Skip advert
Advertisement
Features

Mini Cooper sleeping and a Ferrari 250 LM – evo Archive

How a day in a studio studying a Le Mans legend kick-started Henry Catchpole’s career as a motoring writer. Probably

Ferrari 250 LM

Issue 074 is an important issue. To me. If you look (hard) on page 11 you will (eventually) find my name. It’s the first time that it ever appeared in evo and I can to this day still feel a frisson of the enormous joy that this brought me. 

I wasn’t actually employed by the magazine at this point, I was simply a 22-year-old work experience lad. As such I spent the last three months of 2004 living mostly out of B&Bs in Northamptonshire and working every hour I possibly could in the evo office. Most of what I was useful for was making tea and coffee. I didn’t actually drink the stuff at that point – being too young and quick of metabolism to appreciate the need for caffeine – but I realised that putting the kettle on and remembering who took how much milk and sugar was appreciated. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

The issue is full of wonderful stories, none of which were written by me. I remember looking in awe at the almost transcendental transparencies of Gus Gregory’s XPan photos of two Zondas in a snowy landscape. I recall Jethro being extremely proud of his oversteer shot in a 550 LM. And I recollect that I was amazed at the way the designers managed to make it look as though a Gallardo and F430 had been in the same place at the same time when they hadn’t. But the feature that this month’s cover star, the 296 GTB, brought flooding back to me was the Legends story about a Ferrari 250 LM. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

> A covert photoshoot at the former home of the French Grand Prix – evo Archive

Now, you might have noticed that I said I mostly lived out of B&Bs while I was on work experience and that’s because I sometimes slept in my Mini Cooper. On the occasions that I knew I’d have to get up early to go on a photoshoot I didn’t see the point in paying for one B that I wasn’t going to be in very long and another B that I wouldn’t have at all. Like I say, I was young and caffeine wasn’t a necessity. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

I spent one such night in my small red hatchback before I drove to the Savoir Faire studio in Norwich to meet John Barker, Andy Morgan and the 250 LM. I don’t mind admitting that I was in awe of all three. I have no idea if I was any use but I know I was allowed to sit in the car and that I was astounded by how wildly offset the pedals were. In fact I took in every single little detail of that amazing, yellow, aluminium race car that had finished second at Le Mans in 1965, because in the days afterwards I wrote 2500 words about it. 

They weren’t words to be published, just to be read by evo’s editor at the time, Peter Tomalin. You see, I wasn’t insured to drive the Zondas or the 550 LM, or even the Clio 182 Cup that appeared in the Driven section, so I couldn’t really write about them on anything approaching a level playing field. But the static 250 LM was a different matter. And I suspect it was those words that played a large part in getting me the job of staff writer a couple of months later. Or maybe it was my tea and coffee making abilities. It certainly wasn’t my driving as I know they all thought I was far too slow. (I was actually just being incredibly cautious so as not to crash anything, as I had previous on that front!)

Whatever it was, I certainly remember that day in the studio vividly. It was a dream come true. If you’d told me that one day, 13 years later, I’d be commissioned by John Barker to write a story about driving a 250 LM I’m not sure I’d have believed you.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Ferrari’s new factory will produce its first EV in 2026
New Ferrari factory
News

Ferrari’s new factory will produce its first EV in 2026

A new €200m e-building will produce Ferrari’s future sports cars – including its first EV
22 Jun 2024
How to win the Le Mans 24 Hours: we consult 2024’s winners
Le Mans 24 Hours 2024
Features

How to win the Le Mans 24 Hours: we consult 2024’s winners

evo sits down with veterans of the Le Mans 24 Hours and winners of the 2024 race, and asks them what it takes to win racing’s ultimate prize
17 Jun 2024
Ferrari 512B B/LM: the anatomy of a V12 Le Mans racer
Ferrari 512B B/LM
Features

Ferrari 512B B/LM: the anatomy of a V12 Le Mans racer

The Berlinetta Boxer was Ferrari’s first mid-engined road car and it spawned one of the most spectacular endurance racers of the late-’70s. We look un…
14 Jun 2024
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona v 308 GTB at Fiorano – the joys of driving a classic, manual Ferrari
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and 308 GTB – front tracking
Features

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona v 308 GTB at Fiorano – the joys of driving a classic, manual Ferrari

Ferrari’s finest road-going machines of half a century ago are a world away from today’s tech-laden 12Cilindri. But exactly how difficult are they to …
4 May 2024
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Saab PhoeniX – dead on arrival
Saab PhoeniX
Features

Saab PhoeniX – dead on arrival

The Swedish brand’s failed 2010s revival meant we missed out on a 400bhp hybrid TT rival – and more
11 Jul 2024
Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar will offer F1 performance, and you can bring a passenger along for the ride
Red Bull RB17
News

Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar will offer F1 performance, and you can bring a passenger along for the ride

Adrian Newey is leaving Red Bull, but his final project with the team is a 1184bhp+ V10 hypercar that can match F1 lap times
12 Jul 2024
BMW M3 CS v Litchfield BMW M2: which makes the better track car?
BMW M3 CS v Litchfield BMW M2 – front
Group tests

BMW M3 CS v Litchfield BMW M2: which makes the better track car?

BMW's latest and greatest M3 takes on Litchfield's 640bhp tuned M2 around Cadwell Park
13 Jul 2024