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The 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 59th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 22 and 23 June 1991. It was also the fourth round of the 1991 FIA Sportscar World Championship season.

1991 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1990 Next: 1992
Index: Races | Winners

Contents

Pre-raceEdit

 
Le Mans in 1991

An entirely new complex along the front stretch was built, housing modern pit stalls, garages, and the new observation suites built above the garages.

As for the race, the grid line-up was an unusual affair. 1991 was supposed to be the first year the World Sportscar Championship ran to the new '3.5L' rules, which meant a new breed of sports-prototypes. Although TWR-Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot all built cars to the new regulations for the 1991 championship series, the amount of privateer teams was low and there was simply not enough of these new cars to fill the grid. The FIA allowed the first 10 spaces on the grid to be reserved for the fastest qualifying 3.5L cars from the World Sportscar Championship, while the rest of the field was made up of older formula Group C cars. In another twist, some teams which had 3.5L cars, but entered previous year's championships with Group C cars, were allowed to enter their "obsolete" but more reliable (and for Le Mans in 1991, quicker) Group C racers. In the case of TWR Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, their 3.5L cars (the XJR-14 and C291 respectively) failed to qualify and instead they raced using their XJR-12 and C11 models. Peugeot Sport on the other hand only had their 905 model to race, with 1991 being their first full season in sportscar racing. Being the only factory team running the 3.5L formula, the French marque had the honour of starting 1st and 2nd, even though they had only set the 3rd and 8th fastest qualifying times.

RaceEdit

Mazda's 787B, powered with a rotary model 26B Wankel engine, won in 1991, overcoming reliability issues in the older manufacturer cars. It was the first Japanese manufacturer to win Le Mans, as well as the only non-piston engine car to ever win. It won against considerable opposition from factory-entered Mercedes, Jaguar and the new 3.5L Peugeot cars; and from privately entered Porsche 962s, still competitive after 6 years.

Official resultsEdit

 
This Mazda 787B became the first Japanese car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Class winners in bold. Cars failing to complete 70% of the winner's distance marked as Not Classified (NC).

