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Mega Gallery: The Record-Breaking 2018 Le Mans Classic

Submitted by on July 17, 2018

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

Fasten your seat belts for this mega gallery and report about the record-breaking 2018 Le Mans Classic going back in time to the ’20s and all the way through to the ’90s and relive the mythic atmosphere of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Last weekend Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest jointly hosted the 2018 edition of the unique Le Mans Classic, one of the most astonishing historic motorsports events in the world. The ninth edition of this biennial event was attended by a record 135,000 spectators as well as an impressive and rapidly growing field of historic cars.

Weather conditions during the three days were tropical with temperatures rising into mid-30 degrees. On Friday the event kicked off with the several qualifying sessions for the six different grids including Group C Racing, the Jaguar Classic Challenge and the Porsche Classic Challenge. Besides this a stunning field of GTs and sports cars from the ’90s rocked the Circuit des 24 Heures during morning and early evening sessions.

Besides racing the public was invited to attend a conference featuring the President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Pierre Fillon, the founder of Peter Auto Patrick Peter and nine former winners of the Le Mans 24 Hours including Derek Bell, Jürgen Barth, Romain Dumas, Loïc Duval, Jan Lammers, Gérard Larousse, Klaus Ludwig, Stéphane Ortelli and Henri Pescarolo.

Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb and former Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa waved the French national flag to signal the official start of the 2018 Le Mans Classic at 4PM on Saturday. This kicked off 24 hours of racing featuring more than 700 historic racing cars raced by over 1000 drivers from 30 nationalities. Nine grids could be seen in action over the weekend along with stunning amount of 8,500 cars brought along by 200 clubs. Porsche’s 70th anniversary and the 40th victory of Alpine in the Le Mans 24 Hours were both celebrated.

Racing began with the Jaguar Classic Challenge featuring around 60 cars including Type C, D and Es, XKs, Mk1s and MkIIs. The race was won by Briton Martin O’Connell driving an E-Type.

44 Group C Racing prototypes were present including two Peugeot 905s, several Porsche 962s and a 956, Jaguar XJR8, 9, 11, 12 and 14, Nissan RC90, Toyota 85C, Courage C26 and a Gebhardt C91 to name just a few. On Saturday Group C Racing had their only race of the weekend and after a lengthy safety car period victory went to Briton Michael Lyons in his Gebhardt C91.

New at the Le Mans Classic were the GT1s and LMP1s of the Global Endurance Legends, cars of the 1990s and 2000s with an impressive grid. Amongst the GT1s were Ferrari 550s, 575s, a Saleen S7R, a Panoz Esperante GTR-1 and a Maserati MC12. Amongst the LMP1 prototypes were the Audi R8, Bentley Speed 9, a Pescarolo 01 driven by Le Mans-legend Henri Pescarolo himself, a Toyota GT One, Ferrari 333 SP and many more.

Porsche celebrated its 70th anniversary at the event with an exceptional parade. Amongst the unique cars was the very first Porsche 365 homologated in June 1948 driven by Felix Porsche’s cousin Felix Lange. Derek Bell drove a 1971 911 Carrera RSR from the Stuttgart museum. A Porsche 906 Carrera (Romain Dumas), Porsche 908/3 (Henri Pescarolo), Porsche 962 (Le Mans Classic main partner Richard Mill) and one of the winning trio of Porsche 911 GT1 (Stéphane Ortelli) all also featured.

Star of the Artcurial Motorcars auction was a 1963 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster with only 1380 km on the clock. The car was finally sold for €3,143,000!

Lets focus on some of the remarkable cars that entered racing during the three day event. One of the highlights was Porsche 917-005. This car was driven by John Woolfe, the first privateer to buy a 917 from Porsche, during the 1969 Le Mans 24 Hours. Woolfe’s race lasted only a single lap when he crashed chassis 005 at Maison Blanche. The British driver later died from his injuries.

Just ten years ago former Porsche factory driver Willy Kauhsen and David Seabrooke bought the remains of chassis 005. The car was completely rebuilt and was driven for the very first time by former Le Mans winner Derek Bell at Barcelona in March of this year.

Chassis 917-005 was entered for Grid 5 and driven by Belgian Nicolas D’Ieteren and Briton Joe Twyman. Sadly during the night training session on Friday evening the car crashed and was severely damaged. At this stage it is unclear if the car is irreparably damaged.

Briton Peter Garrod drove this Lola T92/10 chassis HU01 in Group C.

Dutchman Louis ‘Wiet’ Huidekoper joined British Lola Cars in 1990 to design the company’s new Group C-car. The Lola T92/10 was built for the last season of the Group C category. Lola chose the Judd V10 engine used in Formula 1 to meet the 3.5 liter requirements for Group C regulations. In the end three chassis were built.

Chassis HU01 pictured here was bought by Dutchman Charles Zwolsman, who became the primary customer for the Lola T92/10. The car was managed by Euro Racing from the Netherlands, a privateer racing team. In the end Euro Racing would also buy chassis HU02. Chassis HU01 had a troublesome season back in 1992. At races in Monza, Silverstone and during the Le Mans 24 Hours, the car suffered from gearbox problems. Only in the 1000 km race at Suzuka chassis HU01 scored a fifth place driven by Jesus Pareja.

The remarkable Panoz Esperante GTR-1 is a design used in GT racing during the latter parts of the ’90s. Reynard Motorsports developed the car that eventually became unique in motor sports as the big 6.0 liter Roush Racing V8-engine was located in front of the cockpit. Whatever the taste, the Esperante was nicknamed Batmobile due to the resemblance of the design with the car used in the Batman comic books. In the end six chassis of this car were built by Panoz, Ford and Reynard.

Pictured below is Porsche 917K chassis 025, the final car from the initial run of 25 917s for FIA homologation driven by Swiss driver Peter Vögele.

Zitro Racing from Switzerland acquired this Porsche 917 in 1970 and this chassis was one of the few that was campaigned by true privateers. After two years the car was owned by Emerson Fittipaldi and his brother Wilson and raced for a period of ten years in South America. Before the car went to Miles Collier from 2004 the car was owned by David Piper. Collier restored the car into its original condition and since 2005 the car is owned by Peter Vögele. The car looked splendid at the Le Mans Classic and is still in the original condition.

One of the strangest cars ever to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours is the Cadillac Le Monstre. Briggs Swift Cunningham registered this strange vehicle, designed by Howard Weinman of Grumman Aircraft, for the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours.

The open body was slipped onto a steel-tube reinforced chassis of a Cadillac Series 61, powered by a 5.4 liter V8 fitted with five Falstrom carburetors to add extra power. Despite serious gearbox problems (both 2nd and 3rd gear went missing during the race) the Cadillac reached a top speed of 210 km per hour. In the end it  finished 11th in the overall standings.

Amongst the impressive field of GTs and prototypes from the 1990s and 2000s was the Toyota TS020, also known as Toyota GT-One. Toyota developed the car initially to compete in GT1-racing and it was later adapted for sports car racing at Le Mans. The car was developed by Toyota’s European division in Germany and Dallara.

The GT-One debuted at the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours. From the three cars that entered the race only the nr. 27 car made it to the end, finishing in 9th place. The car was powered by Toyota 3.6 liter V8 twin turbo and scored its sole victory in the LMGTP-class during the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours driven by Ukyo Katayama, Toshio Suzuki and Keiichi Tsuchiya.

At the Le Mans Classic the sole privately owned GT-One was driven by Emmanuel Collard and F2 race winner Norman Nato who entered both the 1998 and 1999 edition of the race.

It is sad that we have to wait almost 24 months until the 10th edition of the unique Le Mans Classic kicks off. Until that day in June 2020, we’re eagerly counting down the days!

Results Le Mans Classic 2018

Grid 1 1923 – 1939


1) G. Burnett – M. Birch, Talbot 105 JJ93 (1932)

2) R. Rondoni – R. Sicari, BMW 328 Roadster (1939) + 32.994

3) J.J.Bally – B. Leseur, BMW 328 Roadster (1939) + 59.605

Race 2

1) G. Burnett, Talbot 105 JJ93 (1932

2) R. Spencer, Bugatti Type 35B (1928) + 1:25.361

3) A. Otten – D. Horbach, BMW 328 Roadster (1939) + 2:07.134

Race 3

1) G. Burnett, Talbot 105 GO52 (1931)

2) G. Burnett – M. Birch, Talbot 105 JJ93 (1932) + 1:04.421

3) A. Otten – D. Horbach, BMW 328 Roadster (1939) + 1:05.303

Grid 2 1949 – 1956

Race 1

1) C. Joy – S. Trenery – P. Simon, Jaguar D-Type (1955)

2) C. Monteverde – G. Pearson – A. Smith, Jaguar D-Type (1955) + 4.135

3) S. Brooks – A. Smith, Jaguar D-Type (1956) + 20.481

Race 2

1) C. Joy – S. Trenery – P. Simon, Jaguar D-Type (1955)

2) C. Monteverde – G. Pearson – A. Smith, Jaguar D-Type (1955) + 6.658

3) R. Wilson – M. Stretton, Maserati 250S (1957) + 1:30.561

Race 3

1) C. Monteverde – G. Pearson – A. Smith, Jaguar D-Type (1955)

2) C. Joy – S. Trenery – P. Simon, Jaguar D-Type (1955) + 13.699

3) J. Young, Jaguar D-Type (1955) + 1:12.186

Grid 3 1957 – 1961

Race 1

1) L. Halusa, Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan (1961)

2) R. Wills – D. Clark, Lotus XV (1958) + 29.606

3) W. Friedrichs, Aston Martin DP212 (1961) + 31.285

Race 2

1) R. Wills – D. Clark, Lotus XV (1958)

2) Q. Louwman – J. Wood, Lotux XV (1959) + 48.364

3) H. Hugenholtz , Lister Jaguar Costin (1959) + 50.138

Race 3

1) R. Wills – D. Clark, Lotus XV (1958)

2) L. Halusa, Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan (1961) + 3.255

3) H. Hugenholtz , Lister Jaguar Costin (1959) + 28.995

Grid 4 1962 – 1965

Race 1

1) D. Ferraro, Ford GT40 Mk.1 (1965)

2) S. Lynn, Ford GT40 Mk.1 (1965) + 28.692

3) L. Caron, Shelby Cobra 289 (1963) + 51.737

Race 2

1) D. Hart, Ford GT40 Mk.1 (1965)

2) D. Ferraro, Ford GT40 Mk.1 (1965) + 8.077

3) J. Cottingham – J. Twyman, Ford GT40 (1965) + 11.375

Race 3

1) J. Cottingham – J. Twyman, Ford GT40 (1965)

2) D. Ferraro, Ford GT40 Mk.1 (1965) + 19.473

3) G. Tromans – R. Meaden – M. O’Connell, Ford GT40 Mk. 1 (1965) + 37.030

Grid 5 1966 – 1971

Race 1

1) Mr. John of B. – S. Ayari, Ligier JS 3 DFV (1971)

2) D. Hart, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB (1969) +0.874

3) P. France, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB (1969) + 47.475

Race 2

1) Mr. John of B. – S. Ayari, Ligier JS 3 DFV (1971)

2) J. Nicolet, Duckhams Ford (1972) + 0.636

3) C. Tavares, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB (1969) + 3.591

Race 3

1) J. Nicolet, Duckhams Ford (1972)

2) M. Bianco – D. Mazzoleni, Chevron B19 FVC (1971) +0.694

3) P. France, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB (1969) + 0.961

Grid 6 1972 – 1981

Race 1

1) R. Goethe – S. Hall, Mirage Gr. 7 (1973)

2) Y. Scemama, TOJ SC304 (1976) + 5.487

3) P. Lafargue, Lola T298 BMW (1979) + 1:00.139

Race 2

1) Y. Scemama, TOJ SC304 (1976)

2) P. Lafargue, Lola T298 BMW (1979) + 1:00.522

3) P. Lafargue, Lola T298 BMW (1979) + 1:18.550

Race 3

1) C. MacAllister,  Mirage M6 (1973)

2) Y. Scemama, TOJ SC304 (1976) + 45.055

3) N. D’Ieteren – P.Lalmand, Porsche 935 K3 (1979) + 1:01.559

Group C Racing

1) M. Lyons, Gebhardt C91 (1991)

2) S. Lynn, Jaguar XJR-9 (1987) + 23.758

3) R. Kelleners – I. Vercoutere, Jaguar XJR-11 (1989) + 26.870

Jaguar Classic Challenge

1) M. O’Connell, Jaguar E-Type (1962)

2) M. v. Oeynhausen, Jaguar E-Type (1962) + 16.063

3) V. Gaye – A. Reid, Jaguar E-Type (1964) + 46.049

Porsche Classic Race Le Mans

1) U. Bruschnik, Porsche 910 (1967)

2) R. Narac, Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 (1974) + 1:10.056

3) K. Le Blanc, Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 (1973) 1:35.538


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