Among other exploits, once he had made his fortune in finance, the American Steve Fossett crossed the Atlantic in a little more than four days (2001), then achieved the first solo and nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in a hot air balloon (2002), made the first solo trip around the world in a plane (2005), completed the longest nonstop flight in a plane (2006) and made the first stratospheric flight in a glider (2006). Prior to this stunning series of records, he raced twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For his two participations, Fossett joined the team of brothers Manfred and Erwin Kremer. Porsche experts, they designed the version of the 935 (called "K3"), victorious under their own banner at the 1979 24 Hours, with at the wheel Klaus Ludwig and brothers Don and Bill Whittington. In 1993, Fossett joined his fellow countryman Robin Donovan and Italian driver Almo Coppelli in a 962 CK6. In 1996, he drove a Kremer-Porsche K8, with as teammates the South African George Fouche and a former winner: Swedish driver Stanley Dickens, winner in 1989 along with Jochen Mass and Manuel Reuter in a Sauber-Mercedes. Unfortunately, those two participations ended by as many retirements, but in his own way Fossett embodied the adventurous spirit of the pioneers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, like British driver Woolf Barnato, motorboater, good level amateur boxer, horse breeder, diamond mine owner...and three-time winner at Le Mans (1928-1929-1930).
Tickets to the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans will be available for purchase on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 (for ACO members) and Friday, November 6, 2015 (for the general public).
Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY & SUNDAY JUNE 19-20 1993. Shortly before the start of his first 24 Hours, Steve Fossett (with sunglasses, center) was flanked by the highly popular Hawaiian Tropic Girls, at their very first visit to the race in 1979, along with another gentleman-driver by the name of Paul Newman.