Video: Ferrari F40 LM, Jacques Laffite and deck shoes

Video: Ferrari F40 LM, Jacques Laffite and deck shoes
 

Words: Maurice Malone - @MaloneMaurice

Published on: November 10, 2017

Words: Maurice Malone - @MaloneMaurice

Published on: November 10, 2017

Remember when supercars used to be difficult to drive? Yeah, that.

If you've never seen this video, a big treat awaits. It's one of the first things that I remember watching on YouTube (back in the days of dial-up internet), though the video below was uploaded in slightly better quality by a kind fan a couple of years ago.

At under three minutes long, it's a perfect tea-break filler. Some of you will be familiar with the name of Jacques Laffite, a Formula One driver back in the crazy days of the '70s and '80s. Jacques tamed the turbo F1 cars in their pomp before breaking both legs in a career-ending smash, though those legs seem to be working just fine in this clip as he heel-and-toes one of the noisiest and most aggressive-sounding vehicles this side of a Saturn V rocket.

That vehicle is a Ferrari F40 LM, the racing version of the F40, and it's even more insane than the road car. It's a pure racer, something that's evident from the moment Jacques straps himself in and flicks the ignition. The whine of fuel pumps fills the cabin, then the cough of a starter motor can be heard before the twin-turbocharged V8 blares into life. Clutch, revs, grind is the pattern for the next few seconds before the non-synchromesh transmission agrees to go into gear. We're off.

It takes a lot to drown out the whining of straight-cut gears, but that monster of an engine manages it. Wearing no helmet, sporting slacks and deck shoes, Jacques gives the F40 LM its head around the Circuit du Mas du Clos in early 1990's France, visibly fighting with the recalcitrant gearbox and its weird ratios as he bounces around in the seat thanks to the rock-hard suspension. The noise is just incredible. Turn the volume up as loud as your ears and speakers can bear.