1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1999 24 Hours of Le Mans
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Index: Races | Winners
Le Mans in 1999 Circuit de la Sarthe Le Mans 1990-2001.png
Le Mans in 1999

The 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 67th 24 Hours of Le Mans, and took place on 12 and 13 June 1999. The race had a large number of entries in the fastest Le Mans Prototype classes, with Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lola Cars, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Panoz, Riley & Scott, and Toyota all represented. The BMW V12 LMR of Yannick Dalmas, Pierluigi Martini, and Joachim Winkelhock won overall, with their car's reliability and fuel economy allowing them to beat their faster rivals. [1]

Contents

Pre-race

The winning #15 BMW V12 LMR BMW V12 LMR (34937903891).jpg
The winning #15 BMW V12 LMR
Toyota was a top challenger throughout the race. This #3 Toyota GT-One was the lone finisher for Toyota, finishing second. The frontview of No.3 Toyota TS020.jpg
Toyota was a top challenger throughout the race. This #3 Toyota GT-One was the lone finisher for Toyota, finishing second.
When this #8 Audi R8R came home in third place, it marked the beginning of what was soon to become the era of Audi dominance at Le Mans. 1999AudiR8R.jpg
When this #8 Audi R8R came home in third place, it marked the beginning of what was soon to become the era of Audi dominance at Le Mans.

1999 saw another increase in manufacturers involvement. Although Porsche did not send a team to contest in the prototype classes, Toyota retained their three updated GT-Ones, now moved to the LMGTP class due to the demise of GT1, while Mercedes-Benz debuted three new CLR LMGTPs. Nissan instead moved from GT1 to an open cockpit LMP, as did Panoz.

Newcomer Audi attempted to try their hand at both classes, with two open cockpit R8Rs and two closed cockpit R8Cs. BMW continued with their open cockpit LMPs, updating to the new V12 LMR. The works V12 LMR's were run by Schnitzer Motorsport, while two of the previous year's cars were privately entered. [1]

Mercedes CLR incidents

The event saw three major crashes involving the team of Mercedes-Benz CLRs during qualifying and the race itself. The CLR had a very short wheelbase and a large amount of overhang (the bodywork outside the wheelbase), resulting in high pitch sensitivity. The amount of overhang and its resulting pitch sensitivity was enough to cause aerodynamic and chassis design flaws with the car. The large amount of overhang allowed for amounts of air to build up underneath the nose of the car, and the amount of air that built up underneath the CLR thanks to the car's frontal pitch being high enough was enough to imbalance the frontal aerodynamics, giving this section more lift than downforce, which allowed the car to take off into the air, especially when following another car and at the tops of hills, when a car's front pitch is at its highest- such as on the run to Indianapolis and on the Mulsanne Straight.

Mark Webber's CLR #4 went airborne at Indianapolis during Thursday night qualifying. On Friday, the team was allowed to rebuild #4 on a new chassis, with tweaks to the rear suspension, in an attempt by Mercedes to cure the problem. Winglets were fitted to the front to increase downforce. All cars had qualified, but during the brief warm-up on Saturday morning, Webber again went airborne when tailing his teammates over the hump of the Mulsanne, landing on his roof and skidding to a stop in the Mulsanne corner. [2] This car was withdrawn from the race, but the two other CLRs continued on, again with emergency tweaks in yet another attempt to alleviate the instability.

A few hours into the race on lap 75, Peter Dumbreck's CLR #5 also went airborne at a crest just before the Indianapolis corner (a very bumpy section of the track), this time flying off the side of the track and landing in the trees. This incident, unlike the previous two, was actually caught by TV cameras and thus broadcast worldwide. Mercedes-Benz immediately withdrew the remaining CLR #6 and dropped out of sportscar racing for the immediate future.

This was the second time Mercedes-Benz had dropped out of Le Mans and sportscar racing following an incident with one of their cars becoming airborne and leaving the track, the first being the 1955 Le Mans disaster.

Race

In the early part of the race, the top qualifying #1 and #2 Toyotas driven by Martin Brundle and Thierry Boutsen fought with the #6 Mercedes driven by Bernd Schneider, and the #5 Mercedes driven by Christophe Bouchut. The #17 BMW was never far behind and used its superior fuel economy to gain the lead through the pit stops. Toyota #1, #2, Mercedes #6 and BMW #17 all led the race at various points. At 8pm, 5 hours into the race the #17 BMW lead the race with #2 Toyota 2nd, #5 Mercedes 3rd and #6 Mercedes 4th. It was during this fight for second and third place when Dumbreck's crash occurred. This led to the immediate withdrawal of the remaining #6 Mercedes.

