A bit of Le Mans History - Page 7






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  1. #91
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    Haywood's first LM24 win, 40 years on

    Tuesday, 13 June 2017
    By Marshall Pruett / Images by LAT Archive, Porsche

    Hurley Haywood's relationship with the 24 Hours of Le Mans opened and closed with amazing results. A rookie in 1977 as part of the factory Porsche 936 effort, Haywood scored an overall win on his debut, added a second with Porsche in 1983 and said goodbye in style, signing off with a third overall win in a works-affiliated Porsche in 1994.
    Forty years have passed since Haywood's first Le Mans victory, and with the milestone waiting to be celebrated, the American racing legend looked back in time to a golden era of sports car competition.

    "When I first saw that car, you kind of stop in your tracks and you look at it and go, 'oh God, that thing is gorgeous looking.' And when I'm asked today what my favorite Porsche racecar is, I always say the 936," he said.
    "And I was privileged to drive that car in its three [sponsorship] versions. So, we started with a Martini car in '77, then in '80, we drove the version that was under Essex, and then the last was '81 when we drove it with the Jules. Jules was when we had the engine [turned] up and that was phenomenal, that was the best of all the 936s."
    Haywood would fall in love with Le Mans the moment he arrived, or, more accurately, when he finally arrived.
    "That was my first trip to Le Mans and even if you're a racing fan and you just read about Le Mans and where it is and you watch movies, you really don't have an idea of the physical presence of that racetrack and where it's located; it's in the middle of an industrial city, which is a huge city. And I always kind of assumed that Le Mans was kind of this quaint little French town that happened to have this racetrack, but when I got there I was like, 'oh shucks,'" he said.
    "I'm sure you've heard that story a million times about driving around endlessly trying to find where the Porsche was encamped and finally, in the middle of the night, I see this guy walking down the street with a Porsche jacket on and I stopped and rolled down the window and he looked in and it was Klaus Bischof who turned out to be my crew chief. So, it all went uphill from that point on."
    Porsche's gorgeous 936 represented an in-between period for prototypes at Le Mans. Porsche's 917s and other closed-top cars had faded into history, new open-top cars had become the norm, and the modern high-downforce prototype era led by Porsche's 962 was still five years away. The venerable turbocharged flat-6 Porsche engine gave life to the 936, just as it would to so many of the brand's racecars in the decades that followed, but everything else about the 936 was different, and delightfully so.
    "It was a really cool car to drive," Haywood said. "It's hard to describe what it was like to drive; it had terrific road holding, it didn't have ground effects, but it had good grip, and it had a very responsive, controllable engine. You drove that car, basically, from the seat of your pants and you felt every movement and you corrected those inputs by the steering or by the throttle.
    "And that's cool, as I said, it was kind of like driving a 911 really, I mean, a 911 would have had terrific road holding and great power, but the same kind of feel that you got, you kind of toss around the corner and not having to worry about doing something unpleasant. It was really fun to drive, I loved driving that car, it was good in the wet, visibility was good out of the car."
    Last edited by senor honda; 06-14-2017 at 05:38 AM.
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  2. #92
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    Partnered with burly Porsche man Jürgen Barth and the original "Mr. Le Mans," Jacky Ickx, Haywood could have learned from the best on his introduction to the chicane-free circuit, but the rookie was left to figure out the daunting track on his own.
    "And you know, when I got there, I didn't have really a tutor that sort of, this is what you need to do, this is what you need to look out for you, I was like thrown into the deep end of the pool and they said, 'okay, go fast and don't crash,'" he said. "But it all kind of worked out, it was a really cool experience and that was when they didn't have the chicanes on the straightaway and it was kind of old school, super-fast. But the car was just so nice to drive that you really didn't think about the speed that you were traveling. I think back then, I think the average speed was 105mph."
    Having raced the fastest Porsche Can-Am and GT cars in America with great success, Haywood arrived at Le Mans with a string of big wins to his credit. Despite being the junior member of the 936 program, his talent was rewarded as the start of the race approached.
    "In practice, I was doing a good job and they were pleased with my time and everything was good, so they decided to give me the honor of starting the race," he said. "Yeah, no pressure. I remember I didn't sleep a wink the night prior to the race. Tossing and turning, thinking of all the things that could go wrong."
    Haywood's worst fears were realized moments after the start.


