Triple wins highlight 24 hour show
Night racing adds to the atmosphere as 56 years of Le Mans history are re-enacted
Although driving hugely different cars, Ray Bellm and Richard Pilkington were the stars of Le Mans Classic among a fabulous line up of cars. Bellm’s Ford GT40 and Pilkington’s Talbot T26 were the only cars to score triple wins as each age group raced three times during a 24-hour period. Other highlight wins came for Philip Walker (Lotus 15), Rick Hall (Ferrari 750 Monza) and two for Jean-Marc Luco’s Porsche 917.
Twice Pilkington won convincingly in the 1923-39 field, but in the slippery final race Gareth Burnett harried Pilkington hard in his Talbot 105. In fact, the 105 was second in all three races with Burnett, Luke Stevens and James Diffey all taking turns.
It was no surprise when the experienced Bellm’s GT40 ran away with the 1962-65 races, and the GT40s of Shaun Lynn and Adrian Newey both took seconds before disaster struck Newey. Brake failure sent him into the barriers with sickening force and seriously damaged the car. Ludovic Caron (AC Cobra) drove well to take second in the last race.
Hall, aboard the Ferrari 750 Monza, took a win, a second and a third in the 1949-56 races as Ferrari and Maserati took on Jaguar. Early on Sunday morning, Nicolas and Henri Chambon won in their Maserati 300S, while the final race went to the hard-charging Julian Bronson in David Wenman’s Jaguar C-type.
The Gulf-liveried Porsche 917 of Luco was denied a hat-trick when the Ligier JS3 of Nicolas Minassian/Michael Jankowski got the better of a lengthy safety car period in the opening 1966-71 race. The Porsche 935 of Soheil Ayari/Jean Guittard set the pace in the 1972-79 races, while Philip Walker topped the Listers to win the 1957-61 class in his Lotus 15.