bugatti_eb110_LM24 | cars

04.07.2019

 

Bugatti EB110 LM Race car

It was in 1994 that Bugatti was to appear again at LeMans, after their last appearance (and win) 55 years before, with the famous T57G "tank".
1994 was the year that Le Mans would be made more popular, the specially designed race monsters would be banned, and only "normal" productions cars would be allowed to enter. However Porsche found a way out of these regulations with the "Dauer Porsche", effectively a Porsche 962 purpose built car, converted for road use, and then converted back to race. This was quite some faster than the rest, and would eventually win. Of the real GT class, the Bugatti proved fastest in training, in the GT1 class (engines up to 600HP). In the same class competed MVS Venturis, De Tomaso Panteras, Dodge Vipers, Porsches Carrera RSR (and the famous Dauer Porsches). Apart from this were the GT2 class (up to 450HP) and some others.

In this training, a month for the race, the Bugatti was fastest in class, looking and sounding gorgeous, and going quickly, despite the weight penalty of the four-wheel-drive. It was only just faster than the MVS Venturis, and 25 seconds slower than the Dauer Porsches.

For the race itself, I quote from Autosport:
"Leading the way in the GT class should have been the Bugatti EB110SS, driven by touring car oldtimer Alain Cudini and French young guns Eric Helary and Jean-Christophe "Jules" Bouillon. The Italian supercar looked set for a top-six finish despite a very slow start...

One hour before the race, the local Synergic team, which was running the car for publishing magnate Michel Hommell, discovered a fuel leak. The only solution available to mend the car in time for the race was a tube of Araldite.

This allowed the car to do the first couple of shifts with its fuel tank half full. Once the Araldite had dried and the car was able to take on a full load of fuel, the Bugatti quickly moved through the field to take up a place in the top 10. But just as it had established itself ahead of the Larbre RSR Porsche as the leading GT car (not counting the Dauer cars), the Bugatti suffered turbo problems. All four turbos were changed, and one of them even twice for good measure. The team's ambition to finish the race came to an end in the dying laps when the car turned left into the barriers on the Mulsanne straight, a tyre failure was suspected to be the cause. The best of the rest in the GT1 class, proved to be the Dodge Viper RT/10, driven by Rene Arnoux, Justin Bell and Bertrand Balas.