Posts Tagged ‘Le Mans’

Le Mans 50th Anniversary GT40

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Superformance, a California based boutique shop, builds as true to original continuation 1960’s era cars will be releasing 20 GT40 MKII 50th Anniversary edition cars to be put up for auction at the Barrett Jackson Auction at the end of this month. These vehicles are being produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GT40 MKII 1-2-3 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 1966.

CEO Lance Stander says, “We’re very excited to release this special edition GT40 celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Le Mans victory,” “Having known Carroll Shelby personally, we know how proud he was of this victory and can’t think of a better way to commemorate it.”

All 20 cars will be setup just like the original Le Mans race cars with a right-hand-drive layout and a right-hand shift setup. For those wondering how closely these reproductions are to the original cars, Superformance’s GT40s are engineered to be so close to the original cars that 90 percent of the parts are interchangeable with the original. Each car will be custom built with the owner’s choice of livery and drivetrain.

Superformance prices the rolling shell at $169,995USD and drivetrain configurations will range between $50-$60,000USD. One possible engine choices for the GT40 is a specially prepared Shelby aluminum-block 427 V8 engine which will be specially badged with an anniversary plate.


Celebrating a Legacy: McLaren F1

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The McLaren F1 is like the Jennifer Aniston of cars in that she’s looking better and better with age. But that’s about as far as the comparison goes. The F1 has been with us for 24 years one doesn’t have to argue too hard to say that esthetically it holds its own against today’s hypercars. The F1’s beauty is defined beyond what’s on the outside. Look deeper and you’ll see one of the only production cars with a center seating position, a cabin filled with titanium and carbon fibre goodies, and a gold lined engine bay that encases a BMW 6.1L V12.

To celebrate the legacy that is the McLaren F1, and its creator Gordon Murray, a display of some ultra rare F1s will be presented at the London Classic Car Show between February 18-21. The exhibit will include a pair of standard road cars, two GTR race cars, and the unicorn of them all a long tail F1 GT road car. Unique artifacts will also be showcased such as JJ Lehto’s race suit that he wore during the 1995 Le Mans 24hr which he won piloting an F1. Rare technical drawings will also be on display to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Le Mans win.

Event director Bas Bungish said “All those involved in what’s clearly going to be a very special homage to the F1 believe it will be by far the best, and most complete, insight ever put together for the public.”


2009 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place from June 13th to 14th. Speed Channel will show 19 hours live on TV, starting at 6:30 AM Mountain (pre-race at 6 AM), and the other 5 hours will be streamed live on speedtv.com. As a warm up, Speed will be showing Truth in 24 Friday at 7 PM Mountain (more on this below).

Circuit de la Sarthe is 13.65 km long. It’s a combination of dedicated racetrack and public roads. On the back side, the Mulsanne Straight used to be an insane 5 km long! Imagine a Formula 1 track with no corners. Two chicanes were added to it in 1990 due to an FIA rule change. This was because, in 1988, the cars got up to 405 km/h (251 mph). Holy crap, that’s approaching Bonneville Salt Flats territory!

Four classes of cars compete in the race (at the same time). The fastest GT2 cars are almost as fast as the slowest GT1, and so on for LMP2 and LMP1 (LMP stands for Le Mans Prototype). The speed difference between the classes makes the race more perilous for all involved. Slower classes must always be checking their mirrors and faster classes have to be very careful when overtaking.

Audi has won the last 5 years in a row. This year’s new Audi R15 TDI already set a record while winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, so once again Audi is favoured. The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP will be its closest competitor. Both run on diesel because it provides better fuel economy.

Each car has three drivers who switch during pit stops at various times during the race. Le Mans cars cost about as much as Formula 1 cars, so it will come as no surprise that many of the drivers in LMP1 will be known to F1 fans. Since Le Mans falls on the weekend between the Turkish Grand Prix and British Grand Prix, Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais is available to drive for Peugeot. Former F1 pilots taking part are: Allan McNish, Pedro Lamy, Christian Klein, Franck Montagny, Marc Gené, Alexander Wurz, Tiago Monteiro, Olivier Panis, Narain Karthikeyan, Christijan Albers, Anthony Davidson, and Jos Verstappen. There will be three relatives of former F1 drivers in LMP1 as well: Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton Senna (he will probably be in F1 very soon himself); Vanina Ickx, daughter of Jackie Ickx; and Alain Prost’s son, Nicolas. Mika Salo will compete in GT2, as will Nigel Mansell’s son, Leo. Also in GT2 will be actor Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy, driving a Ferrari F430.

Truth in 24 is a documentary about Audi’s 2008 race. It’s a free download on iTunes USA, but so far not on iTunes Canada. Truth in 24 is of course being compared to the 1971 movie Le Mans, which starred Steve McQueen, and featured tonnes of actual footage from the race (they even put a camera on a Porsche and entered it in the race). I just watched Le Mans for the millionth time last Saturday night, and if Truth in 24 is anywhere near that good, it’ll be well worth it. Some say Truth in 24 is better. I’ll find out Friday night, unless iTunes Canada comes around before that.