Half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong ?

The past is a foreign land never to be visited again, the memory frequently plays tricks, often at odds with reality. When I think back to Le Mans 1980 I conjure up an image of awful weather and Jean Rondeau taking a popular, but unlikely, victory. Scanning in a recently discovered batch of negatives, I find that for the most part it was sunny. Maybe during the rain I was in the bar with my old mate, Box, rather than trackside…………..plus ça change.

Here as the shadows lengthen along the Main Straight, the WM P 79/80 of Max Mamers and Jean-Daniel Raulet leads the pre-race favourite Porsche 908/80 of Jacky Ickx and Reinhold Jöst. The former would finish eleventh, the latter second.

The 908/80 was a bit of mongrel, a consequence of the Top Brass at Porsche decreeing that the three time Le Mans winning 936 be put into retirement, largely as reaction to the shellacking they received from Renault in 1978. A number of 936 spare parts were “liberated” from Weissach and appeared in Jöst’s workshop. There a new car was assembled but to tow the corporate line it was designated the 908/80, to simple folk like me it was a 936……………quack, quack and all that.

Virtually nothing remains of this scene just 32 years later, with everything changing in 1991 when the new pits were finished. The Gendarmes have also largely disappeared from the stadium area, a pity as they added an authentic Gallic flavour to the proceedings.

John Brooks, December 2012

2 thoughts on “Half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong ?

  1. John D

    Hi Brooksie.
    It brings it back to me. Especially the time spent in the champagne bar with Box & the others.
    Happy days & glorious racing with wonderful cars.
    Bring back Group C I say!


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