“This is where the Porsche 99X Electric reaches its top speed,” says Gerrit Braun. He stretches his arm out over Monaco harbour and points to the long straight line bordered by high-rises, with spectators crowded on their balconies. 

Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Just like the real thing, only smaller: the Louis Chiron curve was named after the Monegasque Formula One driver from the 1950s.

“It’s important to brake into the left-hand curve toward the casino.” The ideal place to pass, especially because visitors have the perfect view of all the racing action. Braun and his Miniatur Wunderland team in Hamburg first had to shrink Monaco. Like everything else here, the principality on the French Riviera was reproduced at a scale of 1:87. And even the racing cars are just six centimetres long. Their top speed of 85 cm per second would translate to nearly 270 kmh in the real world. This is as realistic as it gets – but that’s also what makes the whole undertaking so difficult.

Monaco as the biggest challenge

“We’ve been working on the motorsport project since 2015. It’s our biggest challenge to date,” says Braun. The 53-year-old and his twin brother Frederik founded Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt district 20 years ago. The entire exhibition space measures more than 10,000 square metres in size and, with around 1.4 million visitors a year, is one of the most popular attractions in Germany.

There are 9,250 cars, 269,000 figures, 15,715 metres of track, 1,040 trains with more than 10,000 carriages, 4,340 buildings and 130,000 trees. You’ll find cities, villages, mountain panoramas, an airport, artificial northern lights, and a fair. More than 300 employees have spent around one million hours creating an accessible microcosm of trains, ships, and airplanes in constant motion. At a scale of 1:87, many of the models are Porsche sports cars, including most recently the Porsche 99X Electric. Porsche Motorsport supplied the CAD data for the Formula E racer from Weissach.

99X Electric, Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG

The redesigned south of France, which will officially open in the first half of 2022, also features the legendary Monaco Grand Prix course. “We’ll alternate between Formula One and Formula E races,” says Braun. “Everything true to the original, with parade lap, safety car, starting grid – and then action!”

Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
There are a total of 9,250 cars in Miniatur Wunderland. You will also come across a Porsche sports car or two.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
It is worth taking a look at the many parking spaces to discover historic vehicles. The G-Series Porsche 911 Targa is also a special feature in Miniatur Wunderland.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
One of the most exclusive car parks in Miniatur Wunderland is the square in front of the elevated Prince's Palace in Monaco. The model builders planted almost 1,500 trees in mini Monaco alone.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Just as sporty on a smaller scale: the rear wing of this Porsche 911 is just as eye-catching on the parking deck.
99X Electric, Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Gerrit Braun with the miniature 99X Electric.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
The US theme world was built in 2003 and features 140 trains and a bridge through the Grand Canyon.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Almost 9,000 miniature visitors cavort at the Wunderland funfair. When night falls on the fairground, around 100,000 LEDs provide a colourful sea of lights. Nowhere else is the density of small lights in Miniatur Wunderland greater.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
The world in miniature: the model building experts have even meticulously shrunk the city of Las Vegas.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland takes visitors through many worlds. For Mini Venice, the builders have designed a total of 150 gondolas and 26 bridges - including the world-famous Rialto Bridge.
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A small-scale scenario this realistic has never been built before. Everything had to be created from scratch. The software responsible for controlling 20 racing cars was developed on Braun’s computer. The system responds to the driving manoeuvres of the other racers within 50 milliseconds, so each race is different. With real battles for position, passing manoeuvres, and occasionally even a crash. “Of course, we want to avoid that if at all possible because then the safety car has to come out and a couple of people are kept busy for some time,” says Braun.

Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
The final corner: named Antony Noghès after the founder of the famous Monaco Grand Prix.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Scale: it’s only when real-life people pop up during the maintenance gaps that the sheer, tiny scale of the miniature world can be fully appreciated.
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While the race simulations are already running in the computer, Braun still has to teach the cars to accelerate at just the right moment. “The software always wants to maintain the lead, but sometimes you just need to slow down during a race. Programming all that is a complicated process.” The small electric cars are powered by magnetic fields. The 21-metre course through miniature Monaco is made up of 24 special circuit boards with a total of 1,400 magnetic field sectors, each of which is controlled separately and generates its own magnetic field.

