1959 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 27th 24 Hours of Le Mans, Grand Prix of Endurance, took place on 20 and 21 June 1959, on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was the fourth round of the F. I. A. World Sports Car Championship; the prospect of an exciting duel between Ferrari, Aston Martin and giantkillers Porsche was enough to draw large crowds and some 150,000 spectators gathered for France’s classic sports car race, around the 8.38-mile course. Aston Martin achieved the coveted outright win, doing it with a 1-2 finish; the marque had first entered the Le Mans race in 1928, running every race since 1931 and had finished second three times and third twice before this victory. Significant changes occurred with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest regulations this year; the FIA had issued its revamped and revised Appendix J rules for Grand Touring cars and the ACO followed other endurance races and opened its entry-list to the GT categories for the first time. Each GT model had to have a minimum production run of 100 cars over 12 consecutive months.
Those not meeting those requirements were put into the Sports Prototypes category. Both GT and SP ran to the same engine categories within their respective divisions; the ACO introduced a new competition to measure optimal car performance. The Index of Thermal Efficiency took into account a car’s weight and fuel consumption, it did not include engine size in the calculation. This ran alongside the regular Index of Performance handicap competition, whose target distances were increased. Fuel and water replenishment remained limited at a minimum of 30 laps between refills. Only two men, a third as refueller, were allowed to work on a car in the pits, meaning the driver had to get out and behind the pit wall to not count against that total. Regarding the track and organisation, the ACO installed IBM calculators to help with the administration; as well as considerable re-surfacing, a number of signalling lights were installed. Acknowledging the huge influx of British spectators to the race, the ACO invited the racing magazine The Motor to send a journalist to provide race-commentary in English once an hour.
This year the prize-money was £5000 for both the winners on distance and index of performance, a total of over £30000. The increase in potential classes to 10 created a lot of interest with manufacturers and drivers and a total of 97 entries applied for the event. From this the ACO accepted 60 to practise; this year there were seven manufacturer works teams, led by Ferrari and Aston Martin as well as Porsche, Lotus, DB, OSCA and Triumph. They were joined by the sports-car specialist Lister and Stanguellini teams, it meant. Defending champions Scuderia Ferrari brought their latest version of the Ferrari 250 TR; the chassis had been made shorter and 77 kg lighter. The 3-litre V12 now developed 306 bhp. After six years Enzo Ferrari had relented and installed Dunlop disc brakes on the works cars, his squad of drivers included 1958 winners, Phil Hill/Olivier Gendebien, joined by Jean Behra/Dan Gurney and Hermano da Silva Ramos/Cliff Allison. There were three 1958-models entered by private teams including the Equipe Nationale Belge and North American Racing Team.
A subsidiary team, Scuderia Eugenio Castellotti, was entrusted with a new prototype to take on the Porsches in the 2-litre division – the V6 196S ‘Dino’. The engine was a half-size version of the V12 in the 250 TR and produced 200 bhp, it would be driven by Castellotti’s close friend Giulio Cabianca with Giorgio Scarlatti. As in the previous year, Aston Martin arrived with victory in the 1000km of Nürburgring with their DBR1/300. Led by director John Wyer and team manager Reg Parnell, they arrived at Le Sarthe with a strong driver line-up to give themselves every chance of victory; the three works cars were driven by Nürburgring winners Stirling Moss/Jack Fairman alongside the F1 team driver Roy Salvadori with ex-chicken farmer, Texan Carroll Shelby, Maurice Trintignant/Paul Frère. This year the cars were more streamlined and Moss and Fairman were given a more powerful 255 bhp engine to keep up with the Ferraris. Graham Whitehead again entered another DBR1. After the death of his half-brother Peter, he now had Brian Naylor as co-driver.
