1970 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1970 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1969 Next: 1971
Index: Races | Winners

The 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 38th Grand Prix of Endurance and took place on 13 and 14 June 1970. It was the eighth round of the 1970 World Sportscar Championship season.

Once again Porsche had had a dominant year in the championship and arrived as strong favourites to get their first outright victory. Their main opposition would come from Ferrari, now armed with the homologated 512S model. Fully nine 917s and eleven 512s from works-supported teams and privateers were entered. However heavy rain through most of the race neutralised much of their power and contributed to a number of serious accidents. In a race of heavy attrition where only seven cars were classified as finishers it was won by race veteran Hans Herrmann and co-driver Richard ‘Dickie’ Attwood.

For Herrmann, a veteran of 13 Le Mans, it was particularly sweet having be beaten by the narrowest margin the previous year. All Porsche's main challengers (Ferrari, Matra, Alfa Romeo) were beaten in the first half of the race. Porsche's dominance was complete – winning all three prizes and taking all the class-wins. The only dark spot was Ickx's accident at the Ford Chicane during the night which killed a track marshal.

This was the year that Hollywood came to Le Mans. The race provided the background for the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans. Much of the racing footage of the motion picture was taken from on board a competing car, as the #29 Porsche 908/02 had been fitted with movie cameras.[1]

Le Mans in 1970

Regulations[edit]

After only four years, the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale - the FIA’s regulations body) overhauled its FIA Appendix J, redefining again the motorsport categories. GT cars were now extended to Group 3 (minimum production of 1000 cars) and Group 4 for ‘Special GT cars’ (min. =500). The former Group 4 for Sports Cars became the new Group 5 (min. = 25) while Prototypes stayed as Group 6. The 5-litre engine limit on the Sports Cars remained – allowing the Porsche 917 and new Ferrari 512 to race, although they were on notice that this would fall to a 3-litre limit for the start of the 1972 season.[2]

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) was now fully aligned with the FIA's technical regulations.[3] They also made changes to its race regulations. Three drivers were now permitted in each car, and a driver was allowed to switch (once) to another car of the same make during the race.[4] Maximum drive-times were set at 14 hours, in no more than 4 hours at a time with at least a one-hour break between shifts. Night-time, when headlights had to be used, was defined as between 9pm and 4.30am and luminous car numbers were introduced. Mechanical restrictions remained – a 25-lap distance between oil replenishment and only 4 crew could work on a car on the pit-apron. Finally, every car had to complete the final lap within fifteen minutes to be classified. The most significant change was the abolition of the famous “Le Mans start”: running across the track to get in and start the car. This year the cars would still line up in echelon however the drivers would start in the cars fully strapped in (a full race harness now became compulsory).[4][3] A line of four flagmen would now simultaneously wave le tricolore when drivers would start their cars and pull away.[2]

Another 12 km of Armco was added to the track completing the project started the previous year to encircle the track with safety barriers. Also, the Esses and Tertre Rouge corners were widened and resurfaced.[2][3][5]

Entries[edit]

The winning Porsche 917K of Herrmann/Attwood
Second was the Martini Racing 917L in blue-green "psychedelic" livery, like this 917K raced at Watkins Glen, 1970.

This year there were 96 entries for the race, to which the ACO accepted 62 for qualifying. In the end 57 arrived for scrutineering in a very even split between the Prototypes, Sports and GT cars. Nearly a third were just the very powerful Porsche 917 or Ferrari 512 strongly increasing public interest. Significant absentees this year were Ford and Alpine).[4] With such a strong entry list the ACO decided it could drop the smaller 1.3- and 1.6-litre classes for the first time post-war.[2]

Category Classes Prototype
Group 6
Sports
Group 5
GT
Groups 3+4
Total
entries
Large-engines >2.5L classes 12 (+1 reserve) 21 2 35 (+1 reserve)
Medium-engines 2.0 / 2.5L classes 4 (+1 reserve) 1 (+2 reserves) 6 (+7 reserves) 11 (+10 reserves)
Total cars 16 (+2 reserves) 22 (+2 reserves) 8 (+7 reserves) 46 (+11 reserves)

After an inauspicious debut in 1969, extensive work was done by Porsche to fix the stability and reliability of the 917. After being beaten by a supposedly obsolete car, Porsche contracted John Wyer and his Gulf-J.W. Automotive Team to become the official works-supported team and development partner.[6][7] During tests in Zeltweg, Wyer's engineer John Horsmann had the idea to increase downforce at the expense of drag, and so a new short tail was moulded with aluminium sheets taped together. This worked well as the new tail gave the 917 better stability.[8] The new version was called the 917K (kurzheck or ‘short-tail’). A new aerodynamic version was developed for Le Mans with support from the external consultant Robert Choulet.[9] The 917 L (langheck) featured a spectacular new "long tail" body with a wing, which had very low drag. They were dubbed “batmobiles” by the media.[6] Two engines were available: the 4.5-litre flat-12 now capable of 550 bhp, and a new 4.9-litre version (590 bhp). Most drivers preferred driving the K even though it gave away as much as 25 kp/h (15 mph) in top speed. The langheck was less stable and needed far more concentration to keep on the track.[9][10][11]

Porsche's works drivers had been inherited by the JWA team who fielded three 917Ks. The lead car was driven by Jo Siffert and Brian Redman who had already won two rounds in the championship. Pedro Rodriguez (Le Mans winner in 1968 for Wyer) and Leo Kinnunen, in the second car, had won three races. Brits David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood,who had driven Wyer's Ford the previous year, had the third car with a 4.5-litre engine.[9] A fourth JWA 917K entry was not accepted - the drivers were to have been actor Steve McQueen and reigning F1 world champion Jackie Stewart.

