Le Mans 24 Hours · 1980-89 #2# The official history of the world's greatest motor race

ISBN-10: 0857331280

ISBN-13: 9780857331281


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Le Mans 24 Hours · 1980-89 #2# The official history of the world's greatest motor race

by Quentin Spurring

This was the decade when the Le Mans 24 Hours really began to rock. Already established as a world-class event, the ACO's annual race scaled new heights and up to a quarter of a million people travelled to north-west France each June to watch it..

The decade's radical new FIA Group C regulations challenged motorsport engineers to achieve race-winning engine performance while saving fuel. As such, they had direct relevance to new imperatives in the wider automotive industry, and no fewer than 10 volume manufacturers produced purpose-designed prototypes, using a wide variety of engines to contest the greatest race in the world. And Group C also created a highly active privateer market, which was served by almost 30 specialist marques. All are depicted here.

The Group C "fuel formula" was ideal for Le Mans - embodying, as it did, the original rationale of this historic event as a proving ground for emerging automotive technologies. It accelerated the development of control electronics and aerodynamics, and soon the increasingly sophisticated racing coupes were setting new standards in on-track performance. From about 215 mph at the start of this unforgettable decade, top speeds on the world-famous Mulsanne straight exceeded 250 mph for the first time in 1988. These were the fastest racing cars on the planet.

The 1980 event was uniquely won by Jean Rondeau, a Le Mans resident, with a car of his own manufacture. After seven impressive Porsche successes, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, both returning to motorsport after long absences, won in 1988 and 1989.

At the end of the decade, Le Mans was contested by Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche and Toyota. Meanwhile the only road car manufacturers engaged in Formula 1 were Lotus and Ferrari. The extraordinary reaction of the world motorsport body was to scrap Group C, to mount a brazen political attack on the Le Mans 24 Hours, and to herd the manufacturers towards Formula 1.

This engrossing book describes this decade of spectacular transformation of top-flight sportscar racing, aided by more than 450 evocative photographs.


  • 1980: Drama in Black and White
  • 1981: Perfection by Porsche
  • 1982: The Future starts here
  • 1983: A final Act of high Drama
  • 1984: Private Atmy on the March
  • 1985: Softly, softly, makes a Double
  • 1986: A Melancholy Marathon
  • 1987: Porsche's Repeat Performance
  • 1988: More Tension in the Final Hour
  • 1989: A 1-2 for the Silver Arrows
  • 1980-89 Statistics

Buch, Hardcover, 23 x 28,5 cm, 384 Seiten, 300 farbige und 50 s/w-Abbildungen, englischer Text