Tag Archives: Mans

Delicious And Wholesome – Ice Cream Vans

With the summer holiday season still in full swing, at least in the UK, I thought I’d focus today’s post on Ice Cream vans.

Bedford CF, Arnolfini, Bristol,

The first time I remember taking a photo of an ice cream van was in 2005 when I was collecting images that might make interesting subjects for poems, the reflected image of a Bedford CF Ice Cream Van standing in front of the Arnolfini in Bristol above never did get used for a poem, but ever since I have kept half an eye out for these bearers of Delicious Wholesome products.

Morris J-Type, Silverstone Classic,

The oldest Ice Cream van I have in my files is this 1949 J-Type Morris seen above early in the morning at last years Silverstone Classic.

Volkswagen Type 2, Volksfest, Easter Compton,

Earlier this year at Volksfest in Easter Compton I couldn’t resist buying a single scoop of Marshfield Farms finest from The Split Screen Ice Cream Company who claim to be operating the oldest Volkswagen Ice Cream Van in the country in the form of the 2012 British Street Food Award winning 1964 Type 2 seen above.

Citroën HY, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol,

Seen in another early morning photo is this 1968 Citroën HY, belonging to Ice Cream Events, which in an ironically, one couldn’t make this up, used to be operated by French Fire Fighting Services before being imported to the UK in 2011.

Ford Transit, Castle Combe

Since at least the late 1960’s, when they first came into my regular summer experience, Ice Cream vans in the UK have often had Disney characters painted on them, above Mel’s Super Whippy Ford Transit is covered in characters from the animation Cars and was appropriately seen at Castle Combe race circuit a few years ago.

Ford Transit, Porsche Curves, Le Mans,

The further traveled, but more modestly decorated 1995 Transit 150 above is seen on the banking of the Porsche Curves at Le Mans, France, during the 24 Hour race around 05:24 am !

Mercedes Benz Sprinter 311, Bristol,

It would appear that while Bedford CF Ice Cream vans are disappearing they are being replaced by Mercedes Benz Sprinters like the 2000 311 example operated by Carmelo & Sons seen above in Clifton, Bristol.

Thanks for joining me on this “Delicious And Wholesome” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at Lord Hesketh’s all new 1975 Formula One Challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !


More Than A Bleu Rebellion – Oreca Nissan 05 #1

French Racing Team Organisation Exploitation Compétition Automobiles better known as ORECA was founded by Hugues de Chaunac in 1973 and running Martini open wheelers the teams drivers Jacques Laffite and Rene Arnoux won the European Formula 2 Championship in 1975 and ’77 respectively, from ’79 to ’89 the teams drivers also won 8 French Formula 3 championships with Alain Prost ’79 and Jean Alesi ’87 being two graduates who progressed to find success in Formula One.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nick Tandy, 6 Hours Of Silverstone,

In the late 80’s ORECA turned it attention to developing, preparing and entering Touring, GT and Sports Cars which produced a win at Le Mans in 1991 when the team running the Mazda 787B’s under the works Mazdaspeed banner.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nick Tandy, 6 Hours Of Silverstone,

After developing, building and running the Dodge Vipers and Saleen SR-7’s in the GT classes and in 2007 ORECA took over Courage Competiton a manufacturer building LMP1 and LMP2 cars, the first Oreca branded FLM 09 sports cars appeared in the Formula Le Mans Cup and later LMPC classes in 2009, with a Courage based LMP1 car appearing a few weeks later.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre, Le Mans

By 2010 the team was running a works supported Peugeot 908 HDi LMP1 car as well as building the Oreca 03 for the LMP2 series, more recently ORECA have run the Toyota Hybrid LMP1 cars since 2012 and built the Rebellion R-One LMP1 car in 2014.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre, Le Mans

The Oreca 05 is built to meet the 2017 LMP2 regulations and uses the same chassis design as that of the originally Toyota powered Rebellion R-One but the body features many detail differences in the dive plains, turning vains and louvres which have benefited from further development in CFD (Computer Fluid Dynamics) aided design of the body, the car also uses electric power steering.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre, Le Mans

To date three 4.5 litre / 274 cui Nissan V8 powered ORECA 05’s have been built chassis #2 is entered by Thiriet By Tds Racing in the European Le Mans Series and the same team ran chassis #3 at Le Mans in the LMP2 class. While today’s featured #1 chassis is entered by the Hong Kong based KCMG team in the LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship for Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley and Nick Tandy when the latter is not called on to join the works Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 team.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nick Tandy, 6 Hours Of Silverstone,

Matthew, Richard and Nick seen in the first, second and sixth images finished 19th overall and 4th in class on the cars debut in the 6 Hours of Silverstone Race, Nicolas Lapierre took over Nick Tandy’s seat at Spa where the car finished 12th overall and 4th in class.

