Jump to content


Obscure Le Mans technical question.....

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 dbw

  • Member

  • 993 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 01 September 2003 - 08:04

before embarking on the restoration of the latest project..a lotus elite s2..i was reading dennis ortenbergers fab book "the lotus elite"..in the chapter on early competion runs, the photo of the marsh/wagstaff elite at le mans in 1960 showed a 4" disc on the flank just ahead of the door..the text mentions "it's body material disc"...i have to assume that the base body material was left bare for scrutineering...so what was the possible crime? homologation cheats- saying it was steel and making it alloy?..safety?...firefighting decisions?..the willingness of the french to make life as miserable as possible??....any comments or clarification welcome

how long was this in effect?


#2 dretceterini

  • Member

  • 2,991 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 01 September 2003 - 17:29

I believe colored discs were required on every car to identify the material the body was made of. I think the purpose was for fire safety; so that it would be easier to put out a fire if the material could be easily identified.

#3 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 73,296 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 01 September 2003 - 21:56

This would undoubtedly hark back to the difficulties they faced putting out the burning Levegh Mercedes in 1955...

#4 jph

  • Member

  • 370 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 02 September 2003 - 09:30

Yes, I've always understood the coloured discs were to denote the body material. Yellow was used for aluminium and red for fibreglass - not sure about other materials, I'm afraid. What I'm also not so sure about is what was done for cars with more than one body material - e.g. my own ex-Le Mans car, which ran in 1962 and has a mainly aluminium body wore a yellow disc, but parts of the shell were steel. Maybe they thought they didn't need to differentiate between steel and aluminium, given that the main purpose was for fire-fighting decisions? That said, one of the Lola Astons which ran in 1967 - the one with the more stremlined rear - carried a red disc on the front body section but a yellow one on the (presumably aluminium) tail, yet I know of other part metal, part fibreglass bodied cars which carried only the yellow disc. Not sure how long this requirement (or practice) lasted, but it seemed to apply during the early to mid 'sixties.

Another related question - during the 'fifties, a number of cars at Le Mans wore red, white and blue discs on their flanks. I think I read somewhere that these were carried by cars competing for the triennial cup - can anyone confirm or otherwise?

#5 Seppi_0_917PA

  • Member

  • 230 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 03 September 2003 - 03:32

It would seem like a simple matter to find the code to the Le Mans color spots but I have never seen it.

jph - as for the Triennial Cup, take a look at this thread:


#6 Frank S

Frank S
  • Member

  • 2,162 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 04 September 2003 - 02:29

In order not to unbury the Triennial thread, herewith find a photo of one of my models (Quartzo/Vitesse QLM025), the Lotus XI Le Mans 1957 MKIII of Allison/Hall #55 (323; fourteenth at LeMans).

Posted Image

R-W-B rondels at the sides, plain white at the back. Hm?

Frank S