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1950 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1950 24 Hours of Le Mans

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Index: Races | Winners

The 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 18th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 24 and 25
June 1950. It was won by the French father-and-son pairing of Louis and Jean-Louis Rosier driving a
privately entered Talbot-Lago.

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish and post-race
 5Official results
 6Did Not Finish
 716th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1949/1950)
 8Statistics
 9Trophy Winners
 10Notes
 11References
 12External links

Regulations[edit]
The revival of motor-racing post-war was now in full swing – the FIA had published its new rules for
single-seater racing and inaugurated the new Formula 1 World Championship. Its Appendix C
addressed two-seater sportscar racing, giving some definition for racing prototypes. The same
categories (based on engine capacity) were kept, although the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO)
added an extra class at the top end – for over 5.0L up to 8.0L.
After last year’s issues with the hybrid ‘ternary’ fuel, the ACO now supplied 80-octane gasoline as
standard, thereby removing the need. The track was widened except for the run from Mulsanne to
Indianapolis, and the re-surfacing completed, thus promising to give faster times and be a quicker
race.[1] Finally, the iconic Dunlop bridge was rebuilt – a footbridge over the circuit just after the first
corner.[2]

Entries[edit]
A record 112 entries were received by the ACO, and they accepted 60 for the start – another
record.[3][4] This year there were 24 entries in the S3000, S5000 and S8000 classes. The biggest car this
year carrying the #1, was a MAP Diesel that was the first car to race at Le Mans with a mid-mounted
engine (a supercharged 4.9L engine), with veteran racer and 1939 winner Pierre Veyron.
The first Americans to race at Le Mans in 21 years arrived - Briggs Cunningham bought across two
5.4L Cadillacs, one a standard Series 61 sedan and the other with an ugly aerodynamic bodyshell
refined in the Grumman Aircraft wind tunnel.[5] They were soon nicknamed ‘’Petit Petaud (Clumsy
puppy)’’ and ‘’Le Monstre’’ respectively by the French, but Briggs saw the joke and had the names
written on the bonnets beside the American flags.[6] Interestingly, both were fitted with pit-to-car radios.
But this year, the big news was the first appearance of Jaguar – with three new 3.4L XK120s. Factory-
prepared, they were released to select private entrants to test the waters.[3][7] Other British entries
included an Allard with the big 5.4L Cadillac engine, co-driven by Sydney Allard himself; the Bentley
saloon from last year returned, along with a second, even older (1934), car to represent the marque.
This year Aston Martin came with three 2.6L DB2 works entries (now being run by John Wyer[8]).
After their spectacular success last year, Ferrari arrived with three 166 MM cars, as well as a new
model: a pair of 195 S cars, with a bigger 2.4L V12, entered by last year’s winner Luigi Chinetti. This
year Chinetti drove with Dreyfus, and was able to convince the great French driver Raymond
Sommer (with whom he had won in 1932) to postpone his retirement to drive his other car.[9]
The French defended their home turf with a pair of fast privately-entered Talbot-Lago T26 (based on the
current Grand Prix car) and the urbane SS coupe. Too heavy to be competitive in the new World
Championship, their speed and durability made them ideal for Le Mans.[7] Charles Pozzi returned with
two Delahaye 175 S in his new ‘’Ecurie Lutetia’’ team, the Delettrez brothers had their diesel special
back, and two old Delage D6s returned (for the last time) including that of Henri Louveau who had
staged such a spirited chase the year before. Also, with better preparation time, Amédée
Gordini entered a big team of his new T15 cars, including two fitted with superchargers to take on the
Ferraris. His regular Grand Prix drivers, Maurice Trintignant and Robert Manzon drove one and two
new Argentinians Juan-Manuel Fangio and José Froilán González the other – all Le Mans debutants
along with Jean Behra in a 1500 Gordini.
In the mid-size S2000 and S1500 classes, aside from the Ferraris and the two mid-size Gordinis, was
an assortment of makes including Frazer-Nash, Jowett, Peugeot, Fiat and MG. If the French were
under-represented in the big classes, they made up for it in the S1100 and S750 small-car categories,
with 20 of the 25 entries, including works entries from Gordini, Monopole, Panhard, DB, Renault and
Simca. The Aero-Minors from Czechoslovakia were back, and were joined by a Škoda in the S1100
class

Practice[edit]
In practice, Raymond Sommer showed that the new Ferraris were fastest, with a five-minute lap exactly
– ahead of the Talbot-Lagos. Auguste Veuillet crashed and rolled his Delahaye, but after overnight
repairs, it was ready for the race the next day, only for the car to refuse to start with a flat battery.

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
Lined up, as was Le Mans tradition, according to effective engine capacity, it was Tom Cole in the
Allard who was the first to get going. Last to get away was Fangio’s Gordini with an engine
misfire.[10] Sommer overtook a dozen cars to lead at the end of the first lap, ahead of Cole, Meyrat’s
Talbot, Peter Whitehead in the new Jaguar and Trintignant in the supercharged Gordini.[11] On lap 2
Cunningham slid “Le Monstre” into the Mulsanne sandbank and had to spend 15 minutes digging it
out[12] By the fifth lap, Rosier had his Talbot up to third and Chinetti had the other big Ferrari up to fifth.
It stayed pretty much like that for the first few hours with Sommer putting in some very fast laps,
averaging just under 99 mph to extend his lead.[9][11] But then the pressure of that pace told and he lost a
cylinder and had to pit with electrical problems from a dislodged alternator, dropping him to fifth. That let
Rosier into the lead in the 3rd hour, and he then put in some blistering laps to break up the pursuing
pack. As the sun set and in the cooler air he broke Sommer’s new lap record by almost ten secords
with Le Mans’ first race lap averaging over 100 mph (160kph). At the end of four hours, it was Rosier,
Chinetti, Sommer, Meyrat - Talbot, Ferrari, Ferrari, Talbot - then the Allard and the first Jaguar.
Night[edit]
Going into the night, Sommer/Serafini’s ongoing electrical problems continued to plague them, taking
them out of the running then finally leading to retirement after midnight – with no lights! Further
excitement in the night happened when the Pozzi Delahaye had an engine-fire while refuelling, right in
front of the second-placed Mairesse Talbot in at the same time.[13] But once the flames were out,
Flahault jumped in and drove out without even checking for damage[12]
Early on Sunday morning while running second, the Allard’s 3-speed gearbox lost its two lowest gears.
It could not be repaired, so the mechanics jammed it into 3rd and sent it back out again, having
dropped down to 8th. Around a similar time the differential on Chinetti’s Ferrari started playing up, after
also running in the top 3 for first half of the race; they eventually retired mid-morning.
At the halfway point after 12 hours, it was the two Talbots of Rosier and Meyrat/Mairesse (six laps
apart), then a lap back to the Johnson/Hadley Jaguar, the Rolt/Hamilton Nash-Healey and the
struggling Allard.[12]
Morning[edit]
At 5am the leader came into the pits with a 7-lap lead, and Rosier personally replaced the rocker-shaft.
His son then took the car out for just 2 laps while Louis cleaned up and ate some bananas. Then Rosier
Sr got back in, resuming in 3rd, and drove on for the rest of the race.[14] With Rosier in the pits, the
second Talbot took the lead and held it for three hours, with the Jaguar of Johnson/Hadley in second.
But Rosier was a man on a mission and before 9am, he had overtaken both and was back in the lead.
He had to pit later in the morning when he struck an owl, smashing the (tiny) windscreen and giving him
a black eye.[15]
At 8am Jean Lucas, running sixth, crashed and rolled Lord Selsdon’s Ferrari, getting minor injuries and
taking the last of the prancing horses out of the race. The Anglo-American Nash-Healey prototype
of Rolt/Hamilton had been in the top-5 since halfway and was 3rd when it was punted off the track by
Louveau’s Delage. The 45 minutes spent on repairs dropped it a position. Pozzi’s Delahaye had run as
high was 5th through the night, but then the fire and subsequent overheating dropped it down. Late in
the morning at a pit-stop, pent-up pressure blew off the radiator cap, which the officious stewards
deemed an illegal breakage of the security seals and controversially disqualified him.
By midday the old order was restored: the two Talbots, now only a lap apart, three laps back to the
Jaguar and a further lap to the Nash-Healey. Rosier eased off, conserving his car, but keeping a solid
lead. Then the Jaguar of Johnson/Hadley had to retire with less than 3 hours to go when the clutch
finally let go, after the drivers had had to use engine-breaking because of a lack of brakes. But it was
Tim Cole who was lapping fastest of all in fourth, even though he still only had top gear, and caught
Rolt (having to driver carefully with a dodgy rear axle and fading brakes) with 30 minutes to go.
Finish and post-race[edit]
In the end, Louis Rosier cruised to the win, and with Guy Mairesse and Pierre Meyrat, gave one of
Talbot-Lago’s greatest days – coming 1st & 2nd (in fact, all 3 cars finished - the sedan was 13th), and a
record distance covered[16] All the first five finishers beat the 1939 distance record[16] It was also a great
race for the British cars with 14 of 16 entered finishing, taking the 8.0L, 3.0L, 2.0L and 1.5L class wins.
The Allard finished third, the Nash-Healey was fourth ahead of two of John Wyer’s Aston Martins that
had run like clockwork. They were comfortably ahead of Louveau’s Delage in seventh, that had finished
2nd the year before but this year never had the pace, despite running trouble-free. The new Frazer-
Nash (driven by ex-fighter pilot Dickie Stoop) took the S2000 class and the lightened works Jowett
Javelin roadster easily won the S1500 class by 12 laps, driven by the coincidentally-named Wise and
Wisdom.
By contrast all five Ferraris retired, as did all nine Simca-engined cars, including the six works Gordinis.
Both the Bentleys finished – though Louis Rosier did a herculean job driving for all but 2 laps, Eddie
Hall in the TT finished 8th and became the only driver to finish a Le Mans going solo the whole distance
(just over 3200km).[2] Likewise both Cadillacs finished (10th & 11th – positions they had held virtually
the whole race) even though ‘’Le Monstre’’, like the Allard, had been stuck in top gear for most of the
race[6] The little Czech Aero repeated its win from 1949 in the smallest (S750) class, beating the French
contingent it went up against.
The Abecassis/Macklin Aston Martin had taken the lead in the Index of Performance in the morning, but
a strong drive in their little Monopole-Panhard #52 (611cc, 36bhp) by company owners Pierre Hérnard
& Jean de Montrémy meant they exceeded their designated distance by exactly the same margin
thereby sharing the Index victory.[14][16]
The Jaguar management were satisfied with the performance of their cars – two finished, and the other
had run as high as second before retiring, but resolved to fix the brake problems that had troubled all
three cars through the race
Tragically, the great French racer, Raymond Sommer would not get to enjoy his retirement – he was
killed later in the year, at a Formula 2 race at Cadours [17]

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1950

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps

Louis Rosier
S Louis Rosier Talbot-Lago T26 Talbot-
1 5 Jean-Louis 256
5.0 (private entrant) GS Biplace Lago 4.5L S6
Rosier

Talbot-Lago T26
S Pierre Meyrat Pierre Meyrat Talbot-
2 7 Monoplace 255
5.0 (private entrant) Guy Mairesse Lago 4.5L S6
Decalee

S Sydney Allard Cadillac 5.4L


3 4 S.H. Allard Allard J2 251
8.0 Tom Cole Jr. V8

Tony Rolt
S
4 14 Healey Motors Ltd. Duncan Nash-Healey E Nash 3.8L S6 250
5.0
Hamilton

George
S Abecassis Aston
5 19 Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB2 249
3.0 Lance Martin 2.6L S6
Macklin

Reg Parnell
S Aston
6 21 Aston Martin Ltd. Charles Aston Martin DB2 244
3.0 Martin 2.6L S6
Brackenbury
Henri
S Henri Louveau
7 18 Louveau Delage D6-3L Delage 3.0L S6 241
3.0 (private entrant)
Jean Estager

Bentley
S E.R. Hall Eddie Hall
8 11 Corniche TT Bentley 4.3L S6 236
5.0 (private entrant) Tom Clarke
Coupé

Richard Stoop
S H.J. Aldington T.A.S.O. Frazer Nash Milla
9 30 Bristol 2.0L S6 235
2.0 (private entrant) "Donald" Miglia
Mathieson

S Briggs Cunningham Miles Collier Cadillac Coupe de Cadillac 5.4L


10 3 233
8.0 (private entrant) Sam Collier Ville V8

Briggs
S Briggs Cunningham Cadillac 5.4L
11 2 Cunningham Cadillac Spider 232
8.0 (private entrant) V8
Phil Walters

S P.T.C. Clark Peter Clark


12 15 Jaguar XK120S Jaguar 3.4L S6 230
5.0 (private entrant) Nick Haines

André
S André Chambas Talbot-Lago Gran Talbot-
13 6 Chambas 228
5.0 (private entrant) Sport Coupe Lago 4.5L S6
André Morel

Jack 'Zoltan'
S H.S.F. Hay
14 12 Hay Bentley 4¼ Paulin Bentley 4.3L S6 225
5.0 (private entrant)
Hugh Hunter

Peter
S P.C.D. Walker
15 16 Whitehead Jaguar XK120S Jaguar 3.4L S6 225
5.0 (private entrant)
John Marshall

Tommy
S Jowett Jupiter Jowett 1486cc
16 36 Jowett Cars Ltd. Wisdom 220
1.5 Javelin Flat-4
Tommy Wise

Rob Lawrie
S R. Lawrie
17 22 Geoffrey Riley RMC Riley 2.5L S4 213
3.0 (private entrant)
Beetson
George
S G.E. Phillips Phillips
18 39 MG TC Special MG 1244cc S4 208
1.5 (private entrant) Eric
Winterbottom

Nigel Mann
S N.H. Mann
19 23 Mortimer Healey Elliott Riley 2.4L S4 203
3.0 (private entrant)
Morris-Goodall

Norman
Frazer Nash High
S N.R. Culpan Culpan
20 31 Speed Bristol 2.0L S6 201
2.0 (private entrant) Lt. Cdr. Peter
Le Mans Replica
Wilson

Maurice
Aero 744cc
S Gatsonides
21 51 Rudý Letov Letnany Aero Minor 750 Flat-2 184
750 Henk (2-Stroke)
Hoogeven

Jean de
S Etablissements Panhard 611cc
22 52 Montrémy Monopole X84 180
750 Monopole Flat-2
Jean Hémard

S Automobiles Deutsch et René Bonnet Panhard 611cc


23 58 DB Sport 175
750 Bonnet Élie Bayol Flat-2

Jean Sandt
S J.L.V. Sandt Renault 760cc
24 46 Hervé Renault 4CV 171
1.1 (private entrant) S4
Coatalen

S L. Pons Jacques Lecat Renault 760cc


25 48 Renault 4CV 170
1.1 (private entrant) Louis Pons S4

Auguste
S A. Lachaize Panhard Dyna X84 Panhard 611cc
26 55 Lachaize 168
750 (private entrant) Sport Flat-2
Albert Debille

Just-Emile
S J.-E. Vernet Vernet Renault 760cc
27 45 Renault 4CV 158
1.1 (private entrant) Roger S4
Eckerlein
Raymond
S R. Gaillard Callista RAN Panhard 611cc
28 56 Gaillard 153
750 (private entrant) D120 Flat-2
Pierre Chancel

S L. Eggen Louis Eggen Panhard 611cc


29 57 Panhard Dyna X84 151
750 (private entrant) "Escale" Flat-2

Did Not Finish[edit]


Po Clas N Lap
Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s s o s

S L. Johnson Leslie Johnson Jaguar Jaguar 3.4L


30 17 220 Clutch
5.0 (private entrant) Bert Hadley XK120S S6

Disqualifie
S Charles Pozzi Delahaye 17 Delahaye 4.5
31 8 Ecurie Lutetia 165 d
5.0 Pierre Flahaut 5S L S6
Water leak

Peter Mitchell-
Peter Mitchell- Thomson, Lord Selsd
S Ferrari Ferrari 2.0L
32 28 Thomson, Lord Selsdon on 164 Accident
2.0 166MM V12
(private entrant)
Jean Lucas

Georges
S Automobiles Gord Gordini T15 Simca 1090c
33 43 Blondel 157 Engine
1.1 ini S c S4
Raoul Martin

Mmes Rouault et Germaine


S Gordini T11 Simca 1090c
34 41 Gordine Rouault 143 Accident
1.1 MM c S4
(private entrant) Reginé Gordine

Jacques Poch Aero 744cc


S J. Poch Wheel
35 49 Edmond Aero Minor Flat-2 139
750 (private entrant) bearing
Mouche (2-Stroke)

Norbert Jean
S N.-J. Mahé Simca 1090c
36 40 Mahé Simca Huit 126 Engine
1.1 (private entrant) c S4
Sacha Gordine
Luigi Chinetti
S Ferrari 195S Ferrari 2.4L Transmissi
37 24 Luigi Chinetti Pierre-Louis 121
3.0 Spyder V12 on
Dreyfus ("Heldé")

Jean Delettrez Delettrez


S Etablissements Delettrez
38 10 Jacques 4.4L S6 120 Engine
5.0 Delettrez Diesel
Delettrez (Diesel)

S Václav Bobek Škoda 1101 Škoda 1089c


39 44 A.Z.N.P. 120 Engine
1.1 Jaroslav Netušil Spyder c S4

Guy Lapchin
S G. Lapchin Panhard Dyn Panhard 611
40 54 Charles 115 Electrics
750 (private entrant) a X84 Sport cc Flat-2
Plantivaux

Juan Manuel Simca 1491c


S Automobiles Gord Fangio Gordini T15 c
41 33 95 Engine
3.0 ini José Froilán S Coupé supercharged
González S4

S Ets. Savin & Fernand Leroy Renault 760c


42 47 Leroy Renault 4CV 92 Accident
1.1 Marcel Joseph c S4
(private entrant)

S J. Savoye Jacques Savoye Monopole Panhard 611


43 53 89 Oil leak
750 (private entrant) Eugène Dussous X84 cc Flat-2

Pierre Ferry
S Sté. Pierre Ferry Renault 747c
44 50 André-Georges Ferry Sport 86 Engine
750 (private entrant) c S4
Claude

Raymond
S Ferrari 195S Ferrari 2.4L
45 25 Luigi Chinetti Sommer 82 Electrics
3.0 Coupé V12
Dorino Serafini

S Automobiles Gord José Scaron Gordini T15 Simca 1090c


46 42 77 Oil pump
1.1 ini Robert Pascal S c S4

47 37 Fiat 1.5L S4 75 Gearbox


S J. Brault Jean Brault Fiat 1500
1.5 (private entrant) Louis Paimpol Spéciale

S Automobiles Gord Roger Loyer Gordini T15 Simca 1491c


48 35 50 Engine
1.5 ini Jean Behra S c S4

S Automobiles Deut René Simone Citroën 1.9L


49 64 DB 5 44 Engine
2.0 sch et Bonnet Michel Arnaud S4

Porfirio
S P.Rubirosa Ferrari Ferrari 2.0L
50 26 Rubirosa 44 Clutch
2.0 (private entrant) 166MM V12
Pierre Leygonie

M.A.P. 5.0L
S Manufactures Pierre Veyron M.A.P. supercharged Overheatin
51 1 39
5.0 d'Armes de Paris Fernand Lacour Diesel Flat-4 g
(Diesel)

Simca 1491c
Maurice
S Automobiles Gord Gordini T15 c Water
52 32 Trintignant 34
3.0 ini S Coupé supercharged radiator
Robert Manzon S4

S M. Gendron Marcel Gendron Renault 760c


53 63 Renault 4CV 32 Electrics
1.1 (private entrant) Jean Vinatier c S4

Ferrari
S Mme Y. Simon Yvonne Simon Ferrari 2.0L
54 27 166MM 25 Out of fuel
2.0 (private entrant) Michel Kasse V12
Coupé

Emmanuel
S Simca Six Simca 580cc
55 60 Ecurie Verte Baboin 20 Out of fuel
750 Spéciale S4
Pierre Gay

S Automobiles Gord André Simon Gordini T15 Simca 1491c


56 34 14 Gearbox
1.5 ini Aldo Gordini S c S4

S A. Guillard André Guillard Simca Huit Simca 1087c


57 66 13 Engine
1.1 (private entrant) Roger Carron Spéciale c S4
Aston
S Eric Thompson Aston Martin
58 20 Aston Martin Ltd. Martin 2.6L 8 Engine
3.0 John Gordon DB2
S6

S Automobiles Deut Georges Guyot Panhard 611


59 59 DB Sport 6 Accident
750 sch et Bonnet Pierre Chaussat cc Flat-2

S Gaston Serraud Delahaye 17 Delahaye 4.5


60 9 Ecurie Lutetia 0 Battery
5.0 André de Guelfi 5S L S6

16th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1949/1950)[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Etablissements Jean de Montrémy


1 52 Monopole X84 1.276
750 Monopole Jean Hémard

Richard Stoop
S H.J. Aldington Frazer Nash Milla
2 30 T.A.S.O. "Donald" 1.246
2.0 (private entrant) Miglia
Mathieson

S Maurice Gatsonides
3 51 Rudý Letov Letnany Aero Minor 750 1.221
750 Henk Hoogeven

S A. Lachaize Auguste Lachaize Panhard Dyna X84


4 55 1.195
750 (private entrant) Albert Debille Sport

Statistics[edit]
 Fastest Lap in practice – Raymond Sommer, #25 Ferrari 195 S – 5:00, 161.90 km/h
(100.60 mph) [18]
 Fastest Lap – Louis Rosier #5 Talbot-Lago T26C GS Biplace – 4:53.5, 165.49 km/h (102.83 mph)
 Winning Distance – 3465.12 km (2153.12 miles)
 Winner’s Average Speed – 144.38 km/h (89.72 mph)

Trophy Winners[edit]
 16th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup – #52 Pierre Hérnard / Jean de Montrémy
 Index of Performance – #19 Abecassis / Macklin & #52 Hérnard / de Montrémy (tied)
1951 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 19th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 23 and 24
June 1950. It was won by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead in their works-entered Jaguar C-type, the
first Le Mans win for the marque.
This year marked the real start of the modern era of sports-car racing, with the arrival of Jaguar’s
purpose-built racer, and the first showing for Porsche and Lancia. It was also the final time for Delahaye
and Bentley (for 50 years). The race was marred by the death of French driver Jean Larivière within the
opening laps of the race.