Following a lengthy safety car period as a result of Dumbreck's accident, Brundle retired the #1 Toyota at 11:30pm. He was trying to claw back time from an earlier mechanical issue when he suffered a puncture at high speed on braking for the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. The puncture sent the car veering sideways into the barrier, badly damaging the rear suspension. Brundle tried to get the car back to the pits but eventually stopped at Arnage.[ citation needed ] At the front the race was still between the #17 BMW and the #2 Toyota, the Toyota having the superior pace but the BMW able to go further on each tank of fuel. Following them were the #15 BMW and the #3 Toyota. At around 2am, the #2 Toyota being driven by Thierry Boutsen suffered a high speed crash under the Dunlop bridge, following a collision with a slower car that was being overtaken. The car was destroyed and Boutsen had to be extracted from the car suffering from an injury to his lower back. The Belgian driver ended his racing career after this accident.

By dawn, the #17 BMW was four laps in front of its sister 15 BMW. At approximately 10am, JJ Lehto driving #17 BMW suffered a stuck throttle and crashed in the Porsche curves. The front of the car was badly damaged and it could not continue. This left the sister #15 BMW almost a lap ahead of the #3 Toyota. With this sniff of a win Ukyo Katayama set the fastest lap of the race of 3:35. He narrowed the gap to less than a minute when another tyre blowout befell the Toyota team. However, Katayama was able to return to the pits for new tyres and continue. By then bar any problems for the BMW the race was out of reach. Audi came in 3rd at their first attempt at Le Mans.

The 1999 race was the last for several of the major manufacturers. Only Audi returned for 2000. Mercedes pulled out of sports car racing altogether following the CLR incidents and concentrated on the new German Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series, BMW concentrated their efforts on their supply of engines to the Williams team in Formula One (who had built the BMW LMRs). Toyota also pulled out as despite their pace over 1998 and 1999, only one of their cars finished the race over both of those years. Toyota would eventually return to Le Mans in 2012, as well as the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship and eventually won the race for the first time in 2018.