3D-printed racing cars

While the software still needs some work, the racing cars are already raring to go. They were created using the model building experts’ 3D printer and sheets of plastic just 0.03 millimetres thick. The chassis are painted over multiple times and faithfully reproduced down to the smallest sponsor stickers to reflect their full-size counterparts. The underbody conceals a Halbach array, a diamond-shaped panel that serves as the counterpart to the magnetic fields along the course.

99X Electric, Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Porsche input: the motorsport department provided information on the Porsche 99X Electric in the form of detailed illustrations and 3D data in order for it to be reproduced at a scale of 1:87.
99X Electric, Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
3D printing: the body of the Formula E racer, with which Porsche competed in the World Championship, was created using the data provided.
99X Electric, Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, 2021, Porsche AG
Workshop: in addition to painting the racing car and affixing the stickers by hand, the miniturisation experts in Hamburg also equipped the car with the magnetic technology for racing.
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If everything goes according to plan, the miniature car races will be the Hamburg team’s next global milestone in the field of model building. “The crowning achievement of all our efforts,” says Braun. “Even more complex than the airport with its airplanes taking off and landing, which was commissioned in 2011.” The fact that the masterminds of miniaturization have been working on the ambitious idea of a real racecourse for six years demonstrates their passion as well as the sophistication of the project. According to Braun, the unsolvable problem with miniaturization is this: “We may be able to shrink down objects, but we can’t shrink down time.”

Info

Text first published in the Porsche customer magazine Christophorus, No. 401.

Author: Sven Freese

Photographers: Thorsten Doerk, Daniel Fröhlich (Getty Images)

Copyright: All images, videos and audio files published in this article are subject to copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part is not permitted without the written consent of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG is not permitted. Please contact newsroom@porsche.com for further information.

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WLTP*
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  • 23.3 – 20.3 kWh/100 km
  • 439 – 504 km

Taycan GTS

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CO₂ emissions* combined (WLTP) 0 g/km
Electric power consumption* combined (WLTP) 23.3 – 20.3 kWh/100 km
Electric range* combined (WLTP) 439 – 504 km
Electric range* in town (WLTP) 539 – 624 km
NEDC*
  • 0 g/km
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Taycan GTS

Fuel consumption* / Emissions*
CO₂ emissions* combined (NEDC) 0 g/km
Electric power consumption* combined (NEDC) 25.9 kWh/100 km

Taycan

WLTP*
  • 23.9 – 19.6 kWh/100 km
  • 0 g/km
  • 371 – 505 km

Taycan

Fuel consumption* / Emissions*
Electric power consumption* combined (WLTP) 23.9 – 19.6 kWh/100 km
CO₂ emissions* combined (WLTP) 0 g/km
Electric range* combined (WLTP) 371 – 505 km
Electric range* in town (WLTP) 440 – 568 km
NEDC*
  • 27.0 – 26.4 kWh/100 km
  • 0 g/km

Taycan

Fuel consumption* / Emissions*
Electric power consumption* combined (NEDC) 27.0 – 26.4 kWh/100 km
CO₂ emissions* combined (NEDC) 0 g/km

Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

WLTP*
  • 24.8 – 21.4 kWh/100 km
  • 0 g/km
  • 416 – 490 km

Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Fuel consumption* / Emissions*
Electric power consumption* combined (WLTP) 24.8 – 21.4 kWh/100 km
CO₂ emissions* combined (WLTP) 0 g/km
Electric range* combined (WLTP) 416 – 490 km
Electric range* in town (WLTP) 518 – 600 km
NEDC*
  • 26.2 kWh/100 km
  • 0 g/km

Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Fuel consumption* / Emissions*
Electric power consumption* combined (NEDC) 26.2 kWh/100 km
CO₂ emissions* combined (NEDC) 0 g/km