Regulations[edit]
This year there were no significant changes to the regulations, by either the CSI or the Automobile Club
de l'Ouest (ACO), except to create a Reserve list as a back-up to the basic sixty entrants.

Entries[edit]
Works entries were entered by Aston Martin, Frazer-Nash, Healey, Jaguar, Jowett, Panhard and
Renault as well as self-built cars from Allard, Cunningham, DB, Delettrez, Gordini and Monopole. The
biggest sensation were the three works cars from Jaguar after their private entry the year before.
Designed in complete secrecy specifically for Le Mans, the XK-120C, or C-Type (‘C’ standing for
‘Competition’) was 450 kg lighter than before and its 3.4L engine developed 205 bhp with a top speed
of 160 mph (257 km/h).[1] Along with Fairman, Whitehead and Johnson, team manager “Lofty”
England paired them up respectively with debutants Stirling Moss and Peter Whitehead and multiple
Mille Miglia winner Clemente Biondetti. Sydney Allard again had the biggest cars, returning with a pair
of his J2s with their 5.4L Cadillac engines.[2] John Wyer’s works Aston Martin team fielded three DB2
coupés, bolstered by a pair of privately-entered DB-2s. In the 3.0L class, their reliable 2.6L engines had
improved to develop 138bhp.[3]
Briggs Cunningham also returned, this year with three cars of his own design – the first serious
American entry for victory in 20 years. Although heavy, the C-2R with its big 5.4L Chrysler V8 engine,
could develop a powerful 225bhp and had a top speed over 240 km/h. Defending French honour, after
the previous year’s victory, were six private-entrant Talbots, including four of the two-seat Formula 1
conversions. With works backing, 'Tony' Lago hired the top Argentinean drivers from F1: Juan-Manuel
Fangio drove with last year’s winner Louis Rosier, while José Froilán González was paired with the
young Onofre Marimón.[4] This year also marked the final entry by Delahaye.
The biggest entry from a single marque were nine Ferraris (including three entered by US Ferrari-agent
& triple Le Mans winner Luigi Chinetti). Although there was still no works team, they did include four of
the exciting new ‘340 America’ in the big-engine class.[2] After winning the Mille Miglia, they arrived as
one of the pre-race favourites: the 4.1L V12 engine (based on the F1 4.5L engine) matched the
Cunninghams, producing 230 bhp and a top speed around 240 km/h. There were also three new ‘212
Export’ models with 2.4L engines and a pair of the older 2.0L, race-proven, ‘166MM’ models. The other
Italian entry was a lone Lancia, here for the first time.[2] Vittorio Jano’s Aurelia B20 design was a
development of the B10, the first production car with a V6 engine. Entered by the Milanese Scuderia
Ambrosiana team of Count Giovanni Lurani, it was the first car at Le Mans to race with radial
tyres.[5] Finally, both the Bentley sedan and Delettrez diesel returned for the last time.[2]
In the smaller categories, there was a significant new entrant: Race director and founder Charles
Faroux had approached Porsche to be the first German car in the post-war races.[2] Five of its modern
new 356 SL (Super Licht) model were built but two were wrecked in road-testing, but two did make the
entry-list.[6] Its 1086cc engine developed just 46bhp but that still gave a top speed of 100mph
(160 km/h).[7] Again, French makes dominated the small classes, with 16 entries from Panhard, DB,
Monopole, Renault, Simca, Gordini and several one-off specials (all with an assortment of Panhard,
Simca or Renault engines)[2] Up against them, aside from the Porsches, was a single Czech Aero-
Minor, a pair of Jowetts, an MG and a new American Crosley.

Practice[edit]
The Jaguars immediately showed their pace, although Peter Walker complained that the lights were
insufficient in the night-practice. When it was pointed out he had his tinted glasses on, he took them off
and went out and immediately did an unofficial lap of 4:46. But it was Phil Walters’ Cunningham that set
the fastest official practice lap at 5:03.[8][9] The later practice sessions were compromised by very wet
weather. Rudolf Sauerwein suffered severe leg injuries when his new Porsche crashed and rolled,
almost collecting Moss’s Jaguar and Morris-Goodall’s Aston Martin following close behind.[7] A number
of cars had engine problems in practice that were traced to the fuel supplied by the ACO – nominally
80-octane, but that was suspect. Many teams needed to do last minute engine modifications.[10]

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
After all the rain in practice, race-day also started wet but it was dry for the start. Tom Cole’s Allard was
first away, but at the end of the first lap, it was the Talbot of González ahead of Moss and Cole. After
three laps the young, very fast, Stirling Moss dashed into the lead and took on the role that was to
become his signature - the hare sent out to break the pursuing hounds, running to an assigned
pace.[2] However tragedy struck on the sixth lap: French driver Jean Larivière crashed his Ferrari 212
heavily into a sandbank at Tertre Rouge, getting airborne. He was killed instantly when virtually
decapitated by a wire fence.[11][12] [Notes 1]
The race continued though, and Moss set a blistering pace, repeatedly lowering Rosier’s 1950 lap
record (eventually, over 6 seconds quicker). After an hour, Moss led González, ahead of the Jaguars of
Biondetti and Walker, then the Talbots of Chaboud and Rosier. By the end of the second hour, Moss
had put a lap on the whole field. At the four-hour mark Moss & Fairman had a lead of over 2 laps, with
the Jaguar team running 1-2-3, ahead of the Talbots of González and Fangio.
Soon afterward, the rain returned and stayed for the rest of the night. The pace was starting to take its
toll: Both Allards had gone off track, and repairing the damage put them well down. Chaboud’s Talbot
was out with radiator problems, and a loss of oil pressure caused a similar problem stopping the
Biondetti Jaguar. Louis Chiron, running in the top 10, ran his Ferrari out of gas on-track, but when the
officials found out a mechanic had driven out to him with a tank of fuel to top up he was disqualified.[13]
In the smaller classes, the 1500cc Gordinis were comfortably ahead of their English competition (the
Jowetts and MG) – at times 40 seconds a lap faster[14] - Manzon and Trintignant running as high as 15th
and 16th respectively, mixing it with the bigger cars until both were put out with engine problems after
only 4 hours.
Night[edit]
Just before midnight, after his car had held the lead for more than 7 hours, Moss’ impressive run came
to an end – a conrod broke due, like Biondetti, due to a major loss of oil pressure. Soon after, Rosier
was stopped by a split oil tank. The remaining works Jaguar of Walker/Whitehead inherited the lead, a
lap ahead of González/Marimón. The Britons extended the lead to 7 laps, easily matching the Talbot’s
pace through the night until the latter car retired with a blown head gasket at the halfway mark.[15]
The Ferrari challenge never really materialised, although wealthy Englishman Eddie Hall, who had
driven solo the previous year to 2nd place, had his Ferrari 340 up to as high as 3rd during the night.
The big heavy Cunninghams suffered in the greasy wet conditions; two had been held up in the first
couple of hours and were well down the order. Huntoon, co-driving the boss’ car, slid off at Indianapolis
wrecking the steering, then soon afterward Rand spun his car in traffic at the Dunlop curve. He missed
the other cars but slammed into the roadside bank. The third car though, of Fitch/Walters, had been in
the top 10 throughout, steadily picking up places as others fell out, and was up to 2nd when the Talbot
retired. The Allard/Cole car had charged through the field up to 4th after its initial delay, but was finally
stopped at the end of the night by a broken gearbox.
Back in the junior classes, with only the reserve-entry Jowett left, the Gordinis were making good
progress, with a 9-lap lead, when disaster struck – both remaining Gordinis were retired late in the night
with yet more engine problems.
Morning[edit]
As dawn broke, the Jaguar had a comfortable 8-lap lead over the Cunningham,
the Macklin/Thompson Aston Martin and the Rolt/Hamilton Nash-Healey. Hall’s Ferrari gave up with a
flat battery and would not restart. The two Talbots of Mairesse/Meyrat and Bouillin/Marchand followed,
trying to stage a fightback, split by the Abecassis/Shawe-Taylor Aston Martin. This order stayed fairly
constant through the morning, until midday when the Cunningham hit the pits with engine problems.
The crew made repairs and it crawled around doing occasional slow laps, waiting for the race-end. By
pushing hard, Mairesse and Meyrat picked off the Nash-Healey in the early morning, then passed the
Aston Martin into 3rd about 11am, which became 2nd when the Cunningham stopped.
Meanwhile, even being the sole survivor of the S1500 class, it still took the Jowett over an hour to
overtake the leading Gordini on distance – they eventually cruised home to finish 21st.[16]
Finish and post-race[edit]
In the end, the Jaguar won at a canter, with a 9-lap lead over the Talbot. Despite 16 hours of rain, the
Jaguar easily broke the distance record, covering over 3600 km. Even though Mairesse put in his
fastest lap in the last hour, and they covered two more laps than Rosier’s winning Talbot last year,
Meyrat and Mairesse were not going to catch the Jaguar and they again finished second. Debutants
Pierre Bouillin (racing under the pseudonym Levegh) and René Marchand, driving Mairesse’s 1949-
race Talbot finished a creditable 4th. The Aston Martins again proved extremely reliable: five entered,
five finished with the three works cars coming in 3rd, 5th and 7th and 1-2-3 in class. Macklin &
Thompson in 3rd were less than a lap behind the Talbot, having spent only 10 minutes in the pits during
the whole race.[11] Like the previous year, the Anglo-American Nash-Healey of Rolt/Hamilton had proven
very reliable. Even with its bigger engine, its heavier weight meant it could never compete with the
Jaguars and Talbots in its class for pace, but that reliability had got it up to 4th in the morning, until
overtaken by the Talbot and the leading Aston Martin and finishing 6th.[17] Only one of the big Ferraris
finished – Chinetti’s own, in 8th, although three of the smaller ones did make it to the end. The Lancia
had run like clockwork finishing 12th. Incredibly it had covered nearly 2000 miles on just a single set of
tyres, and was then driven back to Turin after the race.[5]
After the tribulations getting to the start, the new Porsche of Auguste Veuillet (the Porsche agent in
Paris[7]) won its class at first attempt; a promising start to an exceptional association with Le Mans. For
the second year running the Biennial Cup and the Index of Performance both went to the works
Monopole by Pierre Hérnard & Jean de Montrémy[18][19] Despite their best attempts, neither Fitch’s
Cunningham, the second Allard nor the Bentley were classified – the former two could not get their final
laps done in the minimum time and the latter missed its minimum required distance by just 4 miles (half
a lap!).[20]
The popular American adage of the time – “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” – was particularly apt for
Jaguar. It was later estimated that extra sales of US$12 million were generated in the USA alone from
their Le Mans win.[9] By contrast, the negative press for Gordini’s failure led to Simca withdrawing its
engine supply to the team.[14]

Official results[21][edit]
Le Mans in 1951

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps

Peter Walker
S
1 20 Jaguar Cars Ltd[22] Peter Jaguar XK-120C Jaguar 3.4L S6 267
5.0
Whitehead

S Pierre Meyrat Pierre Meyrat Talbot-Lago T26 Talbot-


2 9 258
5.0 (private entrant) Guy Mairesse GS Biplace Lago 4.5L S6

S Lance Macklin Aston


3 26 Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB2 257
3.0 Eric Thompson Martin 2.6L S6

Talbot-
4
S
10 Pierre ”Levegh” Pierre "Levegh"
Lago T26 Monoplace
Talbot-
256
5.0 (private entrant) René Marchand Lago 4.5L S6
Decalée

George
S Abecassis Aston
5 25 Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB2 255
3.0 Brian Shawe- Martin 2.6L S6
Taylor

Tony Rolt
S Donald Healey Nash-Healey Sport
6 19 Duncan Nash 3.8L S6 255
5.0 Motor Company Coupé
Hamilton

Reg Parnell
S Aston
7 24 Aston Martin Ltd. David Aston Martin DB2 252
3.0 Martin 2.6L S6
Hampshire

S Luigi Chinetti Ferrari 340 Ferrari 4.1L


8 15 Luigi Chinetti 246
5.0 Jean Lucas America Barchetta V12

S N.-J. Mahé Ferrari 212 Export Ferrari 2.6L


9 29 Norbert Jean 244
3.0 (private entrant) Coupé V12
Mahé
Jacques Péron

Nigel Mann
S N.H. Mann Aston
10 28 Mortimer Aston Martin DB2 236
3.0 (private entrant) Martin 2.6L S6
Morris-Goodall

S R. Lawrie Rob Lawrie


11 21 Jaguar XK-120S Jaguar 3.4L S6 236
3.0 (private entrant) Ivan Waller

Comte Giovanni
S Lurani Lancia Aurelia B20
12 33 Scuderia Ambrosiana Lancia 2.0L V6 235
2.0 Giovanni GT
Bracco

Peter Clark
S P.T.C. Clark Aston
13 27 James Scott- Aston Martin DB2 233
3.0 (private entrant) Martin 2.6L S6
Douglas

Eric
S Automobiles Frazer Frazer Nash Le Mans
14 35 Winterbottom Bristol 2.0L S6 232
2.0 Nash Ltd. Replica
John Marshall

S Yvonne Simon Ferrari 166MM Ferrari 2.0L


15 32 Luigi Chinetti 231
2.0 Betty Haig Berlinetta V12

Charles Moran
S Charles Moran Jr. Jr. Ferrari 212 Export Ferrari 2.6L
16 31 227
3.0 (private entrant) Franco Spyder V12
Cornacchia

S A. Chambas André Chambas Talbot-Lago SS Talbot-


17 11 226
5.0 (private entrant) André Morel Spyder Lago 4.5L S6

S Mrs P. Trevelyan Richard Stoop Frazer Nash Mille


18 34 Bristol 2.0L S6 217
2.0 (private entrant) Peter Wilson Miglia

Auguste
S Veuillet Porsche 356 SL Porsche 1086cc
19 46 Porsche K.G. 210
1.1 Edmond Coupe Flat-4
Mouche
S Automobiles Deutsch René Bonnet Panhard 851cc
20 48 DB Sport 206
1.1 et Bonnet Élie Bayol Flat-2

S Marcel Jowett 1486cc


21 66 M. Becquart Jowett Jupiter 203
1.5 Becquart Flat-4
(private entrant)
Gordon Wilkins

Francois
S Renault 747cc
22 50 Régie Renault Landon Renault 4CV-1063 197
750 S4
André Briat

Jean de
S Etablissements Panhard 614cc
23 60 Montrémy Monopole X84 194
750 Monopole FLat-2
Jean Hémard

Raymond
S R. Gaillard Panhard 611cc
24 61 Gaillard Panhard Dyna X84 190
750 (private entrant) Flat-2
Pierre Chancel

Jacques Lecat
S Renault 747cc
25 54 Régie Renault Henri Renault 4CV-1063 184
750 S4
Senftleben

Jean-Paul Colas
S Auguste Lachaize Panhard 611cc
26 58 Robert Callista RAN D120 183
750 (private entrant) Flat-2
Schollmann

Just-Emile
S Renault 747cc
27 53 Régie Renault Vernet Renault 4CV-1063 181
750 S4
Jean Pairard

S Automobiles Deutsch Michel Arnaud Panhard 745cc


28 56 DB Sport 179
750 et Bonnet Louis Pons Flat-2

Did Not Finish[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps Reason
Peter not
S Reece Cadillac 5.4L classified
29 2 S.H. Allard Allard J2 230
8.0 Alfred V8 last lap too
Hitchings slow

John not
S Briggs Fitch Chrysler 5.5L classified
30 4 Cunningham C2-R 223
8.0 Cunningham Phil V8 last lap too
Walters slow

Jack not
S H.S.F. Hay ‘Zoltan’ Hay Bentley 4.3L classified
31 14 Bentley 4¼ Paulin 204
5.0 (private entrant) Tom S6 insufficient
Clarke distance

Jean-
S Louis Rosier Renault 0.7L accident
32 51 Régie Renault Renault 4CV-1063 194
750 Jean I4 (24h)
Estager

Louis Disqualified
S L. Eggen Eggen Panhard 745cc (23h)
33 57 DB Sport 184
750 (private entrant) André Flat-2 outside
Beaulieux assistance

Jean
S Sandt Renault 747cc
34 52 Régie Renault Renault 4CV-1063 177 fire (21h)
750 Paul S4
Moser

Sydney
S Allard Cadillac 5.4L gearbox
35 1 S.H. Allard Allard J2 134
8.0 Tom Cole V8 (13h)
Jr.

Roger
S R. Caron Caron Simca 1090cc engine
36 45 Simca Huit Sport 133
1.1 (private entrant) André S4 (19h)
Guillard

Bill Spear
S W. Spear Ferrari 340 Ferrari 4.1L
37 17 Johnny 132 clutch (17h)
5.0 (private entrant) America Barchetta V12
Claes
Pierre
S Veyron Simca 1495cc engine
38 37 Equipe Gordini Gordini T15S 130
1.5 Georges S4 (13h)
Monneret

José
Froilán
S Henri Louveau Talbot-Lago T26 Talbot- radiator
39 7 González 128
5.0 (private entrant) GS Biplace Lago 4.5L S6 (13h)
Onofre
Marimón

Eddie
S E.R. Hall Hall Ferrari 340 Ferrari 4.1L battery
40 18 125
5.0 (private entrant) Giuseppe America Barchetta V12 (13h)
Navone

George
S Briggs Rand Chrysler 5.5L accident
41 5 Cunningham C2-R 98
8.0 Cunningham Fred V8 (11h)
Wacker, Jr.

