How a British GT team might have taken on some of the world’s major car manufacturers in motorsport's greatest endurance race

It’s the start of the 1997 season. Once more, sportscar racing is on the cusp of something new, something different. Change is in the air, and people don’t like change, except Larry Payne. He can cope with change … he can exploit it. He can take the rulebook by the scruff of the neck and shake it. If there’s a loophole, he’ll find it, and drive a car straight through it … his car, the new Laser Strike.

This is a tale of endurance racing – the pinnacle of motorsport. It’s a tough, hard slog, especially for a small, independent team with a tight budget, but the rewards can justify the means. Ryan Smith, race engineer and a wizard with the Jaguar V12, is prepared to put everything on the line for the chance at glory … and he may have to if Laser Strike Racing is to compete in the world’s greatest motor race.

Based around the real-life events of the 65th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Smithy recalls the extraordinary dramas that befall Laser Strike Racing as the team and its charismatic owner attempt to take on some of the legendary big-names in sportscar racing – manufacturers who’ve become synonymous with success at Le Mans.


Malcolm Cracknell

Founding editor of Dailysportscar, the leading on-line magazine for GT and sportscar enthusiasts.

Malcolm Cracknell was one of the pioneers of endurance racing coverage in those innocent times when the new-fangled Internet was still known as the World-Wide-Web. First through SportsCarWorld, and then TotalMotorSport, before finally evolving into Dailysportscar, his words were the introduction for most sportscar fans to the concept of paperless information in real time rather than on a weekly cycle.

What set him apart from the throng of wanabees and fans with passes who invaded the trackside Media Centres of the mid-nineties was the fact that he actually had a clue. Crackers understood not only the racing, but the people who made it happen – the drivers, the organisers, the engineers and the team managers.

Even after years of enforced retirement he still observes the distant paddocks with more acuity than many who actually attend the races, and he continues to make occasional (and much appreciated) contributions to the pages of Dailysportscar.

He’s always known how to tell a good story, but now he’s turned his understanding and appreciation of sportscar racing towards fiction. With what can best be described as ‘insider knowledge’, he weaves his magic over the retelling of the 1997 Le Mans 24 hours … but is it fiction, or is there more than a grain of truth to this take on one of the most gruelling races in the world of motor racing?


Some of what happens is scarcely credible, but this is not fiction, it’s ‘faction’. Every unbelievable element is backed up by accounts of how these same dramas afflicted real teams and real people under the intense pressure of pitlane and track. Just making it to the chequered flag in the Le Mans 24 Hours is the stuff of dreams, but if the conclusion of this particular race stretches the imagination, remember, even this is based around an incident that really, truly happened. Le Mans is the world’s most famous motor race for good reason…

Whether you’re a die-hard race fan or someone who’s seen Le Mans from the frenetic mayhem of the pitlane, you’ll revel in Malcolm’s tale of under-dog versus Goliath. You’ll also delight in unravelling the truth between the lines, and perhaps find yourself in the thick of the action.


About the Book - Technical Stuff

Published 2019 by DoubleDeClutch Limited, 1 The Courtyard, Chalvington, East Sussex, BN27 3TD

ISBN 978-1-5272-4052-0

Copyright © Malcolm Cracknell 2019

The right of Malcolm Cracknell to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, copied or transmitted in any form whatsoever, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior permission of the publishers. All text, illustrations and photographs are copyright.

Double DeClutch and/or the author have no control over, or any responsibility for, any author or third-party websites referred to in this book.

Design, Circuit Plans, Cover & Illustrations by: Marcus Potts, © CMC Graphics 2019

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Distributed by the Author and/or Publishers

The book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed upon the subsequent purchaser.


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