take a sabbatical from Le Mans following its 16th outright victory in 1998 with the 911 GT1-98.

The axe fell on the LMP2000 project at the end of 1999 before the first car had been completed, but Porsche's motorsport department was allowed to build up the car and run it Weissach for a single test.

The late Bob Wollek and Allan McNish, the two drivers to get behind the wheel, both commented favourably on the car after a handful of laps of Weissach.

The official reason for the cancellation of the programme, which was confirmed in December '99, was given as the necessity to divert resources into the the development of the Cayenne SUV.

Conspiracy theorists argued that Audi was able to put pressure on Porsche, which had yet to be incorporated into the Volkswagen Group, not to return to Le Mans because the Cayenne was also the basis of the Audi Q7 and the VW Touareg.

Audi went on to win Le Mans at its second attempt in 2000 and Porsche didn't build another car capable of challenging for overall victory until the 919 Hybrid arrived in 2014.

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