As Ford had done several years earlier, Porsche also supported a rival, second works team based in Austria (much to Wyer's surprise). The new Porsche Salzburg was run by Louise Piëch, sister of Ferry Porsche and mother of company Technical Director Ferdinand Piëch. Vic Elford/Kurt Ahrens ran the 4.9-litre 917L, while Swiss-pairing Rico Steinemann/Dieter Spoerry and veterans Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood had 4.5-litre Ks.[9]

The Martini Racing customer team also gained some support from Porsche AG, being the other runner of a 917L for Gérard Larrousse/ Willi Kauhsen. The spectacular livery of this car was an elaborate whirls and swoops of green on a blue background.[12] The car gained the nickname of the Hippie Car or the Psychedelic Porsche from the team and the media and started the Le Mans tradition of the “art-car” special. The final 917 was from British privateer David Piper. With Gijs van Lennep as co-driver, they had proven very competitive through the championship year.[12]

In June 1969, Enzo Ferrari had sold half of his company to Fiat and that money was able to finance, like Porsche, the construction of the required 25 cars of its new Group 5 car: the Ferrari 512S. Based on the 612, Ferrari's Group 7 Can-Am car, it had a 5.0L V12 developing 550 bhp. After a victory at Sebring the car had improved reliability and an aerodynamic long-tail version (coda lunga) was built. Eight such cars were prepared for Le Mans. Four were in the works team, led by their two F1 drivers Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni, paired with hill-climb specialist Peter Schetty and Arturo Merzario respectively. Ickx was carrying an injury after escaping from a burning car at the Spanish GP and then suffering a fuel leak at Spa just two weeks ago.[13] The other cars had Le Mans winner Nino Vaccarella with Ignazio Giunti and young F1 drivers Derek Bell and Ronnie Peterson.[14] Bell replaced Jean Guichet who had been injured in a road accident and missing his first Le Mans since 1959.[6]

Ferrari customer teams were also equipped with the 512S. Scuderia Filipinetti had three cars led by experienced drivers. Mike Parkes/Herbert Müller and Swedes Jo Bonnier/Reine Wisell in longtails; and Italians Gianpiero Moretti/Corrado Manfredini (and his Scuderia Picchio Rosso). The North American Racing Team (NART) had two: a longtail driven by Americans Sam Posey/Ronnie Bucknum, and a standard for Helmut Kelleners/Georg Loos (and his Gelo Racing Team). Former regulars Ecurie Francorchamps also entered a longtail, returning after a four-year absence. There was also an entry for the new Spanish Escuderia Montjuich team who ran the open-top “spyder” variant.[15][11]

The only other cars in the big Group 5 class were a pair of Lola T70s. However even with the 5-litre Chevrolet developing almost 500 bhp, they were no longer any match for the Porsches and Ferraris.[16]

This year the 3-litre Prototypes were not expected to be able to keep up with the power of the big Porsche and Ferraris. Matra had kept away from the championship to concentrate on winning Le Mans. However, development of the new MS660 had been difficult and only one was ready - entrusted to works drivers Henri Pescarolo and Jean-Pierre Beltoise. Despite using an upgraded F1 V12-engine (detuned back to 420 bhp) it proved slower than the two MS650s entered. The long-tail MS650 was driven by Jack Brabham/François Cevert, while Patrick Depailler/Jean-Pierre Jabouille had a short-tail version.[17][13][11]

Autodelta, the racing division of Alfa Romeo, returned to Le Mans after a difficult year. They had the latest iteration of the T33. The 3-litre V8 developed 400 bhp and its longtail format gave it a bump of 25 kp/h (15 mph). The team brought four cars and had a strong driver line-up enticing Rolf Stommelen (from Porsche) and ‘Nanni’ Galli (from Matra). The others had Piers Courage/Andrea de Adamich, Masten Gregory/Toine Hezemans and Carlo Facetti/Teodoro Zeccoli.[18][11]

Porsche had their 908/02 spyders that had been very successful the previous year. Martini ran two cars for Lins/Marko and Spoerry/de Cortanze.[19] The other car was entered by Solar Productions, which was actor Steve McQueen’s film production company. Driven by Herbert Linge/Jonathan Williams it was fitted with cameras to record race footage for McQueen’s film. NART had bought the 312P works cars from Ferrari and two were entered in the Prototype category.[20] Healey returned with its prototype for a third (and final) time, now as an open-top spyder, and with a bigger Repco 3-litre V8. It would be driven by Roger Enever and Andrew Hedges.

In the smaller-engine categories, there was a new manufacturer present. French racing-driver turned car-maker Guy Ligier had his new JS-1 prototype, with a 1.8-litre Ford-Cosworth FVC engine that put out 240 bhp. Ligier drove it himself alongside Jean-Claude Andruet.[21] As well as a pair of privateer Porsche 910s there were also three Chevron B16s each with a different engine, the most interesting of which was the innovative Mazda Wankel-rotary.[22]

The GT category was, once again,dominated by privateer Porsche 911s. This year, many were uprated with the new 2.2-litre engine. There was also a new Porsche model, the 914/6. The 1991cc flat-6 engine put out 100 bhp and the car was 40kg lighter than the rival 911s. Entered by “Toto” Veuillet's French team it was driven by Guy Chasseuil/Claude Ballot-Léna.[23] (Veuillet himself, as a driver, had given Porsche their first ever class-win at Le Mans back in 1951)

