Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones : Spirit of Le Mans 2018
At the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest awarded the Spirit of Le Mans trophy to Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones in recognition of his valuable contribution to endurance racing.
“The way endurance racing is evolving, it's becoming the thinking man's motorsport.” With those words, the then chairman of the FIA Endurance Commission showed his determination to staunchly defend the interests of endurance racing.
The Spirit of Le Mans trophy acknowledges the commitment of a driver, team leader, race organiser or institution to the endurance cause, so it was only a matter of time before Sir Lindsay was the recipient. A loyal servant of endurance for many years, the former multinational company head upholds the values of the discipline in all his undertakings. Close associates salute his “courage, determination and stamina”.
Three years running (1994–6), he more than lived up to the compliment in the cockpit as a competitor at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After two years in a Porsche 968, he and his crew clinched a very honourable fifth place overall with the McLaren F1 GTR in 1996.
In 2012 he was appointed President of the FIA Endurance Commission. Having coined the phrase “culture shock stimulates creativity”, the former head of L’Oréal proved the truth of his words. Under his presidency, thanks to a fruitful collaboration between the FIA and the ACO, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans became a springboard for automotive research and development and the scene of thrilling races with mighty tussles in all categories, LMP1, LMP2 and LMGTE. Hybrid technology revolutionised fuel savingsfor prototypes, while in the GTE category, a host of rival constructors jostle for World Championship glory.
Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones played a part in all these changes. That’s what you call the Spirit of Le Mans.