At Le Mans Matthew, Richard and Nicholas qualified 14th overall and 1st in class and led the LMP2 class for all but 9 laps of the race despite leaving the circuit twice in the closing hours of the race to finish 9th overall and first in LMP1 by just 48 seconds.

Thanks for joining me on this “More Than A Bleu Rebellion” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some recent Group C highlights from Silverstone Classic. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Jaguar Judd – Mazda MX-R01

With the mandating of 3.5 litre / 213.5 cui piston engines for the 1992 World Sports Car Championship Mazda were left with no choice but to abandon their rotary powered 787B which won the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Mazda MX-R01, Le Mans

With insufficient funds to develop a new motor and or chassis they bravely decided not to abandon sports car racing altogether and elected instead to buy a suitable V10 from Judd Engine Developments and modify chassis bought from Tom Walkinshaw Racing that had been designed by Ross Brawn and run the previous year as the 1991 Championship wining Jaguar XJR14 with a Jaguar badged Ford HB V8.

Mazda MX-R01, Le Mans

Five Mazda MV10 powered Mazda MX-R01’s were built; chassis #001 was used exclusively in the Japanese Sports Car Series, #002 was a spare test car taken to Le Mans, #003 was another spare test car taken to Le Mans, today’s featured #004 raced in the whole 1992 World Sports Car Championship and #005 was only raced at Le Mans.

Mazda MX-R01, Le Mans

The MX-R01 made it’s debut in the 1992 Japanese Sports Car series at Suzuka where Youjirou Terada and Takashi Yorino drove chassis #001 to finish 7th from 8th on the grid in the 500 km race. Volker Weidler and Brazilian Maurizio Sandro Sala then drove #004 on it’s European debut at Monza where they retired with engine failure after starting from 7th on the grid.

Mazda MX-R01, Volker Weidler (D)/Johnny Herbert (GB)/Bertrand Gachot (B)/Maurizio Sandro Sala, Le Mans

For the Fuji 1000 kms Youjirou Terada, Takashi Yorino and Maurizio Sandro Sala qualified #001 8th but also retired with engine failure, before #004 scored the teams best result of the season in the BRDC Empire Trophy at Silverstone where Maurizio Sandro Sala and Johnny Herbert finished second from 7th on the grid.

Mazda MX-R01, Volker Weidler (D)/Johnny Herbert (GB)/Bertrand Gachot (B)/Maurizio Sandro Sala, Le Mans

Chassis #005 driven by Maurizio Sandro Sala, Takashi Yorino and Yojiro Terada qualified 10th at Le Mans, but retired with accident damage after 124 laps which allowed Sala to join Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert and Bertrand Gachot in chassis #004 that started 7th on the grid and finished 4th, 16 laps down on the winning Peugeot, having lead itself briefly led during the opening hours of the race.

Mazda MX-R01, Volker Weidler (D)/Johnny Herbert (GB)/Bertrand Gachot (B)/Maurizio Sandro Sala, Le Mans

Over the remaining World Sports Car Championship season #004 finished 5th at Donington and 6th at Magny Cours with Sala and Alex Caffi at the wheel, posting a retirement with gearbox failure at Suzuka when Takashi joined Maurizio and Alex in the cockpit.

In the Japanese series Takashi Yorino and Youjirou Terada finished a season high 7th in the Fuji 1000kms, Mazda finished 3rd in the final 1992 World Sportscar Championship standings and 2nd in the final 1992 All Japan Sports Prototype Championship standings.

Mazda withdrew from sportscar racing at the end of the 1992 season and the World Sportscar Championship was cancelled in 1993 with only Peugeot willing to compete in the series.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Jaguar Judd” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at this years Le Mans LMP2 winner. Don’t forget to come back now.


