There are a pair of pre- race support events for the Le Mans 24 Hours this year with the Aston Martin festival and the Le Mans Legends.
Once again the Legends race features a packed entry of 1949-1968 classics with a smattering of ‘names’ amongst them.
61 iconic cars, dating from 1949 to 1968 and representing 26 different marques, will take to the track in a race covering two decades of motor racing history.
14 of the cars entered actually raced at Le Mans in period, and the remainder of the grid boast their own impressive competition histories.
The red GT40 of US drivers Philippe Mulacek and Alain Vinson took part in the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, Marc Doncieux’s GT40 raced there in 1966, and Claude Nahum/Bernard Thuner’s Mk 1 in 1968, with Eric Lidell replacing the car’s regular driver that season David Piper to share with Mike Salmon. Bernard is the son of Jean Jacques Thuner, a four-times competitor in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The remarkable seven-GT40 entry also includes the ex-Scuderia Bear/Essex Wire Corporation 1965 Mk1 which finished 3rd in the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours (Skip Scott/Peter Revson) and was put out of the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours when it was struck by a works-entry GT40 during qualifying. Present-day renowned GT3 and historic racer Andrew Smith will share the car with James Cottingham.
Another newcomer that the extended age range admits to the Le Mans Legend grid is the Alpine-Renault A220 of French drivers Sylvain Stepak and Jean Luc Blanchemain. This car was standing 5th overall in the 1968 Len Mans 24 Hours in the hands of Mauro Bianchi and Patrick Depailler before brake failure caused it to crash with Bianchi at the wheel. This was the race at which Alpine and Michelin revolutionized racing with the first use of ‘slick’ tyres.
The A220 and the seven GT40s are joined in what promises to be a stunning class battle by Rainer Becker’s Porsche 910, again, a new addition to the grid. Originally owned and raced by Bill Bradley, with Vic Elford and Tony Dean, this car enjoyed a number of notable results in period, including 1st in class and 5th overall at Hockenheim in 1968 and 5th overall in the 1969 1000km Nurburgring.
Sam Thomas/Andy Dee-Crowne’s Allard J2X was a 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours competitor, while Paul Griffin/Gillian Carr’s Connaught ALSR raced there in 1955. Class competition for the Allard comes from another of the same marque. Touring Car driver Patrick Watts will be out in a J2. The Connaught faces sporting competition for class honours from a veteran of the 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours, the beautiful Panhard Monopole X86 of François Cointreau and from former England Rugby, Captain David Cooke, in the yellow Lotus 11 Le Mans he shares with Neil Twyman.
The Austin-Healey 3000 that Karsten Le Blanc shares with Christiaen van Lanschot raced at Le Mans in 1960, ’61 and ’62. Known by most people simply by its registration number DD 300, it was a works entry in 1960, driven by Jack Sears and Peter Riley, while it was a privateer entry in ’61 and ’62. It’s in the same class as Canadian Barrie Baxter’s beautiful Maserati 151/154, originally seen out in the 1962 Mans 24 Hours and then again in ’63 and ’64.
In 1962 the Healey would have fought against the 1956 Morgan Plus 4 Supersports that Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger will drive this year and Till Bechtolscheimer’s Tojeiro EE Buick (the latter having sported a Climax engine in period).
Competition promises to be fierce across all classes, with lively action expected in the GT Cars 1960-65 under 2000 from the Lotus Elan of 12-times Le Mans 24 Hours racer and 1981 British Sports Car Champion John Sheldon. The bright yellow Mini Marcos GT driven by Josh Sadler and veteran racer Barrie Williams should give John a good run for his money and provide huge entertainment for spectators. And competition will also come from Afschin Fatemi’s very rare Porsche 904/8, one of two prototypes fitted by with an eight-cylinder engine by the factory for the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hours, from another veteran of that 1964 race, the Alfa Romeo TZ1 driven this year by Holly Mason-Franchitti.
LML1 Cars 1949-1954 over 2000
2 David Wenman Jaguar C-type 1952 Green 3400 David Wenman GB
4 Sam Thomas Allard J2X Le Mans 1952 Green 5400 Sam Thomas GB Andy Dee-Crowne GB
5 JD Classics Jaguar C-type 1952 Bronze 3442 John Young GB
15 Patrick Watts Allard J2 1950 Black 5400 Patrick Watts GB
30 JD Classics Jaguar XK120 OTS 1950 Green 3442 Jarrah Venables GB
54 JD Classics Cooper Jaguar T33 1954 Silver 3442 Derek Hood GB
