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Open Access Articles- Top Results for 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

1999 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1998 Next: 2000
Index: Races | Winners

The 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 67th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 12 and 13 June 1999.

Pre-race

1999 saw another increase in manufacturers involvement. Although Porsche did not send a team to contest in the prototype classes, Toyota retained their three updated GT-Ones, now moved to the LMGTP class due to the demise of GT1, while Mercedes-Benz debuted three new CLR LMGTPs. Nissan instead moved from GT1 to an open cockpit LMP, as did Panoz.

Newcomer Audi attempted to try their hand at both classes, with two open cockpit R8Rs and two closed cockpit R8Cs. BMW continued with their open cockpit LMPs, updating to the new V12 LMR.

Mercedes CLR incidents

This event became famous for the incidents involving the team of Mercedes-Benz CLRs during qualifying and the race itself. An aerodynamic design flaw in the CLR allowed for large amounts of air to build up underneath the nose of the car, especially when following another car and at the tops of hills, notably on the run to Indianapolis and on the Mulsanne straight.

Mark Webber's CLR became airborne at Indianapolis during qualifying and was repaired with tweaks to the rear suspension in an attempt by Mercedes to cure the problem. All cars qualified, but during the brief warm-up on the day of the race, Webber again became airborne when following his teammates over the hump of the Mulsanne, landing on his roof and skidding to a stop in the Mulsanne corner. This car was withdrawn, but the two other CLRs continued on, again with emergency tweaks to attempt to stop the instability.

Unfortunately, a few hours into the race Peter Dumbreck's CLR also became airborne just before the Indianapolis corner (a very bumpy section of the track), this time flying off the side of the track and landing in the trees. This incident, unlike the previous two, was caught by TV cameras and thus broadcast worldwide. Mercedes-Benz immediately withdrew the remaining CLR and dropped out of sportscar racing for the immediate future.

This would be the second time Mercedes-Benz had been forced to drop out of Le Mans and sportscar racing following an incident with one of their cars becoming airborne and leaving the track, the first being the 1955 Le Mans disaster.

The Race

The race got off to a fast start, proceeding like a sprint for the first few hours. The top qualifying #1 & #2 Toyotas driven by Martin Brundle & Thierry Boutsen fought with the #6 Mercedes driven by Bernd Schneider, and the #5 Mercedes driven by Christophe Bouchut. The #17 BMW was never far behind and used its superior fuel economy to gain the lead through the pit stops. Toyota #1, #2, Mercedes #6 and BMW #17 all led the race at various points. At 8pm, 5 hours into the race the #17 BMW lead the race with #2 Toyota 2nd, #5 Mercedes 3rd and #6 Mercedes 4th. It was during this fight for second and third place when Dumbreck's famous incident occurred. This led to the immediate withdrawal of the remaining #6 Mercedes.

Following a lengthy safety car period as a result of Dumbreck's accident, Martin Brundle was next to go in the #1 Toyota at 11:30pm. He was trying to claw back time from an earlier mechanical issue when he suffered a puncture at high speed on braking for the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight. The puncture sent the car veering sideways into the barrier, badly damaging the rear suspension. Martin did his best to get the car back to the pits but eventually stopped at Arnage, the car refusing to go further, possibly due to drive shaft failure caused by the flailing rubber. At the front the race was still between The #17 BMW and the #2 Toyota, they were never too far apart, the Toyota having the superior pace but the BMW able to go further on each tank. Following them were the #15 BMW and the #3 Toyota which rather than getting involved with the sprint at the front had been quietly going about their business. At around 2am the #2 Toyota being driven by Thierry Boutsen suffered a high speed crash under the Dunlop bridge, again due to a puncture. The car was destroyed and Boutsen had to be extracted from the car suffering from an injury to his lower back.

