Former winners return to Le Mans
The Le Mans Classic returns from the 8th – 10th July giving spectators a unique opportunity to see the cars that took part in the Le Mans 24 Hours between 1923 and 1993 back racing at La Sarthe. It is not only the cars that are returning, as many famous drivers also use the Le Mans Classic to get back behind the wheel.
Of the nine former winners down to drive, the man with the highest number of victories is Emanuele Pirro, five-time winner of the race with Audi (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2007). The popular Italian has been a regular member of the Peter Auto grids and in the Le Mans Classic he will be driving an Alfa Romeo T33/3 (1969), a Lola T290 (1972) and a Lancia Beta Gr.V (1979). Out on the track he may come across his former team-mate, Marco Werner, three-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, who is also entered to drive three different cars: a Lotus IX (1955), a Maserati T63 Birdcage (1961) and a Maserati A6 GCS Barchetta (1954). The most recent winner is current works Porsche driver Romain Dumas who won at Le Mans just a few weeks ago in the Porsche 919. This time he will compete in the Group C grid with a Porsche 962C.
In homage to his father Jean-Pierre who died last year, Julien Beltoise will race in grid 6 with Henri Pescarolo (who still holds the record for the highest number of races; 33) in the same Inaltera that he drove with Jean-Pierre in 1976. Another driver who spearheaded the Matra attack in the early 70s, Gérard Larrousse, the current president of the Drivers’ Club, is back at the wheel of a Porsche 550 Spyder (1958). Eric Hélary, a hero of Peugeot’s historic triple in 1993 will share his time between a Chevrolet Corvette C3 (1970), a Lancia Beta Gr.V (1979) and an Alfa Romeo T 33 TT (1971).
British driver Andy Wallace, who won the race in 1988 in a Jaguar, remains faithful to the make as he will be at the wheel of a D-Type (1955). The Englishman is among the drivers who have raced in the event on multiple occasions with 19 starts. But his former team-mate in 1988 Jan Lammers from Holland, entered in an Austin Healey 3000, has racked up more starts than Wallace as he has 22 to his name. Emmanuel Collard has also reached this number after just competing the Le Mans 24 Hours for the 22nd time this year. At Le Mans Classic he will be tackling the long circuit in a Porsche 908/3 (1971) and a 911 Turbo RSR (1974).
Other outright winners Jochen Mass (1989) and Gijs van Lennep (1971 and 1976) are back in a De Tomaso Pantera Gr. IV (1971), a Porsche 911 RSR 3L (1974) and a Porsche 908 LH (1968) respectively. A number of class winners will also be on the grid including Casper Elgaard, first in the LMP2 category in 2009, in a 1964 Porsche 904 as well as John Fitzpatrick, Ralf Kelleners and Uwe Alzen, all victorious at the wheel of Porsche 911s (1975, 1996 and 1999 respectively), who remain faithful to the Stuttgart make. Double Grand Touring winner, Raymond Narac, is at the wheel of a prototype, a Group C Porsche 962 (1987).
Many other well-know figures who have raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours are also expected such as David Halliday (BMW 3.0 CSL), Jean Ragnotti (Alpine M 65, Renault Alpine A443), Paul Belmondo (Ford GT 40), Chris Mac Allister, Eric De Doncker, Gareth Evans, Roald Goethe, Lucien Guitteny, Stuart Hall, Sam Hancock, David Hart, Hans Hugenholtz, Wolfgang Kaufmann, Patrice Lafargue, Franck Lagorce, Michel Lecourt, Erik Maris, Jean-Marc Merlin, Jacques Nicolet, Martin O’Connell, François Perrodo, Christian Pescatori, Frédéric Da Rocha, Lucien Rossiaud, Alain Serpaggi, John Sheldon, Pierre de Thoisy and more. It promises to be quite a reunion.
The Le Mans Classic takes place on the full Le Mans circuit from the 8th – 10th July. Travel Destinations are official agents for the Le Mans Classic and are proud to have been looking after spectators at the circuit since its inception, offering private trackside camping, pre-erected glamping tents, and our Flexotel Village cabins all on the circuit. For late bookings for the 2016 Le Mans Classic please call 0844 873 0203.