Blazing temperatures and blazing cars. The 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans was a sensational event from start to finish.
Porsche turned up with revamped 911 GT1s, eager to take the overall win after losing out to Joest Racing’s TWR-Porsche prototype in ’96.
Joest were out to repeat their surprise win from the previous year and write another chapter in the long history of the world’s most prestigious endurance event.
Another TWR machine seemed to be in contention for the overall win during pre-qualifying - the elegant Nissan R390 GT1 – race day proved tough for the virtually untried trio of black and red machines.
Panoz debuted their ‘throwback’ front-engined Esperante GTR-1 racer to add a throaty V8 rumble to the internal combustion orchestra. Sadly the three entered failed to last the distance, one bursting into flames on the Mulsanne Straight.
It was a year of big burn outs as the Porsche GT1 of Kelleners and the McLaren F1 GTR of Gilbert-Scott both suffered similar fates along the straight.
The official review brings the highlights of a thrilling year of Le Mans racing back to life in all its dramatic glory.