The 1977 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 45th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 11 and 12 June 1977.
The Porsche 936 won again in 1977 against the Renault and Mirage Renault, with extraordinary driving efforts by Jacky Ickx. His #3 car, the chassis 002 that had won in the previous year, broke down in the early running, so Ickx joined Hurley Haywood and Jürgen Barth in the team's #4 sister chassis 001 which had its woes, too. Ickx pushed hard and took the lead again, taking advantage of the fragile Renault challenge, to score his 4th victory. But Porsche were lucky too; a broken engine nearly halted the Porsche 936/77 in the last hour. The mechanics removed the ignition and injection of the failed cylinder, and the smoking car limped around the track to finish after 24 hours while running, as required.
The biggest rule change was the cancellation of restrictions for consumption: Up to now was not required to travel at least twenty laps between two refueling, but the maximum capacity of the tanks was limited to 160 liters and the number of Octane was elevated to 100, like in Formula 1 (and after the protest of Renault). He was also granted the greatest freedom in repairs: the only things that could not be replaced were the engine block, chassis and body.
Before moving on to Formula 1, Renault has decided to win his "24 hours" and for 1977 had spent all his energy to achieve that goal. Joined 4 cars of the Renault Alpine A442 type for Jabouille / Bell, Depailler / Laffite, Jaussaud / Tambay and Pironi / Arnoux / Fréquelin crew, had argued with them on the Paul Ricard circuit long practice sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet during the months of January, February and April.
With this great work on their shuolder, the official Renault team was favored I in predictions.
Porsche was on the track with two 936 entrusting a Ickx / Pescarolo (at issue they had already Won 6 editions) and Barth / Haywood, with the latter to reduce from his third victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona achieved driving all night long his Porsche Carrera RSR .
For this edition the Mirage GR8 left the usual Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3 liters, to adopt the Renault V6 Turbo engine, the same of the Alpine. Drivers were Schuppan/Jarier and Posey/Leclère, with Jarier called at last minute to replace Jean-Louis Lafosse, who will quote in court the team . After long tests at Indianapolis where no failure happened, the Mirage linked on their reliability as slower and heavier than official cars Renault.
The partecipants in Group 6 "3 liters", with the Ford Cosworth DFV, were the de Cadenet-Lola, with the saim british team-owner in couple with Chris Craft, the French Inaltera, at the second participation at Le Mans with two cars for Beltoise/Holbert and "Christine"/Lombardi, and another car in GTP category and the Lola T286 driven by Perrier/Lapeyre.
In the Group 5 ("Silhouette"), only the Porsche was present with for 935, the "works car" of the "Martini Racing" for Stommelen/Schurti, the custumer's car for Ballot-Léna/Gregg, Schenken/Hezemans/Hayer/Ludwig (Gelo Racing Team) and Edwards/Faure (Kremer Racing. There were also a Ferrari 365 BB was fielded by NART ad Aston Martin DBS V8 of a small team.Pole Position - #9 Renault Sport - 3:31.07
Fastest Lap - #4 Martini Racing Porsche System - 3:36.50
Distance - 4671.83 km
Average Speed - 194.651 km/h
Index of Thermal Efficiency - #26 Sté. Racing Organisation Course (ROC)