Ickx, Joest receive Spirit of Le Mans award

Ickx, Joest receive Spirit of Le Mans award

In ceremonies at the 24H village today, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizer of the famed Le Mans 24H event, honored lifetime contributors to the event, and laid out some of the plans for the future of the race. ACO President...

In ceremonies at the 24H village today, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizer of the famed Le Mans 24H event, honored lifetime contributors to the event, and laid out some of the plans for the future of the race.

ACO President Jean-Claude Plassart presented the Spirit of Le Mans awards to six-time race winner Jacky Ickx and seven-time winning race team owner Reinhold Joest. The two join earlier inductees: Ferdinand Piech, Paul Frere, Rene Leret, Alain Bertaud and Derek Bell.

Jacky Ickx.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
Ickx first entered the 24H in 1966, and took his first victory in 1969 in a Ford GT40 with Jackie Oliver. He followed up with three victories in 1975 through 1977 and two in 1981-82, four of those coming at the wheel of Porsche's 936 and 956 models.

"I have not always seen eye to eye with people like Paul Frere," Ickx said on receiving the award. "However, I have enormous respect for him, and it is an honor to be associated with people like him."

He also drove in 116 Grands Prix, with eight victories and 13 pole positions, and won the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1983. Ickx, a Belgian, was named an honorary citizen of the city of Le Mans in 2002.

Reinhold Joest.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
Joest also started his career as a driver, winning his very first race -- a hillclimb in Eberbach, Germany -- with a Porsche Bergspyder. He went on to enter Le Mans nine times between 1969 and 1981, with a best result of second overall in 1980, co-driving with Ickx. He won the 1980 Dayton 24 Hours race with Rolf Stommelen and Volkert Merl.

Joest's greatest achievements have come in managing racing teams, though: since creating Team Joest in 1972, he has taken the Interserie championship in 1978, Daytona 24 Hours in 1991 and the DTM championsip in 1996 with Opel.

At Le Mans, though, the achievements are surely astounding. The team took the 1984 and 1985 victories with a Porsche 956, and then the 1996 and 1997 with a Joest-tuned Porsche WSC. Since teaming up with Audi in 1999, Team Joest took three consecutive victories in 2000, 2001 and 2002 with the Audi R8.

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
Joest was joined at the ceremonies by Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Sport, who was at his first Le Mans in 1969: "There was a lot of fog during the night, but I had a good view of the duel between Ickx and Hans Hermann!"

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Rolf Stommelen , Jacky Ickx , Derek Bell , Paul Frere , Jackie Oliver , Reinhold Joest , Hans Herrmann