    "Well, you come through the Dunlop bridge, then you went down a hill, and you had a really fast set of Esses that set you up to go onto the Mulsanne straight and the throttle sticks wide open as I'm going into the first S," he said. "I said, 's***.' I think we started third in that race, so our sister car had the pole and then there was a Renault, and then I was third. So, everybody's behind me, the throttle stuck open, I didn't want to put the clutch down, which is your first inclination is to put the clutch down and if I did that, the motor would of blown up.
    "So, I hit the kill switch, I'm trying to get over to the side to get over into the grass to slow it down and I hit it and by the time I get everything managed I was going too slow to bump the car back into gear because I was going to go into a high gear to try to get it back, so things stalled. So, I'm there and I say, s***, what I'm going to do now, throttle's stuck wide open and I can't restart the car, what am I going to do? So, I had to get out, I had to take the rear bonnet off, which is a big thing off. Find out what the problem was, I saw exactly what it was, I'm radioing into the pits, and back then you didn't have a radio like you do now, you had basically a microphone that you stuck up underneath your helmet and you talk, so it was like a one-way conversation.



    "Anyway, I got it fixed, I got it back, and I only had lost I think about a lap and a half in this whole scenario. So, I get back, they fix it, send me back out, we're a lap and a half down and we're just kind of motoring around, doing everything we're supposed to, and then Ickx's car has a failure, so they decide to move Ickx over to my car to help us and he was like brilliant in the night, he was just magnificent; it was raining, he really did a good job. So, Jürgen Barth and myself did what we were supposed to do and Ickx kind of did a majority of the work."
    For all the work he put in from the opening lap, Porsche wanted to bestow another honor on Haywood. Maybe he should have taken note of what happened the first time...
    "In the end, we had done such a great job that they were going to give me the privilege of taking a car across the finish line," he said. "So, again, no pressure. So, everything is doing great, I'm right on the lap time I'm supposed to be doing and suddenly in the seat of my pants, I kind of feel, oh something's going wrong, I look in the rearview mirror and there is just smoke bellowing out of side exhaust pipes, I said, 'oh s***.'
    "So, I slow down, I radio the pits, I'm coming slowly back to the pits, there is smoke coming out of the rear of the car like a fogging machine. I get back, they disconnect the spark plug, take the spark off the plug, they take the spark plug out, and then they decide that Barth was much more mechanically inclined than I was, so they decided to put him in the car for the last lap. So, he's got a very strict time element, I mean, we're right on the 24-hour mark now, so like one lap. So, he's goes too fast on that one lap, so they had to send him around another time.
    "And so, we're all in the pits and literally when he came across the finish line, the car blew up. And then, in the jubilation of finishing and winning and I mean it was just wild, I jump over the pit wall, which is a considerable height and jump down onto the side panel of the car and Ickx is out there and Jürgen is a pretty big guy, and my hand somehow got behind the seat, which there was plenty of room, but he was banging back and forth, he was so excited, that the seat came off the railing and absolutely I thought my hand was broken. You know, the emotion of the moment far outweighed the physical pain."
    The lack of sleep the night before the race, minimal sleep during the 24-hour contest, and the surge of adrenaline with the win left Haywood in a sorry state after the podium celebration was finished.


    "In the tradition of Porsche, you had to go to all press conferences," he said. "Martini was the sponsor, so you had to go have a drink with them and then the Moet et Chandon champagne [people], and then you had to go to dinner with the entire crew. So, you had Professor Porsche there, you had all these high-ranking members of the Porsche family, Wolfgang [Porsche], everybody in this little restaurant that they had found that was able to take a dinner for 50. And it was like, you were falling asleep in your soup, but it was a big deal."
    Last edited by senor honda; 06-14-2017 at 05:43 AM.
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  3. #93
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    LM 24 video: Foyt on 1967 Ford win

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7LmkS6NtYA
    Wednesday, 14 June 2017

