Le Mans History to be relived at Formula 1 in Spielberg

The “Formula 1 Großer Preis von Österreich” is coming to the Spielberg again from 7 to 9 July. Of course, the fourth edition of the F1 weekend at the Red Bull Ring will again feature an emotional highlight: the Legends Parade. International motorsport idols and Le Mans champions take to the wheels of stunning winning cars from years past while thousands of racing fans relive fond memories. 2017 will see the likes of Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger, Tom Kristensen, Helmut Marko, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Dieter Quester and Mark Webber ride in nine of the most beautiful and highest profile cars in the history of Le Mans. And also the Le Mans 24-Hour Winner from 2017 Brendon Hartley will be here.

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Formula 1 joins forces with Le Mans at Red Bull Ring

The Le Mans 24-Hour race is along with the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500 one of the ‘grand slams’ of international motorsport. Up to now, only one exceptional driver has managed the feat of winning all three races and the world championship, Britain’s Graham Hill.

The Legends Parade is going to give the „Formula 1 Großer Preis von Österreich 2017“ a real feeling of Le Mans. Icons of motorsport are to bring four decades of history to life at the Spielberg in the legendary cars of the prestigious race. From a 12-cylinder BMW with 580 horsepower to a Porsche 917K, Porsche 936 and 962c, a Ferrari 512S and Bentley Speed 8 right up to a latest-generation Audi R18 with a V6 engine belting out over 500 horsepower – dreams are going to come true at the Red Bull Ring!

Helmut Marko‘s winning Porsche from 1971 at Spielberg

The Porsche 917K, with which Helmut Marko won the Le Mans in 1971, is not in shape to be driven at present – but it is going to come to the Austrian Grand Prix nonetheless and be exhibited at the F1 FanZone. The adviser to Red Bull Racing will still be there hitting the pedals, of course, in a 1970s car – also with 12 cylinders, 580 horsepower and a radical aerodynamic layout that made for an unbeatable combination at the start of the 70s. Marko put in a grueling shift at the 1971 Le Mans, sitting behind the wheel for some 14 of the 24 hours and losing four kilograms of weight during the race. He says: “It was a dream car, when it was all working well. It was very sensitive to wind. I looked out for the flags in order to steer to compensate for the wind on the straights. After the race, I couldn’t even pick up a telephone as my left hand was completely cramped from changing gears. I had blisters on my left foot from the hot brake pedal, but it was a tremendous feeling to win, and it carried on for another 12 hours with receptions and celebrations.”

WEC-Champion Mark Webber races around the Red Bull Ring

The Australian World Endurance Championship winner 2015, Mark Webber, will race around the Red Bull Ring in 2017 in a Porsche 919 Hybrid: “Le Mans needs no introduction at all. It is one of the greatest motor races in the world and a sensational 24-hour test for man and machine. It is a highlight of the year for me to be able to drive in the Legends Parade with this special car, which provides me with so many fantastic memories.”

Gerhard Berger to fulfil a long-held wish

The Austrian motorsport legend and head of the team behind the BMW V12 LMR, the winning car in 1999, Gerhard Berger, has some extremely fond Le Mans memories: “After my change from driving to management, Le Mans was my first project in a leadership position. The win has always had a very special emotional meaning for me. Ever since that day, I’ve been really excited whenever I see the car somewhere. That’s due to the combination of the Le Mans win and impressive appearance. I always wanted to drive this car myself one day, and I can finally fulfil this wish at the Legends Parade!”

Hans-Joachim Stuck in winning car from 1987

Also looking forward to a reunion with his car from yesteryear is German motorsport idol Hans-Joachim Stuck: “This year’s Legends Parade at the Red Bull Ring is sure to be a real highlight again. The 24-hour race in Le Mans is one of the biggest three races in the world, and to win there is something quite special. I can’t wait to get back into my winning car from 1987 and complete some laps!”

Tom Kristensen drives Audi R18

Danish racer Tom Kristensen has the honour to step on the gas of the original winning car of the WEC race in Bahrain 2016: “Le Mans, that is six characters that set the pulse racing of every motorsport enthusiast around the world. Day and night. Rain and heat. And incredibly fast speeds. The home of endurance racing. I also love Le Mans because of the many passionate fans, the unique atmosphere, the tradition and heritage. So many teams, drivers & cars have contested this event, have written motorsport history and have become legends. The secret of winning the toughest endurance test for man and machine is the dedication and focus of every single team member and the team work. This is the only way to face the challenges brought up by the grand old lady of motorsport. Le Mans is the ultimate.” Tom Kristensen knows the Austrian race track: “I certainly look forward to join the Legends Parade with great, iconic cars & drivers from the greatest race. I am old enough to have raced on Österreich Ring, A1 Ring and Red Bull Ring and look forward to visit the beautiful circuit and surroundings in Austria during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.“

Legends Parade 2017 – Drivers & cars:

  • Jean Alesi (FRA / Ferrari 512S, 1969)
  • Gerhard Berger (AUT / BMW V12 LMR, 1999)
  • Neel Jani (CH / Porsche 936, 1981)
  • Tom Kristensen (DEN / Audi R18, 2016)
  • Helmut Marko (AUT / Porsche 917K, 1970)
  • Dieter Quester (AUT / BMW 3,0 CSL, 1973)
  • Guy Smith (GBR / Bentley Speed 8, 2003)
  • Hans-Joachim Stuck (GER / Porsche 962c, 1986/1987)
  • Mark Webber (AUS / Porsche 919 Hybrid, 2017)
  • Brendon Hartley (NZL / Porsche 919 Hybrid, 2017)
  • Porsche 917K, from 1971 (exhibited in the F1 Fan Zone)

Unforgettable moments at the Austrian GP

In addition to the fourth edition of the Legends Parade, there is a packed side programme at The Friendly Motorsport Festival with F1 stars on the “Styrian Green Carpet”, the Public Pit Lane Walk, air and stunt shows, safety car rides and the Ö3 Concerts. Children up the age of 14 can enter the circuit for free if accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket! Tickets can be bought here.

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