Rally-specialist Henri Greder supplied the two Chevrolet Corvettes, the biggest cars in the entry list.[11] Even though General Motors officially had a long-standing ban on racing and supporting privateers, he had a new convertible and had sold his previous car to the Claude Aubriet's Ecurie Léopard. The 7-litre engines now put out 560 bhp and had a top speed of 305 kp/h (190 mph).[24]

Practice[edit]

As expected the longtail 917s were extremely fast. But it was Pedro Rodriguez who set the initial pace in the Wyer 917K breaking Stommelen's lap record by a second with a 3:21.9. Though not as quick as the longtails, the Ferraris were still faster than the 917K's and Nino Vaccarella caused quite a stir on the first night of practise when he clocked the fastest time of 3:20.0. Vic Elford then went out on Thursday and put in a 3:19.8, fractionally faster than Vaccarella to take the pole position.[10]

The Wyer Porsches were third and fifth, split by Merzario's Ferrari, then there was a row of Ferraris: the other two works cars of Ickx and Bell, and the two Filipinetti cars of Parkes and Wisell. Slowest of the 917 qualifiers was the third Porsche-Salzburg car of Herrmann/Attwood, doing a 3:32.6 after struggling with brake-issues, to start 15th .[9][25]

Just ahead of it, in 14th, was the fastest of the Prototypes – the Matra of Brabham/Cevert (3:32.2), ahead of Stommelen's Alfa Romeo in 17th. Yet, after a year of development the Matras were disappointing – coming in three seconds slower than the previous year's 3-litre Porsches.[13] Best of the 2-litres was the new Ligier (4:03.4), and quickest GT was the Léopard Corvette (4:07.2)

The biggest moment of the practice sessions was on Wednesday night when Dieter Spoerry's 908 and Jack Brabham's Matra arrived at the Ford Chicane at the same time. Spoerry's car disintegrated and burst into flames, but the driver got out only lightly injured. However, badly shaken from the experience and an injured leg, he subsequently failed his medical test and the two cars he was cross-entered in (the third Salzburg 917 and the wrecked Martini 908) were withdrawn.[19][13][26][11]

A disconcerting feature of the Wednesday practice was the extreme number of punctures – the JWA team alone had ten, and Ferrari had six. JWA's team manager David Yorke attributed it to the excessive number of bolts and pieces left by the Armco crews the day before. The wide, soft tyres used and hot summer temperatures may also have contributed, but the circuit was swept before the Thursday practice sessions.[10]

Race[edit]

Start[edit]

After a very hot week, Friday afternoon brought thunderstorms and then rain overnight. Although further storms were predicted by the time of the race-start the weather was overcast but dry. Most cars that were lined up with wet-tyres were quickly changed back to slicks for the start.[10]

Following the bad accidents at the start of the previous two years, the ACO finally abolished the traditional “Le Mans start”. This year the cars were lined up in echelon (but a shallower angle to allow easier getaway) and the drivers fully belted and strapped in for the start.[27] But since 1971, races begin with rolling starts.[28] Reverting this year back to its normal start time of 4pm the guest starter this year was Dr Ferry Porsche, marking Porsche's 20th year of participation.[29] Everyone got away smoothly and at the end of the first lap Elford led Siffert and Rodriguez, then the Ferraris of Merzario and Vaccarella.[13][5] They started lapping tail-enders after only three laps.[10]

But after only seven laps Vaccarella's Ferrari was in the pits, its crankshaft broken. It was followed on the 23rd lap, after the first pitstops, by the JWA 917K of Pedro Rodríguez, who stopped at Arnage with a cooling fan failure.[8][10] After Elford had set a new lap record, he and Siffert established a clear margin at the front of the field and settled into a routine of alternating the lead.

At 5.30pm the rain finally arrived. Soon after, Reine Wisell, barely able to see through his Ferrari's oil-streaked windscreen had slowed on the side of the road approaching the tricky Maison Blanche corner. Suddenly four duelling Ferraris arrived at speed: Posey in the NART car raced past. Unsighted, Regazzoni smashed into Wisell followed by the Parkes car that caught fire. Debutante Derek Bell had managed to swerve past Wisell but the excessive gearbox change-downs overrevved his engine and the car broke half a lap later on the Mulsanne Straight. Ferrari had four of its leading contenders taken out in one hit, but the only injury was to Parkes with minor burns to his leg.[14][13]

A few laps later, the rain triggered another accident when Carlo Facetti spun his Alfa at Dunlop Curve, hitting the barriers. He got out and was running back to the pits to get two replacement wheels when Mike Hailwood, on his last lap on slicks in the third Wyer Porsche, crashed into the parked Alfa Romeo,[9] leaving just three of the top 10 qualifiers running.[29]

Night[edit]

The rain became torrential around 8pm as dusk fell, sending many cars skating. Helmut Kelleners hit the barriers at the Esses, avoiding a spinning car. Privateer David Piper's co-driver Gijs van Lennep had qualified 11th and with the attrition they had moved up to 3rd by 10pm when Piper spun it in the Esses, nudging the barrier and damaging the front suspension.[12] By a strange coincidence, all three Matras retired with leaking piston rings within ten laps of each other, when Brabham and Cevert had been leading the prototypes, and running as high as 7th.[17] The French challenge had dissolved within four hours.