    By Robin Miller

    On the 50th anniversary of his winning drive with Dan Gurney at Le Mans, it's still hard to pick what was the most impressive thing about A.J. Foyt's performance.
    1) The fact he had no testing and just a handful of practice laps.
    2) That he shared the non-adjustable seat and pedals with his much taller teammate.
    3) Or that he even went over there.
    But considering the famous French circuit was 8.3 miles long and had no chicanes back then and very little safety, knowing USAC's all-time winner jumped into the Ford GT and got right up speed is indicative of his talent.
    "The first practice session I think that I went out was the morning before qualifying and Dan was supposed to qualify the car," recalls Foyt. "I had no testing and probably had two or three laps before Dan qualified.
    "He had a lot of experience over there running it, so after the first shift, I think four-hour shifts, I get in and I think I wanna pull out of the pits. I think Denny Hulme went by. And I knew Denny and I knew he knew the racetrack. So I followed him I guess for three or four laps. Then I was just so much faster, so I went on by my way."
    The American duo led all but the first 90 minutes in their Ford GT Mark IV but the only thing that changed during pit stops were the drivers as the 5ft-10 Foyt and 6ft-3 Gurney couldn't adjust the pedals, seat or steering wheel and had to make do with a compromise.
    "Well, it was a great run and one thing about the cars today, they got three to four to five drivers, they got seats that's all adjustable," continued Foyt. "Gurney was so much bigger than I was at the time. His arms were about four or five inches longer, so. I tell you, it was pretty rough and we kinda split the difference. Only thing you could do is tighten the seat belts and loosen them.
    "And nowadays, we got to have these special seats and all of that and we had to do with what we had and that's the way it was then. Like I say, it's a different ball game with the drivers today than what it was back then."
    Even though he was a demon on the dirt and obviously one of the greats at Indianapolis, A.J. always ran well in the few sports cars races he tried and first got the call from Ford in 1966.
    "I was supposed to go over in 1966 and I got burnt. Remember at Milwaukee? And Ken Miles and another one, I can't remember his name, lost his life and Lloyd Ruby crashed his airplane. That's when they decided, well, they lost a lot of their drivers, so we went over in '67," said Indy's first four-time winner.
    "I was happy because I'd known Carrol Shelby for years and it was actually two Ford programs. Holman-Moody and Carroll Shelby. So, when they asked me to drive with Dan Gurney, I was honored."
    But the legend with 67 IndyCar wins quickly adapted to driving at night, the rain and slower traffic on the circuit where speeds topped 200 mph on the Mulsanne Straight.
    ''Well, I never cared that much for road racing," said Foyt, who went on to score USAC champ car wins at Castle Rock, Mosport and Silverstone. "Fortunate enough, it seemed that I got along with it pretty good. I liked the rain; it wasn't that bad. One thing about the rain, I had some good eyesight and I think that's what plays a big part. And my eyes at that time was 20/15 and like I said, I enjoyed running in the rain. It was kinda hairy and tricky, so you had to play it cool."
    Last edited by senor honda; 06-15-2017 at 05:12 AM.
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

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  4. #94
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    I just added highlights video from 2016 @ post # 68
    added Road to LeMans 2015 movie post #90

    Links tying some racing history together:
    see last post in this thread

    Bonneville History
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...e-history.html

    Daytona History
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...a-history.html

    Drag Racing History
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/dr...ml#post9366328

    This link has some historic drag racing pics.
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/dr...pics-ever.html

    Local historic drag racing track Twin City Oldsmar
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...florida-4.html

    Indianapolis History
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...ml#post9373490

    24 Hours of Lemans history
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...s-history.html
    Lemans

    Lime Rock Park history
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/au...rock-park.html

    Pikes Peak racing history Is Pikes Peak a road Race?
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...ml#post9362624

    History of Race Cars
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...ml#post9370578

    Road Racing History
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/general-car-chat/819758-road-racing-history.html


    Sebring history
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...f-history.html

    A bit of stock car racing history
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...ml#post9362625
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/au...fast-cars.html

    Tying some Tampa Racing history together with links: Tampa International Raceway (Fair Grounds)
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...l-raceway.html
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
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    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  5. #95
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    Rear View LM24: Davy Jones' unwilling sacrifice

    Thursday, 08 June 2017
    **************************
    Note: Davey Jones does an interview in the 1998 Lemans
    posted around #97-98 here:
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/g...ml#post9392504
    *****************************

    By Marshall Pruett / Images by LAT and Pruett archives

    Davy Jones had every intention of becoming a two-time winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
    As part of Joest Racing's 1996 line-up (at left, ABOVE), the former TWR Jaguar IMSA GTP ace scored his first victory at the iconic endurance race and was scheduled to part of the same team when it went on to capture back-to-back wins the following year.
    Signed to a full-season deal with Galles Racing in the Indy Racing League, Jones was one of few American drivers at the time with an active role in multiple series. After completing the IRL's championship opener at the Walt Disney World oval on Jan. 25, Jones intended to drive an hour northeast to Daytona for a 24-hour warm-up with Le Mans on the horizon in June.

