1994 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1994 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1993 Next: 1995
Index: Races | Winners

The 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 62nd Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 18 and 19 June 1994.

The 1994 race was won by a car that had its roots in a 10-year-old design. Porsche exploited an unusual quirk in the GT regulations at the time, using German fashion magnate Jochen Dauer in a plan to have a street-legal version of the outdated Porsche 962 built. Using this road car design, Porsche entered two racing modified Dauer 962s in the GT category. With factory support, the Dauer 962 was able to take the win, the other 962 coming in a close third. Toyota, having themselves dusted off a pair of Group C chassis after its 3.5-litre engined TS010 was no longer eligible, suffered transmission problems with 90 minutes to go, leaving Eddie Irvine to finish 2nd in his 94C-V.

Regulations and Entries[edit]

After the death of global Sports Car racing (aside from the IMSA series in North America), GT racing came to the fore. Knowing that teams would always want to race prototype sports cars at Le Mans, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) came up with a pioneering equivalency formula to allow the production-based GT cars compete for the outright win against its own LMP class and the IMSA WSC cars. These involved engine air-inlet restrictors, smaller fuel tanks and minimum weights to limit the prototypes' performance. The ACO also allowed the old 1990 Group C cars but they now had to be open-topped, with flat underfloors.

FISA's new GT rules had developed through 1993, aligning with the ACO, IMSA and Japanese JAF, defining a GT as a road-going car on sale to the public and registered for road-use in two of the following countries: France, Great Britain, Germany, USA or Japan.[1] To allow time for entrants to prepare, the ACO was forced to issue its own GT regulations in September 1993, before FISA had completed their work. A summary of the restrictions:

  • LM P1/C90: fuel tank 80L, target output 550 bhp, min weight 900 kg (920 kg for turbos), max tyre width 16"
  • LM P2: fuel tank 80L, target output 400 bhp, min weight 620 kg, with production engines, max tyre width 12"
  • LM GT1: fuel tank 120L, target output 650 bhp, min weight 1000 kg, max tyre width 14"
  • LM GT2: fuel tank 120L, target output 450 bhp, min weight 1050 kg, max tyre width 12"
  • IMSA GT-Supreme: fuel tank 100L, target output 650 bhp, min weight 1000 kg, max tyre width 16"

Minimum annual production levels were 25 for GT1, and 200 for GT2, however a crucial loophole in the rules allowed a manufacturer to apply for GT1 homologation even when still planning the car design and before any cars had been made, meaning a single prototype for a proposed model could be raced. Several manufacturers spotted this exemption and exploited it, including Porsche (just like they had with the 917 25 years earlier) who built and registered a road-going 962C as a GT car.

Overall, interest was very high with the ACO receiving 83 applications, accepting 50 +reserves, to vie for the 48 starting places. From the aging Group C population there were only only 8 LMP1 cars and 4 LMP2 entries. Toyota was backing two Japanese teams driving the new Toyota 94C-V. Roland Ratzenberger was originally scheduled to drive in the SARD Toyota but was tragically killed in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix. Eddie Irvine took his place on the team, and Ratzenberger's name was left on the car in tribute.[2]

Yves Courage, still trying emulate Jean Rondeau with an owner/racer Le Mans win, had three of his own cars, and the Kremer brothers had a new spyder in Gulf Racing livery. Roland Bassaler also took the chance to run his old 1982-vintage ALPA (rebadged Sehcar / née Sauber) one last time. Welter Racing again fielded two very fast little LMP2s. The two American WSC entries were later withdrawn, however there were three entrants for the IMSA GT-S silhouette category. These included the two Nissans from Clayton Cunningham's championship winning team that had earlier in the year won the Daytona and Sebring endurance races.

In GT, the two direct works entries were in GT2, with debutants Honda working with the Kremer brothers bringing three new NSX cars, and a pair of Lotus Esprit S300 entered by Hugh Chamberlain. The two Porsche 962 facsimiles were entered by Jochen Dauer and run by Joest Racing. All up there were 11 different marques represented in the GT field, including returns from Alpine-Renault, Bugatti, De Tomaso and Dodge. Ferrari was back in some force as well as Reeves Callaway's new, modified Corvette.