In the GT category there was a new DB4 GT entered by the Swiss Ecurie Trois ChevronsWith no Maseratis this year, the remaining five cars in the S-3000 category all had Jaguar-engines: Lister Engineering brought two of their new Frank Costin-designed cars, with another for the Equipe Nationale Belge, while the successful Ecurie Ecosse team this year entered both a Jaguar D-Type and a Tojeiro-Jaguar. After the strong run to 3rd. 4th and 5th in the previous year, the Porsche 718 RSK was the car to beat in the 2.0 and 1.5-litre prototype classes. They had just achieved their first outright Championship victory in May’s Targa Florio, finishing 1-2-3-4; the two works cars were driven by regulars Hans Herrmann / Umberto Maglioli and new team-members Wolfgang von Trips / Jo Bonnier. Four Porsches made up the only entrants in the S-1500 class, the works car driven by Edgar Barth / Wolfgang Seidel alongside Dutch and American privateers. Colin Chapman’s Lotus team arrived in force, entering several classes: F1 team driver Graham Hill was paired with Australian Lotus-agent Derek Jolly in a new 2-
Rob Walker Racing Team
Rob Walker Racing Team was a privateer team in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s. Founded by Johnnie Walker heir Rob Walker in 1953, the team became F1's most successful privateer in history, being the first and only entrant to win a World Championship Formula One Grand Prix without building their own car. Born in 1917, the 35-year-old Rob Walker founded his team in 1953, debuting in the Lavant Cup Formula 2 race, entering a Connaught for driver Tony Rolt, where he achieved a third place; the next race, at Snetterton, Eric Thompson was the first winner with a Rob Walker car. Between Rolt and Thompson, the Rob Walker Racing Team had an auspicious debut season, with eight wins in British club racing series, their international debut was at the Rouen Grand Prix, a mixed F1/F2 race, with Stirling Moss's Cooper-Alta, who managed to take 4th place among the F2 cars. The 1953 British Grand Prix was Walker's first World Championship outing, but Rolt's Connaught did not last the full distance. Walker, who entered his cars in Scottish national colours, continued to race in British club events in the following years.
From 1954 to 1956, Walker made a few scattered appearances, only winning a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch in 1956 with Tony Brooks. Walker returned full-time in 1957 with an F2 Cooper-Climax. Tony Brooks, who shared driving duties during the season with Jack Brabham and Noel Cunningham-Reid, won the Lavant Cup, but the team failed to finish most of its races. In 1958, Rob Walker concentrated only on the large international events. Pre-WWII veteran Maurice Trintignant was signed full-time, with Moss and Brooks racing when they were free from their Vanwall commitments; the season started well enough for the team, with Moss and Trintignant winning at Argentina and Monaco, the first wins for a Cooper chassis. Those would be the only World Championship victories, but Trintignant triumphed at Pau and Auvergne, while Moss took the victory at the BARC 200, Caen Grand Prix and Kentish 100. Moss and Trintignant remained with the team for 1959, with the British driver winning at the Glover Trophy in Goodwood, but for the French and British GP races, he left Walker for his father's British Racing Partnership outfit, where he failed to score.
Moss returned in the German Grand Prix, where he retired, but returned to winning form in Portugal and International Gold Cup. Trintignant's best score was second place at the US Grand Prix. Walker decided to concentrate on Moss and switched to a Lotus in 1960, starting from Monaco, which Moss won, the first time a Lotus won a Formula 1 race. Moss would triumph only at the non-championship International Gold Cup in Oulton Park and the US GP at Riverside, but still managed to finish the season in third place overall, as had happened the previous year. After the end of the season, in December, Walker took Moss to two South African races. In 1961, F1 adopted the new 1.5 L engine regulations, Walker flirted with the idea of building his own chassis, but retained the Lotus 18 for the season. Moss won the non-championship races at Goodwood in the 2.5 L Intercontinental Formula and Vienna, as well as the Monaco and German Grands Prix. At the 1961 British Grand Prix, Rob Walker Racing became the first team to enter a four-wheel drive car for a World Championship Grand Prix, when they entered the Ferguson P99 on behalf of Ferguson Research.
