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April 13, 2024
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Friday favourite: The original Le Mans master that wowed Redman

Friday favourite: The original Le Mans master that wowed Redman

Jacky Ickx is a Le Mans legend and Ferrari Formula 1 hero but to have British sportscar lionheart Brian Redman acknowledge him as his favourite team-mate means a lot.

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The story of their partnership began when they teamed up for the Kyalami 9 Hours at the end of 1967, winning by the handsome margin of 13 laps in a JW Automotive Mirage-Ford M1. 

That led to Redman joining Ickx in a JWA Ford GT40 for much of 1968, when the Lancastrian notched the first of his four manufacturers’ titles (he later won two with Porsche and another with Ferrari) in what is today known as the World Endurance Championship.

Although he’d later became renowned for his partnership at Porsche with Jo Siffert – “another great, brilliant driver” – Redman regards six-time Le Mans winner Ickx as his most influential team-mate.

“In 1968, with John Wyer, he was known as the ‘young Brussels sprout’,” quips Redman. “I recall my first time driving at Daytona, I just couldn’t go flat on the banking, no shame, my foot kept twitching throughout practice. I asked Jacky if he was driving flat on to the banking, and to be honest… ‘Yes, Brian,’ he replies in a deadpan manner, ‘Of course I’m going flat’.”

They won the 1968 BOAC 500 together at Brands Hatch, beating the Gerhard Mitter/Ludovico Scarfiotti Porsche 907 by 22 seconds, but it was their success together in the Spa 1000Km later that year that is engrained as one of Redman’s favourite moments in his long racing career.

Redman had huge respect for Siffert, but singles out Ickx as his favourite team-mate

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“The best first lap that I ever saw was in Spa in the rain,” he says. “Yes, it was Jacky’s home circuit and he’d won the saloon race in the morning in a Mustang also when it was pouring down. But he came past the pits in our GT40, through Eau Rouge, up the hill, gone – he disappears from sight and sound. And it all went quiet.

“In the pits, we assumed there’d been a big accident that had held the rest of the field up. Then the second-placed car came past, driven by a very well-renowned wet-weather driver in a Porsche, and he was 38s behind. In one racing lap! That was amazing.”

“I asked Jacky if he was driving flat on to the banking, and to be honest… ‘Yes, Brian,’ he replies in a deadpan manner, ‘Of course I’m going flat’” Brian Redman

Together, they won by a lap. And there were further successes together at Ferrari, winning the 1972 Austrian 1000km at the Osterreichring, and 1000km races at Monza and the Nurburgring the following year, although both outings together at Le Mans in 1973 and 1979 ended in retirement.

To this day, they remain firm friends and reunite at historic racing events from time to time.

Ickx’s performance at Spa in 1968 stunned his co-driver

Photo by: Motorsport Images

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