Qualification[edit]

With the new LMP regulations trimming power, as well as reducing downforce by 50%, unsurprisingly the Group C cars struggled and were about 10 seconds slower than previously. Courage took confidence by gaining their first pole position, courtesy of former single-seat and Peugeot works driver Alain Ferté. Derek Bell was second-fastest in the Kremer spyder, then came the little WR from LMP2, of Patrick Gonin, punching well above its weight. But clutch problems prevented Marc Rostan from doing any qualifying laps so only Gonin and Petit were allowed to race. The Dauer 962s started 4th and 6th, on laps that were 20 seconds slower than a 962C's best lap, set by Oscar Larrauri in 1990, but 15 seconds faster than ADA Engineering's true LMP1 Porsche 962C.[3]

The two Nissan 300SX in the GT-S category came in 9th and 12th amongst the rest of the LMP field, with the next fastest GT being the Ennea/Obermaier Racing Ferrari F40 starting in 14th, just ahead of the Jacadi Racing Venturi of ex-F1 racer Olivier Grouillard and Michel Ferté (Alain's younger brother). With the GTs mixing it up with the sports cars, it was looking like the ACO had got the equivalence formula about right.

Race[edit]

Start[edit]

Initially, Bell's Kremer took the lead, but was soon overtaken by Ferté's Courage, the local favourite. Ricci's Courage and Regout's WR collided first time through the Porsche curves. After also spinning on the first lap, Stuck got his Dauer-Porsche into the lead, and with their 50% bigger fuel tank (allowing an extra 2-3 laps) the two teammates, Stuck and Baldi, were soon running 1-2. After being initially strong, the Kremer and the Courages fell back, and both WR-Peugeots were having engine problems. So the pursuit was taken up by the two Toyotas. Danny Sullivan blew a tyre and spun his Dauer at the Ford chicane and, unable to get across to the pitlane, had to go all the way around again costing him 11 minutes. Eddie Irvine got his Toyota into the lead, but when he got held up with changing brake discs, the veteran Bob Wollek got the Nisso-Trust Toyota to the front as dusk fell. In GT, Anders Olofsson, the pro-driver in the Team Ennea Ferrari F40 was running in the top-10, just ahead of the Larbre Porsche 911 leading GT2, until electronics problems struck it.

Night[edit]

With the cooler evening temperatures, the Courages' tyres were far more effective and they came back into contention, with the Pescarolo/Ferté/Lagorce car getting up to 3rd by mid-evening. However, the second Courage retired with engine problems, and at 2am "Pesca's" Courage also succumbed. At 5am, the Nisso-Trust Toyota came into the pits from the lead with a severe vibration. It took nearly an hour to replace the differential, dropping it down to 5th. The SARD Toyota took over the lead, and had the pursuing Dauer-Porsche's covered. Thierry Boutsen had a scare during the night when his Dauer's headlights failed while doing 260kph approaching Tertre Rouge.[4] Further delays dropped it 3 laps behind the leader. With the demise of the Courages and the Kremer, it was the remaining Nissan 300SX of Millen/O'Connell/Morton that steadily moved up to 4th by dawn. One of the big surprises was the privateer Bugatti in GT1: driven hard by 1993 winner Éric Hélary with Alain Cudini and Jean-Christophe Boullion, catching and passing the Larbre Porsche and Callaway Corvette, and getting it up to 6th overall.

Morning[edit]

As morning broke, the SARD Toyota was still leading. The second Toyota was chasing the Nissan and finally overtook it for 4th at lunchtime when the latter had gearbox problems. Through the morning the unfortunate Bugatti needed all four of its turbos replaced. Dropping down the board, in the final hour, a tyre blowout pitched Bouillon into the barriers on the Mulsanne straight. Then, after leading for 9 hours and with only 90 minutes to go, Krosnoff came to a stop at the pit entrance without drive. He slammed it into 3rd gear and managed to get to his pitbox. Taking 13 minutes to repair a broken gear-linkage weld it dropped the Toyota to 3rd behind the two Dauer-Porsches, who were both now nursing fragile driveshafts themselves. Irvine got in and drove hard to catch up to Boutsen just 15 seconds ahead. He caught him with just 2 laps to go when Boutsen got held up behind back-markers. In turn, Boutsen fought to get back past, forestalling the usual parade-lap to the finish, but was unsuccessful.[5]

Finish and post-race[edit]

The win gave Porsche its 13th victory, and for the drivers it was Haywood's 3rd, Dalmas' 2nd and the first for Mauro Baldi - who became the 100th different Le Mans winner.