    Jones didn't make it. Clinging to life in Orlando after spinning and striking the wall during practice in his GForce-Oldsmobile IRL car, the 32-year-old regained consciousness after being airlifted to the hospital. The rearward impact, which came in an era where significant cockpit safety advancements had yet to be made, and head protection equipment like the HANS device was not required, left Jones in a troubling state.
    Years would go by as Jones' body slowly repaired the neural damage that dampened his natural talent. Racing at Le Mans was clearly off, and through his unwilling sacrifice, Joest eventually placed Tom Kristensen in the car for 1997.
    Without Jones' spin, who knows where Kristensen – the winningest driver Le Mans has ever known – would be today.


    Jones/Alex Wurz/Manuel Reuter en route to victory at Le Mans in '96 in their TWR Porsche WSC 95.
    "I was meant to race Le Mans in '97," Jones said. "I was also going to run the 24 Hours of Daytona with Champion in a Porsche right after the race at Orlando. I look back and you just think to myself, not being able to do Le Mans opened up a seat and they brought Tom Kristensen in. You see that he's earned the right to be called 'Mr. Le Mans,' won nine races, and had the best career.

    "For me, like all my racing, it was being in the right place at the right time. It was just unfortunate for me 'cause I was right in the prime of my career, making a full-time [job] in the IRL; I was one of their main drivers and then I had Le Mans with Joest. It was all right there just ready to bloom and I got taken out, I got injured."
    You won't find a hint of bitterness in Jones' matter-of-fact assessment of what took place 20 years ago in Orlando.
    "You look and you think OK, well Tom having that opportunity there, that could have my opportunity but you take what life dishes out to you," he said. "I was delighted to see him have the career that he had but I don't look at it like I opened the door for him. I don't take any credit for it. It wasn't my decision, and I really didn't know of Tom before then so I'm delighted he had that opportunity and it was just unfortunate that it took my crash to create the situation where I couldn't drive and Mr. Joest had to find my replacement."

    A few years after the crash, once his hands and feet were back to taking immediate directions from his mind, Jones (pictured) was treated to a gift from his old TWR team manager Tony Dowe.
    "Tony gave me that opportunity to get back in a racecar," he said. "It was in a Panoz [LMP1 roadster] at Road Atlanta and it was with David Brabham who was testing. When you're an athlete and you get injured, your mind is just yelling and telling you to get back in that car and you train and work out and you do everything you can because it's all focused on getting back.
    "When Tony let me drive, I drove it well, I was about a second and a bit off David's time but I had no stamina. I could only stay in the car for five laps and then I had to park it. I realized that my physical abilities were close to what they were before my crash, but I still needed a lot more time before I could get back in a racecar as a professional."
    Jones reckons it took 2003 or so until all his nerves had healed and restored 100 percent of his pre-crash capabilities. By that time, Kristensen was a five-time Le Mans winner, and while returning to take another crack at winning the 24 Hour never happened, Jones would resume his sports car career in America with outings in the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am through 2012.
    He's incredibly busy today as a brand representative and featured driver with Jaguar for its various promotional events. The happiest man in Lake Tahoe, Nev., also loves nothing more than getting out among the trees or boating when the weather is just right.

    Kristensen, now three years into retirement, has eight more Le Mans trophies than Jones, but it's highly doubtful he's having as much fun as his fellow Joest Racing alumni.
    "And I go dirt bike riding and snow skiing, and I'm right on it," he said, flashing a bit of the old competitive fire. "That's been so cool. It just took time. The body is an amazing machine if you just treat it properly and you give it time to heal."
    Last edited by senor honda; 06-18-2017 at 06:16 AM.
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
    What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
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    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  6. #96
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    IN 1997........



