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  Article Image gallery (38) Chassis (2) Specifications  
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Country of origin:France
Produced from:1993 - 1994
Numbers built:7 (Including six converted 500 LMs)
Successor:Venturi 600 SLM
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 13, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFrench gentleman racer Stéphane Ratel had been the driving force behind the one-make Venturi 400 Trophy series introduced in 1992. For the 1993 season, he encouraged the French niche manufacturer to step up and enter GT racing. Ratel had recognised a switch in top level racing to production based GT cars, away from the Group C prototypes. As a result, the new and aptly named Venturi 500 LM would be eligible for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Again aimed at gentleman racers, Venturi offered extensive support to their customers to run the 500 LM.

Like the Trophy model, the 500 LM was based on the mid-engined 400 GT production road car. It featured a steel chassis built around a central backbone. Suspension was by double wishbones on all four corners. The styling was inspired by the Ferrari F40 with an integrated rear wing. For the 500 LM, a separate wing was used as it allowed for easier adjustments. The car was powered by the ubiquitous PRV V6, which featured four valves per cylinder and twin Garrett turbos. In this guise, it produced around 500 bhp. Mounted amidships, it was mated to a Hewland five-speed gearbox.

The demand for the 500 LM was high and no fewer than seven cars were entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only three examples were ready for the test but all seven did line up for the race. Despite the limited preparation, five Venturis finished the race, placing 23rd, 25th, 27th, 28th and 29th. Development continued and ahead of the next outing, the Vallelunga 6 Hours in November of 1993, two of the 500 LMs had evolved into the 600 LM model. Not surprisingly, the updates included a more powerful, 600 bhp version of the engine and further refinements of the aerodynamics.

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  Article Image gallery (38) Chassis (2) Specifications