For the second time in three years, Toyota had been pipped at the post. The thrilling battle of the leading three cars meant they finished 15 laps ahead of the second Toyota, itself 11 laps ahead of the GTS Nissan, and Derek Bell's Kremer after a race beset by niggly problems. The surviving Courage was fairly trouble-free and had been 7th for the last 6 hours, finishing over 450 km behind the leader. The first two GT2 cars home, in 8th and 9th, were Porsches from the Larbre and new Ecurie Biennoise teams - both had run like clockwork.

From the Le Mans success, Dauer Sportwagen subsequently sold a dozen 962 road cars.[6] Despite running into problems, all three Honda GTs finished, giving good heart to the Honda executives after their first foray to Le Mans. This was also supposed to be Derek Bell's swansong Le Mans, driving the Porsche-powered Kremer. However, the lure of driving a McLaren F1 GTR with son Justin (who had run in the Dodge Viper this race) the following year proved too strong.

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1994
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
Engine
1 GT1 36 Germany Le Mans Porsche Team
Germany Joest Racing
France Yannick Dalmas
United States Hurley Haywood
Italy Mauro Baldi
Dauer 962 Le Mans G 344
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
2 LMP1
/C90
1 Japan SARD Company Ltd. United Kingdom Eddie Irvine
Italy Mauro Martini
United States Jeff Krosnoff
Toyota 94C-V D 343
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
3 GT1 35 Germany Le Mans Porsche Team
Germany Joest Racing
Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck
United States Danny Sullivan
Belgium Thierry Boutsen
Dauer 962 Le Mans G 343
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
4 LMP1
/C90
4 Japan Nisso Trust Racing Team Sweden Steven Andskär
South Africa George Fouché
France Bob Wollek
Toyota 94C-V D 328
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
5 IMSA
GTS
75 United States Clayton Cunningham Racing New Zealand Steve Millen
United States Johnny O'Connell
United States John Morton
Nissan 300ZX Turbo Y 317
Nissan VG30DETT 3.0 L Turbo V6
6 LMP1
/C90
5 United Kingdom Gulf Oil Racing United Kingdom Derek Bell
United Kingdom Robin Donovan
Germany Jürgen Lässig
Kremer K8 Spyder D 316
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
7 LMP1
/C90
9 France Courage Compétition France Jean-Louis Ricci
United States Andy Evans
Belgium Philippe Olczyk
Courage C32LM M 310
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
8 GT2 52 France Larbre Compétition Spain Jesús Pareja
France Dominique Dupuy
Spain Carlos Palau
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR M 307
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
9 GT2 54 Switzerland Écurie Biennoise Switzerland Enzo Calderari
Switzerland Lilian Bryner
Italy Renato Mastropietro
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 299
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
10 GT2 59 Germany Konrad Motorsport Netherlands Cor Euser
Netherlands Patrick Huisman
Slovenia Matiaz Tomlje
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 295
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
11 GT2 57 Spain Repsol Ferrari España Spain Prince Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón
Spain Tomás Saldaña
Spain Andrés Vilariño
Ferrari 348 GTC-LM P 276
Ferrari 3.4 L V8
12 GT1 40 France Rent-A-Car Racing Team
Belgium Luigi Racing
France René Arnoux
United Kingdom Justin Bell
France Bertrand Balas
Dodge Viper RT/10 M 273
Dodge 8.0 L V10
13 GT2 60 France Legeay Sports Mécanique France Benjamin Roy
France Luc Galmard
France Jean-Claude Police