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
Engine
1 C2 55   Mazdaspeed Co. Ltd.
  Volker Weidler
  Johnny Herbert
  Bertrand Gachot
Mazda 787B D 362
Mazda R26B 2.6L 4-Rotor
2 C2 35   Silk Cut Jaguar
  Tom Walkinshaw Racing
  Davy Jones
  Raul Boesel
  Michel Ferté
Jaguar XJR-12 G 360
Jaguar 7.4L V12
3 C2 34   Silk Cut Jaguar
  Tom Walkinshaw Racing
  Bob Wollek
  Teo Fabi
  Kenny Acheson
Jaguar XJR-12 G 358
Jaguar 7.4L V12
4 C2 33   Silk Cut Jaguar
  Tom Walkinshaw Racing
  Derek Warwick
  John Nielsen
  Andy Wallace
Jaguar XJR-12 G 356
Jaguar 7.4L V12
5 C2 31   Team Sauber Mercedes   Karl Wendlinger
  Michael Schumacher
  Fritz Kreutzpointner
Mercedes-Benz C11 G 355
Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0L Turbo V8
6 C2 18   Mazdaspeed Co. Ltd.
  Oreca
  David Kennedy
  Stefan Johansson
  Maurizio Sandro Sala
Mazda 787B D 355
Mazda R26B 2.6L 4-Rotor
7 C2 58   Konrad Motorsport
  Joest Porsche Racing
  Hans-Joachim Stuck
  Derek Bell
  Frank Jelinski
Porsche 962C G 347
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
8 C2 56   Mazdaspeed Co. Ltd.
  Oreca
  Pierre Dieudonné
  Takashi Yorino
  Yojiro Terada
Mazda 787 D 346
Mazda R26B 2.6L 4-Rotor
9 C2 11   Porsche Kremer Racing   Manuel Reuter
  Harri Toivonen
  JJ Lehto
Porsche 962CK6 Y 343
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
10 C2 17   Repsol Brun Motorsport   Oscar Larrauri
  Jesús Pareja
  Walter Brun
Porsche 962C Y 338
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
11 C2 12   Courage Compétition   François Migault
  Lionel Robert
  Jean-Daniel Raulet
Cougar C26S G 331
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
12 C1 41   Euro Racing
  Team Fedco
  Kiyoshi Misaki
  Hisashi Yokoshima
  Naoki Nagasaka
Spice SE90C G 326
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
13
NC
C2 53   Team Salamin Primagaz
  Team Schuppan
  Hurley Haywood
  James Weaver
  Wayne Taylor
Porsche 962C D 316
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
14
NC
C1 43   Euro Racing
  PC Automotive
  Richard Piper
  Olindo Iacobelli
  Jean-Louis Ricci
Spice SE89C G 280
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
15
NC
C2 15   Veneto Equipe   Luigi Giorgio
  Almo Copelli
Lancia LC2 D 111
Ferrari 308C 3.0L Turbo V8
16
DNF
C2 1   Team Sauber Mercedes   Jean-Louis Schlesser
  Jochen Mass
  Alain Ferté
Mercedes-Benz C11 G 319
Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0L Turbo V8
17
DNF
C2 49   Courage Compétition
  Trust Racing
  Steven Andskär
  George Fouché
Porsche 962C D 316
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
18
NC
C2 47   Courage Compétition   Michel Trollé
  Claude Bourbonnais
  Marco Brand
Cougar C26S G 293
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
19
DNF
C2 51   Team Salamin Primagaz
  Obermaier Racing
  Jürgen Lässig
  Pierre Yver
  Otto Altenbach
Porsche 962C G 232
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
20
DNF
C2 32   Team Sauber Mercedes   Jonathan Palmer
  Stanley Dickens
  Kurt Thiim
Mercedes-Benz C11 G 223
Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0L Turbo V8
21
DNF
C2 52   Team Salamin Primagaz
  Team Schuppan
  Eje Elgh
  Roland Ratzenberger
  Will Hoy
Porsche 962C D 202
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
22
DNF
C2 57   Konrad Motorsport
  Joest Porsche Racing
  Louis Krages
  Bernd Schneider
  Henri Pescarolo
Porsche 962C G 197
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
23
DNF
C2 36   TWR Suntec Jaguar   David Leslie
  Mauro Martini
  Jeff Krosnoff
Jaguar XJR-12 G 183
Jaguar 7.4L V12
24
DNF
C1 39   Graff Racing
  Automobiles Louis Descartes
  Jean-Philippe Grand
  Michel Maisonneuve
  Xavier Lapeyre
Spice SE89C G 163
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
25
DNF
C2 16   Repsol Brun Motorsport   Harald Huysman
  Robbie Stirling
  Bernard Santal
Porsche 962C Y 138
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
26
DNF
C2 45   Euro Racing
  Chamberlain Engineering
  Nick Adams
  Robin Donovan
  Richard Jones
Spice SE89C G 128
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
27
DNF
C2 14   Team Salamin Primagaz   Antoine Salamin
  Max Cohen-Olivar
  Marcel Tarrès
Porsche 962C G 101
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
28
DNF
C2 21   Konrad Motorsport   Franz Konrad
  Anthony Reid
  Pierre-Alain Lombardi
Porsche 962C Y 98
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
29
DNF
C2 50   Courage Compétition
  Alméras Freres
  Jacques Alméras
  Jean-Marie Alméras
  Pierre de Thoisy
Porsche 962C G 86
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
30
DNF
C1 44   Euro Racing
  Chamberlain Engineering
  John Sheldon
  Ferdinand de Lesseps
  Charles Rickett
Spice SE89C G 85
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
31
DNF
C1 8   Euro Racing   Cor Euser
  Charles Zwolsman
  Tim Harvey
Spice SE90C G 72
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
32
DNF
C1 6   Peugeot Talbot Sport   Keke Rosberg
  Yannick Dalmas
  Pierre-Henri Raphanel
Peugeot 905 M 68
Peugeot SA35 3.5L V10
33
DNF
C1 40   Euro Racing
  A.O. Racing
  Lyn St. James
  Desiré Wilson
  Cathy Muller
Spice SE90C D 47
Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5L V8
34
DNF
C2 13   Courage Compétition   Johnny Dumfries
  Anders Olofsson
  Thomas Danielsson
Cougar C26S G 45
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
35
DNF
C1 37   Automobiles Louis Descartes
  Racing Organization Course (ROC)
  Bernard Thuner
  Pascal Fabre
ROC 002 G 38
Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5L V8
36
DNF
C1 5   Peugeot Talbot Sport   Mauro Baldi
  Philippe Alliot
  Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Peugeot 905 M 22
Peugeot SA35 3.5L V10
37
DNF
C2 46   Porsche Kremer Racing   Tomás López
  Gregor Foitek
  Tiff Needell
Porsche 962CK6 Y 18
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6
38
DNF
C1 7   Automobiles Louis Descartes   Philippe de Henning
  Luigi Taverna
  Patrick Gonin
ALD C91 G 16
Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5L V8
DNS C2 59   Konrad Motorsport
  Joest Porsche Racing
  Franz Konrad
  Jürgen Barth
Porsche 962C G -
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
DNS C1 4   Silk Cut Jaguar
  Tom Walkinshaw Racing
  Teo Fabi
  Kenny Acheson
  Andy Wallace
Jaguar XJR-14 G -
Jaguar Cosworth HB 3.5L V8
DNQ C2 48   Courage Compétition   Chris Hodgetts
  Andrew Hepworth
  Thierry Lacerf
Cougar C24S G -
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
DNQ C1 2   Team Sauber Mercedes   Karl Wendlinger
  Michael Schumacher
  Fritz Kreutzpointner
Mercedes-Benz C291 G -
Mercedes-Benz M291 3.5L Flat-12
DNQ C2 42   Euro Racing   Justin Bell
  Shunji Kasuya
Spice SE88P G -
Ferrari 308C 3.5L Turbo V8
DNQ C2 54   Team Salamin Primagaz
  Team Davey
  Katsunori Iketani
  Mercedes Stermitz
  Val Musetti
Porsche 962C G -
Porsche Type-935 3.2L Turbo Flat-6

StatisticsEdit

  • Pole Position - Jean-Louis Schlesser, #1 Team Sauber Mercedes - 3:31.270
    • #3 Silk Cut Jaguar was originally on pole but was withdrawn prior to the race.
  • Fastest Lap - Michael Schumacher, #31 Team Sauber Mercedes - 3:35.564
  • Distance - 4922.810 km
  • Average Speed - 205.333 km/h
  • Highest Trap Speed — Sauber Mercedes C11 - 342 km/h (race), Sauber Mercedes C11 - 363 km/h (qualifying)


World Sportscar Championship
Previous race:
1991 430km of Silverstone
1991 season Next race:
1991 430km of Nürburgring