By dawn the #17 BMW was 4 laps in front of its sister 15 BMW, it looked like nothing could stop the BMW's. At approximately 10am JJ Lehto driving #17 BMW suffered a stuck throttle and crashed in the Porsche curves. The front of the car was badly damaged and could not continue. This left the sister #15 BMW almost a lap ahead of the #3 Toyota which had been quietly cruising around at a steady pace. With this sniff of a win Ukyo Katayama put the foot down in the Toyota and set the fastest lap of the race of 3:35. He narrowed the gap to less than a minute till again a tyre blowout befell the Toyota team. Ukyo was however able to return to the pits for new tyres and continued. By then bar any problems for the BMW the race was out of reach. Audi came in a respectable 3rd at their first attempt at Le Mans setting them up nicely for the domination that was to come.

The 1999 race was the last for several of the "big" manufacturers. Only Audi returned for 2000. Mercedes pulled out of sports car racing altogether following the CLR incidents and concentrated on the new German DTM series, BMW concentrated their efforts on their supply of engines to the Williams team in F1 (who had incidentally built the BMW LMRs). Toyota also pulled out as despite their terrific pace over 98 & 99 disappointingly only one of their cars finished the race over both of those years. (Toyota would eventually return to Le Mans in 2012, as well as the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.)

Official results

File:1999 Toyota TS020 01.jpg
Toyota was a top challenger throughout the race. This #3 Toyota GT-One was the lone finisher for Toyota, finishing second.
File:1999AudiR8R.jpg
When this #8 Audi R8R came home in third place, it marked the beginning of what was soon to become the era of Audi dominance at Le Mans.
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
Engine
1 LMP 15 23x15px BMW Motorsport 23x15px Joachim Winkelhock
23x15px Pierluigi Martini
23x15px Yannick Dalmas
BMW V12 LMR M 365
BMW S70 6.0L V12
2 LMGTP 3 Template:Country data JPN Toyota Motorsport
23x15px Toyota Team Europe
Template:Country data JPN Ukyo Katayama
Template:Country data JPN Keiichi Tsuchiya
Template:Country data JPN Toshio Suzuki
Toyota GT-One M 364
Toyota R36V 3.6L Turbo V8
3 LMP 8 23x15px Audi Sport Team Joest 23x15px Frank Biela
23x15px Didier Theys
23x15px Emanuele Pirro
Audi R8R M 360
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
4 LMP 7 23x15px Audi Sport Team Joest 23x15px Michele Alboreto
23x15px Rinaldo Capello
23x15px Laurent Aïello
Audi R8R M 346
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
5 LMP 18 23x15px Price+Bscher 23x15px Thomas Bscher
23x15px Bill Auberlen
23x15px Steve Soper
BMW V12 LM Y 345
BMW S70 6.0L V12
6 LMP 13 23x15px Courage Compétition 23x15px Alex Caffi
23x15px Andrea Montermini
23x15px Domenico Schiattarella
Courage C52 B 342
Nissan VRH35L 3.5L Turbo V8
7 LMP 12 23x15px Panoz Motorsports 23x15px David Brabham
23x15px Éric Bernard
23x15px Butch Leitzinger
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 336
Ford (Élan) 6.0L V8
8 LMP 21 Template:Country data JPN Nissan Motorsports 23x15px Didier Cottaz
23x15px Marc Goossens
23x15px Fredrik Ekblom
Courage C52 B 335
Nissan VRH35L 3.5L Turbo V8
9 LMP 14 23x15px Pescarolo Promotion Racing Team 23x15px Henri Pescarolo
23x15px Michel Ferté
23x15px Patrice Gay
Courage C50 P 327
Porsche 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
10 GTS 51 23x15px Viper Team Oreca 23x15px Olivier Beretta
23x15px Karl Wendlinger
23x15px Dominique Dupuy
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 325