It was now that the skill of Jacky Ickx came to the fore. While others proceeded with caution he made up time, bringing the Ferrari up to third despite his body's discomfort.[13] When the Elford/Ahrens Porsche had to pit with wayward handling (that was traced to a slow puncture, and dropping them to 5th) he moved up to second at midnight. Soon afterward, van Lennep was motoring down the Mulsanne Straight in his 917 at close to 290 kp/h when a tyre blew out, possibly due to the earlier damage. His skill kept it on the ground and off the wall but the chassis damage was too severe to continue.[12] The de Adamich/Courage Alfa Romeo was leading the Prototypes, in 6th, until a long pit stop before midnight delayed it. On its next shift Courage ran out of fuel approaching the pits and had to get out and push it. When it arrived it five people pushing and needed a jump-start to resume – all illegal in the regulations, but the officials either could not or did not see it.[30]

At 1.45am Ickx's epic charge came to a tragic end. He was trying to unlap himself from Siffert when the Ferrari's rear brakes failed approaching the Ford chicane. He crashed into a sodden sandbank and was launched over it, bursting into flame and killing track marshal Jacques Argoud and injuring another. Ickx himself was unharmed.[14][13][31] The Ferrari challenge to Porsche was effectively over.

The Siffert/Redman JWA Porsche continued to run strongly, building up a huge 10-lap lead by 2am.[8] That was until Siffert accidentally missed a gear-change lapping back-markers and broke the engine. So at half-time, the lead had passed to the Porsche-Salzburg's third car of Herrmann/Attwood (176 laps) that had been lapping consistently and moving up steadily from its lowly grid position of 15th. Martini's psychedelic longtail was second, three laps back. But soon after water got into electrics and it lost time, dropping two places. Elford /Ahrens had pushed back up to 3rd (172 laps) and the Lins/Marko 908 in 4th (171 laps) had a handy 5-lap lead in the Group 6 category over Stommelen's Alfa Romeo in 5th.

Morning[edit]

At dawn the weather turned from heavy rain to storm. At 6am, after 16 hours, Porsches still held the top four places: Herrmann/Attwood leading with the Elford/Ahrens ‘longtail’ back up to second, the Lins/Marko 908 in third and first prototype and the Larrousse/Kauhsen Martini-‘longtail’ in fourth. Fifth was the Stommelen/Galli Alfa Romeo, ahead of the Ferraris of NART (Posey/Bucknum) and Ecurie Francorchamps (Fierlandt/Walker) and the NART 312P (the Alfa's rival in the Prototype category). The French Porsche 914 was leading the GT category, in 10th, in a terrific tussle with Greder's Corvette and the Ecurie Luxembourg 911. Half the field were now retirements.

At 8am the Stommelen/Galli Alfa, just overtaken by the NART Ferrari, was unable to get away from its pitstop without a push-start, for which it was subsequently disqualified within the hour.[13] Then at 8.30am, after 18 hours, Elford's 917 was stopped by engine problems. The rain finally eased off and the track was virtually dry by 9.30am.[30] That allowed Larrousse/Kauhsen to pick up their pace and they moved up to second place by midday and set about trying to catch the leaders.[12] The field was widely spread: Herrmann/Attwood had a 5-lap lead (282 laps) over the two Martini Porsches, a comfortable 15 laps ahead of the Posey/Bucknum Ferrari and a further 12-laps to the Belgian Ferrari (250) with the NART 312P of Adamowicz/Parsons in 6th (237 laps).[30][32]

Finish and post-race[edit]

Going into the last hours, most of the leading positions remained unchanged. The two remaining Chevrons had been running at the back of the field for much of the latter half of the race after both needing engine rebuilds. After the BMW engine failed one, the faster Cosworth-engined car carried on as the only survivor in the 2-litre Prototype class. However it was stopped with only 90 minutes to run.[22] However the Healey prototype, which had been battling gearbox issues and had a rebuild. With less than a quarter-hour, and two laps, to go and still in 14th, Roger Enever headed out on a final lap, but for the sake of a 10-cent part, the engine stopped on the Mulsanne Straight and the car would not restart.[33][34] Outlasting the Matras and Alfas, the NART 312P had moved up to 6th but with 3 hours to go developed a serious misfire. It took a long time to replace the sparkplugs and the team knew they would not reach their target distance. When the electrics finally packed up on the final lap approaching Maison Blanche, spectators jumped the fence and helped push Adamowicz to the line, the 10th car home.[35]

Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood in their red and white No. 23 Porsche Salzburg 917K won by five laps. In a great debut for the new Martini Racing team, Gérard Larrousse and Willi Kauhsen finished second in the psychedelic longtail[36] and the 908/02 of Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko was third. Despite sounding very rough and errant steering, the Posey/Bucknum NART Ferrari kept going and was rewarded with a fourth place. The Belgian Ferrari was fifth, meeting its required distance by a single lap. Although the French Corvette was the first GT home, it hadn’t achieved its required minimum distance, so the GT prize went to the 914/6 of Ballot-Léna/Chasseuil finishing a lap behind. They had a remarkable run without having to change brakes or even tyres.[23] Three laps further back was the Ecurie Luxembourg 911.

It was a dominant victory by Porsche: of the sixteen cars running at the end, twelve were Porsches. However, many of the Porsche 911s were slowed by the atrocious weather and covered insufficient distance to be classified. As well as finishing 1-2-3, Porsche had won all four classes that had finishers. The third-placed 908 claimed the Index of Performance while the Martini 917 won the Index of Thermal Efficiency.

Hans Herrmann was a race-veteran at age 42 in his 13th Le Mans and who had driven for Mercedes and Porsche in F1, had survived the dangerous Mille Miglia and Carrera Panamericana races of the 1950s. He had promised his wife to quit racing if he should finally win Le Mans, a success which he had missed narrowly by barely 120 metres in 1969. So he retired with immediate effect, much to the surprise of his Porsche Salzburg team. For someone whose career with Porsche extended back to 1953, with Porsche's first mid-engine car, the 550, it was appropriate he was there when the marque finally won its coveted Le Mans outright victory at its 20th attempt.

