Porsche scores a virtual perfect top 10 in the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours
Porsche dominated the Le Mans 24 Hours in the eighties as no other brand has ever done before. And the supremacy cannot be better shown as with the results of the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours. At the start-grid, the 3 first positions are taken by a Porsche 956. Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell take pole position in the Porsche 956 #1 (Chassis 956-005), followed by Jochen Mass and Steffan Bellof in Porsche 956 #2 (Chassis 956-008) in 2nd. 3rd position is taken by another Porsche 956 #3 (Chassis 956-003) with Vern Schuppan and Al Holbert at the wheel.
The top 5 is completed by the 2 Lancia LC2/83 of the Martini Racing Team. At spot 7, another Porsche 956 #8 (Chassis 956-104) with Klaus Ludwig, Stefan Johansson and Bob Wollek.
Collision Jacky Ickx and Jan Lammers
At that time, Jacky Ickx was the first driver to secure a pole position for the 3rd consecutive time at the Le Mans 24 Hours. However, Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell could not cash in the pole with a victory. Fate struck down very early in the race. In the 1st lap, the Porsche 956 #1 of Jacky Ickx collided with the Porsche 956 #14 (Chassis 956-104) of the Dutch Jan Lammers, who made his debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours. A flat tire was the result for Porsche 956 #1 and it took a whole lap to fix the tire.
Vern Schuppan took the lead about 5 hours in the race. During Vern Schuppan’s stint, the Porsche 956 #3 lost a door. Immediately the mechanics started preparing a new door in the pits, while Vern Schuppan kept on racing. After a few laps, Schuppan comes in the pits and has the door fitted.
The rest of the race went without a hitch until the final lap. Vern Schuppan and Hurley Haywood were on their way to the podium when they looked to the TV screens and saw smoke coming from the back of the Porsche 956. The pair thought that Al Holbert would manage to complete the final lap – which he did, but the engine gave out just after the finish line!
Despite the early flat tire, bad brakes and a heating engine, Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell finish 2nd. Derek Bell remembers the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours as his worst race ever. The Porsche 956 #21 (Chassis 956-101) of Mario Andretti / Michael Andretti and Phillipe Allot completes the podium.
The top 10 of the race is a glory as never seen before in race history. Porsche has no less than 9 cars in the top 10 at the end of the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours. Only the Sauber BMW of the Sauber Switserland Racing Team foul’s up a further more perfect result. Reason enough for Porsche to celebrate the victory with a meanwhile collectible poster : “Porsche, nobody’s Perfect”
Pictures copyright unknown and Le Mans Track