Chrysler 8.0L V10
11 LMP 11 23x15px Panoz Motorsports 23x15px Johnny O'Connell
23x15px Jan Magnussen
23x15px Max Angelelli
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S M 323
Ford (Élan) 6.0L V8
12 GTS 52 23x15px Viper Team Oreca 23x15px Tommy Archer
23x15px Justin Bell
23x15px Marc Duez
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 318
Chrysler 8.0L V10
13 GT 81 23x15px Manthey Racing GmbH 23x15px Uwe Alzen
23x15px Patrick Huisman
23x15px Luca Riccitelli
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 317
Porsche 3.6L Flat-6
14 GTS 56 23x15px Chamberlain Engineering 23x15px Ni Amorim
23x15px Hans Hugenholtz
23x16px Toni Seiler
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 314
Chrysler 8.0L V10
15 GTS 50 23x15px CICA Team Oreca 23x15px Manuel Mello-Breyner
23x15px Pedro Mello-Breyner
23x15px Tomaz Mello-Breyner
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 312
Chrysler 8.0L V10
16 GTS 55 23x15px Paul Belmondo Racing 23x15px Emmanuel Clérico
23x15px Jean-Claude Lagniez
23x15px Guy Martinolle
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 309
Chrysler 8.0L V10
17 GTS 54 23x15px Paul Belmondo Racing 23x15px Paul Belmondo
23x15px Tiago Monteiro
23x15px Marc Rostan
Chrysler Viper GTS-R D 299
Chrysler 8.0L V10
18 GTS 64 23x15px Konrad Motorsport 23x15px Franz Konrad
23x15px Peter Kitchak
23x15px Charles Slater
Porsche 911 GT2 D 293
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
19 GT 80 23x15px Champion Racing 23x15px Dirk Müller
23x15px Bob Wollek
23x15px Bernd Mayländer
Porsche 911 GT3-R P 292
Porsche 3.6L Flat-6
20 GTS 62 23x15px Roock Racing 23x15px Claudia Hürtgen
23x15px André Ahrle
23x15px Vincent Vosse
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 290
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
21 GT 84 23x15px Perspective Racing 23x15px Thierry Perrier
23x15px Jean-Louis Ricci
23x15px Michel Nourry
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR P 288
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6
22 GTS 57 23x15px Chamberlain Engineering 23x15px Thomas Erdos
23x15px Christian Vann
23x15px Christian Gläsel
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 270
Chrysler 8.0L V10
23
NC
GTS 65 23x15px Chereau Sports
23x15px Larbre Compétition
23x15px Jean-Luc Chereau
23x15px Patrice Goueslard
23x15px Pierre Yver
Porsche 911 GT2 M 240
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
24
DNF
LMP 17 23x15px Team BMW Motorsport 23x15px Tom Kristensen
23x15px JJ Lehto
23x15px Jörg Müller
BMW V12 LMR M 304
BMW S70 6.0L V12
25
DNF
GTS 53 23x15px Viper Team Oreca 23x15px David Donohue
23x15px Jean-Philippe Belloc
23x15px Soheil Ayari
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 271
Chrysler 8.0L V10
26
DNF
GTS 63 23x15px Roock Racing 23x15px Hubert Haupt
23x15px John Robinson
23x15px Hugh Price
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 232
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
27
DNF
LMP 19 Template:Country data JPN Team Goh
23x15px David Price Racing
Template:Country data JPN Hiro Matsushita
Template:Country data JPN Hiroki Katoh
Template:Country data JPN Akihiko Nakaya
BMW V12 LM M 223
BMW S70 6.0L V12
28
DNF
LMP 26 23x15px Konrad Motorsport
23x15px Talkline Racing for Holland
23x15px Jan Lammers
23x15px Peter Kox
23x15px Tom Coronel
Lola B98/10 D 213
Ford (Roush) 6.0L V8
29
DNF
LMGTP 10 23x15px Audi Sport UK Ltd. 23x15px James Weaver
23x15px Andy Wallace
23x15px Perry McCarthy
Audi R8C M 198
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
30
DNF
LMGTP 2 Template:Country data JPN Toyota Motorsports
23x15px Toyota Team Europe
23x15px Thierry Boutsen