Later in the year, the FIA acknowledged the weather had severely compromised the GT Corvette with its target distance skewed with its 7-litre engine, compared to the Porsches, and awarded it first-place points for the GT Cup. The ACO did not change its results but did send Greder a cheque equivalent to the GT-winners prize-money.[24] Later in the year, the ACO released some commercial information: 300 000 spectators, about half of them paying the entry fee. Around 10% were foreigners supervised by an additional 40000 officials, police, emergency staff, journalists and trades people. Three hundred commercial sites (bars, cafés, fairground) raised 6.5 million francs with another 7 million from advertised barely covered the cost to run the race. The circuit used electricity equivalent to a city of 80000, and over 2.5 million phonecalls were made.[37]

However it was another terrible year for driver deaths and injuries. Just a fortnight before the race, former Le Mans winner Bruce McLaren had been killed testing his new car. Piers Courage, driving the Alfa Romeo in this race, died during the F1 Dutch GP. To underline the safety problem, Jochen Rindt, 1965 Le Mans winner, was killed at Monza becoming the first posthumous F1 World Champion.[38]

Thirty years later, the second-placed Martini Porsche and its psychedelic paint scheme was voted by a public poll as the “Le Mans Car of the Century”.[12][39]

The Steve McQueen movie Le Mans[edit]

A notable presence at this year's race was the Solar Productions, Steve McQueen’s film company, at Le Sarthe to make a feature film revolving around the race directed by John Sturges. McQueen, at that time one of Hollywood’s most bankable action stars, had purchased a Porsche 908/2 to race. With Peter Revson as co-driver, he had come second at the Sebring 12 Hours earlier in the year only 20 seconds behind the Ferrari winner. He was pencilled in to share a JWA Porsche 917 with current F1 World Champion Jackie Stewart but his life insurance company refused to cover him for Le Mans. JWA did however supply two of the cars and a number of mechanics for the film. The 908 was entered for the race and equipped with cameras to record on-track race footage.[40][41]

Happy that the script had a Gulf-Porsche victory, Porsche released their works driver Herbert Linge to drive the camera-car, alongside Jonathan Williams. For the same reason, Enzo Ferrari declined to provide any cars for the film, and the Ferraris depicted in the film were supplied by the Jacques SwatersEcurie Francorchamps.[40]

However, after filming the first two laps and pitting for a camera change, the car was delayed by a problematic starter motor. The daylight-running lost was also compromised by the heavy rain. Despite that, the car collected more than 250,000 feet of film, although the frequent stops meant the car could not cover enough distance to be classified.[40]

As well as using the car, Solar did filming at the April test weekend beforehand and had six cameras positioned around the circuit. Although the ACO was adamant that cameramen would not be positioned in front of the safety barriers by the track. Solar also hired the track for 12 weeks after the race and had 26 Sports and Prototypes on hand. Older Lolas were rebodied and used for the crash sequences. A number of the race's drivers were also on hand, including Attwood, Bell, Elford, Galli, Jabouille, Parkes, Redman, Siffert, Spoerry and Stommelen. In August, Derek Bell suffered minor burns when his Ferrari suddenly caught fire. Later, David Piper had a far more serious accident when his Porsche blew a tyre at speed. The car smashed into the barriers on both sides of the track and broke in two. Although Piper survived, he had to have his lower right leg amputated.[40][41]

Official results[edit]

Finishers[edit]

Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[42] Class winners are in bold text.

Pos Class No. Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Laps
1 S
5.0
23 Austria Porsche Konstruktionen -
Salzburg
Germany Hans Herrmann
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L F12 G 343
2 S
5.0
3 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
France Gérard Larrousse
Germany Willi Kauhsen
Porsche 917L Porsche 4.5L F12 G 338
3 P
3.0
27 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
Austria Helmut Marko
Austria Rudi Lins
Porsche 908/2LH Porsche 3.0L F8 D 335
4 S
5.0
11 United States North American Racing Team United States Ronnie Bucknum
United States Sam Posey
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 G 313
5 S
5.0
12 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps Belgium Baron Hughes de Fierlandt
United Kingdom Alistair Walker
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 F 305
N/C * GT
+5.0
2 France Greder Racing
(private entrant)
France Henri Greder
France Jean-Pierre Rouget
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 G 286
6 GT
2.0
40 France Établissements Sonauto France Claude Ballot-Léna
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 914/6 GT Porsche 1991cc F6 D 285
N/C * P
3.0
29 United States Solar Productions[43] Germany Herbert Linge
United Kingdom Jonathan Williams
Porsche 908/2
(Camera Car)
Porsche 3.0L F8 G 282
7 GT
2.5
47 Luxembourg Écurie Luxembourg Luxembourg Nicolas Koob
Germany Erwin Kremer
Porsche 911S Porsche 2253cc F6 D 282
N/C * P
3.0
57
(reserve)
United States North American Racing Team United States Tony Adamowicz
United States Chuck Parsons
Ferrari 312P Coupé Ferrari 3.0L V12 G 281
N/C * GT
2.5
62
(reserve)
France R. Mazzia
(private entrant)
France René Mazzia
France Pierre Mauroy
Porsche 911S Porsche 2195cc F6 275
N/C * GT
2.0
42 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team France Sylvain Garant
France Guy Verrier
Porsche 911T Porsche 1991cc F6 271
N/C * GT
2.0
67
(reserve)
France J. Dechaumel
(private entrant)
France Jacques Dechaumel
France Jean-Claude Parot
Porsche 911S Porsche 1991cc F6 271
N/C * GT
2.5
45 France C. Laurent
(private entrant)
France Claude Laurent
France Jacques Marché
Porsche 911S Porsche 2195cc F6 262
N/C * GT
2.0
64
(reserve)
Switzerland C. Haldi
(private entrant)
France Jean Sage
Switzerland Pierre Greub
Porsche 911S Porsche 1991cc F6 254
N/C * GT
2.0
66
(reserve)
France R. Touroul
(private entrant)
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
France Claude Swietlik
Porsche 911S Porsche 1991cc F6 D 231
  • 'Note *: Not Classified because insufficient distance covered.

