1971 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1971 24 Hours of Le Mans
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Index: Races | Winners

The 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 39th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 12 and 13 June 1971. It was the ninth round of the 1971 International Championship for Makes.

Pre-race[edit]

At the end of the 1970 season, Ferrari had entered a new version of the 512 in some races, the 512 M (Modificata). The 512 M had a new bodywork built on the same aerodynamics doctrine of the Porsche 917K[citation needed].

During the 1971 season, the FIA decided to ban the "loop hole" Sport category for 1972, so the big 917s and 512s would have to retire at the end of a year which they would surely dominate again.

Ferrari decided to give up any official effort with the 512 in order to prepare the 1972 season a new prototype, the 312PB was presented and engaged by the factory in several races. But many 512s were still raced by private teams and most of them converted to M specification. Being cheaper than the 917 K, the 512 M appeared as a bargain for customers at the end of 1970[citation needed].

Roger Penske bought a used 512 M chassis that was totally dismantled and rebuilt. The car was specially tuned for long races receiving many unique features, among them were a large rear wing and an aviation inspired quick refueling system. The engine was tuned by Can-Am V8 specialist Traco; this engine was probably able to deliver more than 600 hp (450 kW). As of today it's impossible to know to what extent Penske's initiative was backed by Ferrari works. This 512 M, painted in a blue and yellow livery, was sponsored by Sunoco and the Californian Ferrari dealer Kirk F. White. This car made the pole position for the 24 Hours of Daytona and finished second despite an accident. For the 12 Hours of Sebring the "Sunoco" won the pole, but finished the race in sixth position after making contact with Pedro Rodríguez's 917. Despite this misfortune, the car had proved to be a serious opponent for the 917. Not only this car was the fastest on track in Daytona and Sebring but it was also the car that had the shortest refueling time.

The presence of the 512 M "Sunoco" forced Porsche to pursue his effort of research and development on the 917[citation needed]: The 917 K tail was modified, and the 917 LH aerodynamics received further improvements. New magnesium chassis were developed. An entirely new car, the 917/20 was built as test-bed for future Can-Am parts and aerodynamic "low-drag" concepts. The chunky car was painted in pink for the race with names of pieces of meat written across it, earning it the nickname "Pink Pig". During the 1970-71 race period the 917 won 14 of the 21 races it entered and achieved second place in two of those races.

A modified Ferrari 512 featuring a narrowed cockpit (built around a Porsche 917 windshield) was entered by Scuderia Filipinetti, for Mike Parkes and Henri Pescarolo. The car was christened 512 F.

Matra entered only one 660 for Chris Amon and Jean-Pierre Beltoise.

The Ford-Cosworth DFV made its Le Mans debut in Guy Ligier's new JS-3. The engine was limited to 8800 rpm, allowing around 400 hp (300 kW).

Race[edit]

The 1971 Le Mans race was the first race to start using the safer rolling start method (the "Indianapolis start"), rather than the "Le Mans start" method that had been used in previous Le Mans races. The rolling start has been used since then, up to and including the 2011 race[citation needed]. Despite the much-vaunted speed of the Porsches, the ACO speedtrap clocked a Ferrari at 359 km/h (222.6 mph), the highest speed reached by any car in qualifying. This would be eclipsed during the race when a Porsche was timed at 362 km/h (224.4 mph).[1] The fastest qualifying lap however, was recorded by the Rodriguez/Oliver 917LH at 3:13.9. Long-tail Porsches occupied the first three places, with the Martini-sponsored entry of Elford/Larrousse second and the Gulf-Wyer car of Siffert/Bell 3rd. The first Ferrari was the Sunoco 512M of Donohue/Hobbs in 4th slot, some 5 seconds in arrears of the pole sitter.[2]

Pedro Rodríguez and Jackie Oliver's 917 lead the first hours. At 7:00 p.m. the Sunoco was third. At 8:16 p.m., Donohue pitted the Sunoco Ferrari early. The Traco-tuned engine died. At dawn the Matra was in an amazing second position. But at 9:40 a.m., Amon stopped in the long straight and stepped out of the Matra roadster. He had run out of fuel due to a faulty fuel-metering, and the pits were too far away to push the car.