Moss won that season's Oulton Park International Gold Cup race in the same car. The 1962 season started well enough, with the returning Trintignant winning at Pau, but Walker's plans were shaken when Moss had an accident at the Goodwood Glover Trophy meeting driving a BRP-entered Lotus, finishing his career. Walker had planned to enter a Ferrari for the British driver in the World Championship, but was forced to retain Trintignant, the elder French driver becoming uncompetitive, not scoring a single championship point; the year's misfortunes continued in Mexico and South Africa, where Walker saw drivers Ricardo Rodriguez and Gary Hocking die at the wheel of his cars. Rob Walker changed strategy for 1963, employing Jo Bonnier and returning to the Cooper chassis, but once more results were sparse and mechanical failures frequent. Still, the team beefed up its operations for 1964, first with a new Cooper and with a Brabham-BRM, with Bonnier and other guest drivers driving at several World Championship events.
From the Italian GP, Walker had decided to run two cars, a BT11 chassis with BRM power, a BT7 chassis with Climax power. In 1965, Jo Siffert partnered Bonnier, although the more experienced Swede was fastest, it was the Swiss who managed to score 5 championship points. With constant mechanical failure plaguing him, Bonnier's best result was a third place at the non-championship Race of Champions. With the new 3.0 L regulations starting in 1966, Bonnier left Walker to restart Ecurie Bonnier, Siffert remained alone with Walker, with the Maserati-engined Cooper T81. The car was uncompetitive in 1967, in 1968 Walker, now partnered with entrepreneur Jack Durlacher, purchased a Cosworth-powered Lotus 49; that year, Siffert won the British Grand Prix through attrition, after the works Lotuses retired, Siffert overpowered Chris Amon to take what would be Rob Walker's final win. Siffert left the team at the end of 1969, after finishing the year in 9th place, Rob Walker Racing Team competed for the last time in 1970, entering a Lotus 72 for driver Graham Hill, now 40 years old
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is a 4.304 km motorsport race track in Mexico City, named after the racing drivers Ricardo and Pedro Rodríguez. The circuit got its name shortly after it opened when Ricardo Rodríguez died in practice for the non-Championship 1962 Mexican Grand Prix. Ricardo's brother Pedro lost his life behind the wheel nine years later. Since 2015 the track once again is a host of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix, an event it hosted in two separarate time periods on a different layout, the last occasion of, in 1992; the circuit is located within the public park of the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City in southeast Mexico City. The circuit is owned by the Government of the City, but is operated under concession by Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento through OCESA, one of CIE's subsidiaries. CIE organizes the NASCAR and Desafío Coron races in this circuit and rents the circuits to other parties, including race organizers, automobile clubs and track amateurs for fees that are controversial due to their disproportionately high amounts compared to other ex-F1 courses.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series started racing at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in the 2005 season and ended in the 2008 season. Martin Truex Jr. won the race in 2005, Denny Hamlin won in 2006. For the 2007 race, the chicane was removed to increase passing opportunities down the front straight and into turn 1, Juan Pablo Montoya from Bogotá, won the race. Kyle Busch was the winner of the race in 2008; the A1 Grand Prix series started racing at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in the 2006–07 season using the full-track configuration used by Formula One. Alex Yoong from Malaysia won the sprint race and Oliver Jarvis from the United Kingdom won the feature race. In the 2007–08 season, Jonny Reid from New Zealand won the sprint race and Adam Carroll of Team Ireland won the feature race. Built in the Magdalena Mixhuca public park in 1959, the circuit hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix in 1962, as a non-Championship race; the following year the Mexican Grand Prix became a full World Championship event. The circuit remained part of the F1 calendar through 1970, when spectator overcrowding caused unsafe conditions.
When F1 returned in 1986, the circuit boasted a new pit complex, as well as improved safety all around. In 2001 CIE and Forsythe Racing tasked D3 Motorsport Development with revamping the circuit. A redesign to include the Foro and a complete upgrade of the circuit was done, it saw a record crowd of 402,413 people attend a round of the CART Championship in 2002. As of 2019, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has been the only venue for the F1 Mexican Grand Prix, it was announced in May 2012, that the circuit would again host the Mexican Grand Prix from 2013, in a five-year deal that would see it replace the European Grand Prix in Valencia, but this did not happen. The FIA listed the Mexican Grand Prix as the 19th round of the provisional schedule for the 2014 season, but it was not on the finalized schedule; the Mexican Grand Prix was listed on the 2015 Formula One calendar published by the FIA on 3 December 2014, with Formula One making its return to the circuit with the race on 1 November 2015.