When The Going Gets Cool – 24 Hours Of Le Mans

This years Le Mans 24 Hours race was probably won when someone at Porsche decided that this years 919 Hybrid challenger needed to be upgraded from last years 6MJ class to run in the 8MJ class, evidence of this was first hinted at by the 919’s performance on the Hangar Straight at Silverstone earlier in the year.

Le Mans 2015

Qualifying this year was a simple affair, the three Porsche 919 Hybrids locked out the first three places with the #18 car of Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani on pole after setting a blistering pace with a time of 3m 16.887s in the opening qualifying session, next came the three Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s with the #8 driven by Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis starting 4th followed by the two Toyota TS040 Hybrid’s who’s #2 driven by Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway started 7th, the first seven cars are seen above taking the prompt 3pm start of the race.

Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal, Le Mans,

The American entered Scuderia Corsa #62 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Jeff Segal looked set for a fourth place finish in the GTE Am class at it’s final pit stop seen above. Then with less than an hour to go long time GTE Am leader and class pole starter Paul Dalla Lana inexplicably shot across the kitty litter at the Ford Chicane and hit the wall so hard as to retire his #98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 from the race instantly, fortunately without injury to the driver, all of which promoted all those behind him up one place in class meaning the #62 finished third in GTE Am, and 24th overall from 51st on the grid.

Porsche 911 RSR, Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long, Marco Seefried, Le Mans,

A popular second in the GTE Am class after fending off the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari was the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick “Grey’s Anatomy” Dempsey, Patrick Long and Marco Seefried seen approaching the Porsche curves above on it’s way to a 22nd place overall finish from 47th on the grid.

Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, Viktor Shaitar, Aleksey Basov, Andrea Bertolini, Le Mans,

After the retirement of the #98 Aston Martin the #72 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 shared by Viktor Shaitar, Aleksey Basov and Andrea Bertolini only had to avoid beaching itself in the gravel as it had done at Indianapolis earlier in the race to score a first Le Mans class win for a Russian entrant, the SMP Racing #72 Ferrari is seen at the Dunlop Chicane on the Saturday evening as it headed for a 20th place finish overall from 43rd on the grid.

GT Pro, Le Mans

5 hours into the race the three leading GTE Pro runners were still racing nose to tail, above the #64 Corvette CR.7 is seen above being chased by the #97 Aston Martin and #51 Ferrari through the Chapel Descent.

Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander, Le Mans,

Unfortunately the #97 Aston Martin shared by Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Rob Bell retired after the latter damaged the oil feed on a kerb after completing 110 laps, this left the AF Corse #51 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 shared by Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander to recover from a fifth hour puncture and challenge the #64 Corvette with 2 hours to go. An hour later the #51, seen above at Dunlop Chicane, pitted with a gearbox problem and returned to the track after a 30 minute break to hold on to a third in GTE Pro and 25th place overall from 35th on the grid.

Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, Davide Rigon, James Calado, Olivier Beretta, Le Mans,

Davide Rigon, James Calado and Olivier Beretta finished 2nd in the GTE Pro class, 21st overall, from 54th on the grid after a qualifying penalty was applied, having dropped out of contention for the class lead when the alternator on the #71 AF Course Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 was replaced at the cost of four laps.

Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Jordan Taylor, Le Mans,

Despite being the slowest GTE Pro car to qualify and starting from 43rd on the grid the works Corvette Racing-GM C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor came through to win the class and finish 17th overall 5 laps ahead of it nearest rival. The car proved to be bullet proof reliable and comfortable enough to drive at a pace that always kept it in contention if not ahead of the GTE Pro pack.

Ligier JS P2, Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal, Sam Bird, Le Mans,

Starting from 12th on the grid, 2nd in the LMP2 class, the last thing Sam Bird needed on his first pit stop was for his G-Drive Racing #26 Nissan powered Ligier JS P2 to catch fire along with the gloves of one of his mechanics as seen above. After the fires were quelled without injury, Sam with team mates Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal ran 2nd in class until they were demoted to 3rd in LMP2 during the 23rd hour of the race, where they remained finishing 11th overall.