    1997 LM24: How Tom Kristensen almost wasn’t

    By Marshall Pruett / Images by LAT archive
    ABOVE: Tom Kristensen/Stefan Johansson/Michele Alboreto en route to victory at Le Mans in their TWR Porsche WSC 95.
    A connection between Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen and the wholly unremarkable Walt Disney World Speedway should not exist. But the Dane's link to the old and oft-forgotten Indy Racing League oval is where his incredible career as sports car racing's biggest name got its start. The link is also where one of America's sports car greats saw his professional driving career end.

    Tom Kristensen
    Twenty years later, Kristensen's known as "Mr. Le Mans," the nine-time winner of the great 24-hour race. In early 1997, Kristensen was broke, largely anonymous, and unsure where his future was headed. While toiling away in the European F3000 series, dreams of reaching Formula 1 had gone from vaguely possible to outright foolish; prospects of competing in America were slim, and returning to a life of obscurity in Japan, racing as one of a handful of foreigners – gaijins – held limited appeal.
    And then Davy Jones crashed while practicing for the Indy Racing League's season opener at the 1.0-mile Walt Disney oval in Florida. The Chicago native, a star in sports cars and open-wheel racing, was coming off an incredible 1996 season where a second-place finish in the Indy 500 was followed by an amazing overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
    As part of the Joest Racing program, Jones, Manuel Reuter and Alexander Wurz took a converted Jaguar XJR-14 with a turbo Porsche engine to victory, and his return trip to defend the win was already sealed. Unconscious against the wall in his Indy car, significant head trauma caused by the impact ensured Jones would spend the rest of the year in rehabilitation. One crash changed two lives in an instant, but only Jones was aware at the time.
    As hard as it is to imagine today, Kristensen's name wasn't even close to being atop the list of replacements for Jones. Team owner Reinhold Joest, who would go on to lead Audi's immense mastery of Le Mans with Kristensen as the centerpiece, initially wanted nothing to do with the young open-wheeler.
    "I said this is not what we look for," Joest (pictured) said with a smile. Kristensen's manager kept applying pressure for his client to remain among the candidates to join the late Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson in the seat vacated by Jones.
    "He phoned several times every day," he said with a look of exasperation. "He called me and called me..."
    Within the team, Kristensen had an advocate in Joest's right-hand man, Ralf Juttner. Although his manager wasn't making progress, Juttner was finding ways to walk his boss toward the unproven and unsponsored 29-year-old. Porsche had bankrolled the team's 1996 win, but that changed for 1997, which meant Joest was faced with a serious dilemma.
    "Every evening, when everybody was gone, we would sit in his office and [Joest] would say, 'We need the money. We don't have the budget, we need the money,'" Juttner said. "I would say, 'Yes, but we won't win if we take a slow guy with money.' The next day, it was the other way around. Then he would say, 'Yeah, but we can't take him because we need that sponsorship...' It was going around like this for weeks."
    If we look past his need for funding, which Kristensen didn't have, Joest's greatest concern wasn't on Kristensen's date of birth; the total lack of Le Mans experience was the lingering issue for the German team. A third party – a tiebreaker – helped Joest across the decision-making finish line.
    "At the end of the day, it was 'Dominguez,' a good friend of Mr. Joest, who called me and said, 'What do you want? Experience? You don't need experience. At night, the old drivers, they can't see anything. The younger guys, they are used to that, they come from the disco at 3 o'clock in the morning,'" Juttner said. "It was funny."
    With his team manager and his friend Dominguez refusing to back down, Joest recalls abandoning his first choice, the funded-but-underwhelming Spaniard Jesus Pareja, after finally accepting to meet with Kristensen.
    "Once I had a chance to speak with Ralf, I said, OK, he can come and we will see him and talk," he added. "Then he came, a young boy, and then at the end of maybe two hours' time we said, OK, we will take the risk and give him the chance."
    Although Joest was apathetic until the very last moment, Juttner had kept an eye on the young prospect and knew what they were getting.
    "His versatility is quite astonishing," he said. "A lot of people talk about his nine Le Mans wins, but very easily forget that he was very good in DTM. He was good in Formula 3, he was good in Super Touring cars, he was good in Formula 3000. That was what he was doing when we met first in '97 and I saw he is one of the very few who were able to really step from one car to the other and be on the top level in completely different machines."
    As it turns out, the key talent Juttner spotted within Kristensen had become a point of pride within his new driver.
    "I considered being a race driver a proper job, so it was very good that people asked me to drive different things," Kristensen said. "I jumped at it with no second thought in the sense that I enjoyed racing. Of course, it helped me doing the different disciplines, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, powerful, narrow tires, wide tires, whatever. Everything. It helped me.
    "When I was in Japan is when it started. It was basically three-day weekends completely filled with racing different cars, which was good, giving me experience. At the same time, I could prove to my mom that I was making a living at being a racecar driver! That is how it sort of started. I loved being versatile. The other thing is having a little bit of fun and a little bit of adventure into your racing life as well."
    Kristensen's adaptability would be put to the test as Le Mans approached. The need to replace Jones was known for months, but with the back-and-forth between Joest and Juttner on funded or fast drivers taking far longer than expected, a contract wasn't completed until a precariously late date.
    "He joined us just a week before the race," Juttner said. "He came to our shop that Friday before the race ... the trucks were already gone, they were on the way to Le Mans, so he didn't know any of the team, he did know the car. Of course, he did not know the track..."
    On the ensuing trip from Germany to France, Kristensen was treated to an unexpected revelation on how he was apparently destined to drive the No. 7 Joest Racing TWR Porsche WSC-95.
    "It was nice in the airplane down to Le Mans," he said. "Reinhold Joest was in the plane sitting in the front with his copilot. He flies himself, obviously, with his copilot. I was with his wife, in the back. Lady Joest, at one stage, she goes, 'Reinhold, he really likes car 7. That is good that you come as a debutante to Le Mans in car 7. Then I mentioned I was born 7-7-67. And she was screaming! In the cockpit, I remember Reinhold was looking back to [see] what was going on. I guess that was a good omen. That is how it started."
    Fortunately for Kristensen, Joest's vast experience at Le Mans driving a Ford GT40 and Porsches ranging from 911s to 917s also provided an educational foundation at La Sarthe.
    "I said, 'Tom, when we're at Le Mans, I will show you the track and the tricks because I have many kilometers here,'" he said. "We spent a half a day together and went point for point and corner for corner. Then when he drove the first lap I said, 'Tom, you have all the time in the world. Take your time. Go step-by-step.'"

