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Any Le Mans Drivers/Owners on F-Chat?

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by wax, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. TinaDK

    TinaDK F1 World Champ

    Jun 23, 2004
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    Hmm it's not easy for me in English to express what I want to... but I'll try anyway and hope that it will be understandable ....

    I really hope that Roland will be back here again!! And I really hope he'll find that "cork-gene" that makes him float and find the surface again!!!
    2 times LeMans winner or not.... Roland is a great guy!!!
    And I don't agree... why should he come crawling in here with an apology? Isn't this explanation enough??? It is to me....

    Roland!!! Cheer up... I hope you'll get better and find a future that makes you really happy after all what you've been through :)

    VERY best wishes from me!
     
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  3. Rickenbach

    Rickenbach F1 Veteran
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    I once won a Pontiac LeMans on a slot machine in Vegas. So, While I am only a one time winner, I was both an owner AND driver. I didnt realize that would be so exciting to posters on a Ferrari board. With sufficient notice I am available for speaking engagements, and commercials.
     
  4. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang F1 World Champ
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    Well said Tina!
    100% agree with you.

    Get well sonn Roland.

    Best from Germany

    Wolfgang
     
  5. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 F1 Rookie

    Oct 16, 2001
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    How much is your fee?
     
  6. Kram

    Kram Formula Junior

    Jul 3, 2004
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    Mark
    Okay, back on topic....

    Here is a Le Mans story I don’t like to tell, principally because I don’t come out of it shining and bright, but here it is...

    In 1986 during a daylight qualifying session the team manager for Mazda, O’Hashi, asked me if I would like to qualify the ‘T’ car.

    “Do you have a time in mind?”

    This was a gentle way of asking if I could hammer the hell out of the machine and perhaps drag it up the grid or find out if he just wanted the machine in the race, full stop. Given that the car would only start the race if one of the other machines had been smashed up, he probably wanted it safely in, somewhere near the back of the grid.

    “It does not matter. Whatever you feel comfortable with.”

    Now that was an invitation to mayhem in my book.......

    I checked out the details of the qualifying specs on the other cars.

    I was a simple formula. Everyone went for outright straight-line speed.

    The ‘straight line speed’ direction was hard tires, less wing and higher gears. Sticky tires were great, and while they helped on the 23 odd corners around the circuit, their glue-like nature increased rolling resistance down the straight and made the cars much slower on the two fast bits. The wing business was a no-brainer too for the smaller your car was the less horse power it needed to punch it through the air, or rather the faster it went for the same horsepower. The the less wing you used the smaller your car became - and the faster you went. As for gearing, that too was obvious. The smaller the car the higher a gear you could use.

    So, where should I go?

    I spoke to Kio, our Korean crew chief.
    “What can I rev the motor up to?”
    “8,000 rpm.”
    “But Kio, it’s good for 13,000 in a test cell.”
    “8,500 maximum. Don’t blow it up. It’s not in a test cell now.”

    Great!

    I asked Kio to have the rear wing and front splitter put up for extra downforce, the sticky tires to be put on, and the longer gears to be left in it, a combination that was a dog’s breakfast of a setup. It was neither fish nor fowl, and although he knew it, he didn’t argue. In his mind if I wanted to be an ass in the spare car, that was great.

    I had a plan......

    Quite simply I was hoping to catch an opportunistic tow or two. If I had a fast car in front of me down the two main straights all my engine had to do was overcome rolling resistance, and thus all the wing I was carrying wouldn’t matter. When I came to the corners I would rely on downforce and the charity of the tires to keep me on the track, and thus, my theory went, I would have it on both the swings and the roundabouts - it would be a hell of a lap.

    The safety net here was that if there was no tow out there and I was slow as hell, well then, I could argue that I was safely putting the car in the race - no risks taken, and thus come across as a good team player.

    When the car was ready I headed out onto the circuit. I took the first lap slowly, to keep the tires in good shape as I warmed them, and then at the last chichane before the timing line I let her rip, past the pits and under the Dunlop bridge. The circuit was in great shape, in fact it always was during qualifying. The race was a different matter, for by the closing hours some bits of the road got tugged by the cars, like a stairs carpet in a school, so that it was pushed into ripples and bumps by the heavy braking.