Alpine A610 Turbo M 272
Renault PRV 3.0 L Turbo V6
14 GT2 48 Germany Kremer Honda Racing Germany Armin Hahne
France Christophe Bouchut
Belgium Bertrand Gachot
Honda NSX D 257
Honda 3.0 L V6
15 IMSA
GTS
74 Japan Team Artnature Japan Yojiro Terada
France Franck Fréon
France Pierre de Thoisy
Mazda RX-7 GTO D 250
Mazda 13J 2.0 L 3-Rotor
16 GT2 46 Germany Kremer Honda Racing Switzerland Philippe Favre
Japan Hideki Okada
Japan Kazuo Shimizu
Honda NSX D 240
Honda 3.0 L V6
17 GT2 68 Italy Agusta Racing Team France Jean-Louis Sirera
Spain Antonio Puig
Spain Xavier Camp
Venturi 400GTR D 225
Renault PRV 3.0L Turbo V6
18 GT2 47 Germany Kremer Honda Racing
Japan Team Kunimitsu
Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
Japan Keiichi Tsuchiya
Japan Akira Iida
Honda NSX Y 222
Honda 3.0 L V6
NC GT1 41 France Rent-A-Car Racing Team
Belgium Luigi Racing
France François Migault
France Denis Morin
France Philippe Gache
Dodge Viper RT/10 M 225
Dodge 8.0 L V10
NC GT1 30 France BBA Compétition France Jean-Luc Maury-Laribière
France Bernard Chauvin
France Hervé Poulain
Venturi 600LM D 221
Renault PRV 3.0 L Turbo V6
NC GT1 37 United Kingdom A.D.A. Engineering Ltd. United Kingdom Dominic Chappell
United Kingdom Jonathan Baker
United Kingdom Phil Andrews
De Tomaso Pantera 200 G 210
Ford 5.0 L V8
NC LMP1
/C90
6 United Kingdom A.D.A. Engineering Ltd.
Japan Team Nippon
Japan Jun Harada
Japan Tomiko Yoshikawa
Japan Masahiko Kondo
Porsche 962C GTi G 189
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
NC GT2 65 Italy Agusta Racing Team France Stéphane Ratel
Switzerland Franz Hunkeler
France Edouard Chaufour
Venturi 400GTR D 137
Renault PRV 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF GT1 34 France Michel Hommell France Alain Cudini
France Éric Hélary
France Jean-Christophe Boullion
Bugatti EB110 SS M 230
Bugatti 3.5 L Turbo V12
DNF LMP1
/C90
2 France Courage Compétition France Henri Pescarolo
France Alain Ferté
France Franck Lagorce
Courage C32LM M 142
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF GT1 31 Italy Agusta Racing Team Italy Riccardo Agusta
France Michel Krine
Italy Almo Coppelli
Venturi 600LM D 115
Renault PRV 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF GT1 38 France Jacadi Racing France Michel Ferté
France Olivier Grouillard
Belgium Michel Neugarten
Venturi 600LM M 107
Renault PRV 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF LMP1
/C90
3 France Courage Compétition France Lionel Robert
France Pascal Fabre
France Pierri-Henri Raphanel
Courage C32LM M 107
Porsche Type-935 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMP2 21 France Welter Racing France Patrick Gonin
France Pierre Petit
WR LM93 M 104
Peugeot 2.0 L Turbo V6
DNF GT1 33 Belgium Patrick Nève Racing
Austria Konrad Motorsport
Austria Franz Konrad
Brazil Antônio Hermann de Azevedo
Germany Mike Sommer
Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 P 100
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMP1
/C90
7 United Kingdom Stealth Engineering
France SBF
France Dominique Lacaud
France Sylvain Boulay
France Bernard Robin
ALD 06 G 96
BMW M88 3.5 L I6
DNF GT2 49 France Porsche Flymo Mobil Alméras
France Larbre Compétition
France Jacques Laffite
France Jacques Alméras
France Jean-Marie Alméras
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 94
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
DNF LMP2 22 France Welter Racing Belgium Hervé Regout
France Jean-François Yvon
France Jean-Paul Libert
WR LM93 M 86
Peugeot 2.0 L Turbo V6
DNF GT2 58 Germany Seikel Motorsport Germany Dr. Thomas Bscher
United Kingdom Lindsay Owen-Jones
Denmark John Nielsen
Porsche 968 Turbo RS Y 84
