to the carefully-crafted plan.
“The most difficult thing is to tell
racecar drivers that they aren’t there to
race,” he explains. “I had to tell them that
they were there to drive in a certain way
to win the race. Maybe the works drivers
were not listening to Peter Falk and
Norbert Singer [respectively team
manager and senior engineer at the
factory], because they were pure racing
animals. Our animals were different. Klaus
was a master at Le Mans, and that year
Paolo listened to everything he said.
“They were such a good pairing,” he
adds. “Paolo was a very, very underrated
guy and he was on top form that year.”
Ludwig also pays tribute to Barilla, who
would briefly make it to Formula 1 with
Minardi in 1989 and into ’ 90.
“Paolo really was a fantastic co-driver,”
he says. “We were very close on lap time,
but if you look at the factory cars, there was
one shooter and one controller in each one.
They weren’t as evenly matched as us.”
The late “Winter,” real name Louis
Krages, would only drive for approximately
70 minutes over one stint on Saturday
evening, much of it behind the safety car.
“Louis was always on standby in case
there was a safety car,” recalls Piedade. “He
was happy to accept his role. To be in a car
with such good drivers was a big thing for
him. He wasn’t upset with us at all.”
The Joest car’s ability to go further on
its fuel than its rivals, the factory
included, inevitably resulted in the finger
of suspicion. Piedade had an answer for
them. “I pointed a finger back,” he says,
“but it was the middle one…”
Piedade also wanted a “little cartoon of
the middle finger” on the sheet of paper
that the team taped over the meter on
the refueling tower. Instead, it settled for
a less inflammatory question mark.
“Jurgen Barth [Porsche’s boss of
customer sport] kept coming down to look
at our fuel reading,” explains Piedade. “He
was always surprised by the number that
he saw. We weren’t. We knew we were going
to be that good on fuel in the race.”
The winning car was never out of the
leading bunch throughout the race, and
established a clear lead as early as the
seventh hour. The final margin of victory
was three laps over the Richard Lloyd
Racing 956. The best of the factory 962Cs,
the car driven by Derek Bell and Hans
Stuck, was a further four laps down in third.
Joest had dominated, yet still had more
Klaus Ludwig swaps with Paolo Barilla
during a late-race stop in 1985. Joest’s
astonishing fuel mileage made its pit
visits a “must-see” for the opposition...
“The factory cars had one
shooter and one controller
in each. They weren’t as
evenly matched as us”
Like all customer Porsche 956s, Joest Racing’s No. 117 (BELOW, in ’ 85 paint) was
built around an aluminum monocoque and a 2.65-liter, flat- 6 engine. Many teams,
Joest included, would develop their own chassis, aero and engine modifications.
THE RAW MATERIALS