Official results

PosClassNoTeamDriversChassisTyreLaps
Engine
1LMP15 Flag of Germany.svg Team BMW Motorsport Flag of Germany.svg Joachim Winkelhock
Flag of Italy.svg Pierluigi Martini
Flag of France.svg Yannick Dalmas
BMW V12 LMR M 365
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
2LMGTP3 Flag of Japan.svg Toyota Motorsports Flag of Japan.svg Ukyo Katayama
Flag of Japan.svg Keiichi Tsuchiya
Flag of Japan.svg Toshio Suzuki
Toyota GT-One M 364
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
3LMP8 Flag of Germany.svg Audi Sport Team Joest Flag of Germany.svg Frank Biela
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Didier Theys
Flag of Italy.svg Emanuele Pirro
Audi R8R M 360
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
4LMP7 Flag of Germany.svg Audi Sport Team Joest Flag of Italy.svg Michele Alboreto
Flag of Italy.svg Rinaldo Capello
Flag of France.svg Laurent Aïello
Audi R8R M 346
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
5LMP18 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Price+Bscher Flag of Germany.svg Thomas Bscher
Flag of the United States.svg Bill Auberlen
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Steve Soper
BMW V12 LM Y 345
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
6LMP13 Flag of France.svg Courage Compétition Flag of Italy.svg Alex Caffi
Flag of Italy.svg Andrea Montermini
Flag of Italy.svg Domenico Schiattarella
Courage C52 B 342
Nissan VRH35L 3.5 L Turbo V8
7LMP12 Flag of the United States.svg Panoz Motor Sports Flag of Australia (converted).svg David Brabham
Flag of France.svg Éric Bernard
Flag of the United States.svg Butch Leitzinger
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 336
Ford-Élan 6.0 L V8
8LMP21 Flag of Japan.svg Nissan Motorsports Flag of France.svg Didier Cottaz
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Marc Goossens
Flag of Sweden.svg Fredrik Ekblom
Courage C52 B 335
Nissan VRH35L 3.5 L Turbo V8
9LMP14 Flag of France.svg Pescarolo Promotion Racing Team Flag of France.svg Henri Pescarolo
Flag of France.svg Michel Ferté
Flag of France.svg Patrice Gay
Courage C50 P 327
Porsche 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
10LMGTS51 Flag of France.svg Viper Team Oreca Flag of Monaco.svg Olivier Beretta
Flag of Austria.svg Karl Wendlinger
Flag of France.svg Dominique Dupuy
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 325
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
11LMP11 Flag of the United States.svg Panoz Motor Sports Flag of the United States.svg Johnny O'Connell
Flag of Denmark.svg Jan Magnussen
Flag of Italy.svg Max Angelelli
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 323
Ford-Élan 6.0 L V8
12LMGTS52 Flag of France.svg Viper Team Oreca Flag of the United States.svg Tommy Archer
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Justin Bell
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Marc Duez
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 318
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
13LMGT81 Flag of Germany.svg Manthey Racing GmbH Flag of Germany.svg Uwe Alzen
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Patrick Huisman
Flag of Italy.svg Luca Riccitelli
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 317
Porsche 3.6 L Flat-6
14LMGTS56 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Hugh Chamberlain Flag of Portugal.svg Ni Amorim
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Hans Hugenholtz
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Toni Seiler
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 314
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
15LMGTS50 Flag of France.svg CICA Team Oreca Flag of Portugal.svg Manuel Mello-Breyner
Flag of Portugal.svg Pedro Mello-Breyner
Flag of Portugal.svg Tomaz Mello-Breyner
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 312
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
16LMGTS55 Flag of France.svg Paul Belmondo Racing Flag of France.svg Emmanuel Clérico
Flag of France.svg Jean-Claude Lagniez
Flag of France.svg Guy Martinolle
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 309
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
17LMGTS54 Flag of France.svg Paul Belmondo Racing Flag of France.svg Paul Belmondo
Flag of Portugal.svg Tiago Monteiro
Flag of France.svg Marc Rostan
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 299
Chrysler 8.0L V10
18LMGTS64 Flag of Germany.svg Konrad Motorsport Flag of Austria.svg Franz Konrad
Flag of the United States.svg Peter Kitchak
Flag of the United States.svg Charles Slater
Porsche 911 GT2 D 293
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
19LMGT80 Flag of the United States.svg Champion Racing Dave Maraj Flag of Germany.svg Dirk Müller
Flag of France.svg Bob Wollek
Flag of Germany.svg Bernd Mayländer
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 292
Porsche 3.6 L Flat-6
20LMGTS62 Flag of Germany.svg Roock Racing International Motorsport Flag of Germany.svg Claudia Hürtgen
Flag of Germany.svg André Ahrlé
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Vincent Vosse
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 290
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
21LMGT84 Flag of France.svg Perspective Racing Flag of France.svg Thierry Perrier
Flag of France.svg Jean-Louis Ricci
Flag of France.svg Michel Nourry
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 288
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
22LMGTS57 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Hugh Chamberlain Flag of Brazil.svg Thomas Erdos
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Christian Vann
Flag of Germany.svg Christian Gläsel
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 270
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
NCLMGTS65 Flag of France.svg Société Cheréau Flag of France.svg Jean-Luc Chéreau
Flag of France.svg Patrice Goueslard
Flag of France.svg Pierre Yver
Porsche 911 GT2 M 240
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNFLMP17 Flag of Germany.svg Team BMW Motorsport Flag of Denmark.svg Tom Kristensen
Flag of Finland.svg JJ Lehto
Flag of Germany.svg Jörg Müller
BMW V12 LMR M 304
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