Porsche 3.0 L Turbo I4
DNF LMP2 20 France Didier Bonnet Racing France Georges Tessier
France Pascal Dro
Switzerland Bernard Santal
Debora LMP294 P 79
Alfa Romeo 3.0 L V6
DNF LMP1
/C90
8 France Roland Bassaler France Nicolas Minassian
France Patrick Bourdais
France Olivier Couvrier
Alpa LM G 64
Ford Cosworth DFL 3.5 L V8
DNF GT2 50 France Larbre Compétition France Pierre Yver
France Jack Leconte
France Jean-Luc Chéreau
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR M 62
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
DNF GT2 62 United Kingdom Lotus Sport
United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering
United Kingdom Richard Piper
United Kingdom Peter Hardman
France Olindo Iacobelli
Lotus Esprit S300 M 59
Lotus 2.2 L Turbo I4
DNF GT2 55 United Kingdom Simpson Engineering United Kingdom Robin Smith
Italy Stefano Sebastiani
Japan Tetsuya Ota
Ferrari 348 LM Y 57
Ferrari 3.4 L V8
DNF GT2 45 Germany Heico Service GmbH Germany Ulrich Richter
Germany Karl-Heinz Wlazik
Germany Dirk Ebeling
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 57
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
DNF GT1 29 Sweden Strandell
Germany Obermaier Racing
Sweden Anders Olofsson
Switzerland Sandro Angelastro
Italy Max Angelelli
Ferrari F40 P 51
Ferrari 3.0 L Turbo V8
DNF GT2 63 United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering New Zealand Rob Wilson
United Kingdom David Brodie
United Kingdom William Hewland
Harrier LR9C D 45
Ford Cosworth YBT 2.0 L Turbo I4
DNF GT2 56 Switzerland Elf Haberthur Racing Switzerland Olivier Haberthur
France Patrice Goueslard
France Patrick Vuillaume
Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 G 42
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF GT2 66 United Kingdom Bristow Racing
Norway Erik Henriksen
United Kingdom Ray Bellm
United Kingdom Harry Nuttall
United Kingdom Charles Rickett
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR G 34
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
DNF GT2 61 United Kingdom Lotus Sport
United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering
Denmark Thorkild Thyrring
Netherlands Klaas Zwart
Germany Andreas Fuchs
Lotus Esprit S300 M 28
Lotus 2.2 L Turbo I4
DNF IMSA
GTS
76 United States Clayton Cunningham Racing Belgium Eric van de Poele
United States Paul Gentilozzi
Japan Shunji Kasuya
Nissan 300ZX Turbo Y 25
Nissan VRH35 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF GT2 64 Italy Ferrari Club Italia Argentina Oscar Larrauri
Italy Fabio Mancini
France Joël Gouhier
Ferrari 348 GTC-LM P 23
Ferrari 3.4 L V8
DSQ GT2 51 United States Callaway Sport Inc. Germany Frank Jelinski
United States Boris Said
France Michel Maisonneuve
Callaway Corvette SuperNatural Y 142
Chevrolet 6.2 L V8

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole Position - Alain Ferté, #2 Courage Compétition - 3:51.05
  • Fastest Lap - Thierry Boutsen, #35 LeMans Porsche Team - 3:52.54, lap 243
  • Winner's Distance - 4678.4 km
  • Average Speed - 195.238 km/h
  • Highest Trap Speed — Dauer 962 Le Mans - 365 km/h (practice)
  • Attendance - 140000
  • Last time when the team entered only two drivers for a racecar (Car #21)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Spurring 2014, p.150.
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20041024224640/http://f1rejects.com/centrale/ratzenberger/index.html. Archived from the original on October 24, 2004. Retrieved October 26, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Spurring 2014, p.149.
  4. ^ Spurring 2014, p.153.
  5. ^ Spurring 2014, p.156.
  6. ^ Spurring 2014, p.154.

References[edit]

External links[edit]