The 2022 Le Mans Classic weekend embodied the highs and lows of historic motorsport! Pursuit claimed a podium with the beautiful Tojeiro Jaguar.
July 4, 2022
Created in 2002 by Peter Auto and ACO, Le Mans Classic is a look back over the rich history of the world's greatest endurance race. The cars are split into six groups covering individual eras from 1923 to 1981 and raced around the full Le Mans circuit over 24 hours with three races per group.
A typical Le Mans Classic weekend attracts more than 200,000 spectators with over 700 racing cars on the track and 8,500 classic cars displayed in the infield. As with the modern Le Mans, the event is super popular with British race fans and many British classic car fans make the pilgrimage to La Sarthe every two years.
2022 was our first Le Mans Classic as a team, and we were delighted to support six very beautiful racing cars.
In Group 3 (1957-1961), we had Max Girardo and James Cottingham in the beautiful ex-Ecurie Ecosse 3.8-litre Tojeiro Jaguar from 1959, which raced at Le Mans in 1959 but went on to retire and crashed at Goodwood later that year. After a few years in storage, the car was eventually restored with the help of Ecurie Ecosse mechanic, Stan Sproat, and proved a very capable racer. It was eventually sold to Ecurie Ecosse collector, Dick Skipworth, and carried Barry 'Whizzo' Williams to several memorable wins.
When the car changed hands, the car was fully restored and prepared for continued use in historic racing under the supervision of DK Engineering. With work beginning in mid-2019, the car was completed by mid-2020 and it has raced successfully ever since.
Le Mans Classic proved another successful outing for the Tojeiro. Max and James finished P2 in day qualifying and came home P5 in race 1, P5 in race 2 and won race 3 overall with a lap time some 4 seconds faster than their fastest qualifying lap. When the race times were totted up, the pair came home third overall behind a Lotus 15 and a D-Type; another podium finish and a fantastic result for this incredible car.
Group 4 is for cars from 1962 to 1965. We were running the Carreras Columbia Cobra, with James and Max sharing the driving. The weekend began well, with a P9 in daytime qualifying and P12 in the night practice behind some very fast cars including four GT40s and a pair of Shelby Daytona Coupes. We came home P7 in race 1 but, having started P10 in race 2, the race ended in retirement, drawing a line under our Group 4 participation.
In Group 5 (cars from 1966 to 1971), we supported three cars: the 1967 Lola T70 Mk3 driven by Patrick Jack and Ted Tuppen in the 1970 Chevron B16. While the friends are in this for fun, they give their best on track and we were delighted to see the Lola P6 in night practice, with the Chevron P42 overall.
Race 1 ended in retirement for the Lola, but Ted finished inside the top fifty: a cracking result for these true enthusiasts at the world's most famous endurance racing circuit .
Our final entry of the 2022 Le Mans Classic weekend was for the Endurance Racing Legends race, which is run separately to the 24-hour historic event. We were out with the spectacular 2002 Dallara SP1 in Playstation Oreca colours, which finished fifth overall at Le Mans 2022 and later raced at Sebring and again at Le Mans.
Driven by Max and James, the mighty Judd V10 powered the car to a P3 in qualifying but a problem in the race led to retirement. Such a bitter disappointment to not get a lap in at Le Mans. We look forward to returning to La Sarthe in 2024 and picking up where we left off!