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Information needed, Le Mans 1984 incident


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#1 Slyder

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 05:09

Hey guys,

I was wondering if any of you people would be kind enough to provide me with information on an incident that occured in the 1984 Le Mans 24h race.

All I know is that, I believe during sunset, at the Mulsanne Straight, John Sheldon in his Aston Martin crashed at over 200 MPH, and also involved another car. All I know is that a marshall was killed (a tragedy I must say), but did Sheldon survive the crash? I only saw an in-car cam image of a car that was going through the incident (obviously minutes after the crash, since there were fire trucks and emergency vehicles all over the place, in front of a giant plume of white and black smoke), and the car I saw was completely destroyed, and on fire. I couldn't believe that he survived, but the guy that reported this made no mentioned on whether he survived or not, so I assume he did.

At any rate, Does anyone of you know more to the story, of what happened, what caused Sheldon to crash and all, and who was the other driver involved. It's a little eerie that not much info can't be found, since this is the crash which, according to that reporter, marked the final race for the Aston Martin car.

Any information appreciated

Thanks :wave:

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#2 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 07:10

John Sheldon survived, with burns to his chest, throat and hands. The other car was the sister car driven by Drake Olson.
The track marshal Jacky Loiseau lost his life, and another, André-Guy Lefebvre was seriously injured.
The crash happened around 21.15.

Stefan

#3 Slyder

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 07:13

Did Sheldon lost it, or had a mechanical failure?

It could be fair to say that at that speed, his car must've probably gone airborne. maybe.

not to be morbid or anything (excuse me if I sound like it), but, was the crash itself caught on tape?

#4 jarama

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 07:31

Slyder,

according to Dominique Pascal's "Les Anglaises au Mans" (British Cars at Le Mans) John Sheldon's crash was caused by a puncture, stating too that the driver, severely injured, was transported to the Trousseau Hospital at Tours, where later he was to die. Is this true?. :confused:

Carles.

#5 bill moffat

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 08:03

The aftermath of the accident is caught on the video of the race (?Duke Marketing). In car coverage from the Richard Lloyd Porsche 956(?962) shows the accident scene with the wrecked car/barriers and a trackside fire. Lloyd is heard to say "it looks so bloody bad,why don't they stop it? (the race)". Well the '55 race went on after the Levegh accident..altho' the official explanation was that this was so that the emergency vehicles could use the access roads unhindered by thousands of departing spectators..

I believe Sheldon ( a dentist by profession?) was airlifted back to the UK the day after the accident and did recover.

#6 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 11:10

I met John on holiday in Kenya a few times in the early nineties and he was in fine condition. Some burns but 100% fit.

Fred

#7 bill moffat

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 15:01

Originally posted by jarama
Slyder,

according to Dominique Pascal's "Les Anglaises au Mans" (British Cars at Le Mans) John Sheldon's crash was caused by a puncture, stating too that the driver, severely injured, was transported to the Trousseau Hospital at Tours, where later he was to die. Is this true?. :confused:

Carles.


..and to prove the fact that reports of his death were "premature" J.S. showed great bravery in returning to La Sarthe in 1985, finishing 16th in the ADA Gebhardt C2 . I believe he also raced there in a C2 Tiga in the late 80's ?? with Robin Donovan. I'll look it up when I get home.

Who remembers the ADA TR7 ?? ;)

