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Didier Pironi

ref.: FLM132048M

The career of the French racing driver Didier Pironi marked the spirits by its fulgurance and its diversity and the numerous friendships which he had bound within the automobile world.

He indeed ran for the biggest automobile marks of the 70s both in Formula 1 as in endurance: Tyrrell, Ligier, Ferrari Porsche or Alpine Renault. He takes away the most prestigious races among which the LeMans 24 hours in 1978 beside Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. In spite of the accident which stops clear his career in 1983 he is a vice-champion of the World of F1.

The most striking friendship is the one that he maintained with Gilles Villeneuve whom he meets at Ferrari: competitors on the track, faithful friends in the life until the death separates them when Villeneuve who wants to take his revenge on his defeat of San Marin kills during the qualifications of Grand Prix of Belgium in May, 1982 by wanting to beat Pironi.

After his racing driver's career is broken he dashes in 1986 thanks to Philippe Streiff into the offshore race. He kills at the wheel of his boat the Colibri ("Hummingbird") in August, 1987.

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BrandLE MANS miniatures




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LeMans 24 Hours became in 1978 the first priority for the Régie Renault. They knew they would not be given the means to triumph in F1 until Le Mans had been won. The whole year from the autumn 1977 consisted in making the engine reliable and making the victory possible thanks to the many improvements of little details.

Several testing periods were organized to reproduce the race conditions, especially endurance and the stresses imposed by the Les Hunaudières straight.  Air intakes appeared on the rear wing mountings aimed at cooling the brakes.  The reliability of the engine was improved thanks to over 30 modifications including the pistons, distribution and turbo, which improved the flexibility of the engine despite an unchanged power output. Finally on the occasion of the last test in April 1978, the famous Plexiglas cockpit "bubble" was validated. It provided the advantages of a closed car, decreasing drag and increasing the top speed as much as 5 mph on the straights. Some brushes on the underbody intended to generate a ground effect are added.

The car is driven by the young Didier Pironi, whose victory is the first of a beautiful career, and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, whose victory is the cherry on the cake of a beautiful career.

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