Tiga, an Australian and New Zealander story at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Tiga, an Australian and New Zealander story at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Well before Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley's world title in the 2015 World Endurance Championship, an Australia-New Zealand collaboration was personified by Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley, two drivers-turned-constructors whose Tiga prototypes animated the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the 1980s.

In the early 1970s, both raced in Formula 1, as well as at the 24 Hours four times each. At Le Mans, Schenken the Australian (born September 26, 1943) was a Ferrari factory driver in prototypes in 1973 (along with Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann), whereas Ganley the New Zealander (born December 24, 1941) finished second in 1972, along with François Cevert at the wheel of a Matra MS 670. In 1975, they even competed at the 24 Hours together at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR, but were forced to retire. Then they collaborated to become constructors and founded Tiga, an acronym of two letters in their respective names (Tim Schenken et Howden Ganley).

The Tiga chassis made their first appearances at the 24 Hours in 1984, in C2 prototypes (the equivalent of today's LM P2s in terms of technical regulations for Group C at the time). The following year, Gordon Spice, Ray Bellm and Mark Galvin (Tiga GC85) won in the class at Le Mans, with 14th place overall. In 1987, Tiga achieved a solid group finish, at the same time as its best overall result, thanks to Costas Los-Dudley Wood-Tom Hessert and John Sheldon-Ian Harrower-Thorkild Thyrring (ninth and 10th overall, respectively, and third and fourth in C2). That same year, Swedish driver Slim Borgudd, also the drummer for the group ABBA at the time, was at the wheel of a Tiga, but unfortunately did not pass qualifying.

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 13-14 1987. After a class win in 1985, Tiga achieved its best ranking at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the ninth place finish of Los-Wood-Hessert (No. 121).