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Laps Reason
DNF P
3.0
34 United Kingdom Donald Healey Motor Company United Kingdom Roger Enever
United Kingdom Andrew Hedges
Healey SR XR37 Repco 740 3.0L V8 D 264 Electrics
(24hr)
DNF S
5.0
25 Austria Porsche Konstruktionen -
Salzburg
United Kingdom Vic Elford
Germany Kurt Ahrens, Jr.
Porsche 917L Porsche 4.9L F12 G 225 Engine
(18hr)
DNF P
3.0
36 Italy Autodelta SpA United Kingdom Piers Courage
Italy Andrea de Adamich
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 F 222 Engine
(20hr)
DSQ P
3.0
35 Italy Autodelta SpA Germany Rolf Stommelen
Italy Nanni Galli
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 F 220 Outside Assistance
(11hr)
DNF P
2.0
49 United Kingdom Chevron Racing Team United Kingdom Ian Skailes
United Kingdom John Hine
Chevron B16 Ford Cosworth FVC 1771cc S4 D 213 Engine
(24hr)
DNF P
2.0
44 United Kingdom Chevron Racing Team United Kingdom Clive Baker
United Kingdom Digby Martland
Chevron B16 BMW 1992cc S4 D 187 Engine
(20hr)
DNF P
2.5
61
(reserve)
Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland André Wicky
France Jean-Pierre Hanrioud
Porsche 907 Porsche 2195cc F6 161 Throttle
(17hr)
DNF S
5.0
20 United Kingdom JW Automotive Engineering Switzerland Jo Siffert
United Kingdom Brian Redman
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.9L F12 F 156 Engine
(12hr)
DNF S
5.0
5 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Belgium Jacky Ickx
Switzerland Peter Schetty
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 F 142 Accident
(11hr)
DNF GT
2.5
63
(reserve)
Switzerland Rey Racing
(private entrant)
Switzerland Jacques Rey
Switzerland Bernard Chenevière
Porsche 911S Porsche 2247cc F6 D 132 Accident
(13hr)
DNF S
5.0
9 Spain Escuderia Montjuich Spain José Juncadella
Spain Juan Fernandez
Ferrari 512S Spyder Ferrari 5.0L V12 F 130 Accident
(12hr)
DNF P
2.0
60
(reserve)
France G. Verrier
(private entrant)
France Daniel Rouveyran
Switzerland Willy Meier
Porsche 910 Porsche 1991cc F6 128 Brakes
(15hr)
DNF GT
2.5
65
(reserve)
Switzerland Hart Ski Racing
Switzerland Claude Haldi
Switzerland Claude Haldi
Switzerland Arthur Blank
Porsche 911S Porsche 2247cc F6 D 124 Transmission
(19hr)
DNF S
2.0
46 France C. Poirot
(private entrant)
France Christian Poirot
Germany Ernst Kraus
Porsche 910 Porsche 1991cc F6 D 120 Engine
(14hr)
DNF S
5.0
18 United Kingdom David Piper Autorace
Finland AAW Racing Team
United Kingdom David Piper
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L F12 G 112 Accident
(11hr)
DNF S
5.0
16 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti
Italy Scuderia Picchio Rosso
Italy Corrado Manfredini
Italy Gianpiero Moretti
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 G 111 Transmission
(13hr)
DNF S
5.0
4 Belgium Racing Team VDS Belgium Teddy Pilette
Belgium Gustave ‘Taf’ Gosselin
Lola T70 Mk. IIIB Chevrolet 4.9L V8 F 109 Transmission
(10hr)
DNF GT
2.5
43 Belgium J.-P. Gaban
(private entrant)
Belgium Jean-Pierre Gaban
Belgium Willy Braillard
Porsche 911S Porsche 2195cc F6 D 109 Transmission
(11hr)
DNF P
3.0
31 France Equipe Matra Elf France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
France Henri Pescarolo
Matra-Simca MS660 Matra 3.0L V12 G 79 Engine
(7hr)
DNF P
3.0
32 France Equipe Matra Elf Australia Jack Brabham
France François Cevert
Matra-Simca MS650 Matra 3.0L V12 G 76 Engine
(7hr)
DNF P
3.0
30 France Equipe Matra Elf France Patrick Depailler
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Matra-Simca MS650 Matra 3.0L V12 G 70 Engine
(7hr)
DNF GT
2.5
59
(reserve)
France J. Égreteaud
(private entrant)
France Jean Égreteaud
France Jean Mésange
Porsche 911S Porsche 2247cc F6 D 70 Engine
(8hr)
DNF P
2.0
50 France Automobiles Ligier France Guy Ligier
France Jean-Claude Andruet
Ligier JS1 Ford Cosworth FVC 1786cc S4 D 65 Electrics
(8hr)
DNF S
5.0
10 United States North American Racing Team
Germany Gelo Racing Team
Germany Georg Loos
Germany Helmut Kelleners
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 G 54 Accident
(7hr)
DNF S
5.0
22 United Kingdom JW Automotive Engineering United Kingdom David Hobbs
United Kingdom Mike Hailwood
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L F12 F 49 Accident
(5hr)
DNF P
3.0
38 Italy Autodelta SpA Italy Teodoro Zeccoli
Italy Carlo Facetti
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 F 43 Accident
(5hr)
DNF S
5.0
7 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC United Kingdom Derek Bell
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 F 39 Accident
(4hr)
DNF S
5.0
8 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Italy Arturo Merzario
Switzerland Clay Regazzoni
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 F 38 Accident
(4hr)
DNF GT
+5.0
1 France Écurie Léopard France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France Joseph Bourdon
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 G 37 Accident
(5hr)
DNF S
5.0
15 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti United Kingdom Mike Parkes
Switzerland Herbert Müller
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 G 37 Accident
(4hr)
DNF S
5.0
14 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti Sweden Jo Bonnier
Sweden Reine Wisell
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 G 36 Accident
(4hr)
DNF S
5.0
21 United Kingdom JW Automotive Engineering Mexico Pedro Rodriguez
Finland Leo Kinnunen
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.9L F12 F 22 Engine
(4hr)
DNF P
2.0
48 Belgium Levi's International Racing Team Belgium Julian Vernaeve
Belgium Yves Deprez
Chevron B16 Mazda 10A Twin Rotory
(1964cc equivalent)
D 19 Engine
(4hr)
DNF S
5.0
6 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Italy Nino Vaccarella
Italy Ignazio Giunti
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 F 7 Engine
(1hr)
DNF P
3.0
37 Italy Autodelta SpA Netherlands Toine Hezemans
United States Masten Gregory
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 F 5 Engine
(2hr)
Sources:[44][45][46]

