The Le Mans Classic 2016 was blessed with sunny weather, though this did mean the 120,000 spectators and the 1,000 drivers had to cope with very hot day-time temperatures. The night races, however, which provide the real magic of Le Mans, took place in balmy summer conditions.

New races and anniversaries

The new competitions – the loud Group C cars and the British classics of the Jaguar Classic Challenge (60 cars) – brought even more diversity than usual to the racetrack. Over the course of this year’s Le Mans Classic, the competitions featured cars dating all the way from 1923 to 1981. Alongside the new categories of Le Mans Classic 2016, the history books provided further highlights: the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT40’s first Le Mans victory gave GT drivers a special incentive. Four out of the top five cars in the fourth grid were GT40s, showing that this car can still beat the Cobras and Porsches. Away from the racetrack, the marque also did well at the Concours. The Ford GT40 Mk2 won Best of Show at the Concours Le Mans Heritage Club.

Celebrating the car clubs

The successful appearance of some BMW 328s on the racetrack of Le Mans Classic 2016 and a series of historic cars on display reminded us that the Bavarian brand celebrates its centenary this year. BMWs were also part of the strong showing by car clubs. The presence of these clubs is another highlight for car lovers at Le Mans. This year, 180 car clubs took the opportunity to meet at the Le Mans Classic, bringing in an additional 8,500 cars. The official Concours had awards for the most successful clubs – a nice touch of appreciation for the contribution these clubs make to keeping our classic car heritage alive.

Le Mans Classic 2016 race results

There are always two rankings for each grid at the Le Mans Classic 2016. The scratch classification features the fastest cars that covered the longest distance. The performance index also factors in the power of the cars.

Grid 1 (1923 – 1939):

Performance Index

There was a strong performance by British cars on the pre-war grid, with a BMW just getting in on the act in third place.

  1. Morris/Dowling/Curtis: 1934 MG Magnette K3
  2. van den Kroft/Plant: 1937 Morgan 4/4 TT Replica
  3. Bally/Leseur: 1938 BMW 328

Scratch

BMW once again in the top three with two Talbots.

  1. Traber/Trenery: 1939 Talbot Lago Ex Monoplace décalée
  2. Bronson/Burnett: 1934 Talbot 105 BGH 21
  3. Bally/Leseur: 1938 BMW 328

Grid 2 (1949 – 1956):

Performance Index

A clean sweep by Porsche continues a love affair with Le Mans that stretches back to the early ‘50s.

  1. Burnett/Bell/Allenby Byrne: 1954 Porsche 356 Pre A
  2. Penillard: 1954 Porsche 356 Pre A
  3. Aga Khan/Prill/Clark: 1952 Porsche 356 Pre A

Scratch

Le Mans 24h veteran Andy Wallace drove Mark Hawthorne’s historic Jaguar to victory, followed by a Maserati and a Lotus.

  1. Wallace: 1955 Jaguar D-Type
  2. Chambon: 1955 Maserati 300S
  3. Kriknoff Seiss: 1956 Lotus XI 1500

Grid 3 (1957 – 1961):

Performance Index

A racing car based on the Mini was the only car to threaten the Lotus Elise.

  1. Young: 1962 Lotus Elise
  2. Bernberg/Ugo: 1961 Deep Sanderson 301
  3. Durand/Marbeck: 1961 Lotus Elise

Scratch

Ferrari icon thwarted by two Brits.

  1. Ward: 1959 Lister Costin
  2. Perou/Cheminot: Austin Healey 3000 Mk1
  3. Dumolin: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta

Grid 4 (1962 – 1965):

Performance Index

Colin Chapman would have liked this: a clean sweep proves that these historic Lotus racers have the perfect combination of weight and power.

  1. Tromans/Meaden: 1964 Lotus Elan R
  2. Kohler: 1965 Lotus Elan
  3. Verquin: 1964 Lotus Elan 26R Shapecraft

Scratch

Ford-powered glory…

  1. Lynn: 1965 Ford GT40
  2. Meins: 1967 Ford GT40
  3. Caron: 1963 Shelby Cobra 289

Grid 5 (1966 – 1971):

Performance Index

Olé Lola!

  1. Thuner: 1968 Lola T70 Mk III
  2. De Doncker: 1969 Lola T70 Mk III B
  3. Seiler: 1968 Lola Mk III

Scratch

  1. Thuner: 1968 Lola T70 Mk III
  2. De Doncker: 1969 Lola T70 Mk III B
  3. Seiler: 1968 Lola Mk III

Grid 6 (1972 – 1981):

Performance Index

Sauber’s C5 finally back on the track for success at Le Mans.

  1. Scemama/Fort: 1976 Sauber C5 BMW
  2. Roock/Alzen: 1975 Porsche 911 RSR 3L
  3. Lecourt/Narac: 1974 Porsche 911 RSR 3L

Scratch

  1. Schumacher/Werner: 1982 Porsche 936
  2. Meyers/de Siebenthal: 1978 Porsche 935
  3. Guenat: 1976 Lola T286

Concours Le Mans Heritage Club results:

  • Best of Show: Ford GT40 Mk2 (Robert Kauffman)
  • 1st Class 1923-1939: Lorraine-Dietrich (Philippe Leroux)
  • 1st Class 1949-1953: DB HBR53 (Dominique Lanlaud)
  • 1st Class 1954-1964: Frazer Nash (Bill Holroyd)
  • Special Prize: Panhard X86 (Pierre Mouette)
  • 1st Class 1965-1971: Ford GT40 (Frédéric Collot)
  • Special Prize: Nomad BRM (Christophe Brunhes)
  • 1st Class 1972-1982: Inaltera 001 (Edgar Richoz)
  • Special Prize: Lola T600 (Jacques Sicotte)
  • Special Prize “Fidélité”: Porsche 934 RSR (Claudio Roddaro: six outings in the Le Mans 24 Hours)
  • 1st Class 1983-2016 : McLaren F1 GTR (François Perrodo)
  • Special Prize: Marcos LM600 (Emeric Bordet)
  • I.V.A. Prize: CD Peugeot SP66 (L’Aventure Peugeot)
  • F.V.E. Prize: Delage 3L (Jean-Michel Collet)

Concours des Clubs:

  • 1st Prize: Historic Lotus Club
  • 2nd Prize: Club ‘‘Qui N’en Veut’’ (Camping rétro)
  • 3rd Prix : 205 GTI Club de France Special
  • F.V.E. Prize : Renault Classic

Photographer Julien Mahiels braved the heat and provided some great shots.

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