The Le Mans Legend historic race on June 13th, which this year is for Le Mans-type race cars from 1949 to 1965, has been inundated with entries as owners and drivers anticipate the thrill of racing in support of the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hours.
“Only 61 cars will be allowed to start the historic race on the morning of Saturday, June 13th, so naturally we’ve had to turn away a lot of disappointed applicants,” says Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends, which runs the Le Mans Legend race.
Wiltshire added, “It does mean, however, that the grid for this year’s Le Mans Legend is quite outstanding. There’s a tremendous spread of marques – from Ferrari and Jaguar to Aston Martin, Lola, MG, Austin-Healey and numerous others, many with actual Le Mans history – such as the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1. We are always careful to pick not merely the quickest cars, however, but fascinating cars of the correct specification which will ensure a neck-and-neck battle right through the field. We intend to provide a thrilling experience not only for the drivers, but for the spectators who flock to Le Mans in their hundreds of thousands.”
Forty-four years ago, in 1965, the 24-hour race was a dazzling triumph for Ferrari, as the Prancing Horse took 1st, 2nd and 3rd places overall. Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt were the outright victors in their 275LM, followed by the similar car of Dumay and Gosselin, with Willy Mairesse and Jean Blaton third in their 275GTB. Porsche 904/6 and 904/4 were hot on the heels of Ferrari, in a race which is remembered as the Italian marque’s last outright win in the world’s greatest endurance race.
Can Ferrari again scoop victory for the marque, in the historic support race, which takes place just a few brief hours before the start of the modern 24 Heures du Mans? While the Ferrari mid-engined 250LM is in with a chance, it will be under severe pressure from the likes of Ludovic Caron’s Shelby Daytona Cobra, Justin Law’s 1963 Lister Jaguar GT Prototype and Gary Pearson’s always-quick Jaguar D-type.
Co-incidentally, it was a Ferrari which took the checkered flag in the opening year of the chosen era, too. In 1949, Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon took the latter’s Ferrari 166 MM to victory. While there is no 166 MM entered in this year’s Le Mans Legend, there are plenty of cars from the 1950s with intriguing stories behind them. For example, Bruce Chapman – grandson of the famous lady rally driver of the 1950s, Nancy Mitchell, will be driving his grandmother’s ex-Works MGA in which she competed in the 1955 Mille Miglia; and Sir Stirling Moss will be driving his own Osca FS 372, which he bought two years ago and has since had restored.
The 2009 Le Mans Legend will be held on the morning of Saturday 13th June, a few hours before the start of the modern 24 Hours.