Louis
S Louis Rosier Rosier Talbot-Lago T26 Talbot-
42 6 92 oil tank (9h)
5.0 (private entrant) Juan GS Biplace Lago 4.5L S6
Manuel Fangio

Stirling
S Jaguar Cars Ltd Moss Jaguar 3.4L
43 22 Jaguar XK-120C 92 engine (9h)
5.0 Stirling Moss Jack S6
Fairman

Henry
S H. Leblanc Leblanc Delahaye 3.6L
44 62 Delahaye 135CS 88 brakes (11h)
5.0 (private entrant) Robert S6
Bertrand

George
S G.E. Phillips Phillips MG 1250cc
45 43 MG TD EX.172 80 engine (9h)
1.5 (private entrant) Alan S4
Rippon

S José Simca 1495cc fuel pump


46 40 Equipe Gordini Gordini T15S 77
1.5 Scaron S4 (13h)
Aldo
Gordini

Briggs
S Briggs Cunningham Chrysler 5.5L accident
47 3 Cunningham C2-R 76
8.0 Cunningham George V8 (9h)
Huntoon

Robert
S René Bouchard Bouchard Ferrari 166MM Ferrari 2.0L engine
48 64 75
2.0 (private entrant) Lucien Barchetta V12 (13h)
Farnaud

Jaguar Cars Ltd Clemente


S Biondetti Jaguar 3.4L oil pump
49 23 Clemente Jaguar XK-120C 50
5.0 Leslie S6 (5h)
Biondetti
Johnson

Maurice
S Trintignant Simca 1495cc
50 39 Equipe Gordini Gordini T15S 49 ignition (5h)
1.5 Jean S4
Behra

Tommy
S Jowett Cars Wisdom Jowett 1486cc
51 41 Jowett Jupiter R1 48 engine (5h)
1.5 Ltd. Tommy Flat-4
Wise

George
S Crosley Hotshot Crosley 726cc alternator
52 59 Crosley Motors Schrafft 40
750 Super Sport S4 (5h)
Phil Stiles

Jacques
S J. Poch Poch Aero 749cc S2
53 49 Aero Minor 40 ignition (9h)
750 (private entrant) Maurice (2-Stroke)
Vaselle

Georges
S Claude Renault 747cc
54 55 Satecmo Renault 4CV-1063 38 ignition (9h)
750 Pierre S4
Clause

S E. Chaboud Eugène Talbot-Lago T26 Talbot-


55 8 33 radiator (4h)
5.0 (private entrant) Chaboud GS Biplace Lago 4.5L S6
Lucien
Vincent

Louis
Disqualified
Chiron
S Ferrari 340 Ferrari 4.1L (3h)
56 16 Luigi Chinetti Pierre- 29
5.0 America Barchetta V12 premature
Louis Dreyfus refuelling
("Heldé")

Robert
S Manzon Simca 1495cc
57 38 Equipe Gordini Gordini T15S 26 engine (5h)
1.5 André S4
Simon

Jean
Delettrez 4.5L
S Etablissements Delettrez
58 12 Delettrez Diesel S6 24 ignition (5h)
5.0 Delettrez Jacques (Diesel)
Delettrez

Bert
S Jowett Cars Hadley Jowett 1486cc electrics
59 42 Jowett Jupiter 19
1.5 Ltd. Charles Flat-4 (3h)
Goodacre

Jean
fatal
S Johnny Claes Larivière Ferrari 212 Export Ferrari 2.6L
60 30 5 accident
3.0 (private entrant) André C V12
(1h)
Guelfi

17th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1950/1951)[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Jean de Montrémy
1 60 Etablissements Monopole Monopole X84 1.376
750 Jean Hémard

S R. Gaillard Raymond Gaillard


2 61 Panhard Dyna X84 1.351
750 (private entrant) Pierre Chancel

S Peter Walker
3 20 Jaguar Cars Ltd[22] Jaguar XK-120C 1.326
5.0 Peter Whitehead
S Automobiles Deutsch et René Bonnet
4 48 DB Sport 1.308
1.1 Bonnet Élie Bayol

George Abecassis
S
5 25 Aston Martin Ltd. Brian Shawe- Aston Martin DB2 1.306
3.0
Taylor

S Auguste Lachaize Jean-Paul Colas


6 58 Callista RAN D120 1.297
750 (private entrant) Robert Schollmann

S Reg Parnell
7 24 Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB2 1.288
3.0 David Hampshire

S Donald Healey Motor Tony Rolt Nash-Healey Sport


8 19 1.254
5.0 Company Duncan Hamilton Coupé

Statistics[edit]
 Fastest Lap in practice – Phil Walters, #2 Cunningham C2-R - 5:03.0; 160.30 kp/h (99.60 mph)
 Fastest Lap – Stirling Moss, #22 Jaguar XK120-C - 4m46.8s; 169.36 kp/h (105.24 mph)
 Distance – 3611.193 km (2244.0 miles)
 Winner’s Average Speed – 150.466 km/h (93.50 mph)
 Attendance – about 100 000

Trophy Winners[edit]
 17th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup – #60 Pierre Hérnard / Jean de Montrémy
 Index of Performance – #60 Pierre Hérnard / Jean de Montrémy
 Coupe des Dames – Mme Yvonne Simon / Miss Betty Haig, #32 Ferrari 166MM [6]

Notes[edit]
1. Jump up^ This occurred a half-hour into the race on Larivière‘s 5th lap, but the leaders had started their
6th

1952 24 Hours of Le Mans


The 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 20th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 14–15 June
1952 at Circuit de la Sarthe.
After 22 years away, Mercedes-Benz returned in triumph, scoring a 1–2 victory with their new gull-
wing Mercedes-Benz W194 which was equipped with a 3.0L S6 engine that had less power than the
road car sold two years later.
This race was notable in that Pierre Levegh (Pierre Bouillin) attempted to drive the entire 24 Hours by
himself – and almost won. Exhausted in the 24th hour, he missed a downshift in his Talbot-Lago and
over-revved the engine, breaking a connecting rod. Antonio Lago carried a piece of the broken rod with
him for several years thereafter as a keepsake.

egulations[edit]
This year the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) decreed that mudguards now had to be integral with
the bodywork, unlike the pre-war style of cycle-type fenders. This meant cars had proper sports-car
bodies and were not just modified grand prix cars. After ongoing issues with the fuel used in the race,
the ACO’s ‘ternary’ fuel was made up of 75% gasoline, 15% alcohol and 10% benzole. The minimum
replenishment period for fuel, water and oil was extended from 25 laps to 28.[1] The target average lap
speeds (i.e. minimum distances per hour) for each class were also increased. Finally, after 19 runs of
the event, the prize money (FF 1 500 000) for the race-winner was raised to make it the same as that
for the Index of Performance winner[1] – just reflecting the stature that the teams and spectators had
always placed on the overall race win.

Entries[edit]
There was huge interest this year in the race with well over a dozen multi-car works teams, self-built
team owners and works-supported private entries. There were less than 20 genuine private entries, well
in the minority of the 60 starters and reserves. This year the big news was the return of Mercedes-Benz
to La Sarthe after 22 years, and the first entry from the Scuderia Ferrari works team.
Mercedes, led again by their pre-war team manager Alfred Neubauer arrived with a trio of W194
prototypes of what was to become the iconic '300SL' (Sport Licht). To fit, its new 3.0L S6 engine was
tilted at a 50° angle, and tuned down a fraction to 165 bhp for better durability.[2] Along with Neubauer
were his pre-war team-drivers Hermann Lang and Karl Kling. Another pre-war Mercedes hero, Rudolf
Caracciola may have driven, but had been side-lined by a serious accident that was to end his
illustrious career.[2]
Jaguar returned with a strong 3-car team. Having been beaten for speed by the new Ferrari and
Mercedes-Benz in the Mille Miglia, the C-types were hurriedly redesigned with a more aerodynamic
shell, which unfortunately meant a smaller radiator.[3][4] They also presented a strong driver line-up with
the previous year’s winners Peter Walker with Stirling Moss, and Peter Whitehead with new driver Ian
Stewart, as well as Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton who had previously driven for Healey.
Aston Martin, after their great success in the 1951 race, arrived with three new DB-3 cars, as well as
two privately entered DB-2s, all fitted with the reliable 2.6L S6 engine. Sydney Allard decided to change
engines this year, swapping the Cadillac for a Chrysler V8 and the new J2X had new bodywork to
comply with the new ACO regulations.[5] This year Donald Healey entered a pair of Nash-engined
prototypes, one with a new body for the British drivers, the other with a new engine for his French
drivers.[6]
Talbot was the last of the old French manufacturers remaining in the large-engine classes with four
privately entered T-26 cars (with strong support from the factory), now with the required new enclosed
bodywork. André Chambas had modified his 4.5L engine by adding twin-superchargers which (by using
the x1.4 supercharge-equivalence factor) meant his car (#6) had the biggest effective engine capacity
and started at the head of the grid.[7] Gordini, having gone their separate ways from Simca, were now
powered with their own engines: a smaller team with the standard 1100cc car, and a special 2.3L
version for its regular GP drivers, Jean Behra and Robert Manzon, which was very nimble. With the
swarm of small-engined Panhards, Renaults and Simcas (as well as a supercharged Peugeot special),
the French were the biggest nationality represented with 20 cars, followed by the 18 British cars.[8]
Ferrari was back again in force, with eight entrants including two in a works team, and a trio from Luigi
Chinetti’s American team. Alongside the previous year’s '340 America' 4.1L model was the new '250
Sport' with a 3.0L V12 engine capable of 220 bhp (fresh from beating Mercedes and Jaguar in the Mille
Miglia) and one of the smaller 2.7L '225 Sport' that had just taken the top five places at the Monaco
Grand Prix (this year a sports-car race) a fortnight earlier. The '250 S' was to be driven by Enzo
Ferrari’s GP drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, while the smaller works '225 S' was driven
by Tom Cole, latterly with Allard. Even Louis Rosier had jumped from Talbot to a pair of Ferrari 340
Americas. He was entered in one (racing with fellow French F1 racer Maurice Trintignant) and the other
for his son.
Lancia’s first foray the year before had been a win, and the works team returned with a pair of updated
B20 Aurelias to again contest the 2-litre class. Another pre-war veteran, Luigi Fagioli, was to have
driven (after scoring a 3rd place in the Mille Miglia) but had been critically injured at the same Monaco
GP that Ferrari had won and could not compete.[9] (Tragically, he died of his wounds less than a week
after the Le Mans race) Another future Italian stalwart of the race made its debut this year: OSCA had
been set up by the three Maserati brothers after selling their namesake company, and arrived with their
first sports car, the pretty little MT-4. Its 1.3L engine developed 90 bhp, putting it in a competitive
contest against the Jowetts and Porsche.
Briggs Cunningham returned with his own cars and regular team-drivers John Fitch and Phil Walters.
This year they had two new C-4R roadsters and one with a closed coupé body (C-4RK) designed by
renowned pre-war aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm. Made over 500 kg lighter than the 1951 C-2, they
claimed the biggest engines just ahead of the Allards, with the burly 5.4L Chrysler 'Firepower' V8
putting out 320 bhp.[10]Potential works entries from Alfa Romeo (for Juan-Manuel Fangio and José
Froilán González) and Pegaso were scratched amid concerns about the cars being able to last the
distance.[11]

Practice[edit]
The remodelled Jaguars soon showed up overheating problems what were to plague them through the
race, despite some hasty modifications.[4][8] A Le Mans star of the future, Phil Hill drove one of the
Cunninghams in practice, but not in the race.[12]
In the second practice session, Griffith heavily crashed his Aston Martin into the sandbank at Tertre
Rouge, but team manager John Wyer managed to swap in the spare car without the officials
noticing.[13] Also needing a full rebuild after a practice crash was the new DB coupé.[14] A piston failure
during practice forced the scratching one of Louis Rosier’s Ferraris.[15] But it was Hermann Lang in the
Mercedes which set the fastest lap in practice at 4m40s, just a tenth ahead of Ascari's Ferrari,[2] with
both fully 20 seconds faster than the ‘official’ time of the Cunningham in 1951.

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
After the wet race the previous year, this year’s race was essentially dry. Leader after the first lap was
Phil Walters in the Cunningham coupé,[11] chased by Moss in the Jaguar and the red and blue Ferraris
of Ascari and Simon respectively, then the other two Jaguars and "Levegh's" Talbot.[11][16][17] Ascari soon
got to the front and between him and Simon they took turnabout lowering Stirling Moss’s lap record –
eventually setting it six seconds faster than the previous year.
Soon enough though, after just 6 laps, Ascari was in the pits with clutch problems[15][17] – something that
would plague the Ferraris through the race. It was worse news at the Jaguar garage. Moss had moved
back up to second when Ascari pitted but soon was also pitting, with overheating problems.[4][17] By
nightfall all three Jaguars were out of the race in a dramatic change of fortune to the previous year. Two
of the Aston Martins had retired with differential issues.[17] Phil Walters had kept the Cunningham coupé
in close reach, and after 4 hours handed the car over to his co-driver Duane Carter who promptly
planted it into the sandbank at Tertre Rouge on his second lap out.[12] Soon after getting back in the
race their engine started playing up with similar problems that had already sidelined John Fitch’s car.
Surprising the home crowd, that moved the Gordini of Robert Manzon up behind Simon. Though
running a much smaller engine than the cars around it, it was proving very fast. When Simon had to
start nursing a slipping clutch, Manzon took the lead in the 3rd hour. Meanwhile, the three Mercedes-
Benzes were playing a waiting game, running to Neubauer’s strict, conservative pace to preserve the
cars and hovering just in the top 10. After several trips to the pits, Vincent stuck the former lead Ferrari
into the sandbank at Mulsanne corner, dropping it right down the order.[11] Chinetti’s own Ferrari moved
up into the top five, while his 3rd car had fallen to clutch problems in the early evening, as had Rosier’s
car.
Night[edit]
Going into the night, Manzon and Behra kept their lead, and by midnight were a lap ahead of "Levegh"
in his Talbot. However just before half-time one of the Gordini’s brakedrums jammed and despite
repairs the team considered too dangerous to risk continuing.[11][18][19] This left "Levegh" sitting four laps
ahead of the two Mercedes-Benzes of Helfrich / Niedermeyer and Lang / Riess, followed by the Macklin
/ Collins Aston Martin. But it was not an easy lead – he had already decided to drive right through on his
own; the engine had developed a vibration and he did not want to risk his co-driver, René Marchand,
with a breakdown.[20]The leading Mercedes had retired during the night with a broken alternator[21][22] and
Luigi Chinetti’s Ferrari had been disqualified for refuelling a lap ahead of its prescribed time, leaving just
the Simon / Vincent Ferrari in the race gradually making back ground.[8][23] After successive second
places in the previous years, luck ran out for Mairesse / Meyrat when their (aging) Talbot’s oil pump
expired around half-time. Meanwhile, in the S2.0 class, the Lancias had been running 1-2 for most of
the race ahead of the Frazer-Nash’s
Morning[edit]
Dawn was masked by a very heavy fog, which got so thick the Mercedes drivers had to open their gull-
wing doors to be able to see.[11] It also caused Alexis Constantin to crash and roll his supercharged
Peugeot at Tertre Rouge barely missing Jack Fairman’s Allard. The other Allard had an equally hairy
moment soon after when Arkus-Duntov found himself with no brakes at the end of the Mulsanne
straight taking to the escape road, scattering spectators and gendarmes and narrowly avoiding parked
cars.[5][21] As the sun rose, Neubauer instructed his drivers to finally pick up the pace, but it was too late,
the lead was too great. "Levegh" had driven through the night and still held a good lead. Near noon a
damaged wheel cost Helfrich time and dropped his car to third.[1] Macklin and Collins kept their Aston
Martin at a steady pace in fourth. Late in the morning the leading Frazer-Nash of "Dickie" Stoop / Peter
Wilson broke a halfshaft and retired, leaving the Lancias comfortably in front.[9] Also retired at this time
was the larger-engined Porsche, leading the S1500 class in a close tussle with the OSCA, running 14th
and 15th overall respectively. It had come in to refuel and left the engine running in case it stalled
permanently. That was against the safety rules and the officials disqualified the car.[24] But the OSCA
was no more fortunate: soon afterward, just coming out of Arnage, the clutch broke. Lacour got out and
pushed the car the 3 km back to the pits only to be told by his pitcrew that the damage was terminal.[25]
Finish and post-race[edit]
The race was quietly running down to its conclusion, with the home crowd looking forward to a second
French victory in four years. But then suddenly, with just over an hour to go, "Levegh's" Talbot came to
a halt at Maison Blanche about a mile from the pits. Driving without a working rev-counter, it is
uncertain whether either the engine issues finally broke it, or through sheer exhaustion, he missed a
gear-change and over-revved the engine catastrophically.[8][26][27] But such was his lead it still took 20
minutes for the second-placed Mercedes-Benz to get ahead on distance. A final twist saw the Aston
Martin retire, moving the Nash-Healey of Johnson/Wisdom up to 3rd ahead of Briggs Cunningham’s
own car and the recovering Ferrari of Simon / Vincent. Like many, Cunningham had been nursing a
slipping clutch through most of the race, driving for 20 hours himself gradually moving up the order.[12]
So Mercedes-Benz were as surprised as anyone to have the 1-2 victory. This was the first win for a
closed-body car, and for a German manufacturer.[22] Although the weather had been good, it was a
torrid race with a record 40 retirements from the 57 starters. The lone Ferrari had fought back into the
top ten during the morning, and after the late-race retirements made it up to 5th. The privateer team of
Clark and Keen was the only Aston Martin to finish this year (in 5th) and the only Talbot to finish was
Chambas’ supercharged special in 9th.
For the third year in a row, Pierre Hémard won the Index of Performance (although this year his co-
driver was Eugène Dossous) in the little Monopole-Panhard.[1] just ahead of the two Mercedes-Benz
coupés. They also won the Biennial Cup and romped home in their S750 class fully 13 laps ahead of
the closest Renault.[28] Jowett also won its class, the S1500, for the third successive year, by outlasting
the much faster but more fragile opposition.[8][29]
The Lancias barely missed a beat getting a successive class win. The lead car of Bonetto / Anselmi
was delayed around lunchtime, giving the lead to the sister car which it held to the end, with the team
finishing 6th and 8th overall, well ahead (>20 laps) of the surviving Frazer-Nash rival in 10th which had
been gingerly lapping for the last 3 hours with a loose wheel-mounting on the front right.[12] Porsche
repeated its S1100 class victory from the previous year, and by the same drivers as 1951: Paris
Porsche agent, ‘Toto’ Veuillet and Edmond Mouche. The last finisher in the race was a little Renault
4CV driven by Le Mans debutante, Jean Rédélé who, at 30 years old, was France’s youngest Renault
dealer. After a short racing career he would go on to found a significant new car company with Renault
rear-mounted engines: Alpine.[30]
So a very strong, varied field had promised a competitive race and the speed and excitement with the
dramatic last-hour twist delivered, firmly cementing Le Mans’ place as the most important Sports Car
race on the motorsport calendar. Mercedes-Benz went on to win at the Nürburgring and a 1-2-3 in
the Carrera Panamericana.[22] Gordini had its biggest success two weeks after Le Mans in Formula 2,
when Jean Behra beat the Ferrari 500s in the final Grand Prix de la Marne[19]

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1952

Po Clas Lap
No Team Drivers Chassis Engine
s s s

S Hermann Lang Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-


1 21 Daimler-Benz A.G. 277
3.0 Fritz Riess W194 Benz 3.0L S6

S Theo Helfrich Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-


2 20 Daimler-Benz A.G. 276
3.0 Helmut Niedermayr W194 Benz 3.0L S6

S Donald Leslie Johnson Nash-Healey 4


3 10 Nash 4.1L S6 262
5.0 Healey Motor Co. Tommy Wisdom Litre

S Briggs Cunningham Cunningham C4 Chrysler 5.4L


4 1 Briggs Cunningham 252
8.0 Bill Spear -R V8

S Ferrari 4.1L
5 14 Luigi Chinetti Ferrari 340 250
5.0 André Simon V12
America (Vigna
Lucien Vincent le)

Luigi Valenzano Lancia


S Lancia 1991c
6 39 Scuderia Lancia "Ippocampo" (Umb Aurelia B.20 248
2.0 c V6
erto Castiglioni) GT

Aston
S P.C.T. Clark Peter Clark Aston Martin
7 32 Martin 2.6L 248
3.0 (private entrant) Mike Keen DB2
S6

Lancia
S Felice Bonetto Lancia 1991c
8 40 Scuderia Lancia Aurelia B.20 247
2.0 Enrico Anselmi c V6
GT

Talbot- Talbot-
S A. Chambas André Chambas
9 6 Lago T26 SS Lago 4.5L S6 235
8.0 (private entrant) André Morel Spyder supercharged

Rodney 'Roy'
S Mrs P. Trevelyan Frazer Nash Le Bristol 1970c
10 42 Peacock 225
2.0 (private entrant) Mans Mk.II c S6
Gerry Ruddock

S Auguste Veuillet Porsche 1086


11 50 Porsche KG Porsche 356 SL 220
1.1 Edmond Mouche cc F4

S Automobiles Panhar Robert Chancel Monopole Dyna Panhard 851c


12 52 217
1.1 d et Levassor Charles Plantivaux X86 Coupe c F2

S M. Becquart Marcel Becquart Jowett Jowett 1486c


13 45 210
1.5 (private entrant) Gordon Wilkins Jupiter R1 c F4

S Etablissements Pierre Hémard Panhard 612c


14 60 Monopole X84 208
750 Monopole Eugène Dussous c F2

68
S Ernest de Regibus Renault 4CV- Renault 747c
15 (Reserv RNU Renault 195
750 Marius Porta 1063 c S4
e)

S R. Gaillard Raymond Gaillard Panhard Dyna Panhard 611c


16 61 186
750 (private entrant) Pierre Chancel X84 Sport c F2
67
S Jean Rédélé Renault 4CV- Renault 747c
17 (Reserv RNU Renault 178
750 Guy Lapchin 1063 c S4
e)

Did Not Finish[edit]

Po Cla La
No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s ss ps

Pierre "Levegh" Talbot- Talbot-


S Pierre "Levegh" Engine
18 8 (Pierre Bouillin) Lago T26 Lago 4.5L -
5.0 (private entrant) (24hr)
René Marchand GS Spyder S6

Aston
S Aston Lance Macklin Aston Martin Accident
19 25 Martin 2.6L -
3.0 Martin Ltd. Peter Collins DB3 Spyder (22hr)
S6

65 Eugène Talbot- Talbot-


S E. Chaboud Accident
20 (Reser Chaboud Lago T26 Lago 4.5L -
5.0 (private entrant) (22hr)
ve) Charles Pozzi GS Spyder S6

Dr. Mario
O.S.C.A. M
S Automobili O.S. Damonte O.S.C.A. 13 Clutch
21 48 T-4 Coupé -
1.5 C.A. "Martial" (Ferna 42cc S4 (19hr)
(Vignale)
nd Lacour)

Richard 'Dickie' Frazer


S Automobiles Fra Bristol 1979 Transmiss
22 41 Stoop Nash Mille -
2.0 zer Nash Ltd. cc S6 ion (19hr)
Peter Wilson Miglia

Disqualifi
Auguste ed (19hr)
S A. Lachaize Porsche Porsche 148
23 47 Lachaize - pit
1.5 (private entrant) 356 SL 4cc F4
Eugène Martin infringem
ent

S Bert Hadley Jowett Jowett 1486c engine


24 46 Jowett Cars Ltd. -
1.5 Tommy Wise Jupiter R1 c F4 (17hr)