Did Not Start[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
DNS S
5.0
17 United Kingdom Grand Bahamas Racing Team The Bahamas Robin Ormes
United Kingdom David Prophet
Lola T70 Mk. IIIB Chevrolet 4.9L V8 Did not qualify
DNS P
3.0
28 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
France André de Cortanze
Switzerland Dieter Spoerry
Austria Rudi Lins
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L F8 Practice accident
DNS P
3.0
39 United States North American Racing Team United States Tony Adamowicz
United States Sam Posey
Ferrari 312P Coupé Ferrari 3.0L V12 Spare car
DNS GT
2.5
41 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team France Sylvain Garant
France Jean Mésange
Porsche 911S Porsche 2195cc F6 Withdrawn
DNQ S
2.0
68 United Kingdom R. Johnson
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Roy Johnson
United States Erwin Barnes
Chevron B8 BMW 1991cc S4 Did not qualify
DNA S
5.0
24 Austria Porsche Konstruktionen -
Salzburg
Switzerland Hans-Heinrich ‘Rico’ Steinemann
Switzerland Dieter Spoerry
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L F12 Withdrawn
DNA S
5.0
26 United Kingdom JW Automotive Engineering United Kingdom Jackie Stewart
United States Steve McQueen
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L F12 Withdrawn
DNA P
2.5
54 France G. Verrier
(private entrant)
France Guy Verrier
France Frederic Mural
Porsche 907 Porsche 2.2L F6 Reserve

Class Winners[edit]

Class Prototype
Winners
Class Sports
Winners
Class GT
Winners
Prototype
3000
#27 Porsche 908/2 LH Marko / Lins Sports
5000
#23 Porsche 917K Herrmann / Attwood Grand Touring
>2500
no finishers
Prototype
2500
no finishers Sports
2500
no entrants Grand Touring
2500
#47 Porsche 911 S Koob / Kremer *
Prototype
2000
no finishers Sports
2000
no finishers Grand Touring
2000
#40 Porsche 914/6 GT Ballot-Léna / Chasseuil
  • Note: setting a new class distance record.

Index of Thermal Efficiency[edit]

[47]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 S
5.0
3 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
France Gérard Larrousse
Germany Willi Kauhsen
Porsche 917L 0.89
2 GT
2.0
40 France Établissements Sonauto France Claude Ballot-Léna
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 914/6 GT 0.80
3 P
3.0
27 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
Austria Helmut Marko
Austria Rudi Lins
Porsche 908/2LH 0.79
4 S
5.0
23 Austria Porsche Konstruktionen -
Salzburg
Germany Hans Herrmann
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Porsche 917K 0.77
5 GT
2.5
47 Luxembourg Écurie Luxembourg Luxembourg Nicolas Koob
Germany Erwin Kremer
Porsche 911S 0.75

Index of Performance[edit]

Taken from Moity's book.[48][47]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 P
3.0
27 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
Austria Helmut Marko
Austria Rudi Lins
Porsche 908/2LH 1.151
2 S
5.0
23 Austria Porsche Konstruktionen -
Salzburg
Germany Hans Herrmann
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Porsche 917K 1.132
3 S
5.0
3 Germany Martini International
Racing Team
France Gérard Larrousse
Germany Willi Kauhsen
Porsche 917L 1.116
4 GT
2.0
40 France Établissements Sonauto France Claude Ballot-Léna
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 914/6 GT 1.041
5 S
5.0
11 United States North American Racing Team United States Ronnie Bucknum
United States Sam Posey
Ferrari 512S 1.026
6 GT
2.5
47 Luxembourg Écurie Luxembourg Luxembourg Nicolas Koob
Germany Erwin Kremer
Porsche 911S 1.008
7 S
5.0
12 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps Belgium Baron Hughes de Fierlandt
United Kingdom Alistair Walker
Ferrari 512S 1.000
  • Note: A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.