The racetrack is home to Insomnniacs Electric Daisy Carnival a popular music festival and experience attended by over 200,000 people. The circuit has an elevation of 2,285 m; the circuit has an fast final corner before a long start/finish straight, thus reminded some of Monza. It was at this corner that the younger Rodríguez due to suspension failure. After the last F1 Mexican Grand Prix in 1992, a baseball stadium called the "Foro" was built on the inner part of this curve; when the Champ Car series began using the track in 2002, the Peraltada curve was bypassed by a series of sharp turns entering and exiting the Foro. After the Peraltada comes the long 1.2 km front straight. During the original turbo era in Formula One the faster cars were clocking speeds of up to 330 km/h on the straight. In the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season, there was a chicane on the main straightaway to slow the cars down, they introduced a curve between the short course and the Ese del Lago to bypass the latter, but avoiding the stadium detour.
The Grand Prix circuit underwent a significant renovation under the direction of Hermann Tilke for the return of Formula One in 2015. The front straight was extended and reprofiled to accommodate a new media center and paddock; the iconic esses between turns 7 and 13 were modified. The baseball field portion of the track was altered to a low speed left-right combination that bypassed the first half of the Peraltada, allowing the cars to re-enter the Peraltada halfway through the corner. At 4.304 kilometres, the course is 170 metres shorter than the previous Grand Prix layout, Mexican Grand Prix organisers predicted lap times of around 75 seconds and speeds in excess of 328 km/h for the current turbocharged Formula One cars, which eliminate the adverse effects of altitude present in aspirated cars. However it turns out the modern V6 hybrid turbo F1 cars managed to reach the top speed in excess of 370 km/h down the main straight; the circuit features an oval layout due to the inclusion of a flat turn that goes from the middle of the main straight to the beginning of the back stretch of circuit.
Riverside International Raceway
Riverside International Raceway was a motorsports race track and road course in the Moreno Valley area, a suburb just east of Riverside, California. Riverside was a dusty place, it was at times a dangerous place, yet it is remembered with affection by drivers and fans alike, as the home of road racing in southern California. It was considered one of USA's finest tracks; the track was in operation from September 22, 1957, to July 2, 1989, with the last race, The Budweiser 400, won by Rusty Wallace, held in 1988. After that final race, a shortened version of the circuit was kept open for car clubs and special events until 1989. In the beginning it was called The Riverside International Motor Raceway, it was built in early 1957 by a company called West Coast Automotive Testing Corp.. The head of West Coast Auto Testing was a man by the name of Rudy Cleye, from Los Angeles, who had raced in Europe; however the building of the raceway met with funding difficulties early on and a businessman by the name of John Edgar provided a much needed cash bailout.
This action prevented any halt in the track's construction. The first weekend of scheduled races in September 1957, a California Sports Car Club event, John Lawrence of Pasadena, lost his life. Lawrence, a former Cal Club member, piloting a 1500 cc Production champion, went off at Turn 5. With no crash barrier in place, no rollbar on the car, Lawrence's MGA went up the sand embankment rolled back onto the track. Though Lawrence survived the incident, appeared only injured, he died at the hospital of a brain injury; the second major event at the track, in November 1957, was a sports car race featuring some of the top drivers of the day, including Carroll Shelby, Masten Gregory and Ken Miles. Another driver entered was an inexperienced local youngster named Dan Gurney, offered the opportunity to drive a powerful but ill-handling 4.9-liter Ferrari after better-known drivers such as Shelby and Miles had rejected it. Shelby spun and fell back. Gurney led for much of the event. Shelby, driving furiously to catch up overtook Gurney late in the race and won.