    As I turned onto the straight I saw a thing of JOY! My tow car - a works Porsche no less, and by the flashing tail lights and the way he was jouncing about in the near distance he was BEDDING IN BRAKE PADS!! Wow!!
    He gave me a dream tow, the Mazda hitting an early 8,500 rpm and staying there as my new friend touched the brakes and slowed down just enough to keep me glued to his ass. I dived out well before the Mulsanne hairpin - I knew he would be lightly braking early and I didn’t want to lose time with that, and then away I went. It was looking like a really good lap - the signalling crew at the hairpin were still setting up the sign as I powered by.


    A second tow down to Indy!! Not as good as the first, but there for the last third, which is what I needed as I had the higher gear set. There was one more small straight and after that it was corners and I was home.

    It was about then that life became difficult.......

    ..... small raindrops hit the windscreen......

    Damn and blast!!

    Learning to drive during the winter of ‘81 and ‘82 I had driven in the rain an awful lot. Racing in Ireland and England I had driven in the rain a lot. During a wet Formula Ford 2000 race I had once lapped everyone up to 3rd on my way to win, but they were not much good to tell the truth. And that was then, this was now.

    Mind you, there was one lesson I had learned that was handy to know. If it showered a bit, just a spray, most folk backed off, an action that caused their tires to cool. If you overdrove your car at that point the tires would remain hot in spite of the damp and you ended up with more grip than those around you, a situation that allowed you to keep on going while they slithered and wondered how you did it. That technique didn’t work for real rain, but it was a good trick when there was just a soft damp in the air and on the visor.

    I went for it, entering the Porsche curves and pushing the car.

    One of the corners is off camber.

    That’s when I lost it. The car had a locked diff, it understeered until you put on the power. The moment I eased in the throttle the rear spun off the track.


    Screams inside the helmet! Serious profanities!!

    I slammed on the brakes and sat out the crash.

    Now that may seem stupid, in fact that may seem the worst thing to do, but there was a reason for the action.

    If you spin a car with a locked diff, at some point during the spin one rear wheel will turn in one direction and the other rear wheel will turn the other way, at which point either you half shaft snaps or your diff is rubbished. You might get away with it, but standing on the brakes protects your diff. Furthermore, once you start to spin, if you hammer on the brakes, you keep spinning in the same line, one wheel doesn’t suddenly steer you in a new direction.

    I watched the barrier coming at me as the rain really started to come down. I was off the track, on the grass, and ........and ......

    The barrier was moving away from me. I was off the grass and back on the track.

    I had spun around the corner and was back on the circuit and pointed the right way. I had done a 180, but so had the circuit!

    I dropped the clutch and tiptoed on as though nothing had happened, the rain falling heavily as I crawled through the rest of the corners back to the pits.

    Thank you Lord!! I had hit nothing, so I just pulled in and said NOTHING! They would NEVER FIND OUT!! YAHOO!!

    Kio and O’Hashi were waiting for me as the door was opened up.

    “You made very good time down the straight. Our split times show that this is the fastest car. Do you want to try again once the rain stops?”

    “Sure! We might put on a set of fresh tires though.”
    “All right. You sit in the car. The rain will not last long.”

    At this point a mechanic opened the passenger door and started to fiddle with the electronics bolted to the bulkhead behind me. I could see he was pulling something out of some box.”

    “What is that?” I asked pointing.

    “It...is.....” and then his English failed him.

    “That,” offered O’Hashi, The Omnipotent Team Manager, a.k.a my BOSS “is the video tape.”

    Oh! Cluster Fu*k!! Caught with my pants down!! ARRRRGH!!

    “Oh, yes,” I offered, with a dismissive wave of my hand, “perhaps there is something you should know...........”





    On a closing note all my posts has been written from memory and I see that I got a few mechanical details wrong. For example the Mazda 757 did not have any carbon fibre in the tub and the tub was not connected to the rear suspension. It had an aluminium tub, the rear suspension was a rocker arm setup that was held in place by plates. I think.
     
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  8. Andy 308GTB

    Andy 308GTB Formula 3
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    Mark - another great post, keep 'em coming.
     
  9. Dino 208gt4

    Dino 208gt4 F1 World Champ

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Thanks again for a great story Mark.
     
