Le Mans 1956

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toomanysabres
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Le Mans 1956

Post by toomanysabres » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:04 pm

Tony Penfold just sent this to me.

Turn on your speakers and you can hear the sound of the Jag engine and hear Mike Hawthorn's commentary.

An amazing piece of footage of Mike Hawthorn doing a lap of Le Mans in 1956 in a D Type Jaguar. It's incredible to see the bikes and traffic out on the track, and an almost total lack of safety, bearing in mind the previous year a Mercedes flew off the track on pit straight and killed 84 people, seriously injuring a further 120. The accident was inadvertently caused by Hawthorn as he braked to go into the pits, his Dunlop disc brakes were awesome, and other cars braking hard to avoid running into the back of his Jaguar lost control resulting in a Mercedes hitting a sloped earth bank, launching into the air and disintegrating. Incredibly the race continued, although Mercedes withdrew its remaining cars, and Hawthorn went on to win.

Was this the first on-board camera?

https://vimeo.com/59410466#at=3D0

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Re: Le Mans 1956

Post by nickkeyser » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:37 pm

From an era when racing drivers where fearless, and men where men.

That's a long standing favourite of mine too. In a similar vein, with a total disregard for h&s and other road users are some of the targa florio videos. I particularly like this one; http://youtu.be/5wnZq9KBBfc

This is good too; http://youtu.be/7Albnb3xQdo

I think the 1955 accident could also place blame on the lack of a pit wall and poor signalling. Unfotunately serious accidents due to slower cars still happen today, McNish and Davidson can both vouch for that!

I love looking at what Le Mans used to be. The catch fencing and limited spectators areas don't look to have the same feel. The sandy banks and tree lined spectator areas look like they must have been great to watch from, these days there are understandably, big catch fences every where you go, limited viewing areas, and the aco seem to be on a mission to remove every tree. The facilities are much better though I expect! Just.


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Re: Le Mans 1956

Post by Roger Pennington » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:15 am

In fact, before Levegh in the Mercedes hit the bank, he had already driven up over the back of the Healey 100S, driven by Lance Macklin. That car, in "barn find" condition, was sold by Bonhams at the end of last year for £843,000 :shock: Auction link here


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Re: Le Mans 1956

Post by Roger Pennington » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:12 am

On the subject of the Targa Florio, 2006 marked the centenary of the race, and the Goodwood Festival of Speed had a number of cars and drivers there in honour of the event. A large and comprehensive book had also been published in Italy, detailing the complete history of the event with comprehensive results and photographs from each year.

I was at Horton's bookstall, examining this book, and rather engrossed :roll: , but thinking "I can't really justify buying it", when a couple of other people walked up to the stall, and started talking in Italian to the owner. I carried on looking at the book, then the stallholder leaned over to me:

"Excuse me Sir, can I introduce you?"

"oh?", I thought

"This is Nino Vaccarella!"

[He is one of only 3 people (the others being Olivier Gendebien and Umberto Maglioli) to win the Targa 3 times]

It turned out that he was there to discuss attending for a book signing session later in the day, but he was a very charming and agreeable chap, and was delighted to sign a copy for me then, with a personalised dedication :D
To say I was pleased would be an understatement, although the book did rather bust my budget for the weekend. (however the prices being asked for just ordinary copies now, on the web, are breathtaking).
Anyway, here he is, caught in the act of signing my book:

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Re: Le Mans 1956

Post by toomanysabres » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:39 am

Roger Pennington wrote:(however the prices being asked for just ordinary copies now, on the web, are breathtaking).
Anyway, here he is, caught in the act of signing my book:
Even more with a copy of that pic inside



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Re: Le Mans 1956

Post by cookieboy » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:40 am

I think the bbc did a programme about le mans 1956 .and its repeated on bbc4 every now and again . my father told me lots about racing in the 1950s .I remember him showing me pictures and slides of people like archie scott brown who drove with what now would be called a disability .perhaps thats why I look at racing drivers as heroes now .


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