Statistics[edit]

Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

  • Fastest Lap in practice – V. Elford, #25 Porsche 917L – 3:19.8secs; 242.69 km/h (150.80 mph)
  • Fastest Lap – V. Elford, #25 Porsche 917L – 3:21.0secs; 241.24 km/h (149.90 mph)
  • Winning Distance – 4,607.59 km (2,863.02 mi)
  • Winner's Average Speed – 192.00 km/h (119.30 mph)
  • Attendance –300 000[37]

International Championship for Makes Standings[edit]

As calculated after Le Mans, Round 8 of 10[49]

Pos Manufacturer Points
1 West Germany Porsche 63 (69)*
2 Italy Ferrari 36 (38)*
3 Italy Alfa Romeo 4
4 France Matra 4
5 United States Chevrolet 2
  • Note: Only the best 7 of 10 results counted to the final Championship points. The full total earned to date is given in brackets
Citations
  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  2. ^ a b c d Spurring 2011, p.18
  3. ^ a b c Moity 1974, p.126
  4. ^ a b c Clausager 1982, p.161-3
  5. ^ a b Automobile Year 1970, p.204
  6. ^ a b c Clarke 1997, p.88-9: Autosport Jun 11 1970
  7. ^ Laban 2001, p.163
  8. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.23-4
  9. ^ a b c d e f Spurring 2011, p.20-2
  10. ^ a b c d e f Clarke 1997, p.94-6: Autocar Jun 18 1970
  11. ^ a b c d e f Automobile Year 1970, p.202
  12. ^ a b c d e f Spurring 2011, p.27
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clarke 1997, p.90-3: Road & Track Sept 1970
  14. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.28-9
  15. ^ Spurring 2011, p.31
  16. ^ Spurring 2011, p.39
  17. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.35
  18. ^ Spurring 2011, p.36
  19. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.38
  20. ^ http://www.a2zracer.com/page36.html
  21. ^ Spurring 2011, p.41
  22. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.42
  23. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.32
  24. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.33
  25. ^ Laban 2001, p.166
  26. ^ Clarke 1997, p.101: Motor Jun 20 1970
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  28. ^ "24 key dates for the 24 Hours". ACO. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  29. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.19
  30. ^ a b c Clarke 1997, p.99-100: Autocar Jun 18 1970
  31. ^ "Jacques Argoud". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  32. ^ Clarke 1997, p.103: Motor Jun 20 1970
  33. ^ Spurring 2011, p.40-1
  34. ^ Clarke 1997, p.104: Motor Jun 20 1970
  35. ^ Spurring 2011, p.43
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  37. ^ a b Laban 2001, p.167
  38. ^ "1970 Memorial". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  39. ^ AP. "Fans asked to vote for greatest cars in Le Mans history". Autosport. p. 3C. Retrieved 2018-05-23 – via Autosport.com.
  40. ^ a b c d Spurring 2011, p.48-50
  41. ^ a b Laban 2001, p.164
  42. ^ Spurring 2011, p.2
  43. ^ Stone, Matt (2007). McQueen's Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon. Minneapolis, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Company. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7603-38957. Le Mans requires that each car complete a certain distance to be classified a finisher, even if it was running at the end. Only seven cars met that requirement. But the Solar Productions 908, at the hands of Herbert Linge and Jonathan Williams, ran a clean race and, had it completed enough distance, would have finished an impressive ninth overall. The team's pit stops took much longer than the other competitors' did, because not only did the car require refuelling and tire and driver changes, but the cameras needed to be swapped out for those containing fresh film.
  44. ^ Spurring 2011, p.46
  45. ^ "1970 Le Mans 24 Hrs". www.teamdan.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  46. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1970 - Racing Sports Cars". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  47. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.47
  48. ^ Moity 1974, p.184
  49. ^ "International Championship for Makes". World Sports Racing Prototypes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.

References[edit]

  • Armstrong, Douglas – English editor (1970) Automobile Year #18 1970-71 Lausanne: Edita S.A.
  • Clarke, R.M. - editor (1997) Le Mans 'The Ford and Matra Years 1966-1974' Cobham, Surrey: Brooklands Books ISBN 1-85520-373-1
  • Clausager, Anders (1982) Le Mans London: Arthur Barker Ltd ISBN 0-213-16846-4
  • Laban, Brian (2001) Le Mans 24 Hours London: Virgin Books ISBN 1-85227-971-0
  • Moity, Christian (1974) The Le Mans 24 Hour Race 1949-1973 Radnor, Pennsylvania: Chilton Book Co ISBN 0-8019-6290-0
  • Spurring, Quentin (2011) Le Mans 1970-79 Yeovil, Somerset: Haynes Publishing ISBN 978-1-84425-539-9

External links[edit]

  • Racing Sports Cars – Le Mans 24 Hours 1970 entries, results, technical detail. Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • Le Mans History – Le Mans History, hour-by-hour (incl. pictures, quotes, YouTube links). Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • World Sports Racing Prototypes – results, reserve entries & chassis numbers. Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • Team Dan – results & reserve entries, explaining driver listings. Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • Unique Cars & Parts – results & reserve entries. Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • Formula 2 – Le Mans results & reserve entries. Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • Motorsport Memorial – details of the year's fatal accidents. Retrieved 16 May 2018
  • YouTube – “A Year to Remember” Gulf documentary reviewing the JWA 1970 season including Le Mans, and interviews with John Wyer (30mins). Retrieved 28 May 2018
  • YouTube – Colour footage, incl. Race-prep (7mins). Retrieved 28 May 2018
  • YouTube – Colour footage with music overlaid (8mins). Retrieved 28 May 2018
  • YouTube – German documentary from the Porsche Museum with the race-winning Porsche #23 (10mins). Retrieved 28 May 2018
  • YouTube – Brief interview with Richard Attwood re-united with the race-winning Porsche #23 (3mins). Retrieved 28 May 2018


World Sportscar Championship
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1970 season Next race:
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