Inside Rothmans Porsche – Manfred Jantke, Helmut Flegle and Jürgen Barth – Le Mans 1985

Jürgen Barth joins the Porsche brain trust in their Le Mans pit box.  Barth, the son of former F1 and Sports Car ace Edgar Barth has been deeply involved with Porsche as an engineer and race driver.  Note he is not in a team uniform and is also wearing the International Racing Press Association armband secured through his belt.  I.R.P.A was an organization founded by veteran photographer and writer Bernard Cahier to identify working journalists and aid in their accreditation.  It shows that while Barth was deeply embedded in the Porsche team, he was also a writer reporting on their progress.  A telephone mounted on a wood panel is hanging on the back wall of the pit box.  Although probably still functional it is a relic from Le Mans history.  Previously, the telephone was a direct line to the signal station at the Mulsanne corner, the point furthest away on the track.  Before radio communications it allowed teams to talk  to their members stationed at the corner who could relay relay race information back to the main pits and also display pit boards with instructions to the drivers on track.

Inside Rothmans Porsche – Jacky Ickx, Peter Falk and Manfred Jantke – Le Mans 1985

Manfred Jantke was a racer and respected journalist with the German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport when he received an offer to join Porsche.  He became PR and Racing Manager for ten years and then focused on his PR role for the rest of his long career with Porsche.  Among many other accomplishments he was responsible for bringing Porsche the Rothmans sponsorship.

Inside Rothmans Porsche – Jacky Ickx And Peter Falk – Le Mans 1985

The great Belgian race driver talks with Peter Falk, the extraordinary race director and engineer who was also head of chassis development at Porsche and responsible for refining some superb road cars.

Inside Rothmans Porsche – Jacky Ickx and Norbert Singer – Le Mans 1985

A brilliant driver and brilliant engineer whose significant contributions were crucial components of Porsche’s extraordinary success in Endurance Racing.

Inside Rothmans Porsche – Helmut Flegl And Al Holbert Review Data – Le Mans 1985

The  85th 24 hours of Le Mans is in the record books with Porsche scoring their 19th overall victory. During practice in 1985 I had the ride of a lifetime around the Circuit de La Sarthe in a Porsche 956 driven by Derek Bell: https://poeticsofspeed.com/category/215mph/

Through out the race I was able to photograph the Rothmans Porsche drivers and engineers in their pit as they worked on strategy. Helmut Flegl (seated), who later was Porsche’s chief engineer on Porsche’s 917 Can-Am race car, discusses data with American Driver Al Holbert as other crew members look on.

Brian Redman – Le Mans 1985

One of the top tier drivers who raced during one of the greatest and most dangerous periods of sports car racing.  A fascinating and articulate person, check out his memoir: “Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks.”

Day And Night, Machines And The Landscape – The 24 Hours Of Le Mans – 1984

This weekend is the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.  I’ve written it before but its worth restating: Le Mans is its own universe.  The two years I photographed the great 24 hour race were my most profound motorsports experiences.  Actually, those races were two of the most sublimely beautiful, intense, overpowering and transcendental events in my life.

Mirror With Driver’s Eye – Dutch Grand Prix 1985

Stefan Johansson – Eyes, Helmet And Ferrari – British Grand Prix 1985

Keke Rosberg – Eyes, Balaclava And Helmet – Detroit Grand Prix 1984

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