FEATURED:// Artists view of the greatest era in motorsports, Le Mans early seventies

Porsche had a splendid 1970 season with the 917. Desperate to compete in 1971 the Sunoco team brings the blue-yellow Ferrari 512M at the start of the Le Mans 24 hours. The M stands for Modificata and the car is fully rebuilt according the last aerodynamic principles and is furthermore tuned for endurance races like Le Mans.

Porsche had an answer at the ready with an aerodynamically improved 917. Both Porsche teams Gulf-Wyer and Martini Racing showed two variants of the Porsche 917; the 917K - kurzheck or short tail which follows the old 1970 recipe, and the 917LH – long heck or long tail. The last one has a better airflow and that the best chances of winning Le Mans.

At the start of the race it becomes obvious that Porsche has hit the jackpot once again. The Gulf-Wyer Porsche 917LH of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver's is leading the race and reaches speeds in excess of 236 mph on the Mulsanne straight speed.

Engine failure robs Rodriguez and Oliver of a almoust certain victory, but is is still a Porsche that is victorious. The Martini-racing Porsche 917K no. 22 of Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep score a glorious win. They manage to race 397 laps in the 24 on the 8,4 mile track. That is 3,315.21 miles to be more precise; a record that lasted until 2010.

Ferrari 512 le mans 1971 sunocoClassic Cars Monthly gets an exclusive view in the artstudio of car and race enthusiast Bert Heemskerk. He is quick to tell us the first thing he could get his hands on as a child was a pencil and some paper. Always busy drawing and painting.

"I grew up in the dutch countryside", Bert says. "You know: the flat wherever you look 'polder' countryside, where my father was grower of tulip bulbs. Although they're beautifull; to us they were just business as usual.
Luckily sound carries incredibly far in the polder and every time I heard an engine roar I turned my attention to it: eyes and ears wide open. When I grew up I bought my own car and tested my limits. Hahaha, it's probably a good thing there weren't to many GATSO's around in those days!"

"I never managed to go racing myself, but I do love to be involved and capture the atmosphere of races, and unique cars, mostly classics, in art."
When we ask Bert how he chooses his the subject he replies: "A while ago I started painting Porsches. Ofcourse the 917 is one of the most incredible models. The lines of the body, are absolutely perfect! So when I research a Porsche 911K Bert HeemskerkPorsche 917K Le Mans 1971model like the 917, I relive a part of the history and try to capture that in art. It always starts with sketches from which I choose the final composition".

"I use acrylic paint most of the time. A great type of paint because of the many ways you can use it; transparent or opaqe e.g.. Paintings are built up layer upon layer. That might sound easy, but it takes a lot of time. And then there is the fact that I'm a absolute perfectionst. All details; every part has to be spot on".

"Unfortunately 1971 would be the last year of the great 5 litre-class in the Le Mans 24 hours, but the Porsche 917 raced on in the Can-am – the Canadian American Challenge Club. An arena that draws my attention too. The Porsche 917K with number 4 won the Can-am in 1972 and 1973".

Schilderij : Collage Porsche 911 en 917K Steve McQueen film Le Mans door Bert Heemskerk Painting: Collage Porsche 911, 917K and Steve McQueen from the film Le Mans by Bert Heemskerk

"The drama, speed and excitement of the racing the 24hours of Le Mans; is best captured in the movie 'Le Mans' with Steve McQueen. Inspired on that movie I've made a painting of which there is a limited series of one hundred high quality giclée reproductions available. The giclées are numbered and signed by myself and available for 95 euro (approx. GBP 77) excluding shipping".

"If you are interested you can make an inquiry by e-mail to; info@bertheemskerk.nl".

When we ask Bert if he only paints what springs to mind like in this Porsche-serie, het replies: "Oh no", Bert replies, "I also like to do commissioned work and it's not necessary it has anything to do with cars. Feel free to take a look at my website; http://www.bertheemskerk.nl. There you will find different subjects.
What is important to mention, is that commissioned work is only available as an original, unless agreed upon differently".

Tekst: MG_Robin interviews Bert Heemskerk
Meer information on http://carpaintings.bertheemskerk.nl