When Paul Newman finished second in the 24 hours of Le Mans

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“The first thing that I ever found I had any grace in” said Paul Newman during training at the Watkings Glen Racing School in 1969, about racing. Newman was preparing for the movie “Winning”, where he starred as an up-and-coming race car driver with high hopes of winning the Indianapolis 500, in order to win back the love of his wife, in the movie that is. Recieving extensive training at the Watkins Glen Racing school, Newman was ready to drive the Indycar in almost all scenes; without the use of a stunt double.

paul newman le mansThree years later Newman enters his first professional race in 1972, under the name “P.L. Newman”, which he would continue to use during his racing career. Frequently competing in the Sports Car Club of America, winning four national championships, Newman would eventually join the newly formed team Dick Barbour Racing in 1979 for the elite endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Driving the dominant twin-turbocharged Porsche 935 which sported a flat-six engine, Newman and Dick Barbour supported endurance racing veteran Rolf Stommelen in a three-man team. Their performance esulting in 300 laps around the Circuit de la Sarthe earned the trio a first place in their class, but finished second overall due to engine complications. However, it was still an incredible feat for the 54-year old Paul Newman during the 1979 24 hours of Le Mans.

Newman would go on racing until the age of 81, and was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame.

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