Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/25/21 3:12 p.m.

Not sure how I just discovered this, but during the 2019 race at Le Mans one of the Ford GT drivers overtook a Ferrari by turning off the headlights so the Ferrari couldn't see the Ford–a technique straight out of Initial D (starts at 22:00):

For reference:


wvumtnbkr PowerDork
8/25/21 3:16 p.m.

Balls.  Just balls.  Nope.  That's A lot of nope for me...




Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/25/21 3:18 p.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

It certainly takes a certain kind of person to think turning off the headlights going 100+ mph on the Mulsanne Straight is a good overtaking technique.

j_tso Reader
8/25/21 3:20 p.m.

I was just imagining the Ferrari driver saying "that's not the sound of my car..."

adam525i Dork
8/25/21 3:55 p.m.

Seems like a silly risk to me on an arbitrary pass down the straight of a car they were likely lapping. 

accordionfolder SuperDork
8/25/21 4:00 p.m.

I'm also 100% you should have shared this version:



Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/25/21 4:39 p.m.

yeah nuts. Though I'm sure many of the drivers could drive the track in their heads with their eyes closed. 

Why does it initially go so dark and then come back a bit? Did the ferrari turn off its lights too?

j_tso Reader
8/25/21 4:47 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

The red mist makes you do stupid things.

At Le Mans '66 Sir John Whitmore driving a GT40 for Alan Mann Racing stalled at the start. In the process of catching up he passed a bunch of lower capacity cars by easing on to the grass at Mulsanne at 150mph. Later he said "it was bloody stupid but it worked."

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
8/25/21 5:14 p.m.

I've seen that before (the Initial D version) and it looks like the camera screwed up the light levels for a short period of time. Notice that when he "turns off his lights" the other two cars' lights get very dim too, while before they were lighting up a significant amount of road and safety barriers.


accordionfolder SuperDork
8/25/21 5:16 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's just a camera glitch, I would assume (???) that they're not allowed to intentionally turn their lights off at night.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
8/25/21 5:21 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

It makes for a funny video, at least!

earlybroncoguy1 Reader
8/25/21 5:59 p.m.

Speaking of LeMans "moments", there was a hilarious couple of minutes during the broadcast a few years ago (not sure which year, but recently), when the on-air announcers were imitating the race directors voice, comparing to a villian in a Bond movie, ordering a pizza. I've searched my recordings for it, but can't find it - does anyone have a clue as to what I'm referring to? I seem to remember it was late night/early morning during the broadcast. 

Tom1200 SuperDork
8/25/21 6:12 p.m.

Makes sense to me, the car ahead is lighting the road anyway so why not.

grover Dork
8/25/21 7:33 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

Auto iris on camera is readjusting exposure for less light. 

grover Dork
8/25/21 7:34 p.m.

I mean, I can't be the only kid who did 100 with the lights off on the interstate- of course I wasn't passing people...

racerfink UltraDork
8/25/21 8:05 p.m.

A few years ago, I was racing at the VIR 24hr Champcar race in an EC class Corvette.  It had absolutely abysmal lighting for night racing, especially at a track as dark as VIR.

I had to latch on to cars so I could use their headlights to see.  Eventually, the overall leader came by (Freedom Autosports that ran IMSA for a few years) and i followed them for the next hour and a half.  I saved so much fuel going half throttle on the straights so as not to pass them, I did a two and a half hour stint.  No one was awake in the pits to tell me when my two hours were up!

So, all of that just to say, following somebody with the lights off, when the Ferrari had all that lighting, isn’t as bad as it seems.

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/25/21 11:10 p.m.

Nuvolari beat Varzi using the same trick back in 1930. And that was on the winding, partially paved cart track that was the Mille Miglia back then. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/26/21 9:53 a.m.

Jacksonville SCCA had their yearly night autocross event last week. Here's a screenshot from my video.

I think I need some auxiliary lighting!

iansane HalfDork
8/26/21 9:54 a.m.

Ha! That's hilarious.

BrewCity20 New Reader
8/26/21 12:39 p.m.

I mean if it worked for Batman in the tumbler...i suppose it makes sense here too.


But man does that take some nuts.

slowbird UltraDork
8/26/21 12:44 p.m.
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) said:

Nuvolari beat Varzi using the same trick back in 1930. And that was on the winding, partially paved cart track that was the Mille Miglia back then. 

I remember reading about that in a book as a kid. Or maybe it was a fiction book inspired by true events. Regardless, yeah, an old and incredibly risky but apparently effective strategy. laugh

frenchyd UltimaDork
8/26/21 1:03 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

I still have great night vision. Some of that is due to techniques learned doing night landings on the aircraft carrier. Some of it is because of a lucky combination of rods and cones in my eyes. 
    I practice it every once in a while on back country roads known to have deer jump out in front of cars.     

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