1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

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.

1999 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1998 Next: 2000
Index: Races | Winners
Le Mans in 1999

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]


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.
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. Dumbreck was unharmed in the incident.[3] 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.



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

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps Time/Reason
1 LMP 15   Team BMW Motorsport   Joachim Winkelhock
  Pierluigi Martini
  Yannick Dalmas
BMW V12 LMR M 365 24:00:00.000‡
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
2 LMGTP 3   Toyota Motorsports   Ukyo Katayama
  Keiichi Tsuchiya
  Toshio Suzuki
Toyota GT-One M 364 +1 lap
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
3 LMP 8   Audi Sport Team Joest   Frank Biela
  Didier Theys
  Emanuele Pirro
Audi R8R M 360 +5 laps
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
4 LMP 7   Audi Sport Team Joest   Michele Alboreto
  Rinaldo Capello
  Laurent Aïello
Audi R8R M 346 +19 laps
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
5 LMP 18   Price+Bscher   Thomas Bscher
  Bill Auberlen
  Steve Soper
BMW V12 LM Y 345 +20 laps
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
6 LMP 13   Courage Compétition   Alex Caffi
  Andrea Montermini
  Domenico Schiattarella
Courage C52 B 342 +23 laps
Nissan VRH35L 3.5 L Turbo V8
7 LMP 12   Panoz Motor Sports   David Brabham
  Éric Bernard
  Butch Leitzinger
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 336 +29 laps
Ford-Élan 6.0 L V8
8 LMP 21   Nissan Motorsports   Didier Cottaz
  Marc Goossens
  Fredrik Ekblom
Courage C52 B 335 +31 laps
Nissan VRH35L 3.5 L Turbo V8
9 LMP 14   Pescarolo Promotion Racing Team   Henri Pescarolo
  Michel Ferté
  Patrice Gay
Courage C50 P 327 +38 laps
Porsche 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6
10 LMGTS 51   Viper Team Oreca   Olivier Beretta
  Karl Wendlinger
  Dominique Dupuy
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 325 +40 laps
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
11 LMP 11   Panoz Motor Sports   Johnny O'Connell
  Jan Magnussen
  Max Angelelli
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 323 +42 laps
Ford-Élan 6.0 L V8
12 LMGTS 52   Viper Team Oreca   Tommy Archer
  Justin Bell
  Marc Duez
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 318 +47 laps
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
13 LMGT 81   Manthey Racing GmbH   Uwe Alzen
  Patrick Huisman
  Luca Riccitelli
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 317 +48 laps
Porsche 3.6 L Flat-6
14 LMGTS 56   Hugh Chamberlain   Ni Amorim
  Hans Hugenholtz
  Toni Seiler
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 314 +51 laps
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
15 LMGTS 50   CICA Team Oreca   Manuel Mello-Breyner
  Pedro Mello-Breyner
  Tomaz Mello-Breyner
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 312 +53 laps
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
16 LMGTS 55   Paul Belmondo Racing   Emmanuel Clérico
  Jean-Claude Lagniez
  Guy Martinolle
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 309 +56 laps
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
17 LMGTS 54   Paul Belmondo Racing   Paul Belmondo
  Tiago Monteiro
  Marc Rostan
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 299 +66 laps
Chrysler 8.0L V10
18 LMGTS 64   Konrad Motorsport   Franz Konrad
  Peter Kitchak
  Charles Slater
Porsche 911 GT2 D 293 +72 laps
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
19 LMGT 80   Champion Racing Dave Maraj   Dirk Müller
  Bob Wollek
  Bernd Mayländer
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 292 +73 laps
Porsche 3.6 L Flat-6
20 LMGTS 62   Roock Racing International Motorsport   Claudia Hürtgen
  André Ahrlé
  Vincent Vosse
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 290 +75 laps
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
21 LMGT 84   Perspective Racing   Thierry Perrier
  Jean-Louis Ricci
  Michel Nourry
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 288 +77 laps
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
22 LMGTS 57   Hugh Chamberlain   Thomas Erdos
  Christian Vann
  Christian Gläsel
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 270 +95 laps
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
NC LMGTS 65   Société Cheréau   Jean-Luc Chéreau
  Patrice Goueslard
  Pierre Yver
Porsche 911 GT2 M 240 Not classified