    ABOVE: Wollek/Stuck/Boutsen Porsche 911 GT1 leads Kristensen's TWR Porsche WSC 95.
    For Johansson (pictured, left), a Joest veteran dating back to the 1983 Le Mans race, welcoming Kristensen into the fold was easy.
    "I knew Tom a little bit before Le Mans as well, obviously, partly him being Danish and me Swedish. It was a little bit more than a normal connection, I suppose," he said. "When the opportunity came up, of course, he was the new kid on the block because he didn't really have any experience in sports cars at that point.
    "Me and Michele, obviously we were keen to try to help them along as quick as we could. I mean, it didn't take long for him to get acclimatized. Everybody knew he was already a fantastic driver with his record before he came to Le Mans and various categories of race he had done up until then, Formula 3000 and what have you."
    Johansson took an even greater liking to him once practice got under way.
    "He fit right in. He's a great guy anyway. There's no big ego or any agenda or anything. He is just a pure, hard-core racer, much like myself and Michele was," he said. "Just enjoyed racing without any major personal agendas. Right away it was a great driver combination and we all more or less liked the same setup on the car, and doing the same kind of speed. It worked out great from the very beginning."
    Joest had two peerless drivers to lead the No. 7 at Le Mans, and then he had his rookie who was in the middle of his second season in F3000. While Alboreto and Johansson were solely focused on the big endurance race about to take place, Kristensen was logging more air miles in order to meet pre-existing open-wheel commitments. As the start of Saturday's 24-hour event approached, Joest's most inexperienced driver was woefully short on miles around the daunting 8.5-mile circuit.
    Tom Kristensen, 2017
    "Doing 17 laps before I actually [got] in the car in the race, it was a very stressful week," said the master of understatement. "I mean, I had to fly to the Formula 3000 test between [Le Mans practice] Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday morning I was in Austria [for the test] and then coming back and doing my night laps ... 17 laps, and, you know, there was no simulator running at the time. There was hardly any data. There was no [computer] systems like they have today. It was very difficult to have no data to learn. It was my own experience and then from what Michele and Johansson said. It was different."
    The No. 7 TWR-Porsche entry would earn pole position and set the fastest race of the lap on the way to a somewhat narrow victory. Joest's decision to take talent over cash was rewarded, but then there was that fastest lap... Twenty years later, it remains the one blemish on Kristensen's performance.
    "From the beginning, he did an excellent job," Joest said. "He was careful and so on. But in the morning, I think it was about 3:30, it was his turn was coming and he jumped in the car. After the third lap, he did the fastest lap time at Le Mans and I said, 'Hey, no, no, no, that's not allowed. OK?' This was in the beginning of his experience and also a risk... But the end was excellent, what he delivered on the cleverness and feeling and speed, of course."
    Prior to the admonishment, Kristensen enjoyed dipping into the throttle to get a feel for the potential of the open-top prototype.
    "For sure it was a great, great relief to be fast during the night and coming into the sunrise and then doing the lap record and the fastest lap of the race," he said. "And then I was asked to do four stints. That is something unique. For sure, a foundation of my career at Le Mans. There's no doubt about that."
    Kristensen, Johansson and Alboreto on the rostrum at Le Mans in '97.
    With his first Le Mans win in hand, that quadruple-stint performance would become a regular part of the arsenal in the decades that followed. Kristensen, the iron man, blindingly fast and precise for hours on end, would add six more wins in rapid succession from 2000-'06, another in 2008, and a final victory in 2013. Retirement following the 2014 season would close an era that will never be duplicated.

