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Ford GT40s dominate Le Mans Legend

18 June, 2015

The spectacle that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been stealing all the headlines this week, but just as exciting — if not even more so, dare we say it — was the biannual ‘support’ race that is the Le Mans Legend.

This amazing warm-up to the real deal 24 Hours of Le Mans recently had the rules changed, allowing entry of iconic racing vehicles from between 1949 and 1968 — with a line-up including such elegant machinery as the Ford GT40, Porsche’s 908 and 910 race cars, and Jaguar C-types, all alongside the characterful vehicles of the era that made Le Mans what it is, the racing would always be great.

Image: Jakob Ebrey Photography

And great it was, with a field of 61 entrants racing cars as diverse as an Alpine A220, Shelby Cobra, and Alfa Romeo TZ1. Ultimately, the podium would be taken over by the blue oval, with a pair of Ford GT40s taking pole and second — a fitting flashback to the cars’ dominance at Le Mans 50 years ago, especially considering both cars had competed at La Sarthe in the 1960s.

Bernard Thuner took pole behind the wheel of Claude Nahum’s GT40, with Andrew Smith and James Cottingham in hot pursuit, to claim second. Ludovic Caron took third in a Shelby Cobra, with David Hart finishing in fourth behind the wheel of the AC Cobra. The GT40s’ dominance didn’t end on the podium either, with Richard Meins’ GT40 coming across the line in fifth, and Philip Walker and Miles Griffiths’ GT40 right behind.

There’s a reason Le Mans is still considered the world’s premier motorsport event, and its rich history — still showcased in such an awesome manner — is why. What a race!

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?