1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
1999 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1998 Next: 2000
Index: Races | Winners

The 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 67th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 12 and 13 June 1999.

Pre-race[edit]

1999 saw another increase in manufacturers involvement. Although Porsche did not send a team to contest in the prototype classes, Toyota retained their three updated GT-Ones, now moved to the LMGTP class due to the demise of GT1, while Mercedes-Benz debuted three new CLR LMGTPs. Nissan instead moved from GT1 to an open cockpit LMP, as did Panoz.

Newcomer Audi attempted to try their hand at both classes, with two open cockpit R8Rs and two closed cockpit R8Cs. BMW continued with their open cockpit LMPs, updating to the new V12 LMR.

Mercedes CLR incidents[edit]

This event became famous for the incidents involving the team of Mercedes-Benz CLRs during qualifying and the race itself. An aerodynamic design flaw in the CLR allowed for large amounts of air to build up underneath the nose of the car, especially when following another car and at the tops of hills, notably on the run to Indianapolis and on the Mulsanne straight.

Mark Webber's CLR became airborne at Indianapolis during qualifying and was repaired with tweaks to the rear suspension in an attempt by Mercedes to cure the problem. All cars qualified, but during the brief warm-up on the day of the race, Webber again became airborne when following his teammates over the hump of the Mulsanne, landing on his roof and skidding to a stop in the Mulsanne corner. This car was withdrawn, but the two other CLRs continued on, again with emergency tweaks to attempt to stop the instability.

Unfortunately, a few hours into the race Peter Dumbreck's CLR also became airborne just before the Indianapolis corner (a very bumpy section of the track), this time flying off the side of the track and landing in the trees. This incident, unlike the previous two, was caught by TV cameras and thus broadcast worldwide. Mercedes-Benz immediately withdrew the remaining CLR and dropped out of sportscar racing for the immediate future.

This would be the second time Mercedes-Benz had been forced to drop out of Le Mans and sportscar racing following an incident with one of their cars becoming airborne and leaving the track, the first being the 1955 Le Mans disaster.

The Race[edit]

The race got off to a fast start, proceeding like a sprint for the first few hours. The top qualifying #1 & #2 Toyotas driven by Martin Brundle & Thierry Boutsen fought with the #6 Mercedes driven by Bernd Schneider, and the #5 Mercedes driven by Christophe Bouchut. The #17 BMW was never far behind and used its superior fuel economy to gain the lead through the pit stops. Toyota #1, #2, Mercedes #6 and BMW #17 all led the race at various points. At 8pm, 5 hours into the race the #17 BMW lead the race with #2 Toyota 2nd, #5 Mercedes 3rd and #6 Mercedes 4th. It was during this fight for second and third place when Dumbreck's famous incident occurred. This led to the immediate withdrawal of the remaining #6 Mercedes.

Following a lengthy safety car period as a result of Dumbreck's accident, Martin Brundle was next to go in the #1 Toyota at 11:30pm. He was trying to claw back time from an earlier mechanical issue when he suffered a puncture at high speed on braking for the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight. The puncture sent the car veering sideways into the barrier, badly damaging the rear suspension. Martin did his best to get the car back to the pits but eventually stopped at Arnage, the car refusing to go further, possibly due to drive shaft failure caused by the flailing rubber. At the front the race was still between The #17 BMW and the #2 Toyota, they were never too far apart, the Toyota having the superior pace but the BMW able to go further on each tank. Following them were the #15 BMW and the #3 Toyota which rather than getting involved with the sprint at the front had been quietly going about their business. At around 2am the #2 Toyota being driven by Thierry Boutsen suffered a high speed crash under the Dunlop bridge, again due to a puncture. The car was destroyed and Boutsen had to be extracted from the car suffering from an injury to his lower back.

By dawn the #17 BMW was 4 laps in front of its sister 15 BMW, it looked like nothing could stop the BMW's. At approximately 10am JJ Lehto driving #17 BMW suffered a stuck throttle and crashed in the Porsche curves. The front of the car was badly damaged and could not continue. This left the sister #15 BMW almost a lap ahead of the #3 Toyota which had been quietly cruising around at a steady pace. With this sniff of a win Ukyo Katayama put the foot down in the Toyota and set the fastest lap of the race of 3:35. He narrowed the gap to less than a minute till again a tyre blowout befell the Toyota team. Ukyo was however able to return to the pits for new tyres and continued. By then bar any problems for the BMW the race was out of reach. Audi came in a respectable 3rd at their first attempt at Le Mans setting them up nicely for the domination that was to come.

The 1999 race was the last for several of the "big" manufacturers. Only Audi returned for 2000. Mercedes pulled out of sports car racing altogether following the CLR incidents and concentrated on the new German DTM series, BMW concentrated their efforts on their supply of engines to the Williams team in F1 (who had incidentally built the BMW LMRs). Toyota also pulled out as despite their terrific pace over 98 & 99 disappointingly only one of their cars finished the race over both of those years. (Toyota would eventually return to Le Mans in 2012, as well as the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.)