  10. LightGuy

    LightGuy Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Thats the Stuff !!! Thanks Kram ! Hey I just got it; kram = mark backwards. Call me slow.
     
  11. ^@#&

    ^@#& F1 World Champ
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    Feb 27, 2005
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    woah! I just got that now......
     
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  13. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    #360 darth550, Feb 7, 2006
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  14. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Classic!!!!
     
  15. lmpdesigner

    lmpdesigner Formula 3
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    Kram (Mark)

    Interesting that in your days at LeMans you went for hard tires and stright line speed over corner speed.

    For me, since 1998 every car and team I have been with and known (With the exception of Mercedes-and we know what they did!) always run the same scenario for qualifying:

    Wednesday night 2nd session, before it gets too dark. Track cools off and best time for running.

    Soft soft tires-qualifiers!! On the Michelins, on the Panoz, Audi and BMW it was always the same thing--Go real slow out lap, even sacrifice a little speed at the beginning of your hot lap to save tires for the most important part of the track: Porsche Corners. If you were fast thru here then you had a good laptime.

    The Michelin qualies would not even last one lap flat out, they always lost some grip towards the end of your first lying lap. Not much, but enough that the drivers could tell. You would usually do another flying lap but the times were usually down to the first one and if I saw the segment times drop on that lap I would usually radio the driver and tell him to bag it and pit as we were not going to be faster.

    We would not usually do much to alter the setup for the qualifying attempt. If the car was good as a race set up-we would keep to that. Maybe drop a flap angle or better drop the rear deck gurney one size. (Flap angle would upset balance whereas the rear deck gurney didn't, as much.)

    Big thing was low fuel, good race set up, qualie tires and one more thing: We would put on the cleanest and best front diffuser we had. (Audi had special brand new "qualifying" diffusers.) All the LMP cars are (were) very sensitive to the front splitter condition. If you smacked one even a couple of times you would lose downforce.

    It became so critical that big ride height changes on the front of the car would be +/- 2 mm, with +/- 1 mm the norm when we were "right there".

    Interesting place LeMans One of these days I may just right about the engineers side of the race.
     
  16. Cavallino Motors

    Cavallino Motors F1 World Champ
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    May 31, 2001
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    My personal experience with Roland:

    I can not remember ever hearing that he WON in LM. It was always about LM. As many I assumed he was driving because of his excellent driving tallent (seen it first hand in New Orleans) and the many races I have heard him part take from 3rd parties.

    If at all Roland would be guilty of not setting this record straight all the time people assumed just as I did.

    Fact is though, Roland is one of the nicest guys you can find out there. He is a true gentlemen and a die-hard racer. His knowledge is quite extensive and him as a person one of the charismatic people you rarely forget.

    I am sad to hear that Roland, a person I consider a friend, is not in good health. Not being able to race again would be a blow to him. One I would not wish on anybody that has fuel in their veins as Roland does.

    Human nature is to assume sometimes and fill in our own blanks. Maybe we should look at ourselves and ask us if we do not embelish the truth sometimes or at the very least set the record NOT straight immediately. The Touareg Commercial comes to mind where the salesman has to hide so the guy can pose for the ex-girlfriend. :)

    Roland, get better my friend. Hope to be on your tailpipe soon :)
     
  17. b-mak

    b-mak F1 Veteran

    Another great post, Mark. Looking forward to more.
     
  18. Kram

    Kram Formula Junior

    Jul 3, 2004
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    Mark
    A very interesting post!

    I hope you do write about the race from your perspective. How does one design components that are so durable and also so light? How much does a current car’s weight change (from down force) when it is moving at full speed?

    Technically the cars were - and are fascinating. One of the things I loved about racing was that you got to work with very clever people (like you) who knew that races were won by thinking outside the box and who designed accordingly.

    As an aside, Michelin once gave me a set of qualifiers to run during a F3 race at Silverstone. Back then when one ran radials one had to crank on a ton of camber - it looked like the suspension was broken the wheels leaned in so much. The Q tires were good for exactly one flying lap, but after I had done my time out of rude curiosity I kept on driving to see what would happen. On lap 3 the front left started to go on fire at Stowe corner! That caught my attention......
     
