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Doing things right – Le Mans 1990

Porsche 962 at Le Mans 1990
The 962 C in the 1990 Le Mans driven by David Sears, Tiff Needell and Anthony Reid. It finished third overall

Le Mans 1990 was a whole new ballgame. The circuit had changed drastically. The famous Mulsanne straight was now going to have two chicanes in the middle of it. This was part of the new FIA mandated changes to circuits to improve safety. Four-mile-long straights such as the Mulsanne were no longer to be approved by the FIA. The near 250mph speed in a 962 in 1989 on the Mulsanne would be reduced to a mere 210 or so. The circuit had changed, but the rest of the place had not. The pits still seemed like they were back in 1923 at the inception of the race and track. But we are getting ahead of the story.

Porsche 962 at the technical inspection at Le Mans 1990
The Alpha Racing team pose with their 962 at the Tech Inspection ahead of the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours. Here the car is shown with the long tail setup although the car ran with a short tail setup in the race. Gary Cummings stands with paperwork, Jerry Woods is at the left rear, Misan at right rear, while the author stands mid-car with sunglasses

I had started 1990 working with Jochen Dauer in IMSA. He had brought a 962 over to run IMSA races at the Daytona 24 Hour, Sebring 12 Hour, West Palm Beach and Miami events. Things had not gone well. The engine had failed at Daytona. At Sebring, there had been water in the brake lines, and a crash at the end with one of the Nissans resulted in 12th place. West Palm Beach and Miami were also DNFs. After West Palm, the team was returning to Europe to race there, and my schedule did not allow that much time off for travel, so I was looking for some other racing activities to keep me busy.

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