Jim Clark 356 sets lap record at Le Mans

Classic Le Mans is the single most important historic racing event in the world. It only happens every two years and attracts some of the biggest names and best funded enthusiasts out there.

In association with our friends at Vargus Racing, Dave Dennett, Tom Pead and Jeff Moyes campaigned the 1958 Jim Clark 356. We certainly know the car in intimate detail having rebuilt it completely a few years ago. However, that didn’t stop us giving it the most thorough race preparation at our main Essex workshops.

Taking a car that’s over 50 years old and demanding that it performs at least as well as it did in its heyday is a seriously ‘big-ask’ for any engineer. But we are well used to ‘big-asks’ when it comes to old Porsches (and not so old for that matter), so the usual and fastidious DSD attention-to-detail came in more than handy.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy and were determined not to be returning home with a ‘DNF’. In reality, that’s the most likely odds for any Le Mans endurance entry, at any level. While we knew we were setting out with the right attitude, we honestly didn’t quite expect to do as well as we did.

From a field of 72 cars, we finished 2nd in the scratch and 3rd in the index of performance. Dave Dennett set a best lap time of 5m 54s, which, as it turns out, is an all-time lap record for a 356 at Le Mans! Dave can’t really tell you how it feels and is still pretty modest about it but we think there is no better testament to the skills of the man who not only heads up the company but wields the tools and was sitting behind the wheel at the time.

With snow piling up outside the workshop door, our Le Mans Classic 2010 result really does seem like a distant summer memory; but the good news is that Dave and the DSD team are available, as ever, to prepare your car for your own track aspirations next season – or to simply sort out that list of little issues on the road car that you’ve been leaving ’til the winter.

Call us, send us a message or just come and see us… the kettle is on, always, though you may have to wash up your own mug if we’re a bit flat out!