20 years ago... the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans (video)
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20 years ago... the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans (video)

The rain-soaked 1995 race is one Le Mans fans are unlikely to forget. Favourite in the run-up to the 24 Hours, the Courage C34, entered by local team Courage Comp

General information

Date: 17 and 18 June 1995
Weather: dull and wet
Number of starters: 52 cars entered, 48 cars at the start
Number of abandons: 25; 23 crossed the finish line with 20 ranked
Spectators: 170,000
Start: given by Philippe Seguin, President of the French National Assembly


Highlights:

In the absence of the major manufacturers, the prototypes were the big favourites ahead of this year's race. Among the fastest were the WR, Courage and Kremer but in the end, they all took a beating from the McLaren F.1GTR
As the race started, the WR Peugeot turbo, which achieved the two fastest lap times in practice, grabbed the front spot but soon ran into technical issues. Then the rain started and things started to go McLaren's way. The only other car to put up a fight was the Courage C34, but Mario Andretti hit a wall near the Porsche curves. The team managed to repair it and the car came back into the race but spent the rest of the time playing catch-up. In atrocious weather conditions, Wollek-Helary-Andretti crossed the finish line 9km behind the winning car.
Mario Andretti missed out on his last ever chance to add Le Mans to his impressive trophy haul.

The winners:

Overall: McLaren F1 GTR driven by Yannick Dalmas (F), JJ.Lehto (FIN) and Masanori Sekiya (J) 4,055.80 km covered at an average speed of 168.992 km/h.
Gap between 1st and 2nd place: 9 km
Fastest lap in practice: 3:46.05 by William David (WR Peugeot)
Fastest lap in race: 3:51.41 by Patrick Gonin (WR Peugeot)
WSC winner: Courage C34 driven by Bob Wollek, Eric Hélary and Mario Andretti
LM P2 winner: Debora LMP295 driven by Patrice Roussel, Edouard Sezionale and Bernard Santal
GT1 winner: McLaren F1 GTR driven by Yannick Dalmas (F), JJ.Lehto (FIN) and Masanori Sekiya (J)
GT2 winner: Honda NSX driven by Keiichi Tsuchiya, Akira Iida and Kunimitsu Takahashi

Key facts and figures:

48: total number of grandstands after two additional stands were added.
Introduction of the principle of pre-qualifying sessions (instead of the preliminary sessions).
1st participation and 1st victory for McLaren
1st victory of a BMW V12 engine
1st victory of a Japanese driver and a Finnish driver
1st pole position and 1st fastest race lap for WR
1st pole position for a Le Mans rookie: William David
1st victory, and the only one to date, for Honda in GT2 and for Debora for LMP2
Derek Bell decided to make his Le Mans comeback (with his son as team-mate) and finished third.
Return of a Ferrari prototype (333 SP) after 21 years' absence (forced to abandon).
One remarkable fact: a single-seater took pole position and fastest race lap but a three-seater won the race!
LM P2 victory for Patrice Roussel, father of Léo Roussel who will be driving for Pegasus Racing in LM P2 this year
1st Drivers' Parade through the streets of Le Mans on the Friday before the race

Watch the video below and enjoy the race from the cockpit of Yannick Dalmas, winner of the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 

David Bristol / ACO Translated from French by Clair Pickworth

Based on some very valuable information provided by the association Infos-Course