From the motorsport archive: on this day in 1976

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Porsche won Le Mans with the 936

Porsche romped to Le Mans victory with new Group 6 car

Porsche hedged its bets for the 1976 Le Mans 24 Hours, entering the new 935 complying to Group 5 rules (for heavily modified production cars, or ‘silhouette’ racers) and two new 936s complying to Group 6 rules (for bespoke two-seat race cars).

“It was, in retrospect, more than they needed,” we said after the German brand secured its third victory (of 19 to date) in the endurance epic.

“Their number-one 936, driven by two previous Le Mans winners, Jacky Ickx and Gijs van Lennep, ran through the 24 hours comfortably ahead of the field.

“Ickx said they never had to push hard, that their aim had been to go steadily and consistently throughout. Only mechanical problems would stop that. They had just one: a broken exhaust pipe before midday on Sunday. It took 33 minutes to replace the exhaust system on one side of the flat-six engine. Their lead was cut from 16 to eight laps. That was still more than enough.”

Although Le Mans’ organisers had permitted “almost anything with four wheels and all-enveloping bodywork”, only one of Porsche’s 935s ever looked able to mix it with the headlining Group 6 machinery, finishing fourth behind the winning 936, a Mirage M8 and a Lola T380.

Tyrrel hits Ferrari for six

There was no shortage of doubters when Tyrrell revealed a six-wheeled Formula 1 car, notably including star driver Jody Scheckter, but they were served humble pie at Anderstorp as the South African romped to victory ahead of the pace-setting Ferrari. Tyrrell hoped for an even greater result in France, but Sweden would prove the P34’s sole win, and six-wheelers never caught on after all.

Source: Autocar

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