Despite the extremely high speeds of the long tail versions, the 1971 Le Mans race was again won by a short tail car but with a magnesium chassis. The white No. 22 Martini Porsche of Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep completed 397 laps, which set a new distance record of 5,335.313 km (3,315.210 mi). That record, which many believed it would be unbreakable because of the lack of chicanes, would however be broken in 2010 when three Audi R15 TDI plus cars ran by Joest Racing ran in excess of that distance, despite the chicanes put since 1990 and other changes to the Circuit de la Sarthe course throughout the years (392 laps would be the amount of laps that would exceed the distance record in the 13.629 km (8.469 mi) configuration that was in use in 2010); all three ran at least 394 laps, with the winning car, the #9 of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller, also ran 397 laps but ran a distance of 5,410.7 km (3,362.1 mi); the 1971 race was run in a 13.469 km (8.369 mi) configuration, which was the last race under that configuration; the 1972 race (up until 1978) ran in a modified 13.64 km (8.48 mi) configuration; since then, eight more modifications were made up to today's Circuit de la Sarthe, which stands at 13.629 km (8.469 mi) as of 2010 (the configuration was first run in 2007).

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1971
The race winning Porsche 917K of Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 S
5.0
22 Germany Martini Racing Team Austria Dr. Helmut Marko
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.9L Flat-12 397
2 S
5.0
19 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Ltd. United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Switzerland Herbert Müller
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.9L Flat-12 395
3 S
5.0
12 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Sam Posey
United States Tony Adamowicz
Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12 366
4 S
5.0
16 United Kingdom David Piper Autorace United Kingdom Chris Craft
United States David Weir
Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12 355
5 S
5.0
58 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Bob Grossman
United States Luigi Chinetti Jr.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 314
6 GT
+2.0
63 France ASA Cachia Bundi France Raymond Touroul
France André Anselme
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6 306
7 P
2.0
49 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Walter Brun
Switzerland Peter Mattli
Porsche 907 Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 306
8 GT
+2.0
38 France René Mazzia France René Mazzia
Germany Jürgen Barth
Porsche 911EC Porsche 2.4L Flat-6 303
9 GT
+2.0
42 France Jean Mésange France Jean Mésange
France "Gédéhem"
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6 298
10 GT
+2.0
26 Luxembourg Nicolas Koob Germany Erwin Kremer
Luxembourg Nicolas Koob
Austria Günther Huber
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6 292
11 GT
+2.0
39 France A.G.A.C.I. France Guy Verrier
France Gérard Foucault
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6 290
12 GT
+2.0
44 United Kingdom The Paul Watson Race Organisation United Kingdom Paul Vestey
United Kingdom Richard Bond
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6 286
13 GT
+2.0
36 France Écurie Jean Sage Sweden Björn Waldegård
Switzerland Bernard Chenevière
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6 263

Not Classified[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
14 P
3.0
24 France Automobiles Ligier France Guy Ligier
France Patrick Depailler
Ligier JS3 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 270