Gurney's performance caught the eye of North American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti, who arranged for Gurney to drive a factory-supported Ferrari at Le Mans in 1958 launching the Californian's European career. Footage exists of classic races like the 1986 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix in which the Chevy Corvette of Doc Bundy, attempting a three-wide pass, hit the Ford Probe of Lyn St. James and the Jaguar of Chip Robinson at Turn 1. St. James' car caught Chip Robinson nearly cartwheeled into the crowd. St. James survived Robinson escaped uninjured within the track bounds; the track was known as a dangerous course, with its long, downhill back straightaway and brake-destroying slow 180-degree Turn 9 at the end. During the 1965 Motor Trend 500 NASCAR race, Indycar great A. J. Foyt suffered a brake failure at the end of the straight, shot off the road and went end-over-end through the infield at high speed. Crash crews assumed Foyt was dead at the scene, until fellow driver Parnelli Jones noticed a twitch of movement.
Ford factory sports car driver Ken Miles was killed there in a testing accident in August 1966 when his Ford sports car prototype became aerodynamically unstable and flew out of control at the end of the back straight. In December 1968, American Formula 5000 champion Dr. Lou Sell crashed and overturned in Turn 9 on the first lap of the Rex Mays 300 Indianapolis-style race, suffering near-fatal burns. In January 1967, Canadian driver Billy Foster crashed at Turn 9 during a practice-session just prior to the start of qualifying for the Motor Trend 500 NASCAR race; these accidents and others caused track management to reconfigure Turn 9, giving the turn a dogleg approach and a much wider radius. In January 1964, Riverside claimed the life of 1962–'63 NASCAR champion Joe Weatherly, who refused to wear a shoulder harness and wore his lap belt loosely. Weatherly died when he lost control entering Turn 6, hitting the steel barrier broadside and had his head snapped out the window against the barrier.
In 1983 Turn 9 was the site of the only fatality in IMSA GTP history. In the 1983 Times Grand Prix, Rolf Stommelen's Joest-constructed Porsche 935 lost its rear wing at the Dogleg and hit two freeway-type barriers sending it into a horrific roll at Turn 9. Of the entire road course races run at RIR, there was one, run in a counter-clockwise direction, sometime around 1960. In 1966 Dan Gurney tested his first Eagle racing car on a shorter, counter-clockwise version of the track tailored for his car's Indianapolis-specific left-turn oiling system; the test caused Gurney to ask track president Les Richter to hold an Indianapolis-style race there. From 1967 to 1969 the Rex Mays 300 served as the season-ending USAC Indianapolis-car race. ESPN taped the June 12, 1988, Budweiser 400 race at RIR and caught racer Ruben Garcia crashing hard off turn 9 and his car went through two cement barriers before coming to rest near a catch fence where fans were sitting, he was not injured and neither were the race fans.
After 14 years of NASCAR as a driver and a car owner, Richard Childress won his first NASCAR race in 1983, when Ricky Rudd drove his #3 Piedmont Airlines Chevrolet to victory in the 1983 Budweiser 400k. From 1981 until 1987, NASCAR's championship race was at Riverside; the USAC Championship Trail held their season ending race from 1967 to 1969. Riverside was home to track announcer
The Lotus 24 was a Formula One racing car designed by Team Lotus for the 1962 Formula One season. Despite some early success in non-Championship Grands Prix, it was eclipsed by the technically superior Lotus 25 and featured in the points in World Championship races. Having devised the monocoque Lotus 25 for use by the works team, Colin Chapman decided to build a'conventional' back-up spaceframe design which he would sell to privateers; the 24 was a different design from its predecessor, the 21, used much of the same suspension as the 25. Both Coventry Climax FWMV and BRM P56 engines were fitted, with at least one example running with the Coventry Climax FPF four-cylinder; the Lotus 24 made its debut at the 1962 Brussels Grand Prix. Jim Clark retired after only one lap. Two weeks Clark won the Lombank Trophy race at Snetterton, its first World Championship event was the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, where it finished second with Trevor Taylor. However, that would be its best Championship finish. Colin Chapman had promised his customers that the team cars would be mechanically identical to the customer cars, leaving himself free to alter what he classified as the cars' "bodywork".
