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Le Mans: Favourite Cars, Part 2

Another batch of this year's drivers pick their all-time favourite cars

Richard Lietz (Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR #77) – Porsche GT1 1998
It has to be a Porsche for me really. I’ve driven that car, it’s so cool. I love cars which were built as road and racecars. It’s got such a good engine, but the gears do shift so slowly though, especially as when I drove it it was set up for Le Mans so first gear was huge!

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Davide Rigon (AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE #71) – Ferrari 488
The 488 is an absolute dream car to drive around Le Mans. The only thing that would top it would be a Ferrari LMP1 car.

Antonio Garcia (Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R #63) – Porsche 956
The Rothmans Porsche has always been ‘the’ Group C car for me. I saw it race at Jarama back in the day. I love that car and, to be honest, I love that circuit too.

Nic Jonsson (Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan #40) – Mercedes CLK LM
That car just looked so good! I had several teammates drive it, including Ricardo Zonta, who said it was so nice to drive. Mercedes has such a shaky history at Le Mans, they need to come back at some point and make it right.

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Mark Patterson (Team AAI Chevrolet Corvette C7-ZR1 #57) – Porsche 919
The LMP1s today are an engineering stroke of genius and my favourite is the Porsche 919 from this year. I’m also a big supporter of Brendon Hartley. We are all going to benefit down the road from them. Sitting in an LMP2 or GTE car and watching them pass you in such tight spots is just incredible.

François Perrodo (AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia #83) – Toyota GT-One
It looks awesome! I wish I had seen it race. Manu (Collard) drove it and he always says it was one of the best cars he’s ever driven.

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Bart Hayden (Team Principal, Rebellion Racing) – Lola B12/60
I have a real soft spot for that Lola, which we ran to fourth place in 2012. That was at the time when Lola had just gone into administration and we’d got people like Julian Sole and Adam Airey working with us, and Lola had paid the first half of their hotel bill. We paid the balance when Lola went bust so they could still come. That car finished fourth and the tears were streaming down the faces of the Lola guys. It was a combination of hard work from everyone. I know its our car, but it lives in my heart, competition was high and there was so much uncertainty about the future then.

Rob Bell (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia #61) – Ferrari F430
Specifically, the JMW F430 is my favourite car, ever. It has such great history. It was from when I was in my infancy in GT racing and if you could capture that ethos and spirit. Also, the fact that we had the Dunlop deal meant I drove with some great teammates.

pat_long_porsche_90_01Patrick Long (Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR #88) – Porsche 996 GT3 R
That’s a tough one… It’s got to be the first car I drove here, the White Lightning Racing Porsche 996. It’s almost a vintage car by today’s standards, lap times and technology. It’s a fun car to drive that I’ve reconnected with the last couple of years. For me it took me to my first class victory. It was predictable, reliable and balanced. It had that heritage that Porsche has taken through the last few decades here, it’s an old workhorse. I remember in 2004 that we practised and qualified in that car using an h-pattern box, synchro box, and then we went to a sequential for the race which in retrospect was probably a little bit… adventurous. That’s an old war story I could tell.

André Lotterer (Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 #7) – Jaguar XJR-9
It’s difficult to say. Obviously the car I drove in 2011 is very special to me, because it brought me to my first win, but I really like the purple Jag. I love the shape, the colour, and the design of the car. I have a chance to drive it too, but haven’t done so yet. Perhaps soon. I love the Group C era, and I think that car stands out.

Oliver Bryant (Team AAI Chevrolet Corvette C7-ZR1 #57) – Dome S102
The Racing for Holland car. It looked great in the chequerboard livery, and really did inspire us in the way we funded the return of Ecurie Ecosse, finding any little bit of sponsorship we could and filling every space we could create on the car!

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Michael Shank (Team Owner, Michael Shank Racing) – The Bentley EXP Speed 8
The 2003 race winner. Just a beautiful, beautiful car, there is nothing better

Ron Fellows (Corvette Racing Brand Ambassador) – Porsche 917
As a 12 year old boy my brother and I went to see the movie Le Mans on six straight days! It was a double feature with the Cheyenne Social Club. I actually found a copy of the movie recently online – DSC “Le Mans?” – RF – “No Cheyenne Social Club!”

Giancarlo Fisichella (RISI Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE #82) – Porsche 917
I love Ferraris of course but for this race that is the car that is in my mind. I discovered this race through the Le Mans movie and the car just looked amazing in it.

Jan Magnussen (Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R #63) – Porsche 962
It was beautiful, but it was a beast – fast, and dangerous!!”

Danny Watts (Strakka Racing Gibson 015S Nissan #42) – Jaguar XJR9
It’s an awesome thing but added to that both my godfather and my dad were on the team. My dad worked the pit board!