Just-Emile
S J.-E. Vernet Renault Renault 747c ignition
25 56 Vernet -
750 (private entrant) 4CV-1063 c S4 (17hr)
Jean Pairard
Nigel Mann Aston
S N.H. Mann Aston Martin starter
26 31 Mortimer Martin 2.6L -
3.0 (private entrant) DB2 (16hr)
Morris-Goodall S6

Zora Arkus-
S Allard J2X Chrysler 5.4 transmissi
27 5 S.H. Allard Duntov -
8.0 Le Mans L V8 on (15hr)
Frank Curtis

S Sydney Allard Allard J2X Chrysler 5.4 engine


28 4 S.H. Allard -
8.0 Jack Fairman Le M ans L V8 (15hr)

Peugeot 129
Alexandis
S A. Constantin Peugeot 0cc S4 accident
29 43 Constantin -
2.0 (private entrant) 203C supercharge (15hr)
Jacques Poch d

Disqualifi
S Luigi Chinetti Ferrari 340 Ferrari 4.1L ed (13hr)
30 12 Luigi Chinetti -
5.0 Jean Lucas America V12 early
refuel

brakes /
S Automobiles Gor Jean Behra Gordini T15 Gordini 2.3L
31 34 - engine
3.0 dini Robert Manzon S S6
(13hr)

Talbot- Talbot-
S P. Meyrat Pierre Meyrat oil pump
32 9 Lago T26 Lago 4.5L -
5.0 (private entrant) Guy Mairesse (13hr)
GS Spyder S6

Charles Moran
S C. Moran Ferrari Ferrari 2.6L electrics
33 33 Franco -
3.0 (private entrant) 212 Export V12 (12hr)
Cornacchia

Jacques Savoye
S Automobiles Pan Monopole Panhard 612 engine
34 59 Raymond -
750 hard et Levassor X84 cc F2 (12hr)
Lienard

S "Pagnibon" (Pie Ferrari 225 S Ferrari 2.7L electrics


35 30 Scuderia Ferrari rre Boncompagni) -
3.0 Berlinetta V12 (11hr)
Tom Cole

36 64 Maurice -
S M. Gatsonides Jowett Jowett 1486c engine
(Reser Gatsonides
1.5 ve) (private entrant) Hugo van Jupiter R1 c F4 (9hr)
Zuylen Nijeveldt

Mercedes-
S Daimler- Karl Kling Mercedes- electrics
37 22 Benz 3.0L -
3.0 Benz A.G. Hans Klenk Benz W194 (9hr)
S6

Cunningham
S Briggs Phil Walters Chrysler 5.4 engine
38 2 C4-RK -
8.0 Cunningham Duane Carter L V8 (8hr)
Coupe

S Louis Pons Renault Renault 747c accident


39 54 RNU Renault -
750 Paul Moser 4CV-1063 c S4 (6hr)

Huschke von
S Porsche Porsche 108 transmissi
40 51 Porsche KG Hanstein -
1.1 356 SL 6cc F4 on (6hr)
Petermax Müller

John Fitch
S Briggs Cunningham Chrysler 5.4 engine
41 3 George "Rice" ( -
8.0 Cunningham C4-R L V8 (6hr)
George Viola)

Louis Rosier Ferrari 340


S Ferrari 4.1L clutch
42 15 Ecurie Rosier Maurice America Spy -
5.0 V12 (6hr)
Trintignant der

Jean-Paul Colas
S Automobiles Deu Panhard 745 out of fuel
43 58 Robert DB Coach -
750 tsch et Bonnet cc F2 (5hr)
Schollmann

Roger Loyer
S Automobiles Gor Gordini T15 Gordini 149 clutch
44 44 Clarence de -
1.5 dini S 0cc S4 (5hr)
Rinen

"Heldé" (Pierre- Ferrari 340


S Ferrari 4.1L clutch
45 16 Luigi Chinetti Louis Dreyfus) America Spy -
5.0 V12 (5hr)
René Dreyfus der

Tony Rolt
S Jaguar C- Jaguar 3.5L engine
46 18 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Duncan -
5.0 Type S6 (4hr)
Hamilton
S Automobiles Deu René Bonnet Panhard 745 transmissi
47 57 DB Sport -
750 tsch et Bonnet Élie Bayol cc F2 on (4hr)

Aston water
S Aston Dennis Poore Aston Martin
48 26 Martin 2.6L - pump
3.0 Martin Ltd. Pat Griffith DB3 Spyder
S6 (3hr)

water
S R. Lawrie Robert Lawrie Morgan Plus Standard 2.1
49 35 - pump
3.0 (private entrant) John Isherwood 4 L S4
(3hr)

Pierre Veyron
S Donald Nash 4.1L engine
50 11 Yves Giraud- Nash-Healey -
5.0 Healey Motor Co. S6 (3hr)
Cabantous

S Yves Lesur Renault Renault 747c transmissi


51 53 RNU Renault -
750 André Briat 4CV-1063 c S4 on (3hr)

Ferrari
S Alberto Ascari Ferrari 3.0L clutch
52 62 Scuderia Ferrari 250 S Berlin -
3.0 Luigi Villoresi V12 (3hr)
etta

S Stirling Moss Jaguar C- Jaguar 3.5L engine


53 17 Jaguar Cars Ltd. -
5.0 Peter Walker Type S6 (2hr)

S Peter Whitehead Jaguar C- Jaguar 3.5L engine


54 19 Jaguar Cars Ltd. -
5.0 Ian Stewart Type S6 (2hr)

Jacques Lecat
S J. Lecat Renault Renault 747c engine
55 55 Henri -
750 (private entrant) 4CV-1063 c S4 (2hr)
Senfftleben

Aston
S Aston Reg Parnell Aston Martin transmissi
56 27 Martin 2.6L -
3.0 Martin Ltd. Eric Thompson DB3 Coupe on (2hr)
S6

Norbert Jean
S Gordini T11 Simca 1091c fuel pump
57 49 Mécanorma Mahé -
1.1 MM c S4 (2hr)
José Scaron
Jean-Louis engine
S Ferrari 340 Ferrari 4.1L
58 7 Ecurie Rosier Rosier 0 Did not
5.0 America V12
Jean Estager start

18th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1951/1952)[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Etablissements Jean de Montrémy


1 60 Monopole X84 1.295
750 Monopole Eugène Dussous

S Donald Healey Motor Leslie Johnson


2 10 Nash-Healey 4 Litre 1.178
5.0 Co. Tommy Wisdom

S Auguste Veuillet
3 50 Porsche KG Porsche 356 SL 1.170
1.1 Edmond Mouche

S R. Gaillard Raymond Gaillard


4 61 Panhard Dyna X84 Sport 1.160
750 (private entrant) Pierre Chancel

S P.C.T. Clark Peter Clark


5 32 Aston Martin DB2 1.157
3.0 (private entrant) Mike Keen

S André Simon Ferrari 340


6 14 Luigi Chinetti 1.121
5.0 Lucien Vincent America (Vignale)

Rodney 'Roy'
S Mrs P. Trevelyan
7 42 Peacock Frazer Nash Le Mans Mk.II 1.079
2.0 (private entrant)
Gerry Ruddock

S A. Chambas André Chambas


8 6 Talbot-Lago T26 SS Spyder 1.052
8.0 (private entrant) André Morel

S M. Becquart Marcel Becquart


9 45 Jowett Jupiter R1 1.051
1.5 (private entrant) Gordon Wilkins

Statistics[edit]
 Fastest Lap in practice – Hermann Lang, #21 Mercedes-Benz W194 – 4m 40.0s; 173.40 kp/h
(107.7 mph)
 Fastest Lap – Alberto Ascari, #62 Ferrari 250 S– 4m 40.5s; 173.16 kp/h (107.6 mph)
 Distance – 3733.8 km (2320.2 miles)
 Winner’s Average Speed – 155.58 km/h (96.7 mph)
 Attendance – est. 400 000 (start), 200 000 during the race[11]

Trophy Winners[edit]
 18th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup – #60 Pierre Hérnard / Eugène Dussous
 Index of Performance – #60 Pierre Hérnard / Eugène Dussous
 Coupe des Dames - Mme Denise Bouillin, as there were no female drivers this year[20][31]

1953 24 Hours of Le Mans


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1953 24 Hours of Le Mans

Previous: 1952 Next: 1954

Index: Races | Winners

The 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 21st Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 13 and 14
June 1953, at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans (France). It was also the third round of the F.I.A. World
Sports Car Championship.[1]
British drivers Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton won the race with one of three factory-entered Jaguar C-
Types, the first cars ever to race at Le Mans with disc brakes.

Le Mans in 1953

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish and post-race
 5Official results
 6Did Not Finish
 7Index of Performance
 819th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1952/1953)
 9Statistics
 10World Championship Standings after the race
 11References
 12External links

Regulations[edit]
With the ongoing success of the World Championship for Grand Prix drivers, this year saw the
introduction by the FIA of a World Championship for Sports Cars, creating great interest from the major
sports car manufacturers.[2] It also drew together the great endurance races in Europe and North
America. The Le Mans race was the third round in the championship after the 12 Hours of Sebring and
the Mille Miglia.
After the efforts by drivers in the recent races to drive almost single-handedly (Chinetti in 1949, Rosier
and Hall in 1950, Levegh and Cunningham in 1952 and the consequent safety danger through
exhaustion, the ACO set limits of maximum driving spells of 80 consecutive laps and 18 hours in total
for each driver.
This year also marked the first use of a radar-‘gun’ to measure speeds across a flying kilometre on
the Hunaudières Straight. The results, not surprisingly, aligned with engine size but, significantly, also
the impact of aerodynamics on top speed: [3][4]

Nation Manufacturer Engine Top Speed

Cunningham C-5R Chrysler 5.45L V8 249.1 km/h

Alfa Romeo 6C/3000CM Alfa Romeo 3.5L S6 245.9 km/h

Jaguar C-Type Jaguar 3.45L S6 244.6 km/h

Ferrari 340 MM Ferrari 4.1L V12 242.1 km/h

Talbot-Lago T26GS Talbot-Lago 4.5L S6 239.1 km/h

Gordini T26S Gordini 2.5L S6 233.9 km/h

Allard J2R Cadillac 5.4L V8 233.8 km/h

Lancia D.20 Lancia 2.7L V6 s/c 219.6 km/h

Aston Martin DB-3S Aston Martin 2.9L S6 212.2 km/h


Porsche 550 Coupé Porsche 1.5L S4 197.7 km/h

DB HBR-4 LM Panhard 0.7L F2 160.6 km/h

Panhard X88 Panhard 0.6L F2 169.8 km/h

Entries[edit]
The prestige of the race, as well as the advent of the new championship generated intense interest in
Le Mans. Of the 69 entrants and reserves, nineteen different marques (and their subsidiaries) were
present. There were an unprecedented 56 works-entered cars officially represented, with over half in
the main S-8000, S-5000 and S-3000 classes. Mercedes-Benz did not return to defend their title – they
were busy preparing new cars for both the F1 and Sports Car championships. So the overall victory
was shaping up as a contest between Italy (Scuderia Ferrari, S.P.A. Alfa Romeo and Scuderia Lancia),
England (Jaguar supported by Aston Martin, Allard and Nash-Healey/Austin-Healey and the
USA Cunningham, with the French (Talbot and Gordini) being the ‘dark horses’.
Drivers included all three F1 World Champions to date (Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Giuseppe
Farina) and over 30 other current and up-and-coming Grand Prix racers.[5]

Ferrari 340 375 MM Berlinetta

Cunningham C4-R

The Italian teams had built new cars for the season and all had strong driver line-ups.[6][2] Ferrari entered
a lightweight 375 MM Berlinetta powered by the company's big 330 bhp 4.5 litre V12 engine built for a
challenge at Indianapolis,[7][4] plus two 340 bhp 4.1 litre 340 MMs. All had Pinin Farina-designed bodies.
Ascari and Luigi Villoresi were to share the lightweight coupé, while brothers Paolo and Gianni Marzotto
(winner of the 2nd round of the championship: the Mille Miglia) and Giuseppe Farina and
debutante Mike Hawthorn were down to drive the 340MMs.[6] A fourth 340 MM Spyder was entered by
American Ferrari agent Luigi Chinetti for himself, with Anglo-American Tom Cole (who had finished 3rd
with Allard in 1950) as his co-driver. Such was the quality of the entry list that six other Ferraris could
not make the starting list.[7]
Alfa Romeo was back at Le Mans for the first time since the war and fielded the beautiful new
6C/3000CM (‘’Cortemaggiore’’) powered by a 3.5L S6 engine (developing 270 bhp and 245 km/h) for
Fangio and Onofre Marimón and Consalvo Sanesi and Piero Carini. The third car was driven by
Mercedes-Benz works-drivers Karl Kling and Fritz Riess who also had their team manager, Alfred
Neubauer, in the pits with them.[8] Lancia this year stepped up to the big class with three new D.20
Coupés. Having just won the non-Championship Targa Florio with a 3.0L V6 engine, team
manager Vittorio Jano instead decided to install supercharged 2.7L engines. This proved to be a
mistake as the small increase in power (to 240 bhp) increased unreliability and gave away over 20 km/h
top speed to the rival Jaguars and Ferraris. GP-racers Louis Chiron and Robert Manzon, Piero
Taruffi and Umberto Maglioli were in the team, with José Froilán González and endurance-race
specialist Clemente Biondetti in the reserve car.[6]
Jaguar returned with their C-Types and after the debacle of the previous year, were determined not to
repeat those mistakes, having undertaken a lot of development work. Team manager ‘Lofty’
England employed the same driver pairings as 1952, with Peter Walker and Stirling Moss, Peter
Whitehead and Ian Stewart, and Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton. The cars reverted to the
aerodynamic design prior to that of the 1952 Le Mans cars, whose revised nose and tail had adversely
affected stability at speeds over 120 mph. For 1953 the cars were lighter and more powerful (now
developing 218 bhp), and they were the first-ever Le Mans cars equipped with disc brakes, from
Dunlop, whose greater efficiency gave the C-Types a distinct advantage over their drum-
braked competitors.[9] The disc brakes had been available in 1952, but given the problems with the
radiators they had been swapped out so the team could concentrate on just one potential issue in the
race.[10] The works cars were supported by a standard production-body car entered by the new Belgian
Ecurie Francorchamps team.[11]
Aston Martin entered their new DB3S cars for Reg Parnell and Peter Collins, George
Abecassis and Roy Salvadori, and Eric Thompson and Dennis Poore. Using the same 3-litre engine as
the DB3, it was put into a newly designed, shortened, chassis. However it was suffering from
considerable lack of testing, being well down on speed.[12]
Donald Healey this year had two collaborations: his last year with Nash Motors with a pair of long-tailed
models, and a new partnership with the Austin Motor Company using its 2.7L engine, producing only
100 bhp but capable of 190 km/h. Bristol also arrived with two cars for Lance Macklin / Graham
Whitehead and Jack Fairman / Tommy Wisdom, and managed by former Bentley Boy and Le Mans
winner Sammy Davis. The rear-engined 450 coupés were ugly and noisy but the 2 litre engine could get
them to nearly 230 km/h.[13][6] Briggs Cunningham also brought three cars, all with 310 bhp
5.5L Chrysler V8 engines: a new C5-R (nicknamed “Le Requin” (the shark) by the French)[11] for Phil
Walters and John Fitch who had won the inaugural championship race at Sebring; a C4-R for
Cunningham himself and Bill Spear and, a C4-RK coupé for veteran Charley Moran (the first American
to race at Le Mans, back in 1929)[11] and Anglo-American John Gordon Bennett.
This year Talbot entered a full works-team, rather than just providing support to privateer entries. The
trio of blue T26 GS cars were driven by Talbot regulars Guy Mairesse (with Georges Grignard), Louis
Rosier and Elie Bayol, and Pierre Levegh and Charles Pozzi. Although still very fast, they were starting
to show their age to the nimbler cars from Italy and Great Britain. André Chambas also returned with his
supercharged modified SS spyder for a 5th and final time.[14][15] Gordini had intended to debut the new
3.0L T24S, but scratched it because of atrocious handling. Instead an uprated T16 design, the T26S
with a 2.5L engine was prepared for Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell. An older T15S was entered
for Behra and Mieres. Though it only had a 2.3L engine it was lighter, and just as quick as its bigger
brother.[16]
Without Mercedes-Benz, German representation fell to works teams from Borgward (here for the first
and only time) and Porsche, both in the medium S-1500 class. Porsche stepped up from the S-1100
class with a new, purpose-designed race car, the 550 Coupé and its flat-four 1488cc engine, making
only 78 bhp but a top speed of nearly 200 km/h.[17] There were also a pair of the smaller 356 SL in the
S-1100 class.
As expected the French dominated the smaller-engined classes. The most eye-catching were the four
from Panhard, bringing cars with their own badge this time under a new competition department, albeit
under close collaboration with Monopole: with very aerodynamic designs from French aviation
engineer Marcel Riffard using both of the Panhard engines.[18] Other works entries came from Renault,
DB and Monopole themselves.
Practice[edit]

Pegaso Z-102 that crashed

In Thursday practice the Jaguars showed their class with all three works cars going under the lap
record, but drama also happened when the 3rd car, of Rolt and Hamilton, was disqualified. It had been
on track at the same time as another Jaguar which had the same racing number (the spare car being
used as a precaution to qualify Norman Dewis, the Jaguar test driver, as a reserve), and a protest
raised by the Ferrari team. Jaguar chairman, Sir William Lyon, agreed to pay the ACO fine, and ‘Lofty’
England successfully pleaded his case to the official that no intention to cheat had been meant and it
was an honest mistake and so they were reinstated. But Hamilton's account of the affair has become
one of the great motor racing legends:[19] Devastated by their disqualification, he & Rolt had gone into
the city for the night to drown their sorrows, and when England found them at 10am the next day (race-
day) at Gruber’s restaurant, they were nursing hangovers and drinking copious amounts of
coffee! [20] Unfortunately, such a colourful story is an urban myth: England later said: "Of course I would
never have let them race under the influence. I had enough trouble when they were sober!"[21] Tony Rolt
also said the story was fiction.[22]
The Spanish Pegaso team withdrew both their entries after Juan Jover crashed his Z-102
Spyder during practice. Misjudging the speed of his approach to the corner after the Dunlop bridge, he
hit the barriers at over 200 km/h and was thrown from the car, seriously injuring his left leg. With no
apparent explanation for the crash, the team decided on safety first and scratched the other car. It was
the first and last time they got to Le Mans.[23]

