Author: Glen Smale
RRP: £50.00 (free P&P in the UK)
Published by: Haynes Publishing
Foreword by: Reinhold Joest
As the title suggests, the book Porsche at Le Mans charts Porsche’s remarkable tally of victories in the world’s toughest endurance race, the Le Mans 24-Hour.
Driven by the very best sports car drivers in the world, Porsche ensured that it was in the best possible position each year to extract the greatest performance out of its cars, thereby increasing its chances of a victory. Sometimes events played out in Porsche’s favour, but 16 victories in the Le Mans 24-Hour race over three decades can only be attributed to their clinical attention to detail and meticulous preparation.
The author has interviewed 24 drivers, race managers and team principles to compile a unique, multi-faceted account of Porsche’s achievements in this classic race. The book is illustrated by more than 600 images, many previously unpublished, making this a truly exciting and important addition to any racing enthusiast’s library.
Started in a wooden shed in the hills of Austria, the Porsche marque has risen through the ranks of international motorsport from the bottom of the table to dominate the pinnacle of this hostile environment in the most convincing manner. To talk about the great Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race without mentioning Porsche’s remarkable achievements is to present an incomplete picture of this legendary challenge.
In 1948, Ferry Porsche produced the first sports car to bear the name of his family, a realisation of a lifelong dream that he shared with his father, Professor Ferdinand Porsche. It was just three short years later that Porsche first entered the world of international endurance racing having being persuaded by the French Porsche importer Auguste Veuillet to take the plunge. They finished in 20th position overall that first year, and so began the long climb to the top of the sport.
Porsche cars have competed in every Le Mans event since the Stuttgart manufacturer dipped its toe tentatively into the turbulent waters of this car-destroying event back in 1951, and 2010 represented their 60th year of participation at the Sarthe. No other manufacturer has amassed as many Le Mans victories, a total which today stands at a phenomenal 16 overall race wins.
Porsche at Le Mans covers every one of those 60 years, charting the successes and the failures of most of the Porsches that have raced there, including both factory and private entries. It is thanks to this armada of enthusiastic privateer teams through the years that Porsche has accumulated so many Le Mans victories, as an official factory team has on a number of occasions, and for a variety of reasons, not competed every year.
Including many interviews with racing drivers from a number of different class entries, this book provides the reader with a new and exciting mix of stories and racing accounts.
Glen Smale is a life-long motoring enthusiast whose writing in this field has covered magazine features, books and automotive marketing. In 1993 he founded Automotive Research, which specialises in providing research services to the motor industry and related media. Then, after several years as editor of a motoring website for a major UK insurance company, Smale decided to return to freelance writing. This is his fifth title for Haynes Publishing covering sports and racing cars.