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMP 17   Team BMW Motorsport   Tom Kristensen
  JJ Lehto
  Jörg Müller
BMW V12 LMR M 304 Accident
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
DNF LMGTS 53   Viper Team Oreca   David Donohue
  Jean-Philippe Belloc
  Soheil Ayari
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 271 Mechanical
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
DNF LMGTS 63   Roock Racing International Motorsport   Hubert Haupt
  John Robinson
  Hugh Price
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 232 Engine
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMP 19   Team Goh   Hiro Matsushita
  Hiroki Katoh
  Akihiko Nakaya
BMW V12 LM M 223 Gearbox
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
DNF LMP 26   Konrad Motorsport   Jan Lammers
  Peter Kox
  Tom Coronel
Lola B98/10 D 213 Gearbox
Ford-Roush 6.0 L V8
DNF LMGTP 10   Audi Sport UK   James Weaver
  Andy Wallace
  Perry McCarthy
Audi R8C M 198 Gearbox
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNF LMGTP 2   Toyota Motorsports   Thierry Boutsen
  Ralf Kelleners
  Allan McNish
Toyota GT-One M 173 Accident
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNF LMGTS 61   Freisinger Motorsport   Ernst Palmberger
  Wolfgang Kaufmann
  Michel Ligonnet
Porsche 911 GT2 D 157 Engine
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMP 27   Kremer Racing   Tomás Saldaña
  Grant Orbell
  Didier de Radiguès
Lola B98/10 G 146 Gearbox
Ford-Roush 6.0 L V8
DNF LMGTS 67   Larbre Compétition   Jean-Pierre Jarier
  Sébastien Bourdais
  Pierre de Thoisy
Porsche 911 GT2 M 134 Engine
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMGTS 66   Estoril Racing Communication   Manuel Monteiro
  Michel Monteiro
  Michel Maisonneuve
Porsche 911 GT2 P 123 Accident damage
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNF LMP 22   Nissan Motorsports   Michael Krumm
  Satoshi Motoyama
  Érik Comas
Nissan R391 B 110 Engine
Nissan VRH50A 5.0 L V8
DNF LMGTP 1   Toyota Motorsports   Martin Brundle
  Emmanuel Collard
  Vincenzo Sospiri
Toyota GT-One M 90 Puncture
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNF LMP 25   DAMS   Christophe Tinseau
  Franck Montagny
  David Terrien
Lola B98/10 P 77 Engine
Judd GV4 4.0 L V10
DNF LMGTP 6   AMG-Mercedes   Bernd Schneider
  Franck Lagorce
  Pedro Lamy
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 76 Withdrawn
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7 L V8
DNF LMGTP 5   AMG-Mercedes   Christophe Bouchut
  Nick Heidfeld
  Peter Dumbreck
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 75 Accident
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7 L V8
DNF LMP 24   Autoexe Motorsports   Yojiro Terada
  Franck Fréon
  Robin Donovan
Autoexe LMP99 Y 74 Engine
Ford 6.0 L V8
DNF LMP 29   JB Jabouille-Bouresche   Jérôme Policand
  Mauro Baldi
  Christian Pescatori
Ferrari 333 SP P 71 Gearbox
Ferrari F130E 4.0 L V12
DNF LMP 32   Riley & Scott Europe   Marco Apicella
  Carl Rosenblad
  Shane Lewis
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 67 Engine
Ford 6.0 L V8
DNF LMGTP 9   Audi Sport UK   Stefan Johansson
  Stéphane Ortelli
  Christian Abt
Audi R8C M 55 Gearbox
Audi 3.6 L Turbo V8
DNF LMP 31   Riley & Scott Europe   Philippe Gache
  Gary Formato
  Olivier Thévenin
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 25 Engine
Ford 6.0 L V8
DNF LMGTS 60   Freisinger Motorsport   Ray Lintott
  Manfred Jurasz
  Katsunori Iketani
Porsche 911 GT2 D 24 Accident
Porsche 3.8 L Turbo Flat-6
DNS LMGTP 4   AMG-Mercedes   Mark Webber
  Jean-Marc Gounon
  Marcel Tiemann
Mercedes-Benz CLR B - Accident in Practice
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7 L V8
DNS LMP 23   Nissan Motorsports   Aguri Suzuki
  Masami Kageyama
  Eric van de Poele
Nissan R391 B - Accident
Nissan VRH50A 5.0 L V8
DNS LMGT 83   Gérard MacQuillan   Michel Neugarten
  Gérard MacQuillan
  Chris Gleason
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Y - Did not qualify
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6


  • Pole position - #1 Toyota Motorsport / TTE - 3:29.930
  • Fastest lap - #3 Toyota Motorsport / TTE - 3:35.052
  • Distance - 4968 km
  • Average speed - 207 km/h
  • Highest trap speed — Toyota GT-One - 352 km/h (practice)


  1. ^ a b 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".
  3. ^ Radu, Vlad (2021-06-30). "The Story of the Mercedes-Benz CLR, the Silver Arrow That Took Flight at Le Mans". autoevolution. Retrieved 2024-06-16.
  4. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1999 - Photo Gallery - Racing Sports Cars". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2023-06-11.