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
At 4:00pm on the Saturday, the flag fell and the race was on. As usual, Moss was lightning-quick out of
the blocks and led the cars away, but the Allard blasted past him on the Mulsanne straight and was
leading the closely bunched field at the end of the first lap. The first few laps at Le Mans means very
little and it was not until after 30 minutes that the true nature of the race became apparent. Rolt had
already put in a lap record at 96.48 mph, while Moss led the way, closely followed by Villoresi, Cole,
Rolt, Fitch, with Karl Kling rounding out the top six. Sydney Allard’s early lead lasted hardly any time,
and by lap four he had to retire with a collapsed rear suspension that severed a brake pipe. Moss was
also in trouble. Although he had smoothly pulled away from the chasing pack, a misfire had set in after
only 20 laps, in the second hour. The unscheduled pitstop to change spark plugs, plus another later to
the eventual cure – removal of a clogged fuel filter – dropped him to 21st and out of the running.[9] At
least Jaguar had remembered the pit regulations: A Ferrari mechanic topped up the brake system
on Mike Hawthorn’s 340 MM before the specified 28 laps had been completed, thereby
Hawthorn/Farina were disqualified.[7] Whilst all this was going on, Villoresi had taken the lead.[5][24]
By 5pm, at the end of the first hour, the order had settled down and it became clear that the Jaguars,
Ferraris and Alfa Romeos were the teams to be reckoned with. The Lancias and Talbots were quite
outclassed, as were the medium-engined Aston Martins. The pace continued at a fantastic pace and
now it was Jaguar setting it: passing Villoresi, Rolt lifted his lap times by 5 seconds to push his
lead.[20] Then Consalvo Sanesi, in his Alfa Romeo 6C, continued to lower the lap record. Just before
6:00pm, Fangio retired with engine troubles in his Alfa Romeo. At the three-hour mark, Rolt/Hamilton
led from Ascari/Villoresi, followed by Cole and his co-driver Luigi Chinetti, Sanesi/Carini, and the
Germans Kling and Riess. Already these five cars had pull out a two lap advantage over the rest of the
field.[24]
Night[edit]
As darkness fell, the Ferrari-Jaguar battle continued unabated, between Ascari/Villoresi and
Rolt/Hamilton, with the Alfa Romeos close behind and the overall order swapping around according to
pit-strategy. [25]During the early hours of the morning, Rolt and Hamilton continued to lead with no sign
of tiring, while the Ferrari was now losing ground – the big engine starting to stretch the rest of the
powertrain.[7]
The Gordinis were once again punching above their weight, mixing it in the top-10 with the third works
Jaguar, the other Ferraris and the Cunninghams. The smaller-engined car was a high as 7th ahead of
its stable-mate until its rear-axle seized, necessitating long repairs that proved terminal soon after
midnight.[16] In the other classes the Porsche 550s had the measure of all the smaller cars and, aside
from those superfast Gordinis, were even running ahead of the S2.0 and S3.0 cars.
Just after midnight, Tommy Wisdom’s Bristol had an engine fire (almost an identical problem had hit its
sister-car earlier in the evening). Crashing, Wisdom was trapped for a short while before being rescued
and taken to hospital with minor burns and a dislocated shoulder.[13]
Then just before 3am, the rear suspension on the Sanesi/Carini Alfa Romeo had collapsed, and they
were out, along with George Abecassis and Roy Salvadori with oil getting into their Aston Martin’s
clutch.[24][12][25]
Although the Ascari and Villoresi car was still taking the fight to the Jaguars, the car was hindered by a
sticking clutch and drinking a lot of water. However, the Italians, in a win-or-bust attempt, were driving
flat out at all times, but it had no effect on Rolt and Hamilton. Their Jaguar now had a lap lead over the
Ferrari.[24]
Morning[edit]
Despite the night being very clear and fine, dawn approached with a certain amount of mist in the air,
making driving conditions very tiring. [25] Just after 6.30am Tom Cole, running 7th, had just overtaken a
back-marker when he lost control at the Maison Blanche corners. The Ferrari ploughed into the
roadside ditch then rolled and struck a wooden hut nearby. Cole was hurled out of the car in the initial
impact and died at the scene.[6][24]
Shortly after 8:30am, the leading Jaguar and Ferrari both made routine refuelling stops at the same
time, while Moss moved up to third when the Cunningham came for its stop. At 9:00am, the lame
Ferrari was dropping back, and was now back in fifth place, following clutch issues. Rolt and Hamilton
were now clear up front, but they could not rest as the American of Fitch/Waters started to challenge
the Moss/Walker Jaguar for second place..[6][24][26][27][7]
The windscreen on the leading Jaguar had been smashed early in the race by bird-strike,[20] and as
result Rolt and Hamilton were suffering from wind buffering, but the pair kept up the pace nevertheless,
with an average speed of well over 105 mph. By the time the mist had cleared, Rolt and Hamilton still
led by a lap from the struggling Ferrari. Third place, over three laps adrift, was the Cunningham of
Fitch/Walters and a lap further back were the fast Jaguars of Moss/Walker (back in the race after a
terrific hard drive back through the field) and Whitehead/Stewart.
Shortly after 8:30am, the leading Jaguar and Ferrari both made routine refuelling stops at the same
time, and Hamilton had what would now be termed an “unsafe release” when, in the rush to beat the
Ferrari, he pulled out right in front of one of the DB-Panhards coming in for its own pitstop.[20] Walters
had a big moment when his Cunningham blew a tyre at high speed but he was able to catch it. But with
the subsequent pitstop to fix the damage, Moss was able to move up to third.[11] At 9:00am, the lead
Ferrari was dropping back, and was now back in fifth place, following clutch issues. Rolt and Hamilton
were now clear up front, but they could not rest as Fitch and Walters started to hound the Moss/Walker
Jaguar for second place.[24]
The lame Ferrari retired just before 11am having dropped down the order to sixth place. This left only
the Marzotto car to challenge the Jaguars and the lead Cunningham. It could not do it and raced to
finish in fifth, keeping the Gordini of Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell behind them.[24]
The Lancias had never made an impression, none having made it into the top-10 and just after midday
the engine of the last one running (of González and Biondetti) gave up.
Finish and post-race[edit]
With three hours to ago, the Jaguars were still lapping at over 105 mph, however the pace had
slackened a little. In the closing stages the order did not change, as Hamilton took over from Rolt to
complete the last stage of the race. Driving their British license-plated Jaguar C-Type they took the
victory, covering a distance of 2,555.04 miles (4,088.064 km), doing 304 laps and averaging a speed of
106.46 mph (170.336 km/h). Moss and Walker were four laps adrift at the finish, in second place with
their C-Type after their epic drive. The podium was completed by Walters and Fitch, in
their Cunningham C5-R a lap back. The third works Jaguar finished fourth, two laps further behind the
Americans, after a very conservative and reliable race. [24]
The Marzotto brothers brought home the sole remaining Ferrari in fifth, finishing with virtually no clutch
but having stayed in the top 10 throughout the race.[7] A lap back was the Gordini, having had a trouble-
free run.[16] Owner-driver Briggs Cunningham came in 7th followed by the works Talbot of Levegh,
finishing this year, and the private Jaguar, entered by Ecurie Francorchamps for Roger
Laurent and Charles de Tornaco, in their standard C-Type.[5][24][28][29]
In a race of attrition where only 1 car, if any, of the many works teams finished, it was an effort of
remarkable reliability that all cars of the Jaguar, Cunningham and Panhard works teams finished.[26] Sir
William Lyons, chairman of Jaguar, sent a telegram to the new Queen (just 12 days after her
coronation).[11] The Panhard team staged a formation finish, winning the Index of Performance by the
narrowest of margins.[11]
As expected, the Porsches finished 1-2 in the S-1500 class with the win going to the car driven by
racing journalists Paul Frère and Richard von Frankenberg
The little DB-Panhards had an extraordinary run, that of owner-driver René Bonnet winning the S-750
class ahead of its sister car, and finishing 5 laps clear of the OSCA winning the bigger S-1100 class.
They were on course for the coveted Index of Performance win, but a bad engine misfire meant it used
too much fuel on its very last lap. The streamlined Panhard won the Index by the tiniest fraction on a
countback.[30]
Records were broken across the board – the first time a car completed the race with an average speed
over 100 mph (in fact the first six finishers did) and covered over 2500 miles (4000 km). All the
categories broke their class records, and a new lap record was set.[26]
With such a varied and competitive field there could be no better advertisement for the new Sports Car
Championship going forward. However, it would be without several teams: after dominating the early
Formula 1 championship, and a semi-successful year in sports cars, Alfa Romeo withdrew from motor
racing. Jowett was already in receivership and it would also be the last Le Mans for Allard, Lancia and
Nash-Healey.

Official results[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[31]

Clas Lap
Pos No Team Drivers Chassis Engine
s s

S Tony Rolt Jaguar C-


1 18 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar 3.4L S6 304
5.0 Duncan Hamilton Type

S Stirling Moss Jaguar C-


2 17 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar 3.4L S6 300
5.0 Peter Walker Type

S Briggs Phil Walters Cunningham Chrysler 5.5L


3 2 299
8.0 Cunningham John Fitch C5-R V8
S Peter Whitehead Jaguar C-
4 19 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar 3.4L S6 297
5.0 Ian Stewart Type

Ferrari
S Paolo Marzotto Ferrari 4.1L
5 15 Scuderia Ferrari 340MM 294
5.0 Giannino Marzotto V12
Berlinetta

S Automobiles Gord Maurice Trintignant Gordini 2.5L


6 35 Gordini T26S 293
3.0 ini Harry Schell S6

S Briggs Briggs Cunningham Cunningham Chrysler 5.5L


7 1 290
8.0 Cunningham Bill Spear C4-R V8

Pierre “Levegh” (Pie Talbot-Lago


S Automobiles Talb Talbot-
8 7 rre Bouillin) T26GS Spyd 276
5.0 ot-Darracq S.A. Lago 4.5L S6
Charles Pozzi er

S Ecurie Roger Laurent Jaguar C-


9 20 Jaguar 3.4L S6 275
5.0 Francorchamps Charles de Tornaco Type

S Briggs Charles Moran Cunningham Chrysler 5.5L


10 3 269
8.0 Cunningham John Gordon Bennet C4-RK V8

S Leslie Johnson Nash-Healey


11 11 Nash-Healey Inc. Nash 4.1L S6 265
5.0 Bert Hadley 4-litre Sport

S Donald Healey Maurice Gatsonides Austin-


12 34 Austin 2.7L S4 257
3.0 Motor Company Johnny Lockett Healey 100

Frazer Nash
S Automobiles Fraz Ken Wharton Bristol 1971cc
13 39 Le Mans 253
2.0 er Nash Ltd. Laurence Mitchell S6
Coupé

S Donald Healey Marcel Becquart Austin-


14 33 Austin 2.7L S4 252
3.0 Motor Company Gordon Wilkins Healey 100

Richard von
S Porsche 550 Porsche 1488c
15 45 Porsche KG Frankenberg 247
1.5 Coupé c F4
Paul Frère
S Helmut Glöckler Porsche 550 Porsche 1488c
16 44 Porsche KG 247
1.5 Hans Herrmann Coupé c F4

S Automobiles René Bonnet D.B. HBR-4 Panhard 745cc


17 57 237
750 Deutsch et Bonnet André Moynet LM F2

Dr. Mario Damonte


S Automobili OSCA MT-4 O.S.C.A. 1093
18 48 ”Heldé” (Pierre- 232
1.1 O.S.C.A. 1100 Coupé cc S4
Louis Dreyfus)

S Automobiles Marc Gignoux D.B. HBR-4 Panhard 745cc


19 58 231
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Marc Azéma LM F2

S Automobiles Charles Plantivoux Panhard 851cc


20 50 Panhard X89 227
1.1 Panhard et Levassor Guy Lapchin F2

S Automobiles Pierre Chancel Panhard 611cc


21 61 Panhard X88 223
750 Panhard et Levassor Robert Chancel F2

S Automobiles Raymond Stempert Panhard 851cc


22 51 Panhard X87 218
1.1 Panhard et Levassor Georges Schwartz F2

Renault
S Jean-Louis Rosier Renault 747cc
23 53 R.N.U. Renault 4CV-1068 218
750 Robert Schollmann S4
Spyder

S Automobiles Jean Hémard Monopole X Panhard 611cc


24 60 212
750 Panhard et Levassor Jean de Montrémy 85 F2

66 Peugeot 1290c
[25] S A. Constantin Alexis Constantin Peugeot 203
(Reserv c S4 200
* 3.0 (private entrant) Michel Arnaud C
e) Supercharged

S J.-É. Vernet & J. Just-Émile Vernet V.P. 166R Renault 747cc


26 56 183
750 Pairard Jean Pairard Coupé S4

 Note: Not Classified because of Insufficient distance, as car failed to cover 70% of its class-winner's distance

Did Not Finish[edit]


Cla La
Pos No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
ss ps

Alberto
Ferrari
S Ascari Ferrari 4.5L Clutch
27 12 Scuderia Ferrari 375MM 229
5.0 Luigi V12 (20hr)
Berlinetta
Villoresi

Borgward-
Jacques
Hansa 150
S Poch Borgward 14 Overheati
28 41 Borgward GmbH 0 228
1.5 Edmond 98cc S4 ng (24hr)
‘Rennsport
Mouche ’

José
63 Froilán Lancia 2.7L
S González Lancia D2 Engine
29 (Reserv Scuderia Lancia V6 213
8.0 0 (21hr)
e) Clemente Supercharged
Biondetti

Eric
Aston Aston
S Thompson Engine
30 27 Aston Martin Ltd. Martin Martin 2.9L 182
3.0 Dennis (18hr)
DB3S I6
Poore

Luigi Ferrari
Fatal
S Chinetti 340MM Ferrari 4.1L
31 16 Luigi Chinetti 175 accident
5.0 Tom Cole ‘Vignale’ V12
(16hr)
Jr. Spyder

Robert
Lancia 2.7L
S Manzon Lancia D2 Engine
32 31 Scuderia Lancia V6 174
8.0 Louis 0 (18hr)
Supercharged
Chiron

Auguste
S Veuillet Porsche Porsche 1091 Engine
33 49 Porsche KG 147
1.1 Petermax 356 SL cc F4 (18hr)
Müller

Bob Frazer
S Automobiles Frazer Gerard Nash Le Bristol 1971c Overheati
34 40 135
2.0 Nash Ltd. David Mans MkII c S6 ng (14hr)
Clark Replica
Alfa
Alfa
S Karl Kling Romeo Transmiss
35 23 SpA Alfa Romeo Romeo 3.5L 133
5.0 Fritz Riess 6C/3000 ion (12hr)
S6
CM

Consalvo Alfa
Alfa Rear
S Sanesi Romeo
36 21 SpA Alfa Romeo Romeo 3.5L 125 Suspensio
5.0 Piero 6C/3000
S6 n (12hr)
Carini CM

Guy
Talbot-
S Automobiles Talbot- Mairesse Talbot- Engine
37 9 Lago T26 120
5.0 Darracq S.A. Georges Lago 4.5L S6 (12hr)
GS Spyder
Grignard

Piero
Lancia 2.7L
S Taruffi Lancia D2 Electrics
38 30 Scuderia Lancia V6 117
8.0 Umberto 0 (12hr)
Supercharged
Maglioli

Gonzague
S G. Olivier Olivier Porsche Porsche 1091 Engine
39 46 115
1.1 (private entrant) Eugène 356 SL cc F4 (18hr)
Martin

Jacques
S J. Lecat Lecat Renault Renault 747c Engine
40 55 84
750 (private entrant) Henri 4CV-1063 c S4 (12hr)
Senfftleben

S Jean Behra Gordini T1 Gordini 2.3L Transmiss


41 36 Automobiles Gordini Roberto 84
3.0 5S S6 ion (10hr)
Mières

Phil Hill
S O.S.C.A. O.S.C.A. 134 Transmiss
42 47 Rees T. Makins Fred 80
1.5 MT-4 3cc S4 ion (10hr)
Wacker Jr.

George
Aston Aston
S Abecassis Clutch
43 26 Aston Martin Ltd. Martin Martin 2.9L 74
3.0 Roy (10hr)
DB3S S6
Salvadori
Jack
Accident /
S Bristol Aeroplane Fairman Bristol Bristol 1979c
44 38 70 Fire
2.0 Company Tommy 450 Coupé c S6
(10hr)
Wisdom

Felice
Bonetto Lancia 2.7L
S Lancia D2 Transmiss
45 32 Scuderia Lancia Luigi V6 66
8.0 0 ion (6hr)
'Gino' Supercharged
Valenzano

Zora
S Allard Motor Arkus-Duntov Cadillac 5.4L Engine
46 5 Allard J2R 65
8.0 Company Ray V8 (10hr)
Merrick

André
67
S Capt. M. Crespin Guelfi Gordini T1 Gordini 1490 Transmiss
47 (Reserv 40
1.5 (private entrant) Roger 5S cc S4 ion (10hr)
e)
Loyer

Élie Bayol Talbot-


S Automobiles Talbot- Talbot- Transmiss
48 8 Louis Lago T26 37
5.0 Darracq S.A. Lago 4.5L S6 ion (4hr)
Rosier GS Spyder

Jean
S D.B. 4CV- Renault 747L Engine
49 54 R.N.U. Renault Redélé 35
750 1066 S4 (4hr)
Louis Pons

Lance
S Bristol Aeroplane Macklin Bristol Bristol 1979c Fire
50 37 29
2.0 Company Graham 450 Coupé c S6 (10hr)
Whitehead

Borgward-
Hans-Hugo
Hansa 150 Out of
S Hartmann Borgward 14
51 42 Borgward GmbH 0 29 fuel
1.5 Adolf 98cc S4
‘Rennsport (4hr)
Brudes ’

André
Talbot- Talbot-
S A. Chambas Chambas Accident
52 6 Lago SS Lago 4.5L S6 24
+8.0 (private entrant) Charles de (4hr)
Spyder Supercharged
Cortanze
Juan Alfa
Alfa
S Manuel Fangio Romeo Engine
53 22 SpA Alfa Romeo Romeo 3.5L 22
5.0 Onofre 6C/3000 (3hr)
S6
Marimón CM

Reg
Aston Aston
S Parnell Accident
54 25 Aston Martin Ltd. Martin Martin 2.9L 16
25 Peter (2hr)
DB3S S6
Collins

André
S V.P. 4CV- Renault 747c Engine
55 52 R.N.U. Renault Briat 14
750 1064 c S4 (7hr)
Yves Lesur

Giuseppe
S Farina Ferrari Ferrari 4.1L Disqualifi
56 14 Scuderia Ferrari 12
5.0 Mike 340MM V12 ed (1hr)
Hawthorn

Yves
Giraud- Nash-
S Engine
57 10 Nash-Healey Inc. Cabantous Healey Sp Nash 4.1L S6 9
5.0 (2hr)
Pierre orts
Veyron

Eugène
S Etablissements Dussous Monopole Panhard 612c Engine
58 59 9
750 Monopole Pierre X84 c F2 (7hr)
Flahaut

> Norbert
Jean Mahé
S Etablissements Fiat D Fiat 1996cc Electrics
59 62 ComteGiov Fiat 8V 8
2.0 agrada V8 (1hr)
anni 'Johnny'
Lurani

Sydney
Allard
S Allard Motor Cadillac 5.4L Transmiss
60 4 Philip Allard J2R 4
8.0 Company V8 ion (1hr)
Fotheringham-
Parker

DN S Karl-Heinz Borgward- Borgward 14


43 Borgward GmbH 0 withdrawn
S 1.5 Schaufele Hansa 150 98cc S4
Adolf 0
Brudes ‘Rennsport

Juan Jover Pegaso 2.8L


DN S Empresa Nacional de Pegaso Z-
28 Paul V8 0 accident
S 3.0 Autocamiones S.A. 102 Spyder
Metternich Supercharged

Joaquin
Pegaso 2.8L
DN S Empresa Nacional de Palacio Pover Pegaso Z-
29 V8 0 withdrawn
S 3.0 Autocamiones S.A. Pablo Julio 102 Spyder
Supercharged
Reh Cardrona

Index of Performance[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Automobiles Panhard et Pierre Chancel


1 61 Panhard X88 1.319
750 Levassor Robert Chancel

S René Bonnet
2 57 Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet D.B. HBR-4 LM 1.317
750 André Moynet

S Tony Rolt
3 18 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar C-Type 1.307
5.0 Duncan Hamilton

S Maurice
4 35 Automobiles Gordini Trintignant Gordini T26S 1.301
3.0
Harry Schell

S Stirling Moss
5 17 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar C-Type 1.292
5.0 Peter Walker

S Marc Gignoux
6 58 Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet D.B. HBR-4 LM 1.283
750 Marc Azéma

S Peter Whitehead
7 19 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar C-Type 1.279
5.0 Ian Stewart

S Phil Walters
8 2 Briggs Cunningham Cunningham C5-R 1.271
8.0 John Fitch
S Paolo Marzotto Ferrari 340MM
9 15 Scuderia Ferrari 1.251
5.0 Giannino Marzotto Berlinetta

S Automobiles Panhard et Jean Hémard


10 60 Monopole X85 1.250
750 Levassor Jean de Montrémy

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum
distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance. [32]

19th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1952/1953)[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Automobiles Panhard et Pierre Chancel


1 61 Panhard X88 1.319
750 Levassor Robert Chancel

Briggs
S
2 1 Briggs Cunningham Cunningham Cunningham C4-R 1.233
8.0
Bill Spear

Jean-Louis Rosier
S Renault 4CV-1068
3 53 R.N.U. Renault Robert 1.211
750 Spyder
Schollmann

S Leslie Johnson Nash-Healey 4-litre


4 11 Nash-Healey Inc. ?
5.0 Bert Hadley Sport

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Hamilton / Whitehead, #18 Jaguar C-Type – 4m 37.0s; 175.27 kp/h (108.91 mph)
 Fastest Lap – Alberto Ascari, #12 Ferrari 375 MM – 4m 27.4s; 181.64 kp/h (112.87 mph)
 Fastest Car in Speedtrap – #2 Cunningham C4-R – 249.14 kp/h (154.81 mph)
 Distance – 4088.06 km (2540.32 miles)
 Winner’s Average Speed – 170.34 km/h (108.85 mph)
 Attendance – est. 200 000 (start)[33]

1954 24 Hours of Le Mans


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1954 24 Hours of Le Mans

Previous: 1953 Next: 1955

Index: Races | Winners

The 22ème Grand Prix d’Endurance les 24 Heures du Mans 1954 was a race for Sports Cars, and
took place on 12 and 13 June 1954, at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France. It was also the fourth
race of the 1954 World Sportscar Championship.[1] The race was won by José Froilán
González and Maurice Trintignant driving a Ferrari 375 Plus.

