The stuff of legend

This year’s Le Mans Legends race was a real crowd-pleaser

The 2009 edition of the 45-minute Legends race for cars that competed, or were of a type that competed, at Le Mans between 1949-65 was one of the best events for years.

With a field that included an Aston Martin DBR1, two DB3s, a Lister-Jaguar GT, Lister Costin, Morgan Plus 4 and an Austin-Healey 3000 Mk1 which all raced at Le Mans in period, it was always going to be a thrill for the eyes and ears.

What made this year’s event so special, however, was that the lead battle raged for much of the race as Carlos Monteverde’s Ferrari 250LM and Justin Law’s Lister-Jaguar GT traded places on a regular basis (above). Too often the lead battle in the Legends has been somewhat staged, but not this year. It was only when Law’s brakes gave way that Monteverde managed to creep ahead and pull away to the chequered flag.

“It was a great race, and thoroughly enjoyable,” said Law. “It was just a shame the brakes didn’t hold up. I knew Carlos was very close, and I just settled for second place and brought the car home.”

Further down the field Sir Stirling Moss drove his own Osca FS 372 to 34th overall and third in class. But he was understandably cross when oil on the inside of the L’Arche Chicane on the Mulsanne brought out a full-course yellow. “I came here for a motor race, not a parade,” said Sir Stirling as he handed over the car to Roger Earl. Another huge disappointment was that the DBR1 didn’t make the start after breaking in practice.

But overall the Legends event was a great success and, somewhat suitably, the 250LM won 60 years after Ferrari’s first Le Mans success with the 166 MM.
Ed Foster