#8 bill moffat

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 15:18

oops..TR8

#9 WGD706

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 16:21

ADA TR8....too complex mechanically and under-financed, questionable areodynamics. Interesting engine though, a V8 Rover 3500 fited with 2 Rotamaster turbos, getting about 475 hp. It seemed a good idea at the time.
Getting a suitable gearbox proved difficult, and imposed delays: a proposed British unit failed to turn up when expected, and the team were forced to turn back unwillingly to the brutish four-speed American Muncie Folk-crusher' box. This and a myriad of other delays meant that the car missed its proposed shake-down run at the Silverstone 1,000 km race, and arrived at Le Mans only in the nick of time, never having turned a wheel - nor indeed wheeled a turn - in
anger. The anger was still to come.
The British Racing Green Triumph passed through scrutineering without a hitch, to the accompaniment of hearty back-slapping by the TR Owners Club. The car had already sparked keen interest in the British press; at Le Mans, this all-British challenger to the Porsche was received with lots of European neck-straining, clucking of tongues,and clicking of shutters. It was after all, the first Triumph at Le Mans for 19 years . Certainly the run up to Le Mans had been anything but smooth.
Ian Harrower and drivers, John Sheldon and John Brindley, simply weren't able to go fast enough. The problem was not with themselves, nor even that there was anything essentially wrong with the car, but a number of failures, including faulty wheel castings, conspired with a numbing
drive-shaft vibration at 175mph to prevent the car from going any faster than that. And 175mph on the Mulsanne Straight just ain't enough.
Amid many tribulations, the team worked to correct the faults -and they succeeded, too. At the end of practice, the TR8 was timed at 201 mph on the Mulsanne Straight - the only Triumph, surely, to have exceeded 20Omph. But it was all to no avail. The requisite number of laps were not completed at sufficient speed, and the car failed to qualify.
To cut a sob story short, a lack of finance - despite frenzied and increasingly hectoring appeals
to British industry by Ian Harrower - meant that the TR never did get back to France, and it stayed at home for the occasional appearance in Britain, leaving those infidel Porsches to mop up
everywhere, condemned to live out its days as a beautiful might-have-been.
This was not for want of trying. Driver Derek Bell was persuaded to test the car. His quoted comments in the press at the time were kind ... he'd be glad to test the car again, to help with
development: he hoped they would find the necessary finance. The little-known story from those at the track-side at the time runs like this: Bell drives the car. he pulls up at the pits,a bystander asks him how it went and receives an honest reply; the engine needed development, the handling needed development, the car as it stood was not anything like good enough. What Bell
may or may not have known that this particular casual bystander was Mr Moneybags, the potential sponsor for 1981. The money never materialised.
http://www.team.net/...ody_lemans.html

#10 Yves

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 16:30

Le Mans 1985 : Résult : 16, N°75, Team-Car-engiine : ADA Engineering, GB
Gebhardt JC2 843 - Ford Cosworth DFL, Drivers : Ian Harrower, GB, Steve Earle, USA
, GB ; Laps/Km : 298, 4073.001

Le Mans 1986 : Résult : DNF, N°99, Team-Car-engiine : Roy Baker Racing Tiga, GB
Tiga GC286 (285?) - Ford Turbo Drivers : Nick Nicholson, USA; John Sheldon , GB; Thorkild Thyrring, DK; Laps : 125 (14 hours)

Le Mans 1987 : Résult : 10 , N°114, Team-Car-engiine : Team Tiga Ford Danmark, DK Tiga GC 287- Ford Hart BDT-E Drivers : Thorkild Thyrring, DK; John Sheldon , GB; Ian Harrower, GBLaps/Kms : 271, 3669.134

Le Mans 1988 : Résult : 20 , N°123, Team-Car-engiine : Charles Ivey Racing, GB
Tiga GC287 - Porsche Drivers : Tim Harvey, GB; Chris Hodgetts, GB; John Sheldon , GB Laps/Kms : 301, 4074.035

Le Mans 1989 : Résult : DNF , N°107, Team-Car-engiine : Tiga Race Team, GB
Tiga GC289 - Ford Cosworth Drivers : Max Cohen-Olivar, MA; John Sheldon , GB; Robin Donovan, GBLaps/Kms : 126, 13h

Le Mans 1990 : Résult : DNF , N°105, Team-Car-engiine : ADA Engineering, GB
ADA 03 (02B?) - Ford Cosworth Drivers : Ian Harrower, GB; John Sheldon , GB; Jerry Mahony, GBLaps/Kms : 164, 14h

Le Mans 1991 : Résult : DNF , N°44, Team-Car-engiine : Euro Racing
(Chamberlain Engineering, GB); Spice SE 89 C - Ford Cosworth (DFZ ?) Drivers : John Sheldon , GB; Ferdiand de Lesseps, F; Charles Rickett, GB; DNS Pierre-Alain Lombardi, CHLaps/Kms : 85, 12h

Le Mans 1992 : Résult : DNF , N°21, Team-Car-engiine : Bernard de Dryver Action Formula, B; Spice SE90C - Ford Cosworth DFZDrivers : Luigi Taverna, I
Alessandro Gini, I; John Sheldon , GB; DNS Bernard de Dryver, BLaps/Kms : 150, 14h

Note his results for 1985 and 1988 ! Very close (3 laps and 1 km difference :rolleyes: hudge track modification ???