Le Mans in 1954

People viewed this race as a battle between brute force and science (per the July 1954 “Motor Sport”
article[2]). In the high technology corner, with its sleek, aerodynamic bodywork was the new 3.4-
litre Jaguar D-Type, and in the other corner was Ferrari’s formidable 4.9-litre V12 375 Plus. Ranged in
between was everyone else. The race was heavily affected by poor weather throughout and was a
thriller right to the end and produced the closest finish for the race since 1933: less than 5km (half a
lap).[3]

Regulations[edit]
The ACO again extended the replenishment window (last updated in 1952) of fuel, oil and water from
28 to 30 laps (405 km) although brake fluid was now exempted from this restriction for safety reasons.
The equivalence multiplier for forced-induction engines (i.e. supercharged) was reduced from x2.0 to
x1.4.
On the track, the stretch from the corners at Mulsanne to Arnage was widened to 8 metres (finishing the
work starting in 1950) and the Indianapolis corner was given a slightly banked camber.[4][5][6]
Also, this was the first year the race would be televised, getting it a far bigger potential audience.[4]

Entries[edit]
After the previous year’s intense interest from manufacturers for the new Championship, this year the
variety of works teams was reduced: Mercedes had decided to stay focused on F1,[5] Alfa Romeo had
closed its racing division, Lancia scratched their team (supposedly daunted by the speed of the
Jaguars)[7] and Austin-Healey boycotted the event because of the ongoing presence of the sports-car
prototypes.[7][8] But there were still 85 cars registered for this event, of which a full field of 58 arrived for
practice as the remaining manufacturers increased their presence.
As before, Jaguar’s sole racing focus for the year was Le Mans and after their 1953 success, they
arrived with three of the fantastic new Jaguar D-Type - purpose-built for the smooth tarmac of La
Sarthe. A beautiful design, it had been tested in a wind-tunnel and featured the now-famous vertical fin
to provide high-speed stability. Low (only 32” high) and sleek, it was extremely fast: the 3.4-litre
straight-6 engine was redesigned and tilted at 8 degrees (to reduce height, like the Mercedes-Benz 300
SL had done)[2] and developed 250 bhp with a top speed over 270 km/h.[9] The cars were so new that
they had not even been painted when they got to Le Mans. The driver line-up was kept pretty much the
same from 1953 with winners Tony Rolt / Duncan Hamilton, and 2nd place Stirling Moss / Peter Walker.
This year Peter Whitehead was paired with F1 driver Ken Wharton (his former co-driver Ian
Stewart was racing with his brother, Graham, at Aston Martin). An ex-works C-Type was provided for
the Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps team when their original car was crashed on the way to the circuit
by a Jaguar mechanic.[10]
The major Italian works teams, Scuderia Ferrari, Officine Alfieri Maserati and Automobili Osca all
brought new cars for this race: Ferrari’s answer to the D-type was the new Tipo 375 Plus: styled
by Pininfarina, it had a bored-out version of the Lampredi-designed V12 engine, now up to 4,954cc and
putting out some 345 bhp,[5][6] (nearly 40% more than the Jaguars) and a top speed approaching
260 km/h.[11] Not as fast as the Jaguar, but its excellent acceleration was a suitable equaliser on a
power-circuit such as Le Mans, with its long straights. With three of his best drivers now unavailable –
Alberto Ascari was with Lancia, Giuseppe Farina had been injured in the Mille Miglia and Mike
Hawthorn’s father had just died suddenly[5][12] – Ferrari could still field a top team of drivers: three of
them - Umberto Maglioli, José Froilán González and Maurice Trintignant were in the current Ferrari F1
works team. With them were Paolo Marzotto (the only works finisher in the 1953 race), ex-Gordini
driver Robert Manzon (like Trintignant) and Louis Rosier, 1952 race winner with Talbot. They were
backed up three other Ferraris entered by Briggs Cunningham’s and Luigi Chinetti’s American teams.
Glamour came with Chinetti’s team with film star Zsa Zsa Gabor accompanying her rich playboy-
boyfriend, Dominican Porfirio Rubirosa.[13]
Maserati was taking over the Formula 1 world in 1954 with its outstanding 250F. They had also
developed an uprated version of their A6GCS sportscar, replacing the 2.0-litre engine with the 2.5L
version from the 250F. A standard 2.0-litre version was also privately entered, with factory support, for
the Marquis de Portago. OSCA had started the year sensationally when a 1500cc MT-4 entered
by Briggs Cunningham and driven by Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd won the Sebring 12-hours against far
more powerful opposition. Three such cars arrived at Le Mans.[14]
Always looking to be competitive, as well as running the Ferrari 375 MM (because Ferrari had refused
to sell him an engine for his own cars[13]), Briggs Cunningham had tried to secure the new Dunlop disc
brakes for his cars. However Jaguar used its contract-right to veto the deal. He arrived with a pair of the
older Cunningham C4-R roadsters for his regular driver complement– the sole entrants in the Over-5
litre class.
It was a big entry for Lagonda-Aston Martin with five works cars and two private entries. One of the two
DB3S spyders had a supercharged 2.9L engine that developed 235 bhp driven by British F1
drivers Reg Parnell and Roy Salvadori, the other was run by Carroll Shelby. Alongside them were a pair
of aerodynamic coupés & the long-running, expensive Lagonda sports car with a 4.5L V12 (effectively a
double-Aston Martin engine)[15][5] Gordini arrived with four cars, competing in three classes. The lead car,
a T24S driven by Behra and Simon, had a 3.0L engine developing 230 bhp and new Messier disc
brakes was capable of over 230 km/h.[16][5][15] Gordini also entered a pair of older T15S, also with disc-
brakes but with 2.5L and 2.0L engines respectively. Talbot sent no works team this year but supplied an
improved 4.5L engine (now capable of 280 bhp) for the T26 spyders of the three private entries
(Levegh, Meyrat, Grignard).
In the S-2000 class Bristol returned with three coupés developed from the previous year’s model, with
better styling and improved aerodynamics. There were also three Frazer-Nashes, using the same
Bristol engine,[17] as well as the first entries in the race for Triumph (an off-the shop-floor TR2)[14] and
Maserati.
Porsche returned with three cars to contest the S-1500 category against the OSCAs. The Porsche
550s were given a new quad-cam engine making 110 bhp and 210 km/h, and this year were open-top
spyders. Another was also given a smaller 1089cc engine for the S-1100 class.[18] The small British
sportscar firm Kieft arrived with two cars to take on the smallest Porsche – bringing the first fibreclass
chassis to Le Mans. One was also the first car with the new Coventry Climax FWA engine.[13][5]
The small-engine classes were well-represented, and again dominated by the French Renault and
Panhard derivatives. This year DB had five cars present that comprised a pair of the tiny new central-
seat HBR model with Panhard engines and three HDR models using rear-engined Renault power.
Panhard itself, now with a full racing department, had 4 works entries built by Monopole who also had
their own entry.

Practice[edit]
Jaguar was able to get an unofficial practice in May on the full track in an unrelated event and Tony Rolt
took the prototype D-type round fully 5 seconds faster than Alberto Ascari’s lap record from the
previous year in the Indy-engined Ferrari.[9] In the official practice, all three works cars recorded identical
times.[7] and they and the Ferraris were a step up from the rest of the field. Overall, the Jaguars had
better handling, disc brakes and were faster (Moss was timed at 154.44 mph/278 km/h over the flying
kilometre, giving a huge 20 km/h advantage), but the Ferrari had superior power and
acceleration.[5][19] The supercharged Aston Martin, the Lagonda, and the Porsches were also
impressively quick.[20]
Unfortunately the Maserati works transporter broke down en route to the track and the car had to be
withdrawn as it arrived too late for scrutineering.[5] The Marquis de Portago was able to take the start
however, as he had driven his own car direct from the Modena factory in Italy.[21]
Controversially, Gilberte Thirion qualified the 2-litre works Gordini but was excluded from competing
because of her gender (only three years after the Coupe des Dames was awarded to female drivers) –
her father drove in her stead in the race.[16]

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
At 4pm the race was started under dark clouds by Prince Bernhard, consort of Queen Juliana of the
Netherlands, and an avid motor-racing fan.[22] It came as no surprise when the mighty 375’s of
González, Marzotto and Manzon stormed away in 1-2-3 formation at the start, with Moss, Rolt and
Wharton (who had a startline collision[23]) in close pursuit. After only five laps the first heavy downpour
arrived, negating the Ferrari power advantage. By the end of the first hour, González and Marzotto and
Moss had a gap over Rolt, and Manzon. The rest of the field was already a lap down.[20] Forty minutes
later on lap 22, still in heavy rain, Moss managed to take the lead, starting the to-and–fro battle
between the two marques.[24][25][26][27] Wharton had been held up in the first hour with a blocked fuel filter
and over the next couple of hours, the other two Jaguars suffered engine misfires giving the Ferraris a
lap’s lead over the field. Walker stopped out on the track for 50 minutes,[28] but the Moss/Walker car
would not be staging an epic comeback this year. Meanwhile, Behra’s Gordini and Fitch’s Cunningham
were regularly trading places in the top-10, mimicking the disc-brakes versus power battle at the front.
However soon after 7pm, Behra pitted with ignition problems and then stopped out on the track beyond
Mason Blanche. He pushed the car all the way back to the pits to get going again, but it eventually
retired in the middle of the night.[16]
A number of other cars had been caught out in the rain: On only lap 5 Count Baggio planted the
playboy Ferrari right into the Tertre Rouge sandbank and could not dig it out (so Rubirosa never got a
chance to drive for his movie-star girlfriend).[13] The other American Ferrari, of Fitch/Walters, was
running 6th when a rocker-arm broke, dropping them out of the running while the engine was
repaired. Eric Thompson spun the Lagonda backwards into the bank at the Esses. After nearly 2hours
to get it mobile and back to the pits it was retired because the rear lights were too badly damaged and
deemed unsafe.[29][17][20]
After four hours, at 8pm, González and Marzotto were lapping together, still having not swapped with
their respective co-drivers, and a lap ahead of Rosier and Whitehead. Salvadori was fifth in the
supercharged Aston, then Hamilton and the two Aston coupés, the Belgian Jaguar and Cunningham’s
own car filling out the top ten.[20]
Night[edit]
At 9.30pm, the Talbot of Meyrat collided with the Aston Martin of ’Jimmy’ Stewart as both were lapping
a slower car in the fast section coming up to Maison Blanche.[30] Meyrat ended in the hedgerows,[31] but
the Aston Martin rolled throwing Stewart clear. The car was completely written off and Stewart was very
lucky to only suffer a serious arm break (that eventually contributed to his retirement from
racing).[24][26][27] The mid-evening showers caused another flurry of accidents and retirements,
including Levegh who was in 8th place when he spun and wrecked his Talbot’s suspension. As the rain
finally eased off Wharton and Whitehead made a strong comeback, getting back to 3rd which became
2nd when the Maglioli/Manzon Ferrari broke its gearbox just after 11pm.[24][26][27]
1954 Ferrari 375 Plus. From the Ralph Lauren collection

The D-types were now steadily hauling themselves back into contention. At midnight
González/Trintignant were two laps ahead of Whitehead/Wharton. Manzon/Rosier were third, ahead of
Rolt/Hamilton and the Aston Martins of Parnell/Salvadori and Collins/Bira completing the top six. The
rain returned and the lead Jaguar had to pit again with fuel-line issues. After several more pitstops it
finally retired with a broken gearbox. It joined Moss’ car that had become undriveable after he had a
total brake failure at the end of the Mulsanne straight doing 160 mph [23] (taking two miles to stop on the
escape road with hand-brake and gearbox!)[32] Rolt and Hamilton however, managed to move into 2nd
place by half-time, albeit still two laps adrift. Third was the other Ferrari, followed by the Spear/Johnston
Cunningham and the supercharged Aston Martin.[17] Just afterward, in an unusual co-
incidence, Prince Bira crashed his Aston Martin, while running in 4th place, within yards of Thompson’s
Aston coupé that had crashed earlier.[33][30] In the next hour, the Herrmann/Polensky Porsche, leading
the S-1500 class and an impressive 7th place overall, retired with a blown head gasket. This left
Macklin leading the class in the OSCA, a full 20 laps ahead of the Bristol leading the S-2000 class
Morning[edit]
As dawn arrived the Ferrari of Rosier/Manzon, running third, retired with a broken gearbox, jammed in
second gear.[11][30] Now the battle was reduced to just one car for each team at the front of the field.
What’s more, as the clouds built up and rain became an ever-present threat, the prospects for the
aerodynamic D-types were starting to look promising.
By breakfast time, the rain started to come down very heavily and the stage was set for a heroic chase.
González and Trintignant could afford to take things cautiously, but any unnecessary delays would
enable the pursuing Jaguar to open up a chink the Ferrari’s armour, and as the rain intensified, the sole
remaining D-type piled on the pressure.[34] But Trintignant responded and both cars roared round doing
sub-4'30" lap-times.[30] By 9.30am, after González’s fuel stop when the Ferrari hesitated in restarting, the
Jaguar team got more motivation and the lead was down to 3 minutes.[30] But at 10am, Rolt glanced the
bank coming out of Arnage lapping a slower car, and 2 minutes were lost in the pits for a bout of
impromptu panelbeating.[3][34]

1954 Jaguar D-Type. From the Heritage Motor Centre collection

The rain then eased during the morning, allowing the Ferrari to use its power to better effect, but still the
Jaguar would not give up. Despite this, the race order remained fairly constant and at midday the order
was still Ferrari, Jaguar, Cunningham, Jaguar, Cunningham, Aston Martin, Gordini and the OSCA as
the leading small-engined car. The two remaining Porsches were running slowly, trying to get to the end
of the race. The supercharged Aston Martin had been running surprisingly well all race until just after
midday when a head-gasket failure caused its retirement. Around 1pm a ferocious squall slowed all the
cars to a snail’s pace, then the Jaguar drivers began to close the gap again on Trintignant as the track
dried.
Finish and post-race[edit]
With just two hours left to run, González and Trintignant were still almost two laps ahead of the English
car. Ninety minutes to run and Trintignant brought the Ferrari in for a routine stop. González took over,
but the V12 refused to restart. The Ferrari lost 7 minutes as the mechanics desperately worked on the
engine. The rain started again and Rolt was now in sight: he came in to stop for new goggles, but his pit
crew waved him on, and now the Jaguar was on the same lap as the leader.[35][26][27][3]
Finally the Ferrari mechanics found the problem: the rain had saturated the ignition wiring. [6] When
González finally got going he was now only 3’14” ahead of the Jaguar. With thunder and lightning now
lashing the circuit and unable to see, Rolt pitted and handed over to Hamilton for the final assault with
an hour to go. Hamilton then put in extraordinary times in the rain, cutting the lead to just 90 seconds.
González was exhausted (he had not eaten or slept through the weekend[6]) and his lap times dropped
to 5'30",[12] but his pit-crew urged him on and as the rain stopped with a half-hour to go, and the track
dried out, he was once more able to bring the power of the Ferrari to bear again and extend the
gap.[36][37] Finally able to ease off on the final lap, González crossed the line to win by just under three
minutes[35][26][27] - but still the closest finish in the race since 1933.[3]
Meanwhile, in the smaller classes, the pair of works OSCAs had an ample lead of 15 laps over the
struggling Porsches and running in the top-10 overall. Yet within ten minutes, with just 2 hours to go,
everything fell apart. First, the leading one of Giardini crashed and rolled at Mulsanne, then the one
running second hit the barriers at Dunlop curve. Pierre Leygonie ran the short distance back to the pits
to get equipment and advice from the pit-crew. He managed to get it going again and back to the pits to
hand over to Lance Macklin but they were then disqualified at race-end for having abandoned the
car.[38][27] To round off a bitter race for OSCA, their last car was running second in the S-1100 class but
its transmission broke in the final laps of the race.[14]

Despite the atrocious weather, González and Trintignant had still driven their Ferrari 375 Plus through
302 laps, just 2 laps less than the year before, and covering over 2,500 miles (4,000 km). In his delight,
Prince Bernhard jumped aboard with Trintignant for his victory lap in the rain.[11][12] In the end it came
down to pit-time: 37 minutes for the Jaguar versus 29 minutes for the Ferrari. [39] The podium was
completed by the American pair, Bill Spear and Sherwood Johnston, in their Cunningham-Chrysler C4-
R, who were far behind, 19 laps (over 250 km) back,[40] Briggs himself came in 5th. Despite their very
reliable Chrysler engines, the Cunninghams were unable to match the pace of the leaders. Splitting the
two American cars was the Belgian Jaguar which had run like clockwork despite not getting any pre-
race testing. The last remaining Gordini came in 6th earning a special FF1 million prize as first French
car home.[16] After the demise of the OSCAs, Porsche inherited class wins in the S-1500, and S-1100,
by having the only cars left running in their classes.
Bristol had a great race: finishing 6-7-8 overall and a clear 1-2-3 in their class. Although running most of
the race behind the smaller OSCA, their leader finished over 30 laps ahead of the only class-competitor
Fraser-Nash to finish. Aside from a window-wiper making life difficult for Wilson/Mayers (they had to
drive at times with the door open to see out!) and Jack Fairman spinning with less than an hour to go
(thereby losing the class win) they had a trouble-free run.[41] The little DB cars also had one of their best
races – finally winning the Index of Performance, as well as the Biennial Cup. Owner-driver René
Bonnet and Élie Bayol finished a remarkable 10th overall with a class-distance record (going further
than Nuvolari’s winning Alfa Romeo 20 years earlier[12]), embarrassing many far-bigger cars left in their
wake.[42] The Monopole entry was second in class, but had the remarkable record of having spent a
mere five minutes and ten seconds at rest in the pits for the whole race.[43][12]
One who did not finish was the last Talbot running – after numerous issues with engine and gearbox
problems, the pit crew sent it out with ten minutes to go to do the final lap, but it could not complete it
within 30 minutes and so was not classified.[31][12]
The Argentinian winner earned a special place in Ferrari history: Three years earlier, he had scored
Ferrari’s first F1 victory. Now, in his last appearance at La Sarthe, he also gave the first victory for the
Scuderia Ferrari at Le Mans.[26] The weather had precluded any chance of breaking distance records,
although in the dry both González and Marzotto had smashed Ascari’s lap record by over 10 seconds.
Despite its abortive attempt in this race, the 2-litre Maserati proved dominant across Europe, winning
over 20 class wins in the season.[21] In October, DB inaugurated the first one-make race series, Formula
Monomill for young drivers, using an 851cc DB-Panhard. The first race, at Montlhéry, was won by Jo
Schlesser.[42]
The Porsche 550s had great success in the Championship’s final round, in the Carrera Panamericana,
with Herrmann finishing an excellent 3rd overall. The year before they had a class win, and the name
‘Carrera’ was applied to the 356 road-cars with the quad-cam engine.[18] Many sales followed to
privateer racers, furthering the company’s racing reputation.

Official results[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[44]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps

José Froilán
S González Ferrari 5.0L
1 4 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Plus 302
5.0 Maurice V12
Trintignant

Duncan
S
2 14 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Hamilton Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 301
5.0
Tony Rolt

Bill Spear
S Cunningham C4- Chrysler 5.5L
3 2 Briggs Cunningham Sherwood 283
8.0 R V8
Johnston

Roger
S Ecurie Laurent
4 16 Jaguar C-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 277
5.0 Francorchamps Jacques
Swaters

Briggs
S Cunningham Cunningham C4- Chrysler 5.5L
5 1 Briggs Cunningham 274
8.0 John Gordon R V8
Bennett

Jacques
S
6 30 Equipe Gordini Pollet Gordini T15S Gordini 2.5L S6 263
3.0
André Guelfi

S Bristol Aeroplane Peter Wilson Bristol 1979cc


7 35 Bristol 450 260
2.0 Company Jim Mayers S6
Tommy
S Bristol Aeroplane Bristol 1979cc
8 33 Wisdom Bristol 450 257
2.0 Company S6
Jack Fairman

S Bristol Aeroplane Mike Keen Bristol 1979cc


9 34 Bristol 450 255
2.0 Company Trevor Line S6

S Automobiles René Bonnet Panhard 745cc


10 57 DB HBR-MC 240
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Élie Bayol F2

Maurice
S Automobiles Frazer Gatsonides Frazer Nash Le Bristol 1970cc
11 36 228
2.0 Nash Ltd. Marcel Mans Coupé S6
Becquart

S Johnny Claes Porsche 550/4 RS Porsche 1497cc


12 39 Porsche KG 228
1.5 Pierre Stasse Spyder F4

Jean Hémard
S Etablissements Panhard 612cc
13 55 Pierre Monopole X84 222
750 Monopole F2
Flahaut

Zora Arkus-
S Duntov Porsche 550/4 RS Porsche 1089cc
14 47 Porsche KG 216
1.1 Gonzague Spyder F4
Olivier

Edgar
N/C S 62 E.B. Wadsworth Triumph 2.0L
Wadsworth Triumph TR2 214
* 2.0 Reserve (private entrant) I4
John Brown

Marc
S Ecurie Jeudy- Panhard 745cc
15 56 Gignoux DB HBR-MC 213
750 Bonnet F2
Louis Cornet

Jean Blanc
N/C S G. Grignard Talbot T26 GS
11 Serge Talbot 4.6L S6 206
** 5.0 (private entrant) Spyder
Nersessian

16 59 René Cotton 195


S Automobiles Panhard- Panhard 612cc
André
750 Panhard et Levassor Beaulieux Monopole X88 F2

S P. Garzynski René Breuil BG Le Mans Renault 747cc


17 54 194
750 (private entrant) Jean Py Coupé S4

 Note *: Not Classified because of Insufficient distance, as car failed to cover 70% of its class-winner's distance
 Note **: Not Classified because of failing to complete the final lap of the race in under 30 minutes</small

Did Not Finish[edit]

Cla La
Pos No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
ss ps

Lance Macklin Abandone


DS S Automo O.S.C.A. 150
43 Pierre Leygonie O.S.C.A. MT-4 247 d
Q 1.5 bili O.S.C.A. 0cc S4
James Simpson vehicle

