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Le Mans—The Hard Way

After having to rebuild an incorrectly assembled engine, in the rain, the Porsche team then had to rebuild the entire right rear quarter of the car on race day when Bundy crashed the car during the warm-up. Despite all these obstacles, the Porsche ran flawlessly throughout the 24 hours claiming a hard-earned victory. Photo: Hal Crocker

Porsche called me and asked if I’d drive a factory car—a cheater 924 Turbo—at Le Mans in 1982. I said, “OK, but what do you mean by cheater?” “Well, you know, there’s not really a class for it—it’s gonna run in the GT class—but they’ve made a really good engine and we think it can win. So would you go to Weissach and be there a couple of weeks before the race and test it at the factory test track and then we’ll go down to Le Mans and race the car?” I said, “Sure.”

So I packed up and went over and got a room at the Holiday Inn in Zuffenhausen and stayed there for two weeks. Every day I’d call the race department and ask if the car was ready for testing. And every day they said, “Not yet. Call back.” So I made them rent me this big Mercedes and I’d drive all over Germany during the day and then I’d come back and call them the next morning, “Can I come over and test?” But “No” was always the response.

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