The 24 continued to be run by private teams in 1963 and 1964 with limited success, by 1965 only one World Championship entry was made, Brian Gubby failing to qualify for the British Grand Prix
Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. Mexico City is one of the most important financial centres in the Americas, it is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters. The city has 16 boroughs; the 2009 population for the city proper was 8.84 million people, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometers. According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the population of Greater Mexico City is 21.3 million, which makes it the largest metropolitan area of the Western Hemisphere, the eleventh-largest agglomeration, the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. Greater Mexico City has a GDP of $411 billion in 2011, making Greater Mexico City one of the most productive urban areas in the world; the city was responsible for generating 15.8% of Mexico's GDP, the metropolitan area accounted for about 22% of total national GDP.
If it were an independent country, in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy in Latin America, five times as large as Costa Rica and about the same size as Peru. Mexico’s capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by Native Americans, the other being Quito, Ecuador; the city was built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, as of 1585, it was known as Ciudad de México. Mexico City was the political and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the federal district was created in 1824. After years of demanding greater political autonomy, residents were given the right to elect both a Head of Government and the representatives of the unicameral Legislative Assembly by election in 1997.
Since, the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution has controlled both of them. The city has several progressive policies, such as abortion on request, a limited form of euthanasia, no-fault divorce, same-sex marriage. On January 29, 2016, it ceased to be the Federal District, is now known as Ciudad de México, with a greater degree of autonomy. A clause in the Constitution of Mexico, prevents it from becoming a state, as it is the seat of power in the country, unless the capital of the country were relocated elsewhere; the city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in 1325. The old Mexica city, now referred to as Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico, which it shared with a smaller city-state called Tlatelolco. According to legend, the Mexicas' principal god, indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear devouring a rattlesnake. Between 1325 and 1521, Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco and in the Valley of Mexico.
When the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec Empire had reached much of Mesoamerica, touching both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. After landing in Veracruz, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés advanced upon Tenochtitlan with the aid of many of the other native peoples, arriving there on November 8, 1519. Cortés and his men marched along the causeway leading into the city from Iztapalapa, the city's ruler, Moctezuma II, greeted the Spaniards. Cortés put Moctezuma under house arrest. Tensions increased until, on the night of June 30, 1520 – during a struggle known as "La Noche Triste" – the Aztecs rose up against the Spanish intrusion and managed to capture or drive out the Europeans and their Tlaxcalan allies. Cortés regrouped at Tlaxcala; the Aztecs thought the Spaniards were permanently gone, they elected a new king, Cuitláhuac, but he soon died. Cortés began a siege of Tenochtitlan in May 1521. For three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans.
Cortés and his allies landed their forces in the south of the island and fought their way through the city. Cuauhtémoc surrendered in August 1521; the Spaniards razed Tenochtitlan during the final siege of the conquest. Cortés first settled in Coyoacán, but decided to rebuild the Aztec site to erase all traces of the old order, he did not establish a territory under his own personal rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crown. The first Spanish viceroy arrived in Mexico City fourteen years later. By that time, the city had again become a city-state, having power that extended far beyond its borders. Although the Spanish preserved Tenochtitlan's basic layout, they built Catholic churches over the old Aztec temples and claimed the imperial palaces for themselves. Tenochtitlan was renamed "Mexico"; the city had been the capital of the Aztec empire and in the colonial era, Mexico City became the capital of New Spain. The viceroy of Mexico or vice-king lived in the viceregal palace on Zócalo; the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishopric of New Spain, was const
Porsche in motorsport
Porsche has been successful in many branches of motorsport of which most have been in long distance races. Despite their early involvement in motorsports being limited to supplying small engines to racing underdogs up until the late 1960s, by the mid-1950s Porsche had tasted moderate success in the realm of sports car racing, most notably in the Carrera Panamericana and Targa Florio, classic races which were used in the naming of street cars; the Porsche 917 of 1969 turned them into a power house, winning in 1970 the first of over a dozen 24 Hours of Le Mans, more than any other company. With the 911 Carrera RS and the Porsche 935 Turbo, Porsche dominated the 1970s, has beaten sports prototypes, a category in which Porsche entered the successful 936, 956 and 962 models. Porsche is the world's largest race car manufacturer. In 2006, Porsche built 195 race cars for various international motor sports events, in 2007 Porsche is expected to construct no less than 275 dedicated race cars. Porsche regards racing as an essential part of ongoing engineering development—it was traditionally rare for factory-entered Porsche racing cars to appear at consecutive races in the same specification.