Jonny Kane (Strakka Racing Gibson 015S Nissan #42) – Jaguar XJR9/ XJR 12
It’s just the iconic Le Mans car for me. The response to the wins in Group C days made this race what it is today for the British fans.

Nick Leventis (Strakka Racing Gibson 015S Nissan #42) – HPD ARX 01b
Yes, it’s a very personal choice, but it was a simply amazing piece of kit. Pace, reliability, balance, it had it all. What’s more, it took the fight to the previously all-conquering Porsche RS Spyders, and won!

Sir Chris Hoy (Algarve Pro Ligier JS-P2 Nissan #25) – Nissan R90
The in-car of Mark Blundell’s pole lap is just astonishing. Anyone that thinks that top-line motorsport is simple should watch it!

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Tor Graves (Manor Oreca 05 Nissan #44) – 1954 Jaguar D-Type
A beautiful, beautiful car, and one that made a massive difference to every car here this year. It was the first ever use of disc brakes.

Gerard Neveu (CEO of FIA WEC and ELMS) – Porsche 936
It is the car that is the souvenir of my Le Mans memories, so fast and with the Martini livery, a very good looking car. Now though it’s the current LMP1 Hybrids. Yes that’s out (FIA WEC) story but they are beautiful, amazing technology and amazingly fast

Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 #8) – 2003 Bentley EXP Speed 8 & Audi R10 TDI
For me the Audi R10 is the iconic Le Mans car – so fast, and so different to anything that came before it, but the Bentley is just a beautiful piece of engineering. In 2003 I was just getting out of karts and into single-seaters, but the poster at the end of my bedroom was the Bentley and not an F1 car.

Oliver Jarvis (Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 #8) – Audi R10 TDi
Just a fantastic car for this track. It took all that Audi had learnt with the R8 and moved it on several stages further. To do that with a brand new technology at this level is beyond impressive.

mazda_787B_jb_01Benoit Treluyer (Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 #7) – Mazda 787B
That sound!

Ralf Jüttner (MD of Joest Racing) – TWR Porsche WSC 95
It was my first project here, and it became a very successful car from beginnings that you would not have thought would make it. Best of all we did it on our own, and that made everyone involved all the more proud of what we were achieving.

Graeme Lowdon (Team Principal Manor Motorsport) – Mazda 787B
My goodness. I sat on the grass at Arnage in the middle of the night and watched it going by. It was so different, and you could almost hear it do the full lap. It was the noisiest car ever, and the livery was so unique. There was so much that was different about that car.

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport) – 2000 Audi R8
It has to be that car. Where it all began in terms of the success. For it to win on our first attempt with a very new car was amazing. It taught us a huge amount of just how hard this race is to master.

Jonny Adam (Aston Martin Racing Vantage #97) – Aston Martin DBR9
It’s the iconic GT car here for me. Beautiful, unbelievably fast and an amazing sound.

Liam Griffin ( Aston Martin Racing Vantage #99) – Ford GT40
It’s the iconic Le Mans car, and it still stands up today as a good looking contemporary car. My dad had the GT40 number plate for many years but let it go – I hope he got plenty for it but I wish he’d hung onto it!

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Oliver Webb (ByKolles Racing Team CLM P1/01 AER #4) – McLaren F1 GTR
It’s the car for me in the modern era – a great looking and great sounding car that really does have major roots in the road car.

Andrea Bertolini (AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE #71) – Ferrari P4
I have been in love with this car for my whole life. It is so, so beautiful, and with such a history, not just here but at Daytona too.

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Nick Heidfeld (Rebellion Racing R-One AER #12) – Mercedes Benz CLR
It looked so, so cool, no other reason!

Sam Bird (AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE #71) – TWR Porsche WSC 95
I came here as a 7-8 year old in 1996 and loved it. A bit later at school I was asked to do a French project and opted to write about Le Mans. This car featured in that story and I guess it lit a fire somewhere too!

Aaron Scott (AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE #55) – Rothmans Porsche 956
Even now it stands the test of time as a good, fresh-looking and very fast race car.

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Duncan Cameron (AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE #55) – Alfa 8C/ Aston Martin Ulster
I love the Ferrari 250LM but just love the pre war cars. I’ve driven both of these cars and driving them is just so difficult. The gearshift alone needs a Masters Degree to master. I simply cannot comprehend how the drivers back then managed to do 4-5 hour stints at speed!

Mat Griffin (AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE #55) – Jaguar XJR12
This is the car that I remember at Le Mans when I was a kid of eight or so. It was a cool car … and my Aunty smoked Silk Cut!

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Shea Adam (Radio Le Mans Pitlane Reporter) – Champion Racing Audi R8
There are some very nice family memories with this car (Shea’s dad Bill Adam drove the R8) and I remember being taken to the unveiling of the car, and then going to the dealership a few days after the car won at Le Mans. It was just a cool project that you really get behind.

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With thanks to John Brooks (and Jaguar) for the historic photographs.