West German Porsches, averaging nearly 150 miles an hour, surged to an early lead in this year's Le Mans 24-hour motor-racing classic which began on Saturday (12 June).
LS General activity in pits.
CS Cars being prepared (3 shots) (Ferraris)
MCS Car no 57, a Porsche 9175
MLS Porsche team cars nos 17, 18, 19.
MS Ferrari team cars nos 12 and 14.
CS Car no 23, Porsche pushed along by mechanics.
MCS Madame Beaumont and Henri Greder, drivers of car no 2.
CU Marie-Claude Beaumont
LS Activity round pits
LS Rolling-type start
LS Cars rounding circuit led by Porsche (2 shots)
LS Cars along track Porsche in lead
LS Cars coming up slope
LS Cars along track
Initials JKP:1112 JKP:1138
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: West German Porsches, averaging nearly 150 miles an hour, surged to an early lead in this year's Le Mans 24-hour motor-racing classic which began on Saturday (12 June). The Italian Ferrari entries, dogged by bad luck in last year's race, were soon experiencing mechanical troubles again. A brisk southwesterly breeze blowing across the circuit was causing some difficulties on the long Mulsanne straight. This year's race, the last on the circuit as it is now, has attracted a poorer field than usual, but competition among the leading 5-litre drivers is expected to be every bit as tough as in the past. For the first time the starters - some 49 of them - began the race from a rolling start, after completing one lap behind a pace car.
SYNOPSIS: The pits at Le Mans on Saturday saw feverish last-minute preparations being made before the start of the 24-hour classic race.
The 5-litre Porsches and Ferraris had returned the fastest times in practice, but the Ferraris ... for the second year running ... were being plagued by mechanical troubles.
This year's race, the last on the circuit as it is now, attracted a poorer field than usual, but as the start of the race drew nearer it become clear that competition among the fastest drivers would remain just as tough.
A rolling start behind a pace car ... for the first time in the history of Le Mans.
As the field streaked around the long circuit, three Porsches headed the field.
Conditions were generally fine but a brisk southwesterly breeze across the circuit caused some difficulty along the Mulsanne straight in particular. Most of the leaders were averaging nearly 150 miles an hour.