Y.

#11 Yves

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 16:40

The result I give are from Stefan Örnerdal site (http://user.tninet.s...q291w/index.htm) his source being the Motorsport I think (Ask him if you need ;) ).

Y.

#12 bill moffat

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 17:12

Originally posted by WGD706
ADA TR8....too complex mechanically and under-financed, questionable areodynamics. Interesting engine though, a V8 Rover 3500 fited with 2 Rotamaster turbos, getting about 475 hp. It seemed a good idea at the time.


brilliant stuff WGD !!. Take a look at the photos of the car, then imagine 201mph on the Mulsanne ie much the same as the Audis these days (albeit with a couple of roundabouts to negotiate), heroic in the extreme.

Continuing on the subject of wonderful Le Mans failures who can help out with the 1992 BRM 351 ?

#13 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 19:18

The result I give are from Stefan Örnerdal site (http://user.tninet.s...q291w/index.htm) his source being the Motorsport I think (Ask him if you need ).


And about 10-15 other sources... Wasn't it Historian Maestro Hans Etzrodt who said "the more sources the more complicated it gets"

As an example: was it a Porsche 908/80 or 936 which finished 2nd at Le Mans 1980? Or anything between. Or...?

Stefan'

#14 Slyder

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 05:33

Thanks all for this information.

Anyone have pics of the Aston Martin that Sheldon was driving at that time?

#15 rdrcr

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 05:38

Posted Image

ask and ye shall receive...

#16 bill moffat

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 09:23

happy memories of the Astons (sort of). Always a horrible experience at Le Mans when it suddenly goes quiet and the pace cars peel out of the pits. Rumours tend to circulate and the commentators give snippets of cautious information. OK we have the big Diamond screens these days but the images at dusk/night (when the bigger accidents tend to occur) are not too fantastic.

Slyder more info and pictures on www.astonmartins.org/racing/nimrod. . Sheldon's chassis was presumably NRA/C2-004, it was later rebuilt/recreated.

These final year Nimrods were rather pretty ...particularly in contrast to the original car which had a sort of taxi sign on the roof..? to satisfy minimum height requirements. Seem to remember the original testing/PR shots were at Goodwood with James Hunt on board.

#17 Amaroo

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 09:34

Just on the topic of the marshall that lost his life. Peter Brock was competing over there in a Porsche 956 with Larry Perkins.

A few months after the race Peter Brock was telling his empolyees that he had exorcize from the body of the dead flag marshall. This was in a book called the Rise & Fall of Peter Brock written by Bill Tuckey

#18 Slyder

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 06:17

mm, that's a very nice looking car :love:

But I still prefer the Porsche's ;)

Thanks guys

Amaroo: that's quite a weird story.

#19 Amaroo

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 11:21

Originally posted by Slyder
mm, that's a very nice looking car :love:

But I still prefer the Porsche's ;)

Thanks guys

Amaroo: that's quite a weird story.


The sad thing is Slyder that it is all down in the book. He also reckoned after the accident he was driving down the Mulssanne Straight at 350kph and he had an out of body experiance. Now this isn't slander this is all the Rise and Fall of Peter Brock book.

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#20 William Dale Jr

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 11:39

Originally posted by Amaroo


The sad thing is Slyder that it is all down in the book. He also reckoned after the accident he was driving down the Mulssanne Straight at 350kph and he had an out of body experiance. Now this isn't slander this is all the Rise and Fall of Peter Brock book.


I thought the 'outer body experience' was at Bathurst above the Commodore going down Conrod one year? I remembered reading somewhere that Le Mans 1984 was the beginning of the rift between Brock co-driver Larry Perkins, but that book put a whole new spin on it for me. If the book is to be believed, there were a lot of wierd things going on down at HDT in those days...