LE MANS 24 HOURS 1992

20th - 21st June

28 starters 14 classified finishers

1992 was the year that saw the death of the Sports Car World Championship. While Peugeot won both the Manufacturers and Drivers titles, the supreme satisfaction for the Sochaux firm was their victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. On paper, it looked like a Peugeot/Toyota battle but again Mazda posed a serious threat in the early part of the race, this time with a Judd - engined car. Given the small number of starters 28 (the lowest total since 1932), almost 12 hours rain and the overall lack of publicity surrounding the championship, prospects looked anything but promising. There was however no lack of interest in this the 60th running of the great Sarthe classic, as none of the new generation 3.5 litre car had ever covered more than 1000 kms before. Finally, Peugeot survived Japanese pressure to come home a worthy winner much to the delight of French fans and thanks to the Anglo - French trio of Derek Warwick and Yannick Dalmas aided by Mark Blundell. It was the first victory by a 100% French car since 1978 (Renault). The start was given by Prince Albert from Monaco.

CIRCUIT :

13.600 kms. Layout unchanged but protective fencing for spectators as required by the FISA Safety Commission made its appearance for the first time at Mulsanne, Arnage and Indianapolis. Barbed wire was placed atop the concrete walls opposite the pits to prevent the crowd from invading the track hence aIlowing the winners to cross the finishing line (it didn't work! ). New tarred public walkway opposite the pits. New spectator enclosure on the inside of the Dunlop Curve.

REGUlATIONS :

The A C O had to obtain a special derogation from the FISA to admit the former Group C cars in order to assemble a sufficiently large field. These had to be either entered by a competitor already cornmitted to the World Championship or equipped with a Porsche engine. Their minimum weight was reduced to 900 kgs (1000 kgs in 1991) and the fuel aIlocation by 10% (2140 litres instead of 2550 litres). The event was also opened up to cars entered for national or single make championships (peugeot 905 Spider Cup, Alta Romeo Challenge or Sports 3000 Great Britain). N o minimum qua1ifying time. This year 70% of the winner's distance was required for classification.

STARTERS :

28 cars 4 nations 10 manufacturers

France : 3 Cougars, 1 Debora, 5 Peugeots (three 905s and two 905 Spiders).

Gennany : 5 Porsches.

Great Britain : 1 BRM, 2 Lolas, 3 Spices, 1 TIga.

Japan: 5 Toyotas, 2 Mazdas.

SUMMARY :

The 905 Peugeot Spiders represented the 1st appearance in the Le Mans 24 Hour race of true single - seaters. Also making its Le Mans debut as a constructor was B. R. M which had been involved in the turbine adventure with Rover in 1963 and 1965, and with Matra in 1966 and 1967. Plagued with problems the dark - green car spent more time off than on the circuit. Initially, the 1991 winning trio of Herbert - Weidler - Gachot in the gaily coloured Mazda posed the main threat to the Peugeots of Dalmas and AIliot, leading in the opening laps. However, on lap 24 the no.1 Peugeot went into a lead it was never to lose. At 17H27, the fourth place battle between Alain Ferte's Peugeot and Geoff Lees's Toyota ended in a collision on the entry to Les Hunaudieres. Both cars managed to struggle back to the pits, the Peugeot's front left - hand wheel pointing skywards. Repairs took almost an hour effectively dropping them out of contention and they finally retired , the only casualties in either camp. In the first 12 hours, there were only 2 accidents in spite of the appalling conditions caused by the combination of misty rain, spray and darkness ; the no. 55 Cougar in the fifth hour and the second works Mazda during the tenth. Just after 1H00 Alliot had his first off - course excursion in the no.2 Peugeot without serious consequences. At half - distance, there were 2 Peugeots in the first two places with the Mazda only 3 laps back in third, and at 6H00 on Sunday morning Alliot again went off, this time in the Nissan chicane dropping him down to fifth as he had to pit twice for repairs. No. 2's third off - course excursion carne just after 10H00 when Baldi went into the gravel at Indianapolis , repairs taking 9' but the car fought back to finish just over 13 kilometres behind the second - placed Toyota of Raphanel - Sekiya - Acheson. The other Toyota of Lammers - Fabi - Wallace was delayed by gearbox trouble. The first 4 places were filled by the new generation 3.5 litre atrnospheric engines and the first turbocharged car was the fifth - placed Toyota 92CV. Of the 2 Lolas entered, the Frentzen - Kasuya - Zwolsman - Matsuda T 92/10 made it home in thirteenth place. Peugeot's Le Mans win was the first by a V-10 engined car, the thirteenth success for France and a fitting climax to the sixtieth Le Mans 24 Hour race.

RECORDS :

The overall distance and speed records were not improved due to the very bad weather conditions. Warwick - Dalmas and Blundell covered 352 laps as against the 362 of the winning Mazda in 1991. Jan Larnmers gave Toyota some consolation by setting a new lap record in 3'32"295, a speed of 230, 622 km/h. In practice, Philippe Alliot in a specially prepared 905 lapped the circuit in an incredible 3'21"209, a speed of 243.329 km/h, almost 14 seconds quicker than his 1991 pole - position of 3'35"058.

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Sports Car Races

Targa Florio 1963

Sebring 1966

Stardust GP 1968

Le Mans 1930

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Le Mans 1962

Le Mans 1963

Le Mans 1964

Author: ArchitectPage