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.

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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

Michele Albereto – Monaco Grand Prix 1985

On The Podium – Michele Alboreto’s Final Formula One Victory – German Grand Prix 1985

After the practice sessions for the 1985 F1 race at Spa I had dinner with friends.  We were leaving the restaurant when I noticed Michele Alboretto engaged in an active conversation with a group of people seated at a table in the corner.  We made eye contact and he stopped talking long enough to flash his great smile and enthusiastically wave a greeting.  I smiled and returned the wave.  I’ve always appreciated that small moment of friendly recognition.

I was back living in San Francisco when I read that Michele had been killed on April 29, 2001 at the EuroSpeedway near Lausitz, Germany.  He was testing an Audi R8 race car in preparation for the Le mans 24 hours.  The investigation revealed a sharp object had punctured the left rear tire and his car went out of control, somersaulted off the track and was destroyed. He was 44 years old when he died. I was overwhelmed with deep sadness for days.

I still feel his loss when I look at my photographs, but then I remember his smiling face in the restaurant.  He was a superb driver and a genuinely great human being.

 

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