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Development of the Porsche 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’

New engines with water-cooled heads joined forces with a breakthrough in rules interpretation to help Porsche create a never-forgotten race car. We are, of course, talking about the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’, one of the most spectacular 911 derivatives to date…

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Porsche’s domination of Group C in the 1980s seems almost to have been forgotten

Strangely, Porsche’s domination of Group C in the 1980s seems almost to have been forgotten, unlike the 917’s crushing victories in 1970/71 that are regularly celebrated. Perhaps Group C never captured the popular imagination in the same way as Le Mans does.

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1966 Porsche 906-134

With only sixty-five units built, the 906 was Porsche’s last street-legal factory race car. We go Dutch to track the provenance of chassis 134…

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Californian hopeful and car dealer Dick Barbour; beside him, of course, is actor Paul Newman

One of the interesting features of Le Mans is that it is one of the few opportunities private teams had to race against works teams. Today, the vast expense and sophistication of racing at this level mean that such teams are professional, but it was not always so. In the 1970s, Group 5 and 6 sports car racing was dominated by turbocharged 911s, the 934 and 935. These off-the-shelf, relatively uncomplicated racing cars offered well-heeled amateurs with $150,000 to spare the chance to compete at the top level – and where better than at Le Mans?

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Aston Martin drivers - St John ‘Jock’ Horsfall

St John ‘Jock’ Horsfall was responsible for one of Aston Martin’s most important post-war victories yet he’s arguably best known for his work for the.

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Jaguar XJ13 makes its public debut, Silverstone, July 1973

By 1973 Jaguar’s motorsport glories were long behind it. It had been 16 years since one of its cars had last won the 24 Hours of Le Mans while even its final entry in the race it had once ruled was way back in 1964. And with parent company British Leyland lacking the resources to go racing, there seemed little chance of Jaguar returning to the track. Yet despite all of this, the company still had a presence at the 1973 British Grand Prix, albeit with a dated never-before-seen prototype.

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Le Mans 1988

There was great excitement in the 1970s and 1980s when Jaguar re-entered international motorsport. It started with support of Bob Tullius’s Group 44 outfit in the States followed by Tom Walkinshaw’s TWR team originally in the European Touring Car Championship with the XJ-S and later Group C endurance racing. But thanks to its five victories in the Fifties, for Jaguar the most important race had always been the 24 Hours of Le Mans. By 1987 and with TWR starting to become genuinely competitive in the World Sports Car Championship we knew there was a real possibility of us winning for the first time since 1957.

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Jaguar’s final Le Mans finish for over 20 years, 1963

Despite ruling Le Mans throughout the Fifties with five overall victories plus three second, two third and four fourth places, Jaguar’s dominance of the famous 24 Hours race came to an end in the early Sixties with a disappointing ninth place. When motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, introduced a new GT class for endurance racing from 1962 onwards, many privateers chose the new E-Type. The homologated version initially showed great promise with two examples finishing a strong fourth and fifth at 24 Heures du Mans in 1962 with the outfits of Briggs Cunningham and Peter Sargent.

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Aston Martin drivers - Roy Salvadori

Roy Salvadori was one of Aston Martin’s most important drivers throughout the Fifties. We look at his long and successful career.

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2003 Bentley Speed 8

The politics behind racing are sometimes more intriguing than the on-track action itself. When the VW Group acquired Bentley from Vickers in 1998, it immediately set about picking up the pieces of a brand that was by then reduced to a poor cousin of Rolls-Royce. This mission found further fervour through the painful reminder that not only had VW lost the bid for Rolls-Royce to BMW; but the latter would also win Le Mans the year thereafter.

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The resurrection 1988 Porsche 962-200 RLR

Ready to go racing after an extensive two-year restoration, RLR 962-200 is one of the most historically significant Group C prototypes ever to wear the Porsche crest…

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2010 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Audi and Peugeot pushed diesel to its peak… but soon Toyota was racing itself

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1972 Matra-Simca MS670

How a French car won Le Mans for the first time since 1950, helped by Graham Hill.

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1983 WSCC 40 years on, drivers and engineers remember the dominant Porsche 956

In 1983, Porsche 956s performed the unprecedented feat of winning every single round of the World Sports Car Championship. Forty years on, drivers and engineers recall the dawn of a Group C titan.

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Stirling Moss wins Silverstone with Lister-Jaguar, July 1958

Due to its aerodynamic magnesium body, lightweight tubular chassis and Jaguar’s powerful 3.4-litre XK engine, ever since its introduction in 1957, the Lister ‘Knobbly’ (so called due to the tall front wheelarches flanking its low nose) had quickly become the car to beat in international sports car racing. One of the other main reasons for the car’s success was Lister’s works driver, the Scot Archie Scott Brown. Despite having a badly deformed hand and severe mobility problems with his legs, he was still an immensely talented and courageous driver.

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