You don’t see that many 904s these days, even less often racing, and almost never racing at night as in this image. But in 2002, then almost 40 years old, they were again on the track at Le Mans. It was the inaugural year of the Le Mans Classic, a most remarkable vintage race featuring old cars on the full course, which was remarkably re-opened just for this event, and we were lucky enough to be there with friends.
Besides a collection of 904s, there was a 1953 coupe, a 1956 Speedster, two 550s, an RS61, Bobby Rahal’s 917 (driven by Brian Redman), and a number of other Porsches. Among the non-Porsches were cars you’ve never seen running—think “blower” Bentleys, and cars that you’d never even heard of: BNC HT Miramas, anyone?
The cars ran in groups based on their year of production, and starts were of the genuine Le Mans run-across-the-track variety with contestants exhibiting widely varying degrees of speed, agility, and grace in the process. Some contestants took it pretty seriously, others just wanted to have fun, but the cars were all great and the pressure was not that of the annual June event.
Here’s the good news: the 2002 event was not a single shot sort of thing: it is held every two years, and all you need is an appropriate car, an FIA license, and the money and time to immerse yourself in a unique true Le Mans experience. The next one will be held in early July 2018—want to go?