Working at Le Mans With Healey

The Healey SR (raced at Le Mans in 1968-1969) being built at the Experimental Works, Warwick.
Image courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office


PS: Working conditions in the Le Mans pits, yes, very different.  The danger that they don’t allow now with half the safety, in so much as you would be working in the pits, you’d be working on a car and you would be quite used to having a car going within inches of you, doing a hundred miles an hour.  There was no barrier between pit lane and where the mechanics were working, so if you happened to turn round at the wrong time or put your hand down, then it was curtains, literally.

Interviewer: And so, what was specifically was your role in the team then in that Le Mans event? What did you have to do?

PS: Teaboy [laughs].  No, I mean, basically, helping out at whatever was necessary.  At one point in time I was given the job of carburant which means re-fueller.  I would refuel the SR car.  In fact, there was one time in which I was concerned about.  In those days the refuelling systems were gravity fed, you would have a great big funnel that you would, the fuel would be poured into, you would then have an alligator clip that you would clip onto the car to stop any static causing sparks there, and then you would literally just pour the fuel into the fuel tank on a gravity basis.  This very often resulted in air locks which obviously blew back and sometimes you would find yourself covered in fuel, etc., again, it couldn’t happen today.  And this did happen when I was fuelling the SR, had a blow back – I managed to get the flue in there, put the cap down, sealed the cap, the car went out, never came back so I had a few apprehensive moments thinking, obviously, I hadn’t put enough fuel in it and it’s round the other side of the track and I’m not going to be the most popular mechanic in the pits. As luck would have it, it wasn’t anything to do with the fuel, I did put enough fuel in there, the clutch had failed after about four hours.

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