23x15px Ralf Kelleners
23x15px Allan McNish
Toyota GT-One M 173
Toyota R36V 3.6L Turbo V8
31
DNF
GTS 61 23x15px Freisinger Motorsport 23x15px Ernst Palmberger
23x15px Wolfgang Kaufmann
23x15px Michel Ligonnet
Porsche 911 GT2 D 157
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
32
DNF
LMP 27 23x15px Kremer Racing 23x15px Tomas Saldaña
23x15px Grant Orbell
23x15px Didier de Radiguès
Lola B98/10 G 46
Ford (Roush) 6.0L V8
33
DNF
GTS 67 23x15px Larbre Compétition 23x15px Jean-Pierre Jarier
23x15px Sébastien Bourdais
23x15px Pierre de Thoisy
Porsche 911 GT2 M 134
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
34
DNF
GTS 66 23x15px Estoril Racing Communication 23x15px Manuel Monteiro
23x15px Michel Monteiro
23x15px Michel Maisonneuve
Porsche 911 GT2 P 123
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
35
DNF
LMP 22 Template:Country data JPN Nissan Motorsports 23x15px Michael Krumm
Template:Country data JPN Satoshi Motoyama
23x15px Érik Comas
Nissan R391 B 110
Nissan VRH50A 5.0L V8
36
DNF
LMGTP 1 Template:Country data JPN Toyota Motorsports
23x15px Toyota Team Europe
23x15px Martin Brundle
23x15px Emmanuel Collard
23x15px Vincenzo Sospiri
Toyota GT-One M 90
Toyota R36V 3.6L Turbo V8
37
DNF
LMP 25 23x15px Team DAMS 23x15px Christophe Tinseau
23x15px Franck Montagny
23x15px David Terrien
Lola B98/10 P 77
Judd GV4 4.0L V10
38
DNF
LMGTP 6 23x15px AMG-Mercedes 23x15px Bernd Schneider
23x15px Franck Lagorce
23x15px Pedro Lamy
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 76
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7L V8
39
DNF
LMGTP 5 23x15px AMG-Mercedes 23x15px Christophe Bouchut
23x15px Nick Heidfeld
23x15px Peter Dumbreck
Mercedes-Benz CLR B 75
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7L V8
40
DNF
LMP 24 Template:Country data JPN Autoexe Motorsport Template:Country data JPN Yojiro Terada
23x15px Franck Fréon
23x15px Robin Donovan
Autoexe LMP99 Y 74
Ford 6.0L V8
41
DNF
LMP 29 23x15px JB Racing 23x15px Jérôme Policand
23x15px Mauro Baldi
23x15px Christian Pescatori
Ferrari 333 SP P 71
Ferrari F130E 4.0L V12
42
DNF
LMP 32 23x15px Riley & Scott Europe
23x15px Solution F
23x15px Marco Apicella
23x15px Carl Rosenblad
23x15px Shane Lewis
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 67
Ford 6.0L V8
43
DNF
LMGTP 9 23x15px Audi Sport UK Ltd. 23x15px Stefan Johansson
23x15px Stéphane Ortelli
23x15px Christian Abt
Audi R8C M 55
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
44
DNF
LMP 31 23x15px Riley & Scott Europe
23x15px Solution F
23x15px Philippe Gache
23x15px Gary Formato
23x15px Olivier Thévenin
Riley & Scott Mk III/2 P 25
Ford 6.0L V8
45
DNF
GTS 60 23x15px Freisinger Motorsport 23x15px Ray Lintott
23x15px Manfred Jurasz
Template:Country data JPN Katsunori Iketani
Porsche 911 GT2 D 24
Porsche 3.8L Turbo Flat-6
DNS LMGTP 4 23x15px AMG-Mercedes 23x15px Mark Webber
23x15px Jean-Marc Gounon
23x15px Marcel Tiemann
Mercedes-Benz CLR B -
Mercedes-Benz GT108C 5.7L V8
DNS LMP 23 Template:Country data JPN Nissan Motorsports Template:Country data JPN Aguri Suzuki
Template:Country data JPN Masami Kageyama
23x15px Eric van de Poele
Nissan R391 B -
Nissan VRH50A 5.0L V8
DNS GT 83 23x15px GFB MacQuillan 23x15px Michel Neugarten
23x15px Gerard MacQuillan
23x15px Chris Gleason
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR P -
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6

Statistics

  • Pole Position - #1 Toyota Motorsport / TTE - 3:29.930
  • Fastest Lap - #3 Toyota Motorsport / TTE - 3:35.052
  • Distance - 4968 km
  • Average Speed - 207 km/h
  • Highest Trap Speed — Toyota GT-One - 352 km/h (practice)