Tuesday, October 3, 2023

LE MANS: Triple Crown Winners, Part 2

Otay Kiddoes’, we’re just getting warmed up, since we’re only at the one third mark…


Funny how I just learned when reading Messer Oliver’s bio that He’s known as the second driver to complete the informal “Triple Crown of endurance racing. Meaning obviously I wasn’t the first person to think of this…


Jacky Oliver

Birthplace: Chadwell Heath, Essex, England

DOB: August 14, 1942, Age: 81

Wins: Sebring 1969; Le Mans, 1969 and Daytona 1971


Keith Jack Oliver cut His motor racing teeth in various Saloons before progressing to formula 3 and then Formula 2. Making His Formula 1 debut at the 1967 German Grand Prix. Winning the F2 class and fifth Overall at the legendous’ Nurburgring driving for Colin Chapman’s Team Lotus concern.


Oliver was tabbed to drive for Lotus in Formula 1 after the death of Jimmy clark, before moving to BRM in 1969 upon Jochen Rindt’s arrival at Lotus. As unfortunately the poor reliability of the BRM in two frustrating seasons effectively brought Oliver’s F1 career to a close. Although Oliver would make occasional F1 appearances until 1977 – making a total of 50 Grands Prix starts. Most notably when driving for Shadow in 1973.


Olivier’s Sports Car success came while driving for the legendous’ John Wyer, where the “Two Jacky’s”, i.e.; Oliver and Jacky Ickx won the 1969 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans aboard the venerable J.W. Automotive Engineering Ford GT40 Mk I.


Between 1970-71, JW Automotive Engineering became the de facto Porsche 917 team, where Oliver and co-driver Pedro Rodriguez won the 1971 24 Heurs du Mans and 1000km Monza Sports Car race.


Jacky is the only driver to have won the Can Am Championship on this list of nine drivers. Winning the 1974 title for Don Nichols Shadow racing team aboard the Shadow DN4.


Jacky is also credited with being a leading founder of the Arrows Grand Prix team beginning in 1978, before selling the majority of His shares to the Japanese Footwork corporation in 1990. Oliver remained as team Director thru it’s brief use of Porsche V-12’s and other engines before regaining control in 1993, when Footwork pulled it’s financial support of the team. And then again selling His Shares to Tom Walkinshaw in 1996.


Hurley Haywood

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

DOB: May 4, 1948, Age: 75

Wins: Daytona, (5) 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1991; Sebring, (2) 1973, 1981 and Le Mans, (3) 1977, 1983, 1994


What can I say or write about Harris Hurley Haywood that hasn’t already been said? Since Hurley whose long been synonymous with Brumos Porsche and it’s iconic No. 59 racecars. Arguably is one of the greatest All-time Sports Car racers. As I’d say greatest, but there’s one more Yank on this list that may challenge Him, not to mention the late “Peter Perfect”, aka Peter Gregg. Who Hurley partnered for many wins early in His career.


And while I had to remind myself that Hurley won the 1988 SCCA Trans Am Championship driving an Audi. What I always forget is that Haywood competed in the 1980 CART/PPG IndyCar World Series driving for Lindsey Hopkins Racing. Including finishing 18th as a rookie in that year’s Indianapolis 500. Reportedly making a total of 18 starts.


Won’t even attempt listing All of Hurley’s co-drivers for His amazing haul of these ten endurance race W’s. Other than having won with the likes of Jacky Ixkx Danny Ongais and Al Holbert amongst the many. While my favourites win is His 1981 Sebring victory driving for my Home team of Bayside Racing with Holbert and Bruce Leven.


Even more impressive is that Haywood won all of these races driving only Porsches. Beginning with the Carrera RSR, then 935, 936, 956 and lastly 962 variants.


I find it interesting how Hurley won His three 24 Heurs du Mans races over three decades, beginning with the 936 Spyder, then the 956 and lastly a Dauer 962 Le Mans entry, a racing version of the Dauer 962 Le Mans road car for which only 13 examples were built.


I was also unaware of the fact that Hurley was Drafted by the U.S. Army in 1970, and served His  tour of duty in Vietnam in Saigon. But guessing everybody knows He’s tied for most 24 Hours of Daytona wins with Scott Scooter’ Pruett at five apiece…