Michelin has sent through another great “We Are Racers” video, featuring the Porsche Le Mans highlights from 2014. “We Are Racers” documents Michelin at Le Mans 2014 through a series of motorsports visions, shot with French flair and exploring the drama of race life in the pits, as a team.
Watching the video gave me pangs of withdrawal, and I’m just a Porsche enthusiast writer. Imagine what it’s like for a winning mechanic, a driver or car designer. What must their weeks without Le Mans be like?
I recently watched a great documentary on Gordon Murray: the South African-born racing designer, famous for Brabhams and winning McLarens. For all of his F1 wins (more than 50 in total), Murray maintains that Le Mans is many times more difficult than Formula One when you consider what the car has to go through: an entire F1 season in 24 hours. An old school F1 season, that is.
After 20 years in F1 engineering, Murray retired from the sport to seek out new challenges. Keen to keep Murray’s ability away from the competition, Ron Dennis agreed to Murray establishing the McLaren F1 road car programme. Based around drawings from Murray’s early career, the 1100-kilo, 630 bhp F1 was the ultimate supercar: a zero-compromise driving machine, embodying the design philosophy of individual.
“I said from day one that we should never consider the F1 as a racing car because that would compromise it,” Murray noted. “Inevitably, there were customers who wanted to change that, and the GTR was the result. On its first visit to Le Mans in 1995 it won a historic victory.”
I’ve been up close and personal with a number of McLaren F1s, and they are a very special motor cars. Murray tells how only one day was allowed in the wind tunnel to develop the aerodynamics for the Le Mans McLaren F1. An aero-kitted road car, he gives his only regret as not having driven the winning machine to Le Mans and back.
Years after winning Le Mans with a car of his design, Murray’s passion for La Sarthe remains highly intense. But that winning car never bore his own name. So imagine Ferdinand Porsche in 1970, winning with a car that did have his name. Imagine having a hand in that car’s success: success that would be followed by many more Porsche winners. This is the spirit of “We Are Racers”. Perhaps our next win will come in 2015 – Michelin’s video sets us up for that dream.