Gibson 015S, Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey, Mitch Evans, Le Mans,

Fastest LMP2 car in the race belonged to the Jota Sport, who’s Gibson 015S, formerly known as a Zytek when it won the LMP2 class last year, driven by Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey and Mitch Evans, lost three laps to a sensor change before the trio completed the come back drive of the race to finish, just 48 seconds adrift of this years LMP2 winners, in 10th place overall from 14th on the grid.

Oreca 05, Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre, Le Mans,

Similarly Nissan powered as the 2nd and 3rd place LMP2 class finishers the Hong Kong based KCMG team’s new #47 Oreca 05 coupé is built to the LMP2 regulations mandated for 2017, drivers Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley and Nicolas Lapierre started from class pole and 11th on the grid. Apart from a drive through penalty for a pit lane infringement, a stop to fix a dicky illuminated number the car should have comfortably won it’s class, but two kitty litter excursions at the Mulsanne and Indianapolis corners on Sunday meant the three top LMP2 cars all completed 358 laps, with the #47 9th overall.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro, André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer, Le Mans,

From fifth on the grid André Lotterer showed his hand early by passing two Porsche 919’s for the lead on the same lap after the first safety car period, however in the third hour team mate Benoît Tréluyer suffered a puncture and then glanced the barriers at Tetre Rouge handing the advantage back to the two leading Porsche’s. Further troubles for the Audi Sport Team Joest #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro manifested themselves when a part of the rear body work flew off, as seen above, when Marcel Fässler was at the wheel 16 hours into the race four hours before the car received a drive through penalty for a slow zone misdemeanor. Then 21 hours from the start André set the fastest race lap, 3m 17.475s, and thereafter unscheduled stops for more bodywork repairs and oil were insufficient to prevent the car from finishing on the third, just two laps down on the winning car.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber, Le Mans

The #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber starting from second on the grid was the early leader of the race and despite giving up the lead temporarily to André Lotterer’s Audi it maintained the advantage if not always in the lead until midnight when the car was penalised for slow zone misdemeanor by Brendon Hartley with a stop go penalty that handed the advantage to the sister #19 919 Hybrid. The #17 could not keep pace with it’s sister through the night and eventually finished 1 lap down in 2nd place at the finish despite spending the least amount of time, 29m 42.060s, in the pits of any competitor.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy, Nico Hülkenberg, Le Mans,

Starting from third on the grid the #19 driven by Le Mans novices Earl Bamber and Nico Hülkenberg sharing with two time LMP2 Le Mans starter Nick Tandy, performed better than all the others during the cooler night time conditions so that, even with a 10 second delay due to an overcrowded pit and a brief visit to the garage during a safety car period to repair some damage incurred by Nico after he tapped a back marker, the #19 was able to comfortably lead the #17 over the finish line just three laps short of setting a record distance for the event.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy, Nico Hülkenberg, Le Mans,

The decision to run in the 8 MJ class benefited Porsche not only with consistently better top speeds on the long Mulsanne Straight, but also with a superior fuel consumption that over the 24 hours was estimated to have handed Porsche a 2 and half minute advantage over Audi thanks to four seconds saved per fuel stop.

Le Mans LMP1 Podium, Ickx, Tréluyer, Lötterer, Fässler, Tandy, Bamber, Hülkenberg, Webber, Hartley, Bernhard,

By winning this race Porsche, who last won the race in 1998, can now claim a record 17 Le Mans wins, four more than Audi, but more importantly the victory has proved the technology which sits in it’s 918 Spyder road cars that cost upwards of UK£750,000 / US$850,000.

Special thanks to my school friend Tom for getting me to the race for the first time since 1992.

Thanks for joining me on this “When The Going Gets Cool” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a US Le Mans challenger. Don’t forget to come back now.


Une voiture et un film – Ferrari 250 LM #5843

The Ferrari 250 LM was a development of the 250 P built for customers to race in 1964, Enzo Ferrari tried to get it classified as a GT car however the authorities denied the request because Ferrari could not prove the required minimum of 100 had been built so the cars were raced as prototypes.

Ferrari 250 LM, Goodwood FoS

Graham Hill and Jo Bonnier driving the Maranello Concesionaires owned chassis #5907 appear to have taken the models first victory at the 1964 Rheims 12 hours finishing ahead of the NART entered 250 LM #5909 driven by John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini.