  19. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Good luck....We're all counting on you! ;)
     
  20. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Like this:
    Intro
    http://www.a2zracer.com/index.html

    "Chapters"
    http://www.a2zracer.com/page2.html

    lotsa stories - lotsa pics
     
  21. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

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  22. Juan-Manuel Fantango

    Rossa Subscribed

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    I think you may have enough good stories to write a book. They are very interesting reads.
     
  23. vlamgat

    vlamgat Formula Junior

    Jan 9, 2004
    776
    I too did something like that at the 12 hour At the Point last year. Got into the car for the first time at night, in the rain with shocking lights. Real pucker factor. But a growth experience all the same.

    Like many on this thread, I am fascinated, thank you Kramm is all I can say. I have met and talked at length with Derek Bell when he wore his Audi hat and was nver able to glean the real feel of participation as opposed to driver anecdotes. Kramm's experience with his medical is so like my experience with a similar authority (not telling to protect the innocent) that I found myself cheering him on as he was choosing which form to fill out. In my case, I completed all the forms I could find on every pad (JIC), which turned out to be a smart move because the MO asked me for a form which I had never hear of, but I pulled the next one in my stack and stuck it under his nose. He signed and stamped it with a large flourish without even reading it. To this day I do not have a clue what it was and was never asked to present it to the organizers or anyone else.

    I guess that even when Derek and Jackie were the hot shoes, there were several tiers of competitors: the top rung, the hopefuls, and just there for the fun...with the latter once representing the bulk of the drivers/teams. Today it seems that its extraordinarily costly and I estimate you cannot get a team there, equipped and with a chance of finishing for less than $5 million. And then there is the car, spares and driver costs. I think we spent $15K on our 12 hour and that includes the car !
     
  24. racerbob48

    racerbob48 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2006
    1
    I first met Roland at the Ferrari Club Annual Meet in Colorado Springs in the Summer of 2000. I had just taken delivery of a 550 Maranello from Bill Stuart's Ferrari of Denver and was anxious to take part in the Track events at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Roland was one of the instructors along with Dave Helms, Bob Gower, John Pembroke, Stim Kennedy and the Chief Instructor Derek Bell. I went for several instruction sessions including a 10 lap session in the 550 with D Bell (but that's another story) and even managed to take 1st Place overall in the AutoCross (the extent of my racing fame).

    As many of you noticed, Roland can be a very charming individual, and we quickly struck up a friendship (or so I thought). l told Roland that I was very interested in getting involved in Vintage Racing, we agreed to join forces and set about acquiring cars, trailers, tools etc. In short order I purchased a 1988 Argo JM19C that placed 4th and 5th in the C2 class at Le Mans in 1988 and 1989. Roland and I traveled to Austria to test and buy the car. Next was a 1991 Porsche GTII Turbo that raced in the IMSA series from 1992-1997 and was made famous as the #72 car raced by Champion Porsche with the assistance of almost every famous Porsche pilot of that era. A '95 3,8 RSR was added. And finally a 1969 Mc Laren MK6B that had been re-bodied as an endurance coupe. Roland was at the time reviving his road kill street version F40, The work was being done at Servicio a Ferrari Shop in Jupiter, Florida, where by magic it was reborn as an F40LM. The restoration took forever (over 3 years as I recall), I owned a business in Boca Raton at the time and took numerous trips up to Jupiter to check on the progress, Needless to say, the cost of the repairs spiraled out of control and became the reason that Roland was unable (?) to contribute to the vintage racing venture which was called Chaos Motorsports. If you look at his web site , he lists himself a the Team Manager (didn't know we had one).

    My primary residence is also in Colorado and during this time I spent many days and weekends at Roland's home near Ft. Collins working on the cars and enjoyed may wonderful meals prepared by his wife Helen (my nomination for her sainthood has already been filed). I was also regaled on may occasions with stories of car and motorcycle racing adventures in Europe in the '60's and 70's including Le Mans and Formula Atlantic racing on the West Coast in the 80's and 90's.

