From the archives: Porsche triple victory in Le Mans 1982
As the engines will roar again in this week-end in Le Mans, we travel back
in time some 30 years. In 1982, the brand-new 956 celebrates an impressive
triple victory. Get behind the scenes in this contemporary documentation.
More information on Porsche in Le Mans at http://www.porsche.com/motorsport
Le Mans - 1955 - Race report
The 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans began on 11 June 1955, with Pierre Levegh
behind the wheel of the #20 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR run by Daimler-Benz.
American John Fitch was Levegh's assigned partner in the car, and he would
take over driving duties later. Competition between Mercedes, Jaguar,
Ferrari, Aston Martin and Maserati was close, with all the marques fighting
for the top positions early on. The race was extremely fast, with lap
records being repeatedly broken.
At the end of Lap 35, Levegh was following Mike Hawthorn's leading Jaguar
D-type, just as they were entering the pit straight. Hawthorn had just
passed Lance Macklin's slower Austin-Healey 100 when he belatedly noticed a
pit signal to stop for fuel. Hawthorn slowed suddenly in an effort to stop
rather than make another lap. Hawthorn's Jaguar, with the new disc brakes,
slowed much more quickly than other cars using drum brakes, such as
Levegh's Mercedes. The sudden, unexpected braking by Hawthorn caused
Macklin in the Healey to hit his brakes, throwing up a small cloud of dust
in front of Levegh, who trailed close behind. Macklin then swerved across
the centre of the track, attempting to re-pass the slowing Jaguar, but also
apparently out of control. Macklin had not noticed both Levegh and Juan
Manuel Fangio, in another 300 SLR, approaching rapidly from behind. Fangio
was in second place at the time, but directly behind, and attempting to lap
Levegh, ahead of Fangio on the track, did not have time to react. Levegh's
car made contact with the left rear of Macklin's car as he closed rapidly
(at about 150 mph) upon the slowed car. When Levegh hit the Austin-Healey
from behind, his car became airborne, soaring towards the left side of the
track, where it landed atop the earthen embankment separating spectators
from the track itself.
Levegh's 300 SLR struck the mound at such speed and angle that it was
launched into a somersault, which caused some parts of the car, already
damaged and loosened by the collision, to be flung from the vehicle at very
great speeds. This included the bonnet and the front axle, both of which
separated from the frame and flew through the crowd. The bonnet decapitated
tightly jammed spectators like a guillotine. With the front of the
spaceframe chassis—and thus crucial engine mounts—destroyed, the car's
heavy engine block also broke free and hurtled into the crowd. Spectators
who had climbed onto trestle tables to get a better view of the track found
themselves in the direct path of the lethal debris. Levegh was also
thrown free of the tumbling car, fatally crushing his skull when he landed.
As the remains of the 300 SLR slowed its somersault, the rear-mounted fuel
tank ruptured. The ensuing fuel fire raised the temperature of the
remaining Elektron bodywork past its ignition temperature, which due to its
high magnesium content was lower than for other metal alloys. The alloy
burst into white-hot flames, sending searing embers onto the track and into
the crowd. Rescue workers, totally unfamiliar with how to attack a
magnesium fire, poured water on the inferno -- greatly intensifying the
fire. As a result, the car burned for several hours. Official accounts put
the death total at 84 (83 spectators plus Levegh), either by flying debris
or from the fire, with a further 120 injured. Other observers estimated the
toll to be much higher.
Fangio, driving behind Levegh, narrowly escaped the heavily damaged
Austin-Healey, which was now skidding to the right of the track, across his
path. Macklin then hit the pit wall and bounced back to the left, crossing
the track again. He struck the barrier near the location of the now burning
300 SLR, causing the death of another single spectator, although Macklin
survived the incident without serious injury.
The race was continued, officially in order to prevent departing spectators
from crowding the roads and slowing down ambulances. An emergency meeting
of the Daimler-Benz board of directors was convened by midnight at the
request of John Fitch. Mindful of sensitivities involving German cars in
a French race just 10 years after the end of World War II, they decided to
pull out as a sign of respect to the victims. Eight hours after the
accident, while leading the race, the Mercedes team withdrew the cars of
Juan Manuel Fangio/Stirling Moss and Karl Kling/André Simon. Mercedes
invited Jaguar to also retire, but they declined.
Mike Hawthorn and the Jaguar team, led by motorsport manager Lofty England,
kept racing. Hawthorn won the race with teammate Bueb.
2014 Audi RS5 vs 2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 507 Coupe! - Head 2 Head Ep. 51
On this episode of Head 2 Head, Jonny Lieberman sets out to discover which
German hot-rod-personal-luxury-coupe is the best you can get. The 507 Coupe
is the last iteration of the W204 C63. With the exception of the very
limited-run Black Series, it's the best C63 that AMG has ever done. Under
its hood sits a hand-built, 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8 good for 507
more do you want? Perhaps something more high-tech, and that's where the
Audi RS5 comes in. The sexy coupe from Quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm features
a 4.2-liter V-8 that spits out 450 hp. That¹s less power than the 507
Coupe makes, true, but the Audi also features AWD, a dual-clutch
transmission, bigger wheels and tires, plus a trick torque-vectoring rear
differential. Which one is quicker? Which one is more fun to drive? Which
one is best? Watch and find out!
Head 2 Head appears every fourth Wednesday on the Motor Trend channel.
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Aston Martin at Le Mans 1959 Part 1
After ten years of racing, it all came good for Aston Martin in 1959 when
their DBR1s came 1st and 2nd in the famous 24 hour Le Mans race.
They then went on to win the World Sportscar Championship for the same
Please also see part 2 of this film.
500 hp Audi S4 quattro vs 12"+ of fresh snow! Unstoppable...
Last night we enjoyed a great winter storm, well over 12" (30 cm) at my
house. I wanted to see if my lowered Audi S4 on Dunlop Wintersport 4D snow
tires was up to the task going through such deep snow.
A guest appearance is made by my 6 hp Subaru powered Ariens Snowblower
TRUTH IN 24 II - Every Second Counts
The Le Mans 24 Hours are a legend. They are mentioned in the same breath as
the Rallye Monte Carlo, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500.
Since 1923, hundreds of thousands of motorsport enthusiasts have been
flocking to La Sarthe year by year to experience the one-day race. To watch
the protagonists in their sports cars battle for each place and each meter
of tarmac with bated breath. The drivers cover 4,800 kilometers in 24 hours
- almost as many as the Formula One racers in a whole year. Every Le Mans
winner has gone down in history. The three Audi drivers Andr‚Äö
Lotterer, Beno≈ít Tr‚Äöluyer and Marcel F‚Äûssler did so in a
special way with the triumph they achieved in 2011. The film TRUTH IN 24 II
documents the tenth and arguably most emotional triumph of the brand with
the four rings at this sports car classic. After two Audi R18 TDI cars have
retired following spectacular accidents, the remaining Audi fights a
dramatic battle for overall victory with the three Peugeot 908 cars ? which
the Audi trio ultimately decides in its favor with a narrow margin of 13
seconds. The film captures the entire drama of the fourth-narrowest running
of the Le Mans 24 Hours ? with intimate insights into the team of Audi
Sport and breath-taking pictures.
Follow the link to read more about Le Mans: http://audi.us/PixOng