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
15 GT
+2.0
35 Switzerland Pierre Greub France Sylvain Garant
Switzerland Pierre Greub
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6
16 S
5.0
57 Switzerland Zitro Racing Team / Dominique Martin Switzerland Dominique Martin
Switzerland Gérard Pillon
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L Flat-12
17 P
3.0
29 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland André Wicky
Morocco Max Cohen-Olivar
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
18 S
5.0
17 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Ltd. Switzerland Jo Siffert
United Kingdom Derek Bell
Porsche 917LH Porsche 4.9L Flat-12
19 P
3.0
32 France Equipe Matra-Simca New Zealand Chris Amon
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Matra-Simca MS660 Matra 3.0L V12
20 S
5.0
9 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps Belgium Hughes de Fierlandt
United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet
Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12
21 S
5.0
6 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti
Italy Scuderia Picchio Rosso
Italy Corrado Manfredini
Italy Giancarlo Gagliardi
Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12
22 GT
2.0
47 Switzerland André Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Jean-Jacques Cochet
Switzerland Jean Selz
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6
23 GT
+2.0
1 France Écurie Léopard France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France Jean-Pierre Rouget
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Chevrolet 7.0L V8
24 P
3.0
30 France Louis Cosson France Louis Cosson
Germany Helmut Leuze
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
25 GT
2.0
69 Germany Autohaus Max Moritz GmbH Germany Gerd F. Quist
Germany Dietrich Krumm
Porsche 914/6 GT Porsche 2.0L Flat-6
26 GT
+2.0
2 France Greder Racing France Marie-Claude Charmasson
France Henri Greder
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Chevrolet 7.0L V8
27 S
5.0
18 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Ltd. Mexico Pedro Rodriguez
United Kingdom Jackie Oliver
Porsche 917LH Porsche 4.9L Flat-12
28 S
5.0
15 Spain Escuderia Montjuich Spain José Juncadella
Italy Nino Vaccarella
Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12
29 P
3.0
28 France Auguste Veuillet / Établissement Sonauto France Claude Ballot-Léna
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
30 S
5.0
7 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti United Kingdom Mike Parkes
France Henri Pescarolo
Ferrari 512F Ferrari 5.0L V12
31 GT
+2.0
65 France Jacques Dechaumel France Jacques Dechaumel
France Jean-Claude Parot
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6
32 S
5.0
23 Germany Martini Racing Team Germany Reinhold Jöst
Germany Willi Kauhsen
Porsche 917/20
"Pink Pig"
Porsche 4.9L Flat-12
33 S
5.0
21 Germany Martini Racing Team United Kingdom Vic Elford
France Gérard Larrousse
Porsche 917LH Porsche 4.9L Flat-12
34 GT
+2.0
33 Switzerland Rey Racing France Jean-Pierre Cassegrain
Switzerland Jacques Rey
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6
35 GT
2.0
46 Switzerland Ecurie Porsche Club Romand Switzerland Paul Keller
France Jean Sage
Porsche 914/6 GT Porsche 2.0L Flat-6
36 GT
+2.0
34 United States Richie Ginther Racing Inc. United States Alain Johnson
United States Elliot Forbes-Robinson
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6
37 GT
+2.0
37 France Pierre Mauroy France Pierre Mauroy
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6
38 GT
+2.0
40 France Jean Egreteaud France Jean Egreteaud
Belgium Jean-Marie Jacquemin
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6
39 GT
+2.0
41 Belgium Jean-Pierre Gaban Belgium Jean-Pierre Gaban
Belgium Willy Braillard
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6
40 P
2.0
50 United Kingdom Camel Filters Team Huron United Kingdom Guy Edwards
United Kingdom Roger Enever
Lola T212 Ford Cosworth FVC 1.8L I4
41 S
5.0
11 United States Roger Penske / Kirk F. White United States Mark Donohue
United Kingdom David Hobbs
Ferrari 512M/P Ferrari 5.0L V12
42 S
5.0
10 Germany Gelo Racing Team Germany Georg Loos
Germany Franz Pesch
Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12
43 P
3.0
60 Switzerland Claude Haldi Switzerland Claude Haldi
Germany Hans-Dieter Weigel
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
44 S
5.0
14 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Masten Gregory
Canada George Eaton
Ferrari 512S Spyder Ferrari 5.0L V12
45 GT
+2.0
66 Switzerland Rey Racing France Jean-Claude Geurie
France Claude Mathurin
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6
46 GT
+2.0
48 France Jean-Pierre Hanrioud France Jean-Pierre Hanrioud
Italy Mario Ilotte
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6
47 GT
+2.0
43 France François Migault France Jean-Pierre Bodin
France Gilbert Courthiade
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6
48 P
3.0
27 France Christian Poirot France Christian Poirot
France Jean-Claude Andruet
Porsche 910 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
49 S
5.0
5 Belgium Racing Team VDS Belgium Teddy Pilette
Belgium Gustave Gosselin
Lola T70 Mk.IIIB Chevrolet 5.0L V8

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole Position - #18 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Ltd. (Jackie Oliver) - 3:13.9 (155.408 mph/250.105 km/h)
  • Fastest Lap - #18 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Ltd. (Jackie Oliver) - 3:18.4 (151.984 mph/244.594 km/h)
  • Distance - 5335.313 km
  • Average Speed - 222.304 km/h

Trophy Winners[edit]

  • Index of Performance - #22 Martini International Racing Team
  • Index of Thermal Efficiency - #58 North American Racing Team (NART)

References[edit]