DN S Automo Jacques Péron O.S.C.A. 149 Accident


42 O.S.C.A. MT-4 243
F 1.5 bili O.S.C.A. Francesco Giardini 0cc S4 (23hr)

Aston
Aston Martin 2.9L
DN S Reg Parnell Aston Martin Engine
8 Martin Lagon S6 222
F 5.0 Roy Salvadori DB3S (21hr)
da Supercharge
d

63 L.
DN S Farnaud Lucien Farnaud O.S.C.A. 109 Transmiss
Reser O.S.C.A. MT-4 199
F 1.1 (private Adolfo Macchieraldo 2cc S4 ion (24hr)
ve
entrant)

Just-Emile Vernet
DN S Automo Renault 747c Accident
49 Yves Giraud- VP 166R 190
F 750 biles VP c S4 (22hr)
Cabantous

DN S Scuderia Robert Manzon Ferrari 5.0L Transmiss


5 Ferrari 375 Plus 177
F 5.0 Ferrari Louis Rosier V12 ion (15hr)

DN S Automo Pierre Chancel Panhard- Panhard 612 Engine


58 biles Panhard 157
F 750 Robert Chancel Monopole X88 cc F2 (17hr)
et Levassor
DN S Porsche Hans Herrmann Porsche 550/4 Porsche 1497 Electrics
41 148
F 1.5 KG Helmut Polensky RS Spyder cc F4 (14hr)

DN S
Aston ”B.Bira” Prince Bira Aston Martin
Aston
Accident
20 Martin Lagon bongse Bhanubandh Martin 2.9L 138
F 3.0 DB3S Coupé (13hr)
da Peter Collins S6

DN S Jaguar Peter Whitehead Jaguar 3.4L Transmiss


15 Jaguar D-Type 131
F 5.0 Cars Ltd. Ken Wharton S6 ion (13hr)

J.-P. Jean-Paul Colas Aston


DN S Colas Aston Martin Transmiss
27 Hermano da Silva Martin 2.9L 121
F 3.0 (private DB2/4 'Vignale' ion (14hr)
Ramos S6
entrant)

DN S Briggs Phil Walters Ferrari 4.5L Transmiss


6 Ferrari 375MM 120
F 5.0 Cunningham John Fitch V12 ion (13hr)

Officine Marquis Alfonso de


DN S Maserati A6GC Maserati 198 Engine
28 Alfieri Portago 116
F 2.0 S/53 6cc S6 (11hr)
Maserati Carlo Tomasi

Automo
biles Frazer Premature
DS S Sture Nottorp Frazer Nash Le Bristol 1979c
38 Nash Ltd. 109 refuelling
Q 2.0 Ivar Andersson Mans Coupé c S6
Sture (11hr)
Nottorp

DN S Ecurie Marc Azéma Renault 747c Wheels


52 DB HDR-MC 102
F 750 Jeudy-Bonnet Alphonse de Burnay c S4 (13hr)

A. Peugeot 142
Constantin-
DN S Constantin Alexis Constantin 5cc S4 Transmiss
44 Peugeot 203C 95
F 2.0 (private Edmond Mouche Supercharge ion (13hr)
Spyder
entrant) d

DN S Jaguar Stirling Moss Jaguar 3.4L Brakes


12 Jaguar D-Type 92
F 5.0 Cars Ltd. Peter Walker S6 (12hr)

DN S Scuderia Umberto Maglioli Ferrari 5.0L Transmiss


3 Ferrari 375 Plus 88
F 5.0 Ferrari Paolo Marzotto V12 ion (8hr)
Coventry
DN S Kieft Alan Rippon Transmiss
46 Kieft Sport Climax 1098 86
F 1.1 Cars Ltd. Bill Black ion (11hr)
cc S4

65
DN S Equipe André Pilette Gordini 1096 Engine
Reser Gordini T17S 76
F 1.1 Gordini Max Thirion cc S4 (11hr)
ve

DN S Equipe Jean Behra Gordini 3.0L Engine


19 Gordini T24S 76
F 3.0 Gordini André Simon S8 (11hr)

Aston Carroll Shelby Aston Front


DN S Aston Martin
22 Martin Lagon Martin 2.9L 74 Axle
F 3.0 Paul Frère DB3S
da S6 (11hr)

G.
DN S Michel / A. Guy Michel Renault 4CV- Renault 747c Engine
50 Guillard 73
F 750 André Guillard 1063 Spyder c S4 (11hr)
(private
entrant)

Aston Aston
DN S Ian Stewart Aston Martin Accident
21 Martin Lagon Martin 2.9L 64
F 3.0 Graham Whitehead DB3S Coupé (7hr)
da S6

Talbot- Talbot-
DN S Ecurie Jean-Louis Rosier Accident
9 Lago T26 GS Lago 4.5L 62
F 5.0 Rosier Pierre Meyrat (7hr)
Spyder S6

DN S Equipe André Moynet Gordini 1988 Electrics


31 Gordini T15S 54
F 2.0 Gordini Clarence de Rinen cc S6 (7hr)

Automo Rodney ‘Roy’ Frazer


DN S Bristol 1970c Accident
37 biles Frazer Peacock Nash LMC/Tar 49
F 2.0 c S6 (7hr)
Nash Ltd. Gerry Ruddock ga Florio

'Pierre ”Pierre Talbot- Talbot-


DN S Levegh' Accident
10 Levegh” (Pierre Bouillin) Lago T26 GS Lago 4.5L 33
F 5.0 (private (7hr)
Lino Fayen Spyder S6
entrant)

48 Kieft Sport 26
DN S Kieft Georges Trouis MG 1087cc Cooling
F 1.1 Cars Ltd. Alfred Hitchings S4 (7hr)

Aston
DN S Eric Thompson Lagonda DP11 Lagonda 4.5 Accident
7 Martin Lagon 25
F 5.0 Dennis Poore 5 L V12 (4hr)
da

66 J.
DS S Faucher Jacques Faucher Renault 4CV- Renault 747c
Reser 20 ?
Q 750 (private Jean Hébert 1063 c S4
ve
entrant)

”Heldé” (Pierre-
Automo Louis Dreyfus)
DN S Renault 747c Transmiss
F 750
51 biles Deutsch ”Eldé” (Leon DB HDR-MC
c S4
8
ion (1hr)
et Bonnet Dernier)
Jean Lucas

Water
DN S Nardi Dr. Mario Damonte Crosley 747c
53 Nardi 750LM 7 pump
F 750 Automobili Alexandre Gacon c S4
(1hr)

Conte Innocente Ferrari


DN S Luigi Ferrari 4.5L Accident
18 Baggio 375MM Berline 5
F 5.0 Chinetti V12 (2hr)
Porfirio Rubirosa tta

Automo Lucien Pailler Panhard-


DN S Panhard 611 Accident
60 biles Panhard ”Franc” (Jacques Monopole X88 5
F 750 cc F2 (1hr)
et Levassor Dewez) Coupé

Richard von
DN S Porsche Porsche 550/4 Porsche 1497 Engine
40 Frankenberg 4
F 1.5 KG RS Spyder cc F4 (1hr)
Helm Glöckler

64 Claude Storez
DN S Ecurie Renault 747c Transmiss
Reser Jean-Claude Vidilles DB HDR-MC 4
F 750 Jeudy-Bonnet c S4 ion (1hr)
ve Jean Lucas

DN S Automo Eugène Dussous Panhard- Panhard 611 Accident


61 biles Panhard 0
F 750 Jacques Savoye Monopole X84 cc F2 (1hr)
et Levassor
N. Mann Aston
DN S Nigel Mann Aston Martin
23 (private Martin 2.9L 0
S 3.0 Charles Brackenbury DB3
entrant) S6

”Mike
too late
Officine Sparken” (Michel
DN S Maserati A6GC Maserati 2.5 for
29 Alfieri Pobejersky) -
A 3.0 S/53 L S4 scrutineeri
Maserati Roberto Mieres
ng
John ‘Jonny’ Simone

Index of Performance[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S René Bonnet
1 57 Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet DB HBR-MC 1.334
750 Élie Bayol

S Etablissements Jean Hémard


2 55 Monopole X84 1.310
750 Monopole Pierre Flahaut

S Duncan Hamilton
3 14 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar D-Type 1.297
5.0 Tony Rolt

S José Froilán González


4 4 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Plus 1.284
5.0 Maurice Trintignant

S Bill Spear
5 2 Briggs Cunningham Cunningham C4-R 1.205
8.0 Sherwood Johnston

S Roger Laurent
6 16 Ecurie Francorchamps Jaguar C-Type 1.191
5.0 Jacques Swaters

S Peter Wilson
7 35 Bristol Aeroplane Company Bristol 450 1.187
2.0 Jim Mayers

S Marc Gignoux
8 56 Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet DB HBR-MC 1.183
750 Louis Cornet
S Tommy Wisdom
9 33 Bristol Aeroplane Company Bristol 450 1.174
2.0 Jack Fairman

S Jacques Pollet
10 30 Equipe Gordini Gordini T15S 1.169
3.0 André Guelfi

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum
distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance. [45]

20th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1953/1954)[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S René Bonnet
1 57 Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet DB HBR-MC 1.334
750 Élie Bayol

S Duncan Hamilton
2 14 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar D-Type 1.297
5.0 Tony Rolt

S Bill Spear
3 2 Briggs Cunningham Cunningham C4-R 1.205
8.0 Sherwood Johnston

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Maglioli, #3 Ferrari 375 Plus & Walker, #12 Jaguar D-Type – 4m 18.0s; 188.23 kp/h
(116.96 mph)
 Fastest Lap – González, #4 Ferrari 375 Plus & Marzotto, #3 Ferrari 375 Plus – 4m 16.8s; 189.14 kp/h (117.53 mph)
 Fastest Car in Speedtrap – Moss, #12 Jaguar D-Type – 278.15 kp/h (172.84 mph)
 Distance – 4061.15 km (2523.56 miles)
 Winner’s Average Speed – 169.22 km/h (105.15 mph)
 Attendance – ?

1955 24 Hours of Le Mans


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1955 24 Hours of Le Mans

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Index: Races | Winners

The 24 Heures du Mans was the 23rd 24 Hours of Le Mans, and took place on 11 and 12 June 1955
on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was also the fourth round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship. A
huge crowd had gathered for Europe's classic sports car race, around the 8.38-mile course. In the
golden age of sports car racing, the top-quality entry list meant this race promised to be the most
eagerly anticipated of the decade. Instead this is remembered for the disaster that killed 84 people, plus
some 120 injured in the most catastrophic accident in motor racing history.

Le Mans in 1955

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish
 5Post-race and Aftermath
 6Official results
 7Did Not Finish
 8Did not start
 9Index of Performance
 1021st Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1954/1955)
 11Statistics
 12World Championship Standings after the race
 13References
 14External links

Regulations[edit]
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) again lifted the replenishment window (just changed the year
before) of fuel, oil and water from 30 to 32 laps (just over 430 km), but by the same token, the
maximum fuel allowance for all cars was increased to 200 litres for the race.
On the track, road improvements continued with the whole back section, from Tertre Rouge around to
Maison Blanche resurfaced.[1][2]

Entries[edit]
A total of 87 racing cars were registered for this event, of which 70 arrived for practice, to qualify for the
60 places on the starting grid, and included 15 factory teams. Curiously, not one of the 60 starting cars
had a roof.[3]
Category Classes Entries

Large-engines S-5000 / S-3000 26 +1 reserve

Medium-engines S-2000 / S-1500 17 +7 reserves

Small-engines S-1100 / S-750 17 +4 reserves

The great battle of the previous year's race between Coventry and Maranello was raised to a higher
level with the return of Mercedes-Benz, fresh from an awe-inspiring debut triumph in the Mille
Miglia with their new Mercedes-Benz 300SLR. Along with dark-horses Cunningham, Aston
Martin and Maserati – all with new 3-litre cars – and Talbot, Gordini, Cooper and Austin-Healey, it led
observers to the highest expectations and anticipation for a great contest.
Title-holders Ferrari arrived with the 121 LM, a new lighter, smaller design from Aurelio Lampredi with a
straight-six engine derived from the previous year's Formula 1 car (and stepping away from the usual
12-cylinder Ferrari engines) producing a mighty 360 bhp.[2][4] The works team mixed its current F1
drivers along with new talent: Eugenio Castellotti with Paolo Marzotto, Maurice Trintignant with Harry
Schell and Umberto Maglioli drove with Phil Hill (Maglioli and Hill had been Ferrari rivals in the
previous Carrera Panamericana, narrowly won by the works driver. Hill was invited to the works team
after the recent death of Alberto Ascari.[5] There were also two 3-litre 750 Monza's run by French private
entries.
Having conquered Formula 1, Mercedes-Benz had now turned its attention to sports-car racing. Their
cars, designated W196S although they were commonly called 300SLRs, rated by many experts as the
best sports cars in the world, were an adaptation of the design that had brought them dominance in
Grand Prix racing. The fuel-injected, desmodronic valve 3-litre straight-8 engine was the most
advanced of the entire field, sharing many details with the F1 car. It produced a 300 bhp[2] and was
mounted at an angle of 33°. The inboard drum brakes, however, were only questionably adequate for
the heavier chassis, facing the tough braking and endurance demands of Le Mans. To compensate, a
hand-operated air brake was added to the rear deck for high speed braking.[6] Team manager Alfred
Neubauer, in a remarkably diplomatic move (recalling that the war had only ended a bare 10 years
earlier), assembled a multi-national team for the race: pairing his two best drivers Juan Manuel
Fangio and Stirling Moss in the lead car, 1952 race-winner Karl Kling with Frenchman André
Simon (both also in the current F1 team) and American John Fitch with one of the elder statesmen of
French motor-racing Pierre Levegh. It had been "Levegh's" epic solo drive in the 1952 race which failed
in the last hour, which gave Mercedes-Benz their fortuitous first victory.[7][8] (Belgian racing-
journalist Paul Frère had originally been approached but he had signed to drive for Aston Martin this
year[9])
Jaguar arrived with three works Jaguar D-Types. This year's model was 190mm longer and engine
power was increased from 250 to 270 bhp with a top speed of almost 280 kph.[10] Regular drivers,
and 1953 winners, Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton but otherwise it was all change. With Moss now
with Mercedes-Benz, up-and-coming English star Mike Hawthorn was coerced from Ferrari for the race,
paired with debutante Ivor Bueb. Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis was in the third car with Don
Beauman. They were backed up by D-Types entered by the Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps team, and
from the American Briggs Cunningham's team.
Cunningham hedged his bets this year – along with the Jaguar he loaned a Ferrari 750 Monza to
French privateer Michel Pobejersky (racing as "Mike Sparken") and American Masten Gregory. He also
brought (for the last time, as it happened) a new Cunningham C6-R, giving up on a big V8 Hemi to
instead use an Indianapolis-style Offenhauser 3.0L straight-4.[11] He and Sherwood Johnston would race
it.
The Maserati team did make it this year – with a pair of their elegant new 3.0L 300S cars which had
already shown promise at Sebring. They were run by the team's regular F1 drivers Roberto
Mieres with Cesare Perdisa and Luigi Musso with endurance veteran Luigi ‘Gino’ Valenzano. Maserati
also ran a smaller A6GCS in the S-2000 class. Louis Rosier's privateer Talbot did not make the start
this year so the large-engined French challenge this year came from Gordini with a 3-litre T24S for F1
drivers Jean Behra and Élie Bayol. Like Maserati they also ran a smaller T20S in the S-2000 class.
There was great interest for British fans, aside from the Jaguar team. In total there were 27 British cars
starting, nearly half the field.[12] Aston Martin pared back its effort a bit with just three of the DB3S (now
with disc brakes and an improved 225 bhp 3-litre engine[13]) but came with a good driver line-up: Peter
Collins and Paul Frère, 1951 winner Peter Walker and Roy Salvadori, and debutantes Tony
Brooks and John Riseley-Prichard. They also persisted with the Lagonda project – the 4.5L V12 being
biggest engine in the field. This year Reg Parnell was co-driven by Dennis Poore. After boycotting the
previous year's race, Austin-Healey returned with a single 100S prototype. Cooper arrived with two cars
– one a Jaguar-engined T38, and the other, a T39, had a Climax engine. In the S-2000 class, along
with a pair each of Triumph TR2s and Frazer Nash Sebrings, Bristol was back, this time with its 450C
open-top variant. To save pit-time, the team also pioneered a multi-barrel spanner to remove and re-
apply all the wheelnuts together when changing the wheel.[14] MG returned after 20 years with the
EX.182 prototype – a 1.5L forerunner of the upcoming MGA roadster.[12] Colin Chapman, racing with
Scotsman Ron Flockhart arrived with his new Lotus 9 sports car – like the other small English firms
Kieft, Cooper and Arnott, running the 1100cc Climax engine. Daphne Arnott, a former wartime engineer
at Hawker Aircraft, is believed to be the only female race-car manufacturer.[15]
After a fortuitous class-victory in 1954, Porsche arrived in force with a mix of works and (nominally)
private entries: four cars in the S-1500 and two in the S-1100 classes. In contrast, after the despair of
their 1954 race, OSCA only had a single privateer in the S-1500 class.
The smallest, S-750, class was again dominated by French cars, from Panhard, Monopole, DB (all with
Panhard engines) and a VP-Renault. Panhard also fielded two bigger, 850cc-engined, cars that had to
run in the S-1100 class. However several Italian teams arrived to take on the French with entries from
Moretti and Stanguellini. Perhaps the most unusual entry was the tiny catamaran-style Damolnar
Bisiluro from Ufficine Nardi – where the driver sat in one boom and the engine and running gear was in
the other.

Practice[edit]
As expected the Ferraris showed themselves to be extremely fast on a single lap, and Castellotti set the
fastest official time, easily breaking the lap record and was a second quicker than Fangio in his
Mercedes. But there were also a number of serious accidents during practice: Moss was leaving the
pits just as the DB-Panhard of Claude Storez came in, the small car hit Jean Behra. While both cars
were able to start the race, Behra had face and leg injuries that forced him out, to be replaced by
reserve driver Robert Manzon.[16] Coming into Maison Blanche, Behra's erstwhile teammate Élie
Bayol in the new Gordini T24S came upon two spectators crossing the track. He swerved and rolled the
car and was taken to hospital with a fractured skull and broken vertebrae; Peter Taylor was also
severely injured when he crashed the new Arnott. Prophetically, "Levegh" came in after a close brush
with a Gordini commenting "We have to get some sort of signal system working. Our cars go too
fast".[17] Neubauer tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the ACO to allow him to erect a small signalling
tower at the top of pit-line for his team.[18]
As a comparison, some of the lap-times recorded during practice were:[19]

Position Car Driver(s) Best Time

1 Ferrari 121 LM No. 4 Castellotti 4min 14sec

2 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR No. 19 Fangio 4min 15sec


3 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR No. 21 Kling

4 Jaguar D-Type No. 6 Hawthorn

5 Ferrari 121 LM No. 3 Maglioli / Hill 4min 21sec

- Maserati 300S No. 16 Musso / Valenzano 4min 23sec

- Gordini T20S No. 30 Ramos / Pollet 4min 47sec

- Porsche 550 RS Spyder 4min 50sec

- Panhard VM-5 < 4min 50sec

Over the flying kilometre on the Mulsanne straight, the following top speeds in practice and the race
were recorded:[2]

Car Engine Maximum Speed

Ferrari 121 LM Ferrari 4.4L S6 291.2 kph

Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 281.9 kph

Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Mercedes-Benz 3.0L S8 270.7 kph