    "I am just enjoying my time," Kristensen said of life outside the cockpit. "I think I really found the right time to make sure that I have a good future. I will miss it, but it is nice to be asked, 'Why have you stopped,' instead of, 'Maybe you should have stopped...'"
    Closing the loop on Kristensen's first win in 1997, Johansson couldn't help but laugh at how far Mr. Le Mans has come since his debut.
    "He's got a terrific sense of humor – it's sort of a bit mischievous and tongue-in-cheek," he said. "I remember after we won the race, within an hour, Reinhold's gone, Michele's gone, and me and Tom were sitting on our own, back at this little frickin' hotel, whatever they call those cheesy-ass hotels in France with nothing more than a shower and a bed. And we couldn't even get any food.
    "We had this nasty old ham and cheese sandwich. That is all we could get our hands on. And we were sitting there like, is this it? We just won the f••••••g 24 Hours and we're sitting here nibbling away at a ham and cheese sandwich and a Coca-Cola? We just laughed at each other. This is ridiculous. We just won the biggest race in the world and we can't even get a fricking meal together!"
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
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    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  7. #97
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    Last edited by senor honda; 06-18-2017 at 06:19 AM.
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
    What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
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    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  8. #98
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    Paul Newman races 935 Porsche at LeMans 1979

    “It was violent, it was fantastic.” Dick Barbour narrates the thrilling historical journey and racing glory of this 1979 Porsche 935. This car, chassis 009 0030, offered legendary actor and racer Paul Newman his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut on June 10, 1979, alongside co-drivers Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen. Being offered at public sale for the first time at our upcoming Pebble Beach Auctions, we are proud to welcome one of the most successful endurance racing cars of its era onto our stage!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUYwTHelVdE
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
    What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  9. #99
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    Porsche: Meet the heroes of Le Mans

    This is an un-cataloged video:
    You must paste this in the browser window:

    Porsche: Meet the heroes of Le Mans

    and press enter.
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
    What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  10. #100
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    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
    What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

  11. #101
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    How Jaguar nearly lost 1988 LeMans
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9AJbHokymY

    1988 Le mans winning driver, Jan Lammers, explains how he nursed the Jaguar XJR9 to victory.
    This interview features in the documentary DVD "The Jaguar's Roar", produced by Definition Media and available from http://www.jag88.com.
    NOV 11: All Cars 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/event-coverage/824717-every-2nd-saturday-we-having-free-breakfast-tampa.html and Simply Clean 2500 car meet at Destination Daytona...party starts Friday night.

    Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
    What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
    https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

    Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)


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