Salon Privé to celebrate 100 years of Le Mans 24 Hours
Salon Privé will continue the worldwide celebrations marking 100 years of the Le Mans 24 Hours later this month with an expertly curated display of spectacular racers.
The five fearsome Le Mans challengers represent some of the most exciting periods of racing at La Sarthe, with two mighty Porsche 962s from the 1980s leading the display. The Blenheim Le Mans showcase will also include a unique Jaguar XJ220, a front-running Porsche 911 and a Ferrari from the 2010s driven to multiple victories by F1 legend Giancarlo Fisichella.
Adding a radical race-bred element to Salon Privé in this historic year for the Le Mans 24 Hours, guests will be able to inspect the cars up close to have their own Le Mans experience in the fabulous grounds of Blenheim Palace.
1985 Porsche 962 004
Built in 1985, 962 004 was last of the three new Rothmans factory Porsche 962s to debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours. It was driven by 1983 winners Al Holbert and Vern Schuppan, with ex-F1 star John Watson completing the roster. Destined to become the leading works car, it ran strongly behind the winning Joest 956, before retiring with three hours remaining due to an engine issue. A return in 1986 saw Jochen Mass place 004 on pole at Le Mans. He was teamed up with Bob Wollek and Vern Schuppan, and this car again ran in second place for more than 10 hours, until hitting fresh oil around 3am at the Porsche Curves. Sadly, this resulted in their retirement. A return in 1988 saw an excellent fifth-place finish, ahead of the second works Shell Dunlop 962. In total, a record eight Group C Le Mans winning drivers all remarkably raced this chassis in period, across four consecutive seasons: Bell, Holbert, Ickx, Ludwig, Mass, Schuppan, Stuck and Winter.
1988 Porsche 962 200
962-200 was the second of the three bespoke Richard Lloyd Racing 962s campaigned by the team. It featured a unique honeycomb and carbon chassis designed by Nigel Stroud. It was built for the 1988 season, specifically for Derek Bell to lead his championship assault for RLR. The car scored a fourth place on its debut, recorded the fastest lap at Spa and also scored a podium finish at the Tampa World Challenge. In the 1989 season, it scored a strong second place at Silverstone in the hands of Tiff Needell. Needell also joined Derek Bell and James Weaver for the 1989 Le Mans 24 hours, running very strongly until an oil leak forced retirement from a creditable seventh place against the might of the works teams, and with just two hours remaining. A strong fourth place was achieved by Bell and Needell at the final world championship round in Mexico that year.
1993 Jaguar XJ220C #002
This very car was the last Jaguar to ‘win’ at Le Mans. In 1993, three XJ220 competition cars were built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing, to FIA/IMSA Le Mans specifications, in order to contest in the GT class at the Le Mans 24 Hours. TWR pulled together a star driver line-up of David Coulthard, David Brabham and John Nielsen. The #50 car qualified second in class, behind the works Porsche of Hans Stuck, Walter Röhrl and Hurley Haywood. During the race, two XJ220s were running first and second after three hours, and all was looking bright for the British team. The two Jaguars maintained a consistent race pace out front – until the sister car experienced a high-speed blow-out, and then an overheating engine as it tried to limp back to the pits. Just one XJ220 was in the race – this car – which crossed the line first in class, two laps ahead of their nearest class rival. However, a technicality regarding the lack of catalytic converters had been raised pre-race – they were not required for the IMSA class in which the car was entered. Although the FIA upheld the appeal by TWR, it was ruled to be “out of time” by the ACO. The car was controversially later disqualified.
1995 Porsche 993 GT2R
The Porsche 993 GT2R was the customer race version of the highly-regarded 993 GT2 homologation car. Built in 1995 by Porsche Motorsport at Weissach, it was delivered to French lawyer Jean-François Veroux – who today is permanent chairman of the panel of stewards for the FIA WEC. Veroux was a privateer driver who, with sponsorship from Sodimail, participated in the iconic 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours, with Didier Orton and Eric van de Vyver. In a race which was dominated and won by the McLaren F1 GTRs, the French trio were the second Porsche home, finishing a very creditable 16th overall and fifth in class. Racing continued in the BPR series, finishing at the Silverstone, Le Mans and Paul Ricard 4 Hour races. The car was retired in 1996, only to return and successfully contest the Spa 24 Hour races in 2001 and 2002. It was later sold and road-registered in France, then Belgium and now the UK, to make it both an incredible road or race car.
2011 Ferrari 458 GTE #2826
This wonderfully original 458 GTE sits alongside its Le Mans-winning sister car as one of the most successful Ferrari GT2 works cars in existence. Works drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni scored six wins in 2011, the debut year of the new 458 GTE, including the 1,000km of Spa, 6 Hours of Silverstone and the challenging 12 Hours of Petit Le Mans. They achieved nine podiums from 11 races entered, helping to secure a double Championship win in both the Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Wearing the now-iconic #51 race number (and with the duo joined by Toni Vilander), the car also finished second in class at the 2011 Le Mans 24 hours; it finished on the same lap as the winning Corvette, after a race-long battle. 2012 saw a second full season, wearing the #61 for GTE Am, recording sixth in class at Le Mans as the second highest placed Ferrari.
“We’re delighted to continue the celebrations for 100 years of the Le Mans 24 Hours with our own expertly curated display of legendary cars,” said Salon Privé co-founder and director David Bagley. “All these cars have colourful stories and I’m sure our guests will enjoy seeing them up close and capturing their powerful potency, sharing no doubt on social media, to continue the celebration of 100 years of Le Mans!”
“We are thrilled to again assist the team at Salon Privé, after helping with the “Derek Bell’s Dozen” Group C Porsche display in 2011, this time extending to celebrate the past forty years, spanning the 956 based launch model works 962, through to the GT1 and GT2 era cars that are still running in this Le Mans Centenary year” said Henry Pearman, a lifelong passionate follower, collector and racer of historic endurance cars. “The cars chosen perfectly capture the evolution of endurance racing since the early 1980s.”