Some aspect of the car invariably, was being developed, whether for the future race programs or as proof of concept for future road cars. As Porsche only had small capacity road and racing cars in the 1950s and 1960s, they scored many wins in their classes, also overall victories against bigger cars, most notably winning the Targa Florio in 1956, 1959, 1960, 1964, every year from 1966 to 1970 in prototypes that lacked horsepower relative to the competition, but which made up for that, with reliability, low drag, low weight and good handling. In their September 2003 publication, Excellence magazine identified Lake Underwood as Porsche's quiet giant in the United States and he is among the four drivers, including Art Bunker, Bob Holbert, Charlie Wallace who are identified by the Porsche Club of America as having made Porsche a giant-killer in the US during the 1950s and early 1960s. Notable early successes in the US included an overall win in the 1963 Road America 500 for an under-2-litre RS-60 driven by Bill Wuesthoff and Augie Pabst.
Porsche started racing with lightweight, tuned derivatives of the 356 road car, but moved on to campaigning dedicated racing cars, with the 550, 718, RS, RSK models being the backbone of the company's racing programme through to the mid-1960s. The 90x series of cars in the 60s saw Porsche start to expand from class winners that stood a chance of overall wins in tougher races where endurance and handling mattered, to overall victors. Engines did not surpass the two litres mark until the rule makers limited the capacity of the prototype class to 3 litres after 1967, as the four-litre Ferrari P series and the seven-litre Ford GT40 became too fast. Porsche first expanded its 8-cyl flat engine to 2.2 litres in the 907 developed the 908 with full three litres in 1968. Based on this 8-cyl flat engine and a loophole in the rules, the 4.5-litre flat 12 917 was introduced in 1969 expanded to five litres, even to 5.4 and turbocharged. Within few years, Porsche with the 917 had grown from underdog to the supplier of the fastest and most powerful race car in the world.
Though introduced in 1963, winning the Rally Monte Carlo, the Porsche 911 classic established its reputation in production-based road racing in the 1970s. Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, winner of the Targa Florio and Sebring in the mid-1970s Porsche 934 Porsche 935, winner in Le Mans 1979Due to regulation restraints, the 911 was not used much in the 1980s, but returned in the 1990s as the Porsche 993, like the GT2 turbo model; the water-cooled Porsche 996 series became a success in racing after the GT3 variant was introduced in 1999. The Porsche 917 is considered one of the most iconic racing cars of all time and gave Porsche their first 24 Hours of Le Mans win, while open-top versions of it dominated Can-Am racing. After dominating Group 4, 5, 6 racing in the 1970s with the 911-based 934 and 935 and the prototype 936, Porsche moved on to dominate Group C and IMSA GTP in the 1980s with the Porsche 956/962C, one of the most prolific and successful sports prototype racers produced. Porsche scored a couple of unexpected Le Mans wins in 1996 and 1997.
A return to prototype racing in the US was planned for 1995 with a Tom Walkinshaw Racing chassis used as the Jaguar XJR-14 and the Mazda MXR-01 fitted with a Porsche engine. IMSA rule changes struck this car out of the running and the private Joest Racing team raced the cars in Europe for two years, winning back-to-back Le Mans with the same chassis, termed the Porsche WSC-95; this is a feat Porsche had achieved in the 956 era, contrasting with the 1960s and 1970s where most cars ran only one or two races for the works before being sold on. Between 1998 and 2014, Porsche did not attempt to score overall wins at Le Mans and similar sports car races, focusing on smaller classes and developing the water-cooled 996 GT3; the GT3 and the LMP2 RS Spyder won major races overall during the period. Porsche returned to top-tier Le Mans racing in 2014 with the 919, but both cars experienced unknown engine issues with an hour and a half left to go and retired just as the #20 car was chasing down the #1 Audi in first place.
In 2015, a Porsche 919 Hybrid hybrid car driven by Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Nico Hülkenberg won the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Porsche LMP1 program went on to win th