24 hours a day

Didier started at Le Mans four times, 1976 to 1978 and 1980.

In 1976 the German Kremer Racing team had a Group 4 Porsche 934 Turbo at the starting grid that was driven by Didier Pironi, the late Bob Wollek and Marie-Claude Beaumont (Marie-Claude Charmasson). The French trio finished 19th after 270 laps or 3683.952 km while the race was won by Jacky Ickx and Gijs van Lennep driving a Porsche 936.

In 1977 he shared the Equipe de Chaunac's private Bendix-sponsored Alpine-Renault A442 Turbo with René Arnoux and Guy Fréquelin. They qualified 5th but dropped out of the race already on the first lap when the car caught fire due to an oil leak before Didier even had the chance to race, he had driven the car only in practice.

In 1978 he started in one of three works Alpine-Renault A442B Turbo together with Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. Over the past years the 24 hours' race had developed into a duel between Porsche and Renault and Gérard Larrousse simply had to produce a victory to justify the great expense Renault went to.

All through the 24 hours there was never another car in the lead than a Renault. After 17 hours the Alpine-Renault of Jabouille/Depailler was four laps ahead of the Martini-Porsche 936 and the second Alpine of Pironi/Jaussaud when the Porsche had come to the pits for a gearbox repair.

A double victory for Alpine-Renault was on the cards when, after 18 hours, Jean-Pierre Jabouille stopped at Mulsanne due to an engine failure. Now the Alpine of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud was in front, seven laps behind were two Porsches, normally without a chance.

At 4 pm the sensation was in the bag, Didier Pironi (26 years old at that time) and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud (41) gained Renault's first victory at Le Mans after 5044,53 km or 369 laps.

In principle it had already been decided that Didier would partner Jacky Ickx in a Porsche 936 for the 1979 edition of the race but Ken Tyrrell intervened because Porsche used Dunlop tyres while Tyrrell's Formula One cars used Good Year rubber. Instead of Didier Porsche hired Bob Wollek.

For 1980 it was certain already in April that Didier would do the 24 hours in a BMW France M1 together with Austrian Dieter Quester. As a preparation the two shared an M1 already on April at the Mugello six hour race (6 ore di Mugello), the third round of the 1980 sportscar World Championship where they reached a class win and a 6th place overall, 10 laps behind the victorious Lancia Beta Montecarlo driven by Riccardo Patrese and Eddie Cheever.

For Le Mans the team was completed by Frenchman Marcel Mignot. They qualified 25th (4:02 min.) in one of the most beautiful cars on the grid, the BMW sponsored M1, painted with the map of France.
In the beginning they managed to get up to ninth but Didier had to come to the pits because the steering had to be repaired after a collision with a Porsche.

In the end the BMW turbo engine had only five working cylinders left but still came home 14th (4th IMSA).

The race was surprisingly won by the late Jean Rondeau and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud driving a Rondeau-Cosworth.
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