There have been some German victories in Le Mans throughout racing history. On the one hand because the vehicles used were from a German manufacturer, on the other hand because the drivers of the winning vehicle had a German passport. But there were also German racing teams who returned victorious from Le Mans after a 24-hour race. In today's blog post, we want to focus our attention on the victory of the Sauber Mercedes team in 1989, the victory of the team of Jochen Dauer, who started with his own car in 1994, and the winning BMW V12 of the BMW Motorsport team in 1999 to steer. The BMW V12 LMR and the Sauber Mercedes C9 are available in our shop from the label Ixo in scale 1:43. The Dauer Porsche from 1994 presents us with the label Werk 83. Both the winning vehicle with the starting number 36 and the third-placed vehicle with the starting number 35 are available in the scales 1:18 and 1:43. If you want to get down to business right away, you can choose the set of 2 at a scale of 1:43 to fully integrate Jochen Dauer's work into your own collection.
In 1989, Sauber Mercedes launched the C9. The team, which hadn't brought a single car to the finish line since 1985, wasn't exactly among the favorites to win. Jaguar was the favorite this year after a win last year, and it went without saying that you could have Porsche on your radar at the time at Le Mans. Nevertheless, the Mercedes team dominated practice and delivered 399 kph on the Hunnaudieres straight, the second highest speed ever measured there. As expected, there was a duel between Porsche and Jaguar until the morning of the second day. At around 6:30 am, gearbox problems dropped Jaguar to fourth place and Porsche took the lead. After Porsche set the vehicle on fire twice while refueling and was able to put it out again, Mercedes took the lead. 37 years after the last Mercedes victory, the Sauber Mercedes C9 with starting number 63, driven by Jochen Mass, Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens, was the first to cross the finish line.
In 1994, after the end of the Group-C era, new ways were to be found to lure other manufacturers to Le Mans and also to give near-series models a chance to compete. At least one street-legal vehicle of the racing car with which one wanted to compete was required for the homologation. As a Group-C sports car, the Porsche 962 did not fall into this category. However, the entrepreneur and racing driver Jochen Dauer had produced some street-legal supercars with Porsche based on the 962. The 790 hp vehicles were almost 400 kph fast. The requirements for homologation were therefore already fulfilled. Although this was not in the interest of the organizers, it corresponded to the requirements of the regulations and was therefore legal. The big favorite to win in 1994 was Toyota. An hour and a half before the end of the race, a defect in the leading Toyota gave the Dauer team a one-two lead. Toyota still managed to come back and overtake one of the two Porsches. However, victory at Le Mans in 1994 went to the Dauer Porsche team. In the winning car with starting number 36 were Hurley Haywood, Yannick Dalmas and Mauro Baldi. The number 35 car, driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck, Danny Sullivan and Thierry Boutsen, finished third.
The regulations were changed for the race in 1999 and the GT1 vehicles used the year before were no longer permitted. One reason why Porsche was not represented as a works team in 1999. BMW started in the LMP class (open prototypes). The V12 engines had become even more powerful compared to the previous year and the car was now looked after by the Schnitzer Motorsport team. The slightly larger tank and the significantly shorter downtimes when changing drivers gave BMW victory in the end. The vehicles, which are significantly slower than the favored Toyota GT One, were in the pits 14 minutes shorter. 45 minutes before the end of the race, a tire burst in the second-placed Toyota made the decision prematurely. Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini and Yannick Dalmas were behind the wheel of the BMW V12 LMR for BMW's first victory at Le Mans.