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1999
The winning #15 BMW V12 LMR
Toyota was a top challenger throughout the race. This #3 Toyota GT-One was the lone finisher for Toyota, finishing second.
When this #8 Audi R8R came home in third place, it marked the beginning of what was soon to become the era of Audi dominance at Le Mans.
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
Engine
1 LMP 15 Germany BMW Motorsport Germany Joachim Winkelhock
Italy Pierluigi Martini
France Yannick Dalmas
BMW V12 LMR M 365
BMW S70 6.0L V12
2 LMGTP 3 Japan Toyota Motorsport
Germany Toyota Team Europe
Japan Ukyo Katayama
Japan Keiichi Tsuchiya
Japan Toshio Suzuki
Toyota GT-One M 364
Toyota R36V 3.6L Turbo V8
3 LMP 8 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest Germany Frank Biela
Belgium Didier Theys
Italy Emanuele Pirro
Audi R8R M 360
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
4 LMP 7 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest Italy Michele Alboreto
Italy Rinaldo Capello
France Laurent Aïello
Audi R8R M 346
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
5 LMP 18 United Kingdom Price+Bscher Germany Thomas Bscher
United States Bill Auberlen
United Kingdom Steve Soper
BMW V12 LM Y 345
BMW S70 6.0L V12
6 LMP 13 France Courage Compétition Italy Alex Caffi
Italy Andrea Montermini
Italy Domenico Schiattarella
Courage C52 B 342
Nissan VRH35L 3.5L Turbo V8
7 LMP 12 United States Panoz Motorsports Australia David Brabham
France Éric Bernard
United States Butch Leitzinger
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 336
Ford (Élan) 6.0L V8
8 LMP 21 Japan Nissan Motorsports France Didier Cottaz
Belgium Marc Goossens
Sweden Fredrik Ekblom
Courage C52 B 335
Nissan VRH35L 3.5L Turbo V8
9 LMP 14 France Pescarolo Promotion Racing Team France Henri Pescarolo
France Michel Ferté
France Patrice Gay
Courage C50 P 327
Porsche 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
10 GTS 51 France Viper Team Oreca Monaco Olivier Beretta
Austria Karl Wendlinger
France Dominique Dupuy
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 325
Chrysler 8.0L V10
11 LMP 11 United States Panoz Motorsports United States Johnny O'Connell
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Italy Max Angelelli
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 323
Ford (Élan) 6.0L V8
12 GTS 52 France Viper Team Oreca United States Tommy Archer
United Kingdom Justin Bell
Belgium Marc Duez
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 318
Chrysler 8.0L V10
13 GT 81 Germany Manthey Racing GmbH Germany Uwe Alzen
Netherlands Patrick Huisman
Italy Luca Riccitelli
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 317
Porsche 3.6L Flat-6
14 GTS 56 United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering Portugal Ni Amorim
Netherlands Hans Hugenholtz
Switzerland Toni Seiler
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 314
Chrysler 8.0L V10
15 GTS 50 France CICA Team Oreca Portugal Manuel Mello-Breyner
Portugal Pedro Mello-Breyner
Portugal Tomaz Mello-Breyner
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 312
Chrysler 8.0L V10
16 GTS 55 France Paul Belmondo Racing France Emmanuel Clérico
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
France Guy Martinolle
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 309
Chrysler 8.0L V10
17 GTS 54 France Paul Belmondo Racing France Paul Belmondo
Portugal Tiago Monteiro
France Marc Rostan
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 299
Chrysler 8.0L V10
18 GTS 64 Germany Konrad Motorsport Austria Franz Konrad
United States Peter Kitchak
United States Charles Slater
Porsche 911 GT2 D 293
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
19 GT 80 United States Champion Racing Germany Dirk Müller
France Bob Wollek
Germany Bernd Mayländer
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 292
Porsche 3.6L Flat-6
20 GTS 62 Germany Roock Racing Germany Claudia Hürtgen
Germany André Ahrle
Belgium Vincent Vosse
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 290
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
21 GT 84 France Perspective Racing France Thierry Perrier
France Jean-Louis Ricci
France Michel Nourry
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR P 288
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6
22 GTS 57 United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering Brazil Thomas Erdos
United Kingdom Christian Vann
Germany Christian Gläsel
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 270
Chrysler 8.0L V10
23
NC
GTS 65 France Chereau Sports
France Larbre Compétition
France Jean-Luc Chereau
France Patrice Goueslard
France Pierre Yver
Porsche 911 GT2 M 240
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
24
DNF
