Rodney Jane has made his debut on the Le Mans circuit in France for the opening practice session of Carrera Cup.
Jane completed his first session without drama, finishing 10th in the AM class and 49th overall out of the 63 deep field.
Carrera Cup is a support event for the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the classic French endurance race that is the world's oldest active endurance racing event and is celebrating its centenary this year.
The weekend marks the return of the Bob Jane T-Marts brand to Le Mans, 39 years since Bob Jane, Peter Brock and Larry Perkins combined for an all-Aussie assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Racing greats Perkins and Brock took on the 24 Hour race in a Bob Jane T-Marts backed John Fitzpatrick Racing Porsche 956.
On the return of Bob Jane T-Marts to La Sarthe, Perkins reflected on the event 40 years ago, providing some wise words for Jane as he prepares to take on the Porsche Carrera Cup support event to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Back in 1984, it proved a troublesome campaign for the Australian contingent as suspension troubles plagued the team throughout its warm up event at Silverstone and the main event a month later at Le Mans, but according to Perkins, it was an unforgettable experience.
Bob Jane and former Bob Jane T-Marts director Alan Coleman on the grid in 1984
“I remember our trip in 1984. I was working for Peter Brock and for some reason we were talking about Le Mans. I don't exactly know why, which ended in him asking ‘why don’t we go there?’ said Perkins.
“It quickly moved onto me saying ‘I’ve got a good mate of mine who knows the system, we can rent a Porsche in England’ and I had a network of people.”
“Brocky and Greg Siddle thought Bob Jane might be interested in this, so he was involved as was Alan Hamilton (long-time Porsche Australia distributor). Alan's dad was a friend of mine for many, many years. I knew Alan well and he said he’d have no problem talking to Porsche about getting some engines for us. The Dunlop people came onboard of which was a big customer.
“It very quickly got enough legs to make it all happen and we went to Le Mans.”
Perkins was at the wheel when disaster struck while lapping slower competitors. He crashed during the night, a mistake he is still disappointed about to this day.
Four years later, Perkins was recruited by Tom Walkinshaw to race one of his team’s famous Silk Cut Jaguar entries to finish fourth despite it being another troublesome race.
For Jane, his weekend continues with more practice before qualifying on Friday and the 50-minute race prior to the main 24 Hour event on Saturday morning (France time)
“All I can say is I wish Rodney well and I hope he enjoys himself,” said Perkins.