girl

(GP Library)

The little girl seems lost amongst the flurry of pre-race preparation in JW Automotive’s workshop near Le Mans 0n 29 September 1968…

It was not to be a happy race for the pictured car #11, chassis ‘1076’ driven by Aussie Touring Car and Sportscar star Brian Muir and Jackie Oliver. Brian tipped the car into the ‘kitty litter’ on lap 1, and managed to dig himself out but in the process fried the cars clutch, causing its retirement after completing 15 laps.

muir

Teddy Pilette watches Muir digging his Ford out of the sand, the VDS entered Alfa T33/2 failed to finish with driveshaft failure on lap 104 (unattributed)

JW Automotive entered three GT40’s; ‘1074’ for Paul Hawkins and David Hobbs, ‘1075’ for Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi and the aforementioned ill-fated ‘1076’…

It was to be a great race for the team despite the poor start, Rodriguez/Bianchi won the classic by 5 laps from the Porsche 907 of Rico Steinemann and Dieter Spoerry. The Hawkins/Hobbs car retired on lap 107 with engine failure.

le amns gulf line up

JW 1968 Le Mans lineup; #9 the winning ‘1075’ of Rodriguez/Bianchi, #10 Hawkins/Hobbs and #11 Muir/Ickx (unattributed)

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Brian Muir gets away closest to the pits in GT40 #11 determined to make up lost ground…#14 Masten Gregory/Charlie Kolb Ferrari 250LM DNF , this NART entered chassis the car in which Masten won in 1965 co-driving with Jochen Rindt, #30 Andre de Cortanze/Jean Vinatier Alpine A220 Renault 8th, #3 Henry Greder/Umberto Maglioli Chev Corvette DNF and #60 Willy Meier/Jean de Mortemart Porsche 911T DNF (Schlegelmilch)

la mans start

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All the fun of the fair, Le Mans 1968 (Getty)

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(Getty)

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Plenty of pommes frites (Getty)

Lucien Bianchi (below) in the victorious Ford GT40 ‘1075’ this chassis became one of the greats of the event winning it again in 1969 driven by Jackie Ickx and Jaclie Oliver who had rather better luck than the year before!

In 1968 JW also won the Brands 6 Hour, Spa 1000Km  (Ickx/Oliver in ‘1075’), Monza 1000Km (Hawkins/Hobbs in ‘1074’ and Watkins Glen 6 Hour (Ickx/Bianchi in ‘1075’) in addition to Le Mans winning for Ford the Manufacturers Championship.

At the 1969 years end the wonderful Ford GT’s from a ‘factory perspective’ competed no more having won Le Mans from 1966 to 1969, fitting results from one of the all time sports/racer greats.

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Bianchi in the winning Ford GT (Schlegelmilch)

le mans pits @ end

A Porsche 907 chasing 2 Alfa T33/2’s and below Rogriguez/Bianch aboard the winning JW GT40 (Getty)

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Rodriguez, Bianchi and well earned Moet (Getty)

Etcetera…

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John Wyer (left) confers with his timekeeper during the race (Getty)

image

 

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The gendarmes start to prepare for the traditional 4 pm finish (Getty)

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Credits…

GP Library, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: ‘More friggin’ sand than Bondi Beach, Sydneysider Brian Muir is thinkin’ to himself?…

le amns digging

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