Ferrari 250 LM, Goodwood FoS

The 250 LM is known to have won at least 32 races outright, including Ferrari’s last ever outright win at Le Mans. Future World Champion Jochen Rindt and Marsten Gregory shared a 250 LM that after early ignition problems was famously driven flat out in a vane attempt to break the car so the drivers would not miss a nights sleep and ended up winning the race after the faster Ford GT40 Mk II’s had retired and the faster works Ferrari’s required unscheduled pit stops to change their brake discs.

Ferrari 250 LM, Goodwood FoS

Another future World Champion, Jackie Stewart, scored his only victory at the wheel of a Ferrari at Surfers Paradise in the 1966 12 hour race where he shared a Scuderia Veloce 250 LM with Andy Buchanan.

Ferrari 250 LM, Goodwood FoS

Thanks Cyril Teste at Ferrari Chat I believe the car seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed last year, which is not mentioned in the programme, is chassis #5843 a car originally supplied to Ecurie Francochamps in May 1964. If the identity is correct this car is known to have won several races and hillclimbs in the hands of Lucien Bianchi, Armand Blaton and “Beurlys”.

Ferrari 250 LM, Goodwood FoS

At Le Mans in 1964 Pierre Dumay and Grégoire Langois Von Ophem shared a 16th place finish, this race was used as a background for the 1966 film “Un Homme et une femme” the red painted #5843 carrying the #23 was captured in the film on pit road and during the race.

Ferrari 250 LM, Goodwood FoS

This car first raced in the Belgian national colour yellow in 1965. I believe the owner of #5843 recently also acquired a 250 GTO for a cool $35 million dollars. Some boys sure have all the fun !

Thanks for joining me on this “Une voiture et un film” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Pole Sister – Nissan R90CK

Like the Lancia LC2 seen in Monday’s post the Nissan R90CK seen here at Colin Bennett’s CGA Engineering Workshop is scheduled to appear at the Silverstone Classic for the Group C race next weekend.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

Three serious works teams gathered to contend the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1990, Jaguar with three cars were the eventual winners, Toyota with three cars did not really figure, but Nissan with 5 front line R90CK cars became the first Japanese manufacturer to sit on pole position at this endurance classic.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

The Nissan R90CK’s were built around Lola T90/10 chassis

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

and prepared for the World Endurance Championship by Nissan Motorsports Europe.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

This particular vehicle has a rear facing camera connected to the screen seen here to aid reversing. Mark Blundell’s pole winning 3m 27s Le Mans qualifying lap immortalised with cockpit cam can be seen on this mind boggling youtube clip.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

It is said that Mark had over 1000 hp available during his qualification lap from his 3.5 litre / 213 cui Nissan VRH35 V8 motor,

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

thanks to a ceased turbo waste gate.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

Mark recorded a top speed of 226.9 mph on the Mulsanne Straight speed strap between the two newly installed chicanes a record that apparently still stands.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

Six months after the unlikely Mazda victory at Le Mans in 1991, a NISMO version of the Lola T90/10 the Nissan R91CP won the 1992 Daytona 24 hour race in the hands of Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

At the end of the 1990 season Nissan withdrew from the World Prototype Sportscar Championship but continued to develop the RC90CK cars for the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship which the manufacturer won in 1990,’91 and ’92.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

This particular car is now owned by Katsu Kubota.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

While there is still a good supply of parts for these vehicles

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

the cost of running one is expensive.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

In 1990 the car driven by Kenny Acheson, Olivier Grouillard and Martin Donnelly

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

qualified in 5th place at Le Mans but was eliminated on the opening lap with a gearbox problem.

Nissan R90CK, CGA Engineering

I shall look forward to seeing this car in action, 21 years after I first saw one, at the Silverstone Classic next weekend.

That concludes a series of three Group C blogs, my thanks to Colin Bennett for his hospitality and Tony Gallagher for organising the trip to Colin’s workshop.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s ceased wastegate edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Thirty Years Ago – Le Mans 1981

This weekend sees the 79th running of the Le Mans 24 hours , unfortunately I will not be there in person but will almost certainly follow the progress of the race on the internet. Thirty years ago I went to Le Mans for the first time.

