Win Percy's accident on the Mulsanne straight
Posted 05 November 2006 - 13:04
Posted 05 November 2006 - 13:15
What year because in :
1987 Win had an accident with the JAGUAR XJR 8LM n#5 at 2.46 pm
1995 Win had an other accident with JAGUAR KX 220 C n#58 at 5.35 pm
What is the good year for you 1987 or 1995 ?
Posted 05 November 2006 - 13:31
"I'll never forget going down the old Mulsanne Straight in the middle of the night during the race in 1987. I was flat out as usual when I began to see bits of bodywork on the track. There were no warning flags so I figured that, whatever this was, it must have just happened. I slowed as more and more debris appeared to the point where the track began to resemble the scene of a plane crash. As I was dodging various bits and pieces, I noticed out of the corner of my eye some purple bodywork, the same colour as my Silk Cut Jaguar. One of my team-mates had clearly had a massive accident. Eventually I came across what looked like just the chassis lying on its side. In fact, the gearbox and entire rear suspension were missing, as were the doors and windscreen."
Martin Brundle from "Working the Wheel".
PS I assume it was 2.46 am not 2.46 pm ?
Posted 05 November 2006 - 14:05
Originally posted by Jager
I've read lots of text about Win Percy's famous acident on the Mulsanne at Le Mans, but have never seen any pictures. I understand it was at night, in a part of the track that wasn't very accessible to spectators, but the only picture I've seen was of the chasis tub back at the factory several weeks after the race. Are there any other pictures of Win's Jaguar ?
The Mulsanne is out of bounds to spectators and at half past two at night it would not have many media people present either, so it is not very likely that photographs of the accident are available.
The accident happened when a rear tyre deflated suddenly, but luckily the car did not veer sharply to either side, instead it went on down the straight disintegrating as it went but the (carbon) shell of the Jaguar stood up well in protecting the driver although there were score marks on his helmet
when the car slid along the tarmac upside-down. It was his left rear tyre that blew, and it was attributed to picking up debris. I do not recall the Jaguars running tyre temperature monitors in 1987, but by 1988 many people did although clogging of the sensors from tyre debris was a bit of a problem.
Posted 05 November 2006 - 16:15
The cars carried tyre sensors concerning temperatures but these were no longer working properly because they had become covered in molten rubber and general detritus, as noted in Doc Knutsen's post. So Win had no warning until the tyre exploded at 200+mph although trackside marshals had seen sparks coming from the back of the XJR-8 (chassis 286) as it exited Tetre Rouge.
Win recalled that he only had time to register that the car was becoming airborne from the rear and thinking 'you're going flying Win'. He let go of the steering wheel and assumed a tuck position and shut his eyes briefly. When he opened them all he could see was the night sky, then some tree tops! The first impact was massive, the second less so and the car then slid down the road on its side gradually shedding speed, wearing a hole in Win's helmet. 'I could feel my head getting hot with the friction' Win recalled in 2000. All that was left was the centre section, minus the driver's door.
A footnote to this miraculous escape was the fact that the year before Jo Gartner had died when his Porsche hit the double layered Armco that in 1987 had become triple layered. Additionally it transpired that Tom Walkinsaw had told Win that he would be qualifying at Le Mans but probably not racing. This it turned out was because he had had a dream premonition that Win was going to die at Le Mans and when he returned unscathed to the pits TWR had a distinctly ghost like pallour.
As to pictures I used one in the book showing the car with Lammers before the crash but I could find none of it post accident in situ. Otherwise I used the colour pic you've presumably seen of the tub at the factory afterwards.
Posted 05 November 2006 - 16:22
BTW, has anyone got news on Win's current condition? Is he in good spirits?
Posted 05 November 2006 - 18:43
Win Percy (actually the reserve driver, just doing an odd stint) was lucky to escape unhurt when the XJR-8 shared by Lammers and Watson crashed in the biggest possible way on the Mulsanne after a rear tyre failure at 230mph. The car lost its entire rear bodywork, gearbox and wheels on the first impacy, continued for several hundred yards airborne and upside down, then starting rolling for several hundred more before it stopped
It is certainly a massive stunt.
This is what Win Percy said about the accident:
We were racing then on new Kevlar-based tyres, and I was just back into the car and driving down the Mulsanne Straight at top speed in the middle of the night when it all went to pieces. I hadn’t had a chance to acclimatise to the feel of the car when one of the rear tyres overheated and exploded. It ripped the back off the body including the wing - and then I was out of control.
“ I clearly remember seeing the tops of the pine trees and then going up for another forty feet before the car started to come down. I was thinking to myself: ‘This is going to hurt’, and then it hit the ground. Fortunately we landed on the road and not in the forest, but the car rolled countless times while banging into the armco on both sides of the road. It took 600 metres to stop from the time it took off, but amazingly I was still in one piece although the side of my helmet had been ground through on the bitumen.
This is the Jaguar:
Posted 06 November 2006 - 13:07