Le Mans Classic gives a great retrospective of the 24 Hours of Le Mans every two years the historic competition celebrated its seventh edition in 2016. Praised since its first edition, the event has continued to grow and improve each time it takes over the Le Sarthe circuit. The event is a must-see for any classic car fan, so it looks like you need to book your tickets for 2018.
Andy Wallace, Le Mans winner outright for Jaguar in 1988, was a winner again at the La Sarthe circuit at the Le Mans Classic. 65 racing Jaguars took to the track in the Le Mans Classic round of the Jaguar Classic Challenge. Wallace, whose ’88-winning XJR-9 wowed the crowds during a 100-strong Jaguar parade lap which preceded the race, finished third overall and won his class racing a D-type, while Julian Thomas won the race outright in his 1962 low-drag E-type.
It was Martin Stretton who set the early pace and grabbed pole position at the famed Le Mans Circuit – two seconds ahead of Thomas in second place and Marcus van Oeynhausen in third. Winner of the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hour race with Jaguar, Wallace, qualified fourth while journalist Chris Harris put the 2015 continuation Lightweight E-type in fifth for the start of the race.
At race start, the green flag dropped and the cars roared into life with pole-sitter Stretton, Thomas and van Oeynhausen charging to the first corner to gain the early advantage. The front-runners began to settle into a rhythm and began to pull away from the field.
Thomas moved into the lead and looked comfortable in his low drag E-type in the second half of the 40-minute race and began to extend his lead over the field. As proof, Thomas clocked a top speed of 168.1mph during the race and eventually took the chequered flag for his third consecutive victory in the five-race series. The battle for second place was in the balance with the duo of Andrew Smith then Carlos Monteverde eventually holding off Wallace by just two seconds over the line.
“I am over the moon. It’s absolutely amazing to win at such an iconic circuit, and what a track it is. The highlight for me was chasing Andy Wallace down the Mulsanne – my childhood hero, and previous winner here with Jaguar in ’88. This time he was driving a D-type – my all-time favorite car. A truly unforgettable experience,” said Julian Thomas.