Porsche 917 K81, Le Mans

I arrived as practice was already under way, one of the many reasons I had wanted to see this particular race was because the Kremer brothers were running a brand new Porsche 917, see above, that they had built for the 1981 season, ten years after the original 917, immortalised in Steve McQueen’s film that takes its title from the race, had been made obsolete by the FIA.

It looked great sounded even better with a 5 litre / 305 cui flat 12 however it was a disappointment qualifying only 18th. During the race Bob Wollek the cars only professional driver took no further part in the race after his friend Jean-Louis Lafosse driving the #25 Rondeau was killed in an accident. The 917’s remaining drivers Xavier Lapeyre and Guy Chasseuil retired after completing 82 laps.

Le Mans

There is no on track action on the Friday before the 24 hours and back in 1981 spectators had access to virtually all area’s while the teams prepared for the race.

Chevrolet Camaro, Le Mans

Cale Yarborough joined AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti in becoming one of the few drivers to compete at Le Mans, the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 in 1981. While his #35 Stratagraph Camaro sounded good, easily the loudest car in the race, and was as fast as any other vehicle in a straight line, topping 200 mph, the Camaro’s brakes were puny compared to the competition and simply not up to the job of slowing, easily the heaviest car in the race, down. After the first hour the brakes gave up and Cale resorted to driving the car into the wall, ironically at the corner called ‘Indianapolis’ in order to bring his car to a stop, without injury to himself or anyone else.

Lola Ford T600, Le Mans

The weekend of the 1981 Le Mans 24 hours was an absolute scorcher, Spaniard Emillio de Vilotta prepares to board his Lola T600 which he shared with Guy Edwards and Juan Fernandez, The Ford DFL powered #18 Lola started 12th and finished 15th after a multitude of problems which included running the last couple of hours in top gear only.

Porsche 936 81, Le Mans

For this race Porsche AG prepared two special 936 models fitted with 2.65 litre / 161 cui twin turbo flat 6 motors that had originally been designed to run on methanol in the Interscope Indy car project. The #11 of Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell was the class of the field qualifying 3 seconds ahead of it’s sister driven by Mass / Schuppan / Haywood and finishing the 24 hour race with a record lead of 14 laps over 112 miles after covering a total distance of 4825 kms / 2998 miles.

Le Mans

Like many people I enjoyed taking a pictures of the cars at night, unlike many people this led to an all consuming passion for artificial light and film which after many years took me into the realms of art and animation.

Rondeau M379, Le Mans

The only challenge to the utter dominance of Porsche at the 1981 race came from the 5 car Rondeau team, it was the teams two slower GTP cars that survived the night with Jacky Haran, Jean Louis Schlesser and Philippe Streiff coming home a distant second in the #8 Rondeau M379 with

Rondeau M379, Le Mans

Gordon Spice and erstwhile Connew pilot Francois Migault coming home third in the #7 Rondeau. Both of the Rondeaus were powered by detuned 3 litre / 183 cui Ford DFV motors more commonly found in Grand Prix cars.

Porsche 935 K3, Le Mans

After a couple of hours sleep the relentlessness of 24 hour racing really came home to me on the circuit that used to be known as the world fastest round about. The #55 Porsche 935 K3 of Claude Bourgoignie, John Cooper, Dudley Wood, seen here just after dawn came in 4th overall winning the Group 5 class. I believe this vehicle has passed through the hands of Nick Mason, it may still be in his collection.

Ferrari 512 BB LM, Le Mans

The #47 Ferrari 512BB LM #31589 of Andruet/Ballot-Léna qualified 37th, and finished 5th o/a 1st in IMSA GTX.

WM P79/80, Le Mans

The PRV (Peugeot Renault Volvo) Turbo V6 powered #4 WM 79/80 of Denis Moran, Charles Mendez and Xavier Mathiot started 16th and came in 13th the faster #82 P81 sister car of Thierry Boutsen was not so lucky having an accident on the Mulsanne Straight which resulted in the death of a track worker at the end of the first hour of the race.

Bell & Ickx, Le Mans

Despite two fatalities during the race victory celebrations went ahead as usual, not sure that would happen today.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s trip into memory lane and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at a unique vehicle called The Farrallac. Don’t forget to come back now !