DNFLMGTS53 Flag of France.svg Viper Team Oreca Flag of the United States.svg David Donohue
Flag of France.svg Jean-Philippe Belloc
Flag of France.svg Soheil Ayari
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 271
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
DNFLMGTS63 Flag of Germany.svg Roock Racing International Motorsport Flag of Germany.svg Hubert Haupt
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Robinson
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Hugh Price
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 232
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNFLMP19 Flag of Japan.svg Team Goh Flag of Japan.svg Hiro Matsushita
Flag of Japan.svg Hiroki Katoh
Flag of Japan.svg Akihiko Nakaya
BMW V12 LM M 223
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
DNFLMP26 Flag of Germany.svg Konrad Motorsport Flag of the Netherlands.svg Jan Lammers
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Peter Kox
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Tom Coronel
Lola B98/10 D 213
Ford-Roush 6.0 L V8
DNFLMGTP10 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Audi Sport UK Flag of the United Kingdom.svg James Weaver
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Andy Wallace
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Perry McCarthy
Audi R8C M 198
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNFLMGTP2 Flag of Japan.svg Toyota Motorsports Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Thierry Boutsen
Flag of Germany.svg Ralf Kelleners
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Allan McNish
Toyota GT-One M 173
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNFLMGTS61 Flag of Germany.svg Freisinger Motorsport Flag of Germany.svg Ernst Palmberger
Flag of Germany.svg Wolfgang Kaufmann
Flag of France.svg Michel Ligonnet
Porsche 911 GT2 D 157
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNFLMP27 Flag of Germany.svg Kremer Racing Flag of Spain.svg Tomás Saldaña
Flag of South Africa.svg Grant Orbell
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Didier de Radiguès
Lola B98/10 G 146
Ford-Roush 6.0 L V8
DNFLMGTS67 Flag of France.svg Larbre Compétition Flag of France.svg Jean-Pierre Jarier
Flag of France.svg Sébastien Bourdais
Flag of France.svg Pierre de Thoisy
Porsche 911 GT2 M 134
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNFLMGTS66 Flag of France.svg Estoril Racing Communication Flag of France.svg Manuel Monteiro
Flag of France.svg Michel Monteiro
Flag of France.svg Michel Maisonneuve
Porsche 911 GT2 P 123
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNFLMP22 Flag of Japan.svg Nissan Motorsports Flag of Germany.svg Michael Krumm
Flag of Japan.svg Satoshi Motoyama
Flag of France.svg Érik Comas
Nissan R391 B 110
Nissan VRH50A 5.0 L V8
DNFLMGTP1 Flag of Japan.svg Toyota Motorsports Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Martin Brundle
Flag of France.svg Emmanuel Collard
Flag of Italy.svg Vincenzo Sospiri
Toyota GT-One M 90
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNFLMP25 Flag of France.svg DAMS Flag of France.svg Christophe Tinseau
Flag of France.svg Franck Montagny
Flag of France.svg David Terrien
Lola B98/10 P 77
Judd GV4 4.0 L V10
DNFLMGTP6 Flag of Germany.svg AMG-Mercedes Flag of Germany.svg Bernd Schneider
Flag of France.svg Franck Lagorce
Flag of Portugal.svg Pedro Lamy
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 76
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7 L V8
DNFLMGTP5 Flag of Germany.svg AMG-Mercedes Flag of France.svg Christophe Bouchut
Flag of Germany.svg Nick Heidfeld
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Peter Dumbreck
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 75
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7 L V8
DNFLMP24 Flag of Japan.svg Autoexe Motorsports Flag of Japan.svg Yojiro Terada
Flag of France.svg Franck Fréon
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Robin Donovan
Autoexe LMP99 Y 74
Ford 6.0 L V8
DNFLMP29 Flag of France.svg JB Jabouille-Bouresche Flag of France.svg Jérôme Policand
Flag of Italy.svg Mauro Baldi
Flag of Italy.svg Christian Pescatori
Ferrari 333 SP P 71
Ferrari F130E 4.0 L V12
DNFLMP32 Flag of France.svg Riley & Scott Europe Flag of Italy.svg Marco Apicella
Flag of Sweden.svg Carl Rosenblad
Flag of the United States.svg Shane Lewis
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 67
Ford 6.0 L V8
DNFLMGTP9 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Audi Sport UK Flag of Sweden.svg Stefan Johansson
Flag of Monaco.svg Stéphane Ortelli
Flag of Germany.svg Christian Abt
Audi R8C M 55
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNFLMP31 Flag of France.svg Riley & Scott Europe Flag of France.svg Philippe Gache
Flag of South Africa.svg Gary Formato
Flag of France.svg Olivier Thévenin
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 25
Ford 6.0 L V8
DNFLMGTS60 Flag of Germany.svg Freisinger Motorsport Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ray Lintott
Flag of Austria.svg Manfred Jurasz
Flag of Japan.svg Katsunori Iketani
Porsche 911 GT2 D 24
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNSLMGTP4 Flag of Germany.svg AMG-Mercedes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Mark Webber
Flag of France.svg Jean-Marc Gounon
Flag of Germany.svg Marcel Tiemann
Mercedes-Benz CLR B -
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7 L V8
DNSLMP23 Flag of Japan.svg Nissan Motorsports Flag of Japan.svg Aguri Suzuki
Flag of Japan.svg Masami Kageyama
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Eric van de Poele
Nissan R391 B -
Nissan VRH50A 5.0 L V8
DNSLMGT83 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gérard MacQuillan Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Michel Neugarten
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gérard MacQuillan
Flag of the United States.svg Chris Gleason
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Y -
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6

Statistics

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References

  1. 1 2 Codling, Stuart (8 June 2020). "When BMW was the last team standing at Le Mans". Autosport . Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  2. "Mulsanne's Corner: 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLR".