1997 - Le Mans - Two major fires at the Mulsanne 'bosse.'
The works Porsche 911 GT1 was leading with a decent margin by 2pm on Sunday. Around after 1.40pm, Ralf Kelleners jumped into the Porsche after a pit stop. He would drive for an other stint, only for the Porsche to catch fire at the Mulsanne hump. The leader stops on the Mulsanne straight with the rear well alight. Kelleners jumped from the car and waved to the fire crews to quickly put out the fire. They did, but not before the back of the car was gutted (somewhat like the team) At 2.01pm, the Gulf Davidoff McLaren F1 GTR car with Andrew Gilbert-Scott (partnered by Ray Bellm and Masanori Sekiya) at the wheel had caught fire on the Mulsanne straight, the fire took hold of the rear and burnt out the engine area. This incident looked very similar to that suffered by the sister car of #40, in Thursday's qualifying when an oil line fractured.
1997 - Le Mans - Various incidents
Two hours in the race, there are some incidents happening: The Marcos Mantara LM600 (driven by Cor Euser, Harald Becker and Takashi Suzuki) is smoking badly on one side, it came to the pits and resumed. It is now smoking from both sides. An massive engine oil leak was the culprit later on The Société Pilot Racing Ferrari 333 SP by Michel Ferte suffers from a fuel line problem and struggles to get up along the Mulsanne Hump. Michel Ferte had run the Pilot Ferrari out of fuel, claiming the resrve tank had failed to function. The car was entually brought back to the pits. A scary moment for one of the Porsche 911 GT1s as it goes wide at Indianapolis and narrowly misses the wall. \it was Bob Wollek sending the leading car hard over high kerbing at Arnage. The Newscastle Utd sponsored Lister Storm GTL loses some pieces of its rear bodywork as it approaches the fast Porsche Curves, it would go back to the pits for repairs. The #23 Nissan R390 (driven by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Eric Comas and Masahiko Kageyama) spins under pressure from a McLaren F1 GTR at the Arnage corner, thankfully it didn't come to grief and was able to rejoin into the race.
1997 - Le Mans - Various incidents towards the end of the race
At 8.13am, Olivier Thevenin the Société J.B. Jabouille Bouresche Porsche 911 GT1 retires when flames was seen bletching out of the rear of the car and it stopped at the Mulsanne Straight. It was hobbling with a blown engine shortly around 8am and stopped the car ar a fire post just before the Mulsanne 'bosse' where the manrshal quickly extinguished a flash fire. The Gulf Team Davidoff McLaren F1 GTR received a four minute stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane. The BMW Motorsport/Team Schnitzer with their drivers of Steve Soper, JJ Lehto and Nelson Piquet, was doing well in the race until at 8.29 on Sunday morning, JJ Lehto spun the car at Mulsanne Corner and crashed into the wall. He would limp to the pits to retire after 238 laps of hard-racing. Then at 8.55am, the car was too badly damaged so it was withdrawn from the race. As the Elf Haberthur Racing Porsche driven by Guy Martinolle was about to complete an other lap as it is about to exit the Ford Chicane until its right rear tyre came apart from the car. The driver took action by pulling into the pits side straightaway. It would eventually recover into the pits when he was able to three-wheel into the adjacent pits and he was on track again after losing only 7 minutes.
Porsche GT1 versus McLaren F1 GTR Le Mans 1996
Great battle between the Porsche GT1 and the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans in 1996. Listen to the great sound of the McLaren en see the nice flames at the back site of the Porsche when the driver is changing gears