A Le Mans Start

klemcoll, Nurburgring, Gunther Molter

Here is one of the classic race start photographs, but in this case taken not at Le Mans but at the Nürburgring at the start of the famous 1000 Km. race on May 31, 1964. There are 81 starters lined up in front of the pits with the fastest qualifiers at the far end of the photograph. The road then bends to the left into the Sudkurve before swinging into its 180° right-hander which will lead the field back past behind the pits and into the “green hell” of the Nordschleife. It was always amazing that this type of start did not involve one or more serious crashes as the cars pulled out onto the track and filtered down into the Sudkurve. If anyone had seatbelts, they would have to figure out how to fasten them on the run back up the straight after the Sudkurve!

klemcoll, Nurburgring, Gunther Molter

And away they go  – no crashes, yet. On pole was a Ferrari 275P driven by John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini, but they will not reach the finish after loosing a wheel. Neither will the second position starter, a Ford GT40 driven by Phil Hill and Bruce McLaren which will retire with suspension failure. The eventual winners will be another Ferrari 275P which was third in the lineup at the start, driven by Ludovico Scarfiotti and Nino Vaccarella. In third place at the finish will be a GT car, the Ferrari 250GTO/64 of Mike Parkes and Jean Guichet.

No wonder they do not do this any more

Photos by Günther Molter ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

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One comment

  1. Jack Brewer · · Reply

    What happened to the clock? The minute hand appears to have disappeared in the second picture. Perhaps it fell off in all the commotion.

    Like

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