Cunningham C6-R Offenhauser 3.0L S4 237.6 kph

Aston Martin DB3S Aston Martin 2.9L S6 236.8 kph

Porsche 550 RS Spyder Porsche 1.5L F4 225.3 kph

D.B. HBR-MC Panhard 745cc F2 170.8 kph

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
This year the honorary starter was Conte Aymo Maggi, the President and organiser of the Mille
Miglia.[20][21] Giovanni Moretti's two cars arrived on the start grid a few minutes after the 2pm deadline
and were excluded from starting.[22] It was Castellotti, by dint of being near the front of the grid
formation, who was first under the Dunlop Bridge and leading the first lap, followed by Hawthorn in the
Jaguar. Fangio's start was delayed when his trouser leg snagged on the gear shift lever, but he worked
his way up the field to join Hawthorn and Castellotti. The crowd's expectations of a showdown between
the three top marques were soon fulfilled as, by lap 4, the three manufacturers’ works cars filled the top
8 places – excepting Trintignant's Ferrari in the pits with an early issue. One of the first casualties was
on lap 5 as the leaders started lapping the backmarkers – the tiny Nardi was literally blown off the road
into a ditch by the slipstream of the bigger cars.[23] The pace was furious but Castellotti managed to
keep Hawthorn and Fangio at bay for the first hour. Behind them was Maglioli's Ferrari, the American
Jaguar, the other pair of works Mercedes-Benz's and Jaguars and in 10th Mieres in the Maserati.
Finally, after 70 minutes, it was Castellotti's mistake braking for the Mulsanne corner that let the Jaguar
and Mercedes through.[21] Those two then set about pushing harder still, dropping the Ferrari and
successively beating the lap record – broken ten times in the first two hours and finally claimed by
Hawthorn on lap 28 – setting it over 7 seconds faster than the Ferrari's practice lap.[3][24]
It was 6.20pm, at the end of lap 35 when the first pit-stops were due, that the dreadful accident
occurred as the leaders lapped slower cars as they approached the pit straight (Refer to the 1955 Le
Mans disaster article for more detail and analysis). Having got the order from his Jaguar crew to pit
Hawthorn,[25] having just overtaken Lance Macklin's Austin-Healey braked sharply right in front of
Macklin, who himself braked hard, getting off the right-hand edge of the track, throwing up
dust.[26][27][28][29] Macklin's car veered across to the centre of the track, apparently briefly out of control.
This however only put him into the path of Levegh's fast-approaching Mercedes-Benz, running 6th
having just gone a lap down, but still travelling at 150 mph. Levegh's right-front wheel rode up onto the
left rear corner of Macklin's, using it as a ramp and launching the car into the air rolling end over end for
80 metres over spectators. The video and photo-stills illustrate the thinnest margins – a fender width –
between a near miss and complete disaster.
The car slammed into a 4’ earthen embankment – the only barrier between the spectators and the track
- and disintegrated. The momentum of the heaviest components of the car – the engine, radiator and
front suspension - carried on their deadly trajectory straight in the crowd for almost 100 metres. Those
who had climbed onto ladders and scaffolding to get a better view of the track found themselves in the
direct path of the lethal debris. The remainder of the car, on the earth bank, exploded into flames,
burning with extra heat from its magnesium-alloy body. Levegh was killed instantly in the impact. Given
the scale of the disaster, the race officials took the only reasonable action to keep the race running. If
the huge crowd had tried to leave ‘’en masse’’ it would have clogged the roads severely restricting
access for medical and emergency crews trying to save the injured.
Meanwhile, Hawthorn after being initially waved through his stop because of the confusion and potential
danger, and the other lead cars, made their scheduled pit stops and driver changes. Then just thirteen
minutes later, the MG of Dick Jacobs lost control exiting Maison Blanche, rolled and landed upside-
down, burning. Jacobs, although critically injured, survived the accident, but he never raced
again.[15] Phil Hill, now driving Maglioli's Ferrari noted "At this point I was numbed by it all, shocked that
all this could be happening at once and on my first-ever Ferrari racing lap of Le Mans. But then Stirling
Moss went by me like a streak in his Mercedes 300 SLR, and that woke me up. That was a lesson I
never forgot, which was that when something happens, get on the gas."[30][31]
His teammates, Castellotti and Marzotto, were the first of the leaders to falter: a slipping clutch
eventually led to engine failure just before 8pm. Maglioli & Hill took up their third place until they too
were stopped about 11pm when a rock pierced their radiator.[18]
Night[edit]
With the driver changes from Hawthorn to Bueb and Fangio to Moss, the Jaguar team's talent was
outmatched and the Mercedes team was able to extend its lead. At midnight, the Mercedes of
Fangio/Moss was leading Hawthorn/Bueb by two laps, themselves two laps ahead of the Kling/Simon
Mercedes and the other two works Jaguars all scrapping between themselves. Further back were
Musso's Maserati, Collins’ Aston Martin, the Belgian Jaguar and the remaining big Ferrari fighting its
way up from the back of the field. The race remained competitive, however with Hawthorn behind the
wheel, as the lead was whittled down to 1½ laps by 2am.[32] The other Mercedes still trailed the
Hawthorn/Bueb car by two laps. Race spotters' reports on the Mercedes' braking points led the Jaguar
team to believe that their brakes were weakening.[33]
After the catastrophic accident, John Fitch, picking up on the early media reports, had urged the
Mercedes team to withdraw from the race – he could see that win or lose, it would be a PR disaster for
the company.[31] Mercedes team manager Alfred Neubauer had already reached the same conclusion
but did not have the authority to make such a decision. After an emergency meeting of the company
directors in Stuttgart, Neubauer finally got the call approving the team's withdrawal just before midnight.
Waiting until 1.45am, when many spectators had left, he stepped onto the track and quietly called his
cars into the pits, at the time running 1st and 3rd.[34] The public address made a brief announcement
regarding their retirement. Chief engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut went to the Jaguar pits to ask if the Jaguar
team would respond in kind, out of respect for the accident's victims. Jaguar team
manager "Lofty" England declined.[33]
Meanwhile, Don Beauman had planted his works Jaguar in the sandtrap at Arnage. Having taken over
an hour to dig it out, he had just got it free after 10 pm when Colin Chapman came off at Arnage and
smacked the Jaguar. Chapman quickly reversed and got going again only to be disqualified because he
had restarted without the marshal's permission[2][35]
The Aston Martins had been running to a strict lap-time set by team manager John Wyer, but keeping
just in the top-10. Either side of midnight two of them were sidelined by mechanical issues. They
followed their sister-Lagonda that had run out of fuel from a loose-fitting filler-cap.[13]
Soon after the Mercedes-Benz team withdrawal, the last Ferrari (that of Trintignant / Schell) retired with
engine trouble, having fought back up to 10th position. With no further challenge from Mercedes-Benz
or Ferrari, Jaguar were holding a comfortable 1-2, although Rolt and Hamilton were having problems
with their gearbox.
In the 2-litre category, the Maserati and Gordini had been battling each other, well ahead of the British
cars and just outside the top-10. The Gordini was delayed by a defective battery, but the Maserati then
retired just after midnight with ignition failure. Even at this stage though, the two works 1500cc
Porsches were ahead of these bigger cars. Further back, third in class, was the Belgian-entered
Porsche (giving a first Le Mans drive to future endurance great Olivier Gendebien)
Morning[edit]
Dawn broke under a heavy, overcast sky and by 6am it had started to rain. Soon after, the class-
leading Gordini pitted with a holed-radiator just two laps before its replenishment window. Trying to inch
its way round the circuit it over-heated and had to retire.[16] The S-2000 class fell into the lap of the
Bristols. Around 8am, the second Jaguar's gearbox finally seized and they were out. With gloomy
weather and little enthusiasm now for the race, it became a fairly predictable affair. Second place
remained in contention until late morning as the Valenzano/Musso Maserati, five laps down from the
leader was pushing hard and being chased by the Collins/Frère Aston Martin until the Maserati retired
with a seized transmission.[36] About the same time the Cunningham also retired: never in the running,
lapping in 13th behind the smaller Porsches and Bristols, it had lost its lower gears the night before. A
disappointing end to Briggs Cunningham's Le Mans career. A special mass was held in the morning in
the great Le Mans Cathedral for the first funerals of the accident victims.
Finish[edit]
The race finished in melancholy drizzle. Bueb, in his first event for the Coventry marque, handed over
the leading Jaguar to Hawthorn for the final quarter hour and in the end they coasted to a comfortable,
but empty, victory, completing a record-breaking 306 laps and finishing five laps ahead of the Aston
Martin (achieving their best result to date, and only finish since 1951). The podium was completed by
the Belgian pair of Johnny Claes and Jacques Swaters, in their yellow Ecurie Francorchamps Jaguar D-
Type. Although 11 laps (nearly 150 km) behind the winners, they were again a model of reliability.[37][38]
Porsche had its best finish yet with the remarkable trio of 1.5 litre Porsche 550 Spyders finishing fourth,
fifth and sixth with Helmut Polensky and Richard von Frankenberg winning the S-1500 class, the Index
of Performance, as well as the Biennial Cup. The Belgian Porsche had a terrific drive late in the race to
split the two works cars. Additionally the privateer Porsche comprehensively won the S-1100 class
finishing nearly 40 laps ahead of the unclassified Cooper.
The three-car Bristol team finished 7-8-9, in formation for a consecutive year at the top of two-litre
class. Managing director Sir George White quietly donated the team's winnings to a charity for the
disaster's victims.[14]
After their debacle of the previous year's race, it was perhaps fitting that the only Italian car to finish this
year was the 1.5L OSCA. Two of the DB-Panhards were only French cars to finish in the normally
reliable small-car classes.[2][39] For the first time none of the Cunningham team cars finished.[11]
Despite the disaster and poor weather, there were a number of new records set: Both first and second
beat the old distance record – and five new class records were set. In fact, the two leading 1.5L
Porsches both went further than the overall distance covered by the 1952-winning Mercedes-
Benz.[22] The opening hours had also seen the lap record smashed comprehensively.

Post-race and Aftermath[edit]


Main article: 1955 Le Mans disaster
The catastrophic crash, which came to be known as the 1955 Le Mans disaster, is the greatest tragedy
in the history of motorsport, The actual death toll is uncertain, put at from 80 to 84, including "Levegh",
with many more than that number severely injured.[3][7][8][40][41] Spurring mentions that the official report
cites "Levegh" and 80 spectators were killed and 178 were injured.
The next round of the World Sports Car Championship at the Nürburgring was cancelled, as was the
legendary Carrera Panamericana. The accident caused widespread shock and immediate bans on auto
racing in many countries. A number of racing teams including Mercedes-Benz, MG and Bristol had
disbanded and withdrawn from racing by the end of the season. The horror of the accident caused
some drivers present, including Phil Walters (who had been offered a drive with Ferrari for the rest of
the season[6]), Sherwood Johnston, and John Fitch (after completing the season with Mercedes-Benz),
to retire from racing. Fitch was coaxed out of retirement by his friend Briggs Cunningham to help the
Chevrolet Corvette effort at Le Mans in 1960 and later worked to develop traffic safety devices including
the water-filled "Fitch barrels". Less than three months later, Lance Macklin decided to retire after being
involved in a twin fatality accident during the Tourist Trophy race at Dundrod. Juan-Manuel Fangio
never raced at Le Mans again.
Although Hawthorn was relieved to have gotten his first Le Mans victory, he was devastated by the
tragedy. An inopportune press photo showed him smiling on the podium swigging from the victor's
bottle of champagne, and the French press ran it with the sarcastic headline "Here's to You, Mr
Hawthorn".[42]
The official enquiry concluded that no one driver was to blame and that it was instead a tragic
combination of circumstances that had caused the accident, including serious deficiencies in the track
design and safety.[34]
For a long while the future of the iconic race was in doubt, however the ACO was able to convince the
French Government and the FIA with plans for extensive for redevelopment. Before the 1956 event, the
grandstands and pits were demolished, as well as straightening and widening the track at and
approaching the pits, and realigning Dunlop Curve. They increased the separation between the road
and the spectators including a wide ditch, and revised other hazardous stretches of the track.[43][44] Track
safety technology and practices evolved slowly until Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart organized a
campaign to advocate for better safety measures 10 years later. Stewart's campaign gained momentum
after the deaths of Lorenzo Bandini and Jimmy Clark.

Official results[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[45] Class Winners are
in Bold text.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps


Mike
S
1 6 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Hawthorn Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 307
5.0
Ivor Bueb

S Aston Peter Collins Aston Martin Aston Martin 2.9L


2 23 302
3.0 Martin Lagonda Ltd Paul Frère DB3S S6

Jacques
S Ecurie
3 10 Swaters Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 296
5.0 Francorchamps
Johnny Claes

Helmut
S Polensky Porsche 550 RS
4 37 Porsche KG Porsche 1498cc F4 284
1.5 Richard von Spyder
Frankenberg

Wolfgang
S 66 Ecurie Belge / Seidel Porsche 550 RS
5 Porsche 1498cc F4 276
1.5 Reserve Gustave Olivier Olivier Spyder
Gendebien

Helmut
S Glöckler Porsche 550 RS
6 62 Porsche KG Porsche 1498cc F4 273
1.5 / Jaroslav Spyder
Juhan

S Bristol Aeroplane Peter Wilson


7 34 Bristol 450C Bristol 1979cc S6 271
2.0 Co. Jim Mayers

S Bristol Aeroplane Mike Keen


8 33 Bristol 450C Bristol 1979cc S6 270
2.0 Co. Tommy Line

Tommy
S Bristol Aeroplane
9 32 Wisdom Bristol 450C Bristol 1979cc S6 268
2.0 Co.
Jack Fairman

Marcel
S Automobiles Becquart Frazer
10 35 Bristol 1971cc S6 260
2.0 Frazer Nash Ltd. Richard Nash Sebring
‘Dickie’ Stoop
Giulio
S Edgar Fronteras Cabianca O.S.C.A. 1491cc
11 40 O.S.C.A. MT-4 256
1.5 (private entrant) Giuseppe S4
Scorbati

S Ken Miles
12 41 MG Cars Ltd. MG EX.182 MG 1489cc S4 249
1.5 John Lockett

Auguste
S Veuillet Porsche 550 RS
13 49 Porsche KG Porsche 1097cc S4 245
1.1 Zora Arkus- Spyder
Duntov

Ninian
S Standard
14 28 Sanderson Triumph TR2 Triumph 1991cc S4 242
2.0 Triumph Ltd.
Bob Dickson

Ken
S Standard
15 29 Richardson Triumph TR2 Triumph 1991cc S4 242
2.0 Triumph Ltd.
Bert Hadley

Louis Cornet
S Ecurie Jeudy-
16 63 Robert DB HBR-MC Panhard 745cc F2 236
750 Bonnet
Mougin

S Ted Lund
17 64 MG Cars Ltd. MG EX.182 MG 1489cc S4 234
1.5 Hans Waeffler

S Gonzague Porsche 550 RS


18 65 Gustave Olivier Porsche 1498cc F4 234
1.5 Olivier Spyder
(private entrant)
Josef Jeser

Leslie Brooke
N/C S 68 Standard
Mortimer Triumph TR2 Triumph 1991cc S4 214
* 2.0 Reserve Triumph Ltd.
Morris-Goodall

Louis Héry
S Ecurie Jeudy-
19 59 Georges DB HBR Spyder Panhard 745cc F2 209
750 Bonnet
Trouis

47 Cooper Car Co. John Brown Cooper T39 207


N/C S Coventry Climax
Edgar
* 1.1 Wadsworth 1098cc S4

 Note *: Not Classified because of Insufficient distance, as car failed to cover 70% of its class-winner's distance

Did Not Finish[edit]

Clas N Lap
Pos Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s o s

Luigi Musso
DN S Officine Gearbox
16 ‘Gino’ Maserati 300S Maserati 3.0L S6 239
F 3.0 Alfieri Maserati (20hr)
Valenzano

Briggs
DN S Briggs Cunningham Cunningham C6- Offenhauser 2.9 Piston
22 196
F 3.0 Cunningham Sherwood R L S4 (19hr)
Johnston

Tony Rolt
DN S Jaguar Gearbox
7 Duncan Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 186
F 5.0 Cars Ltd. (16hr)
Hamilton

Hermano da
Holed
DN S Automobil Silva Ramos Gordini 1987cc
30 Gordini T15S 145 radiator
F 2.0 es Gordini Jacques S8
(14hr)
Pollet

Jean Hémard
DN S Société Panhard 745cc Accident
52 Pierre Monopole X86 145
F 750 Monopole F2 (23hr)
Flahault

René
DN S Automobili Stanguellini S75 Stanguellini 740 Ignition
60 Philippe Faure 136
F 750 Stanguellini 0 Bialbero cc S4 (17hr)
Pierre Duval

Juan Manuel
DN S Daimler- Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Withdrawn
19 Fangio 134
F 3.0 Benz AG 300 SLR 3.0L S8 (10hr)
Stirling Moss

DN S Daimler- Karl Kling Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Withdrawn


21 130
F 3.0 Benz AG André Simon 300 SLR 3.0L S8 (10hr)
Automobil René Cotton
DN S Panhard 850cc Gearbox
51 es Panhard André Panhard VM-5 108
F 1.1 F2 (13hr)
et Levassor Beaulieux

DN S Maurice Clutch
5 Scuderia Ferrari 121LM Ferrari 4.4L S6 107
F 5.0 Trintignant (10hr)
Ferrari
Harry Schell

Don
DN S Jaguar Beauman Accident
8 Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 106
F 5.0 Cars Ltd. Norman (11hr)
Dewis

Aston Roy
DN S Aston Martin Aston Engine
24 Martin Lagonda Salvadori 105
F 3.0 DB3S Martin 2.9L S6 (10hr)
Ltd Peter Walker

"Heldé" (Pier
DN S Ferrari 750 Distributor
12 "Heldé" re Louis-Dreyfus) Ferrari 3.0L S4 104
F 3.0 Monza (10hr)
Jean Lucas

Paul
DN S Ecurie Armagnac Panhard 745cc Wheel
58 DB HBR-MC 101
F 750 Jeudy-Bonnet Gérard F2 (23hr)
Laureau

Colin
Coventry
DS S Lotus Chapman reversed on
48 Lotus Mark IX Climax 1098cc 99
Q 1.1 Engineering Ron track (12hr)
S4
Flockhart

Carlo Tomasi
DN S Officine Maserati 1986cc Distributor
31 Francesco Maserati 200S 96
F 2.0 Alfieri Maserati S4 (9hr)
Giardini

Pierre
DN S Automobil Chancel Panhard 850cc Fuel system
50 es Panhard Panhard VM-5 94
F 1.1 Robert F2 (11hr)
et Levassor
Chancel

DN S Reg Parnell Lagonda 4.5L Out of fuel


1 Aston Lagonda DP-166 93
F 5.0 Dennis Poore V12 (8hr)
Martin Lagonda
Ltd

Aston Tony Brooks


DN S Aston Martin Aston Battery
25 Martin Lagonda John Riseley- 83
F 3.0 DB3S Martin 2.9L S6 (9hr)
Ltd Pritchard

Jean-Paul
DN S J.-P. Colas Colas Salmson 2300S Oil leak
27 Salmson 2.3L L4 82
F 3.0 (private entrant) Jacques Cabriolet (9hr)
Dewez

DN S Umberto
3 Scuderia Ferrari 121LM Ferrari 4.4L S6 76 Clutch (7hr)
F 5.0 Maglioli
Ferrari
Phil Hill

Walter
DN S W. Ringgenberg Porsche 1498cc
38 Ringgenberg Porsche 550/4 65 Engine (8hr)
F 1.5 Hans-Jörg F4
(private entrant)
Gilomen

Kenneth
Lea-
DN S Connaught McAlpine Connaught AL/S
43 Francis 1484cc 60 Engine (9hr)
F 1.5 Engineering Eric R
S4
Thompson

Eugenio
DN S Scuderia Castellotti
4 Ferrari 121LM Ferrari 4.4L S6 52 Engine (5hr)
F 5.0 Ferrari Paolo
Marzotto

A. Jacques Peugeot 1425cc


DN S Constantin 203C Gearbox
69 Constantin Savoye S4 52
F 2.0 Spyder (9hr)
(private entrant) Jacques Poch Supercharged

Coventry
DN S Kieft Cars Alan Rippon Oil leak
46 Kieft Sport Climax 1098cc 47
F 1.1 Ltd. Ray Merrick (6hr)
S4

René Bonnet
DN S Ecurie Panhard 745cc Distributor
57 Claude D.B. HBR 44
F 750 Jeudy-Bonnet F2 (9hr)
Storez
Phil Walters Engine
DN S Briggs
9 William 'Bill' Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 43 (Valve)
F 5.0 Cunningham
Spear (7hr)

Peter
DN S Cooper Car Whitehead Oil leak
11 Cooper T38 Jaguar 3.4L S6 38
F 5.0 Co Graham (4hr)
Whitehead

"Pierre Fatal
DN S Daimler- Levegh" (Pierre Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-
20 34 accident (3h
F 3.0 Benz AG Bouillin) 300 SLR Benz 3.0L L8
r)
John Fitch

Automobil
DN S Cecil Vard Frazer Bristol 1971cc
36 es Frazer Nash 33 Engine (6hr)
F 2.0 Dick Odlum Nash Sebring S6
Ltd.

Francis
DN S Société Navarro Monopole Sport Panhard 745cc Oil leak
53 30
F 750 Monopole Jean de X88 F2 (6hr)
Montrémy

Lance Lance Accident


DN S Austin-Healey BMC A90 2.7L
26 Macklin Macklin 28 damage
F 3.0 100 S S4
(private entrant) Les Leston (6hr)

DN S MG Cars Dick Jacobs Accident


42 MG EX.182 MG 1489cc S4 27
F 1.5 Ltd. Joe Flynn (6hr)

Yves Giraud-
DN S Automobil Renault 747cc
56 Cabantous VP 166R 26 Engine (8hr)
F 750 es VP S4
Yves Lesur

Roberto
DN S Officine Mières Gearbox
15 Maserati 300S Maserati 3.0L S6 24
F 3.0 Alfieri Maserati Cesare (6hr)
Perdisa

"Mike "Mike Engine


DN S Ferrari 750
14 Sparken" Sparken" (Michel Ferrari 3.0L S4 23 (piston)
F 3.0 Monza
(private entrant) Pobejersky) (3hr)
Masten
Gregory

Dr. Mario
Nardi
DN S Ufficine Damonte Giannini 735cc Accident
61 ‘Damolnar’ 5
F 750 Nardi Roger S4 (1hr)
Bisiluro
Crovetto

Berwyn
DN S Kieft Cars Turner 1493cc Overheating
39 Baxter Kieft Sport 4
F 1.5 Ltd. S4 (1hr)
John Deeley

Did not start[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason

Louis
S Rosier Talbot-Lago T26
DNS 2 Ecurie Rosier Talbