1993 Venturi 600 S-LM
A rare racing Venturi uprated to 600 S-LM specification
Eligible Organisers & series
- Peter Auto - Endurance Racing Legends
- Masters - Endurance Legends
To be offered on Friday, 9 June 2023
€300,000 - €400,000 EUR
€300,000 - €400,000 EUR
- A rare racing Venturi uprated to 600 S-LM specification
- Largely rebuilt following a crash at the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Campaigned for Société BBA Compétition at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Engine rebuild completed in 2019; presented in its 1996 livery
- Eligible for Masters Endurance Legends or Endurance Racing Legends events by Peter Auto
In the 1980s and 1990s, the French manufacturer, Venturi, made a name for itself in the sports car world. Stéphane Ratel, the founder of SRO Motorsports Group, had been influential in the creation of the one-make Venturi 400 Trophy. In 1992, Ratel recognised a growing shift towards production-based GT cars and championed Venturi's move into the GT arena. The resulting 500 LM was based on Venturi's 400 GT road car and aimed to take on heavyweights including Ferrari and Porsche in top-level GT competition.
The example offered here, chassis 0003, was constructed in 1993 as the first Venturi 500 LM, used as a development car by the factory with guidance from test driver, Jean-Philippe Vittecoq. It was among the French manufacturer’s seven-car assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year. The car took part in pre-qualifying for the event in May, and went on to qualify 41st overall and 17th in the GT Class on its return to the Circuit de la Sarthe in June, where it wore blue, pink, and white FreeSoft livery with the race number “56”. Costas Los, Johannes Badrutt and Claude Brana would share driving duties at the French classic, but despite qualifying strongly, the race was marred by disaster. On the opening lap of the race, chassis 0003 was involved in a collision that forced its return to the pits. By the end of the first hour the car was trailing at the back of the field, and after around four and half hours of racing the car spun, leaving the track and suffering rear-end damage. The team would fight on until the early hours of the morning when, on lap 80, Brana lost control of the Venturi, the resulting damage forcing the car’s retirement.
It is understood that the car was largely rebuilt, with the intention of being ready for entry by Stéphane Ratel in 1994's BPR Championship. By 29 May 1994, its race entry notes the car in 600 LM specification when it competed in the 1000 Kilometres of Paris for the Agusta Racing Team, but retired mid-race due to a gearbox issue. The Works outfit, Venturi Team Lécuyer, raced chassis 0003 at Paul Ricard, Monza and Jarama in BPR races in 1995, and it was also entered at Le Mans under the team banner of Société BBA Compétition. The driving was to be shared by Emmanuel Clérico, Laurent Lécuyer, and Bernard Chauvin, yet the Venturi’s outing at Le Mans ended prematurely having caught fire after 130 laps.
Since returned to its 1996 specification, the Venturi was demonstrated by its consigning owner during the Global Endurance Legends session at the 2017 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or. The car's engine underwent a rebuild by Ferry
Development in 2019, while a new ECU was also fitted. Now in 600 S-LM configuration—arguably the ultimate form of Venturi’s racing vision—this storied car awaits its next owner, with the potential of furthering its competition career in any eligible historic events surely irresistible to any enthusiast of French racing cars.
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