121 Glynn Allen Aston Martin DB2 Lightweight Le Mans 1951 Green 2580 Glynn Allen GB Tim Stamper GB
155 Andrew Sharp Aston Martin DB2 1953 Green 2922 Andrew Sharp GB
LML2 Cars 1955-1959 over 2000
11 Harry Wyndham Jaguar D-Type 1955 Black 3400 Harry Wyndham GB
17 Hans Kleissel Mercedes 300SL Gullwing 1955 Silver 2996 Graf Joachim Von Finckenstein D
19 Paul Chase-Gardener Mercedes 300M Gullwing 1955 White 2996 Paul Chase-Gardener GB
41 JD Classics Lister Costin 1959 Green 3781 Chris Ward GB
42 Carlos Martinez de Campos Jaguar XK140 FHC 1955 Green 3443 Carlos Martinez De Campos ES Chris Keith Lucas GB
49 Clive Joy Jaguar D-type 1955 Blue 3440 Clive Joy GB Kilian Konig GB
55 Georges Gachnang Cooper Monaco T49 1960 Green 2500 Gregory Martin CH
LML3 Cars 1955-1959 under 2000
7 David Cooke Lotus 11 Le Mans 1957 Yellow 1499 David Cooke GB Neil Twyman GB
23 Richard Lake AC Ace 1957 Red 1971 Richard Lake GB
26 François Cointreau Panhard Monopole X86 1956 Blue 750 François Cointreau F
31 Paul Griffin Connaught ALSR 1954 Green 1484 Paul Griffin GB Gillian Carr GB
40 Gabriel Kremer Lotus 15 1958 Green 1960 Dion Kremer GB
60 Guy Peeters Lotus 15 1959 Green 1998 Guy Peeters B Michel Wanty B
70 Gabriel Kremer Lotus 17 Prototype 1959 Green 1220 Gabriel Kremer CH
LML4 GT Cars 1960-68 over 2000
1 Alain Rüede Chevrolet Corvette 1960 White/Blue 4637 Alain Rüede CH
8 Martin Brewer Aston Martin Project 214 1963 Green 3996 Martin Brewer GB Tim Mogridge GB
9 Nicolas Chambon AC Cobra Shelby American 1962 Silver 4724 Nicolas Chambon F
18 Robert Rawe Aston Martin DP214 1962 Green 3750 Robert Rawe GB Stephen Archer GB
21 Karsten Le Blanc Austin-Healey 3000 1959 BRG 3000 Karsten Le Blanc NL Christiaen van Lanschot NL
22 Richard Squire AC Cobra 1964 Silver 4727 Michael Squire GB
24 Sam Thomas Jaguar E-type Lightweight 1961 Grey 3800 Sam Thomas GB Sam Hancock GB
25 Martin Melling Jaguar E-type Low Drag 1961 Dark Blue 3800 Martin Melling GB
29 Keith Ahlers Morgan Plus 4 Supersports 1956 Green 2188 Keith Ahlers GB Billy Bellinger GB
32 Katarina Kyvalova Austin-Healey 3000 MK1 1960 Green/White 2912 Katarina Kyvalova SK
33 Nathan Harrison Aston Martin DB4GT 1960 White 3700 Tom Alexander GB Adrian Willmott GB
34 Eberhard Baunach Chevrolet Corvette 1965 White 6584 Eberhard Baunach D
38 Jan Gijzen Ferrari 275 GTB 1966 Red 3300 Jan Gijzen NL
86 Till Bechtolsheimer Tojeiro EE Buick 1962 Blue 3500 Till Bechtolsheimer GB
89 JD Classics Jaguar E-type Semi-Lightweight 1965 Green 3781 to be advised
112 Barrie Baxter Maserati 151/154 1965 White 5044 Barrie Baxter CA
122 Siamak Siassi Jaguar E-type Semi-Lightweight 1965 Blue 3781 Siamak Siassi CH Wolfgang Kaufmann D
201 Ludovic Caron Shelby Cobra 289 MkII 1963 Blue/White 4855 Ludovic Caron F
LML5 GT Cars 1960-65 under 2000
10 Afschin Fatemi Porsche 904/8 1964 Silver 1981 Afschin Fatemi D
27 John Sheldon Lotus Elan 1965 Red 1594 John Sheldon GB
36 Jean Laurent-Bellue Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ 1963 Black/White 1600 Jean Laurent-Bellue F Alex Furiani D
39 John Emberson Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports 1961 Green/Cream 1991 John Emberson GB
44 Phil Hooper TVR Grantura MkIII 1963 White 1840 Phil Hooper GB Ian Bankhurst GB
45 David Green MG B Roadster 1963 Green/White 1845 David Green GB Matthew Green GB
46 Christopher Clegg Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite 1960 Silver 1300 Christopher Clegg GB Charles Clegg GB
57 Ten Tenths Ltd Alfa Romeo TZ1 1964 Red 1600 Holly Mason-Franchitti GB
59 Simon King Morgan Plus 4 Supersports 1962 Green 1991 Simon King GB
64 Colin & Helen Elstrop TVR Grantura 1964 White 1840 Helen Elstrop GB Colin Elstrop GB
65 Mark Bates Porsche 901 1965 Light Ivory 1991 Mark Bates GB James Bates GB
83 Gideon Hudson Marcos Mini Marcos GT 1967 Yellow 1250 Josh Sadler GB Barrie Williams GB
LML6 Sports Racing Cars 1961-68
3 Richard Meins Ford GT40 1966 Red 4727 Richard Meins GB
6 Manual Ferrao Ford GT40 1965 Red 4736 Diogo Ferrao PT
12 Claude Nahum Ford GT40 Mk1 1968 Green 4949 Bernard Thuner F Claude Nahum F
14 Marc Doncieux Ford GT40 1966 Red 4800 Marc Doncieux F
20 Rainer Becker Porsche 910 1967 White/Blue 1991 Rainer Becker D
28 Sylvain Stepak Alpine A220 1968 Blue 2995 Sylvain Stepak F Jean Luc Blanchemain F
37 Philip Walker Ford GT40 1965 Silver/Yellow 4700 Philip Walker GB Miles Griffiiths GB
48 Philippe Mulacek Ford GT40 1965 Red 4700 Philippe Mulacek USA Alain Vinson USA
63 Andrew Smith Ford GT40 Mk1 1965 Silver 4700 Andrew Smith GB James Cottingham GB
Reserves to be called up in the following order:
183 (5) Gideon Hudson Lotus Elite 1961 Yellow 1220 Gideon Hudson GB
69 (5) Laurent Queffelec Lotus Elan 1965 Green/Yellow 1597 Laurent Queffelec F
138 (5)Paul Latimer MG B 1962 Red/white 1845 Paul Latimer GB James Owen GB
16 (4) David Hart AC Cobra Le Mans 1963 Blue 4743 David Hart NL