In the foreground of the poster can be seen two generations of Porsche prototypes: the 908/02 (No. 20) driven by Jo Siffert (at the wheel with his helmet in Swiss colours) and Brian Redman, as well as the 917 of Vic Elford-Richard Attwood, qualified second. Both would be forced to retire.
Jacky Ickx or the walking win – Qualified 14th, the Beligan driver decided not to run but to walk to his car in protest of the Le Mans start which he judged too dangerous. He left dead last… and won the race by passing the Porsche 908 of Hans Herrmann in the last lap!
Ford fourth – Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickx gave Ford its fourth consecutive win. It was second win of the Brit, John Wyer's team after the victory of Pedro Rodriguez-Lucien Bianchi the previous year. In both cases, the car boasted the oil company Gulf's sky blue and orange livery.
Porsche 917 premiere – The year 1969 was also marked by the first appearance of the Porsche 917. Hard to tame, it achieved performances still as yet unseen at the 24 Hours circuit. Rolf Stommelen-Kurt Ahrens clinched the pole position at nearly 240km/h on average!
Matra in the top 5 – For the first time since its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, the manufacturer passed under the checkered flag with a nice grouping of three: Jean Pierre Beltoise-Piers Courage, Jean Guichet-Nino Vaccarella and Nanni Galli-Robbin Widdows finished fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.
Henri Pescarolo, absent – In 1968, Henri Pescarolo entered the legend of the 24 Hours christened at night and in the rain at the wheel of a Matra with broken windshield wipers. He was not at the start of the 1969 edition following an incident during the Test Day. This absence did not prevent him from becoming a participation record-holder in La Sarthe (33 starts from 1966 to 1999).
Reinhold Joest, the first start – At the wheel of a Ford GT40 in the colours of the German auto magazine "Auto Zeitung," Reinhold Joest, along with his fellow countryman Helmut Kelleners, finished sixth at his first 24 Hours. He is today the team owner with the most wins in La Sarthe, with 15 victories.
Steve McQueen visiting – One year after the launch of Solar, his own film production company, Steve McQueen went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for location scouting for the movie he would film the following year in La Sarthe.
The seventh edition of the Le Mans Classic will take place July 4-6 (official website).
Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY JUNE 14 & SUNDAY JUNE 15 1969, RACE. For its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Porsche 917 clocked the two best qualifying times. The car of Vic Elford-Richard Attwood would be betrayed by its clutch three hours from the finish while it was in the lead.