Last weekend, the constructors of the cars entered in the Sport Proto Cup class of the 2018 Historic Tour were in Le Mans for a trip down memory lane.
From 1970 to the early 2000s, carmakers such as Lola, Tiga, Lucchini and Debora all took part in the Sport Protos Cup and also featured prominently at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 2-litre or Group C2 classes.
In the seventies, Lola was the darling of many privately-owned teams and gentleman drivers in the 2-litre class. One such amateur driver, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, achieved third place first time out at the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours in a T298.
Group C was introduced a few years later and with it came Tiga, with drivers such as Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley. The high point for Tiga at Le Mans was in 1985 when Gordon Spice, Ray Bellm and Mark Galvin won the C2 class with the Spice-Tiga and took 14th overall.
Lucchini’s Le Mans moment came in 1993 when the SP91 finished in 30th place. Around the same time, Debora (for Didier Bonnet Racing) added its name to the list of French artisan carmakers at Le Mans, alongside René Bonnet, Yves Courage and Jean Rondeau, the only driver ever to have won the race in a car of his own design.
Between 1992 and 2000, Debora entered Le Mans 24 Hours six times, and claimed a class win in 1995 with Bernard Santal, Edouard Sezionale and Patrice Roussel. The latter passed on the racing bug to the younger generations: his nephew is none other than Léo Roussel, winner of the European Le Mans Series LMP2 class in 2017 with G-Drive Racing. In 2014, for his first Le Mans 24 Hours, Léo Roussel was the youngest ever participant.
Once again, the Bugatti produced a festival of magical moments.
Photo (Gilbert David / ACO): The Lola – one of the most popular 2-litre prototypes of its time – on the Bugatti in Le Mans last weekend for the Historic Tour.