How Did Derek Daly Find Himself Trying To "Impregnate" A Jaguar At Le Mans?
When things go wrong you have to try EVERYTHING in order to finish the race!
Le Mans, 1989 shaped up to be a four way fight between Mercedes, Toyota, Porsche and Jaguar. While Mercedes went on to win the day the race did give us one of the funniest stories in Le Mans history courtesy of Derek Daly and his Jaguar. Daly's XJR-9 LM qualified 5th but entering the night Daly's teammate had handed Daly a sizable gap.
Daly increased the lead during his two hour stint and was preparing to bring the car into the pits when disaster struck. Daly was halfway down the Mulsanne Straight (this was pre-chicanes) he went to put the car into top gear at about 230+ mph and the gear leaver breaks. Stuck in neutral he coasted to a stop near some treas with the help of the track marshals. Daly inspected his car and found out almost immediately that the shifter linkage was broken. As was the norm for the day someone had drilled a hole in the rod connecting the fork to the transmission. Unfortunately nobody had deburred the hole so the jagged edge caused a vibration which lead to a crack which lead to failure.
Daly went in search of the car's on-board tool kit. The rules of the day dictated that no mechanic could work on the car unless the car was in the pits. Daly found a pair of vice grips and set about the task of yanking the car into gear to limp back to the pits. Daly climbed onto the car, found all the gears and got to work. Problem was the car was not running, so Daly had to rock the car back and forth to try and find a gear. The only way this could be done was to go to the back and lean over the car and start rocking it back and forth. "I slowly started doing these pelvic thrusts, giving it all I can, looking like a dog in heat," Daly described his unique situation.
Daly was desperate to get his car running again so he was frantically trying to find a gear. Sweating profusely as he tries to effectively, hump his Jaguar back to life. At some point he looks up and sees the TV crew had arrived and was now broadcasting his, umm, act across the circuit.
After all this Daly does manage to get the car into gear. He puts his foot down on the clutch, starts the car, releases the clutch only to find he had put it into reverse. Things had gone from bad, to awkward to much much worse. The car was eventually retired but not before giving us a truly awesome story.
Source: Marshall Pruett Podcast.