    At the time I met Roland he has an older Testarossa but no racing cars and he had not, according to him, been active in any racing for many years. He had moved to Colorado to recuperate from injuries sustained in an accident when a master carton of helmets fell off a warehouse rack and hit him in the neck. In 2001 and 2002 we were actively participating in track days and racing events with Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing, Nostalgia Racing and PCA driving events and traveled back east to participate in RennSport I at Lime Rock.Since Roland's car was still in the shop, I always made a point to have one of mine for him to drive or we shared driving if we only took one car. In all, Roland probably put more miles on my race cars than I did. Whatever else Roland was or has become, he was an excellent driver and I learned a great deal from him, including never become a driving instructor-He and I went to Topeka together to drive the #72 and I was just behind him on the track when his student stuffed his Pontiac into the retaining wall and put him in the hospital.

    Many of you may not be aware of this, but Roland came from extremely difficult origins in Belgium, I won't embarrass him by providing the details here. Although he presents himself as a humble person, his need for recognition and approval knows no bounds. When he finally got the F40, it was like the ego switch got turned on full. Instead of the easy going Roland, all I or many other of his old friends, heard was my F40, my F40 and what event someone was paying him to go to. I would meet people who had just met Roland and would hear stories about his Porsches, Argo and McLaren and his 2 or three class wins at LeMans.

    What really capped it for me was an incident that occurred when he took my Argo out for some laps at a track day event that Leslie Howard organized at Pikes Peak in the fall of 2002. I had just spent a small fortune restoring the car including a monster 355 chevy with Kinsler injection and a brand new Hewland DGC, even restored the 1988 LeMans livery. We were just getting the car sorted out when Roland hops in for the first session of the morning. At the end of the front straight, mid-way into turn one, Roland missed a 5th-4th shift and ended up in second gear. The engine builder later surmised that the motor ended up at about 14K+ rpm's. After first denying that he'd missed the shift, he tried to blame it on the linkage and finally accepted the fact that he'd made a mistake. You know the rest, hole in the block, torn con rod, metal wedged in the dry sump etc. etc. Needless to say I wasn't too happy, but things happen. Between dismantling the car and repairing the motor it came to a little over $15k. When I spoke to Roland about paying the bill, I got the poverty excuse but an assurance that things would be taken care of. Needless to say nothing has been taken care of, but I did get a dollars and cents figure on what our friendship was worth!!! Remember this is a guy thats living in a Million dollar home, driving a $400,000+ car (I understand he bought another Testarossa), and spends his time going from one car event to the next. Speaks oodles about character, wouldn't you say?

    It was then that I began looking into his background. Since I purchased the Argo, I started collecting books and searching the Web for any and all Le Mans information. On book set i found has a listing of all drivers at Le Mans since the 1920's though the early 1990's- No ROLAND LINDER. I tried the ACO website-NO LINDER there either! I did find a reference to an independent Porsche entrant from Belgium by the name of Gaban (SP?) that took GT class in the late 60's and again in the '70's. I remember Roland saying that he worked at a Porsche shop in Belgium - could be the same guy. Did numerous googles, all with no result. Tried to get some bona fides on him from the FIA- without result. As many other contributors to this thread have commented, it's hard to compete unnoticed at this level of motorsports.

    My opinion is that just like the burned out hulk of a Microsoft exec's F40 Phoenixed into a F40LM, a driving background of equal pizzaz was thought to be necessary when it really was not. The Pre F40 Roland should make an effort to re-appear.
     
  25. JoTeC

    JoTeC Formula Junior

    Jan 9, 2004
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    You just have to log these track events. What engine controller does the Argo have? Any memory in it for analysis? Another tool I have been using a lot is the data overlay video. A cost effective solution to keep an eye on the "seat covers"... :D
     
  26. judge4re

    judge4re F1 World Champ

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    #373 judge4re, Feb 20, 2006
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  27. Caruso360

    Caruso360 Karting

    May 1, 2003
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    Hey Bob; Scott and I finally got the Argo out of pasture and on the track, with the help and expertise of a an Indy crew chief by the name of Mark Mercer(Excelle Racing, Aurora, CO). Unfortuneately for Colorado enthusiasts, the Argo now resides at our friends stable in Costa Rica. Whenever Colorado permits race venues we will bring the Argo back. When the F1 track is complete in Cancun, Mexico, it may make a pit stop there as well. Give a call and let's catch up. Ciao
    By the way- helluva first post!
     
  28. JoTeC

    JoTeC Formula Junior

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    #375 JoTeC, Feb 20, 2006
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