LMP 17 Germany Team BMW Motorsport Denmark Tom Kristensen
Finland JJ Lehto
Germany Jörg Müller
BMW V12 LMR M 304
BMW S70 6.0L V12
25
DNF
GTS 53 France Viper Team Oreca United States David Donohue
France Jean-Philippe Belloc
France Soheil Ayari
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 271
Chrysler 8.0L V10
26
DNF
GTS 63 Germany Roock Racing Germany Hubert Haupt
United Kingdom John Robinson
United Kingdom Hugh Price
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 232
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
27
DNF
LMP 19 Japan Team Goh
United Kingdom David Price Racing
Japan Hiro Matsushita
Japan Hiroki Katoh
Japan Akihiko Nakaya
BMW V12 LM M 223
BMW S70 6.0L V12
28
DNF
LMP 26 Germany Konrad Motorsport
Netherlands Talkline Racing for Holland
Netherlands Jan Lammers
Netherlands Peter Kox
Netherlands Tom Coronel
Lola B98/10 D 213
Ford (Roush) 6.0L V8
29
DNF
LMGTP 10 United Kingdom Audi Sport UK Ltd. United Kingdom James Weaver
United Kingdom Andy Wallace
United Kingdom Perry McCarthy
Audi R8C M 198
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
30
DNF
LMGTP 2 Japan Toyota Motorsports
Germany Toyota Team Europe
Belgium Thierry Boutsen
Germany Ralf Kelleners
United Kingdom Allan McNish
Toyota GT-One M 173
Toyota R36V 3.6L Turbo V8
31
DNF
GTS 61 Germany Freisinger Motorsport Germany Ernst Palmberger
Germany Wolfgang Kaufmann
France Michel Ligonnet
Porsche 911 GT2 D 157
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
32
DNF
LMP 27 Germany Kremer Racing Spain Tomas Saldaña
South Africa Grant Orbell
Belgium Didier de Radiguès
Lola B98/10 G 46
Ford (Roush) 6.0L V8
33
DNF
GTS 67 France Larbre Compétition France Jean-Pierre Jarier
France Sébastien Bourdais
France Pierre de Thoisy
Porsche 911 GT2 M 134
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
34
DNF
GTS 66 France Estoril Racing Communication Portugal Manuel Monteiro
France Michel Monteiro
France Michel Maisonneuve
Porsche 911 GT2 P 123
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
35
DNF
LMP 22 Japan Nissan Motorsports Germany Michael Krumm
Japan Satoshi Motoyama
France Érik Comas
Nissan R391 B 110
Nissan VRH50A 5.0L V8
36
DNF
LMGTP 1 Japan Toyota Motorsports
Germany Toyota Team Europe
United Kingdom Martin Brundle
France Emmanuel Collard
Italy Vincenzo Sospiri
Toyota GT-One M 90
Toyota R36V 3.6L Turbo V8
37
DNF
LMP 25 France Team DAMS France Christophe Tinseau
France Franck Montagny
France David Terrien
Lola B98/10 P 77
Judd GV4 4.0L V10
38
DNF
LMGTP 6 Germany AMG-Mercedes Germany Bernd Schneider
France Franck Lagorce
Portugal Pedro Lamy
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 76
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7L V8
39
DNF
LMGTP 5 Germany AMG-Mercedes France Christophe Bouchut
Germany Nick Heidfeld
United Kingdom Peter Dumbreck
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 75
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7L V8
40
DNF
LMP 24 Japan Autoexe Motorsport Japan Yojiro Terada
France Franck Fréon
United Kingdom Robin Donovan
Autoexe LMP99 Y 74
Ford 6.0L V8
41
DNF
LMP 29 France JB Racing France Jérôme Policand
Italy Mauro Baldi
Italy Christian Pescatori
Ferrari 333 SP P 71
Ferrari F130E 4.0L V12
42
DNF
LMP 32 France Riley & Scott Europe
France Solution F
Italy Marco Apicella
Sweden Carl Rosenblad
United States Shane Lewis
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 67
Ford 6.0L V8
43
DNF
LMGTP 9 United Kingdom Audi Sport UK Ltd. Sweden Stefan Johansson
Monaco Stéphane Ortelli
Germany Christian Abt
Audi R8C M 55
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
44
DNF
LMP 31 France Riley & Scott Europe
France Solution F
France Philippe Gache
South Africa Gary Formato
France Olivier Thévenin
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 25
Ford 6.0L V8
45
DNF
GTS 60 Germany Freisinger Motorsport Australia Ray Lintott
Austria Manfred Jurasz
Japan Katsunori Iketani
Porsche 911 GT2 D 24
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
DNS LMGTP 4 Germany AMG-Mercedes Australia Mark Webber
France Jean-Marc Gounon
Germany Marcel Tiemann
Mercedes-Benz CLR B -
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7L V8
DNS LMP 23 Japan Nissan Motorsports Japan Aguri Suzuki
Japan Masami Kageyama
Belgium Eric van de Poele
Nissan R391 B -
Nissan VRH50A 5.0L V8
DNS GT 83 United Kingdom GFB MacQuillan Belgium Michel Neugarten
United Kingdom Gerard MacQuillan
United States Chris Gleason
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR P -
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole Position - #1 Toyota Motorsport / TTE - 3:29.930
  • Fastest Lap - #3 Toyota Motorsport / TTE - 3:35.052
  • Distance - 4968 km
  • Average Speed - 207 km/h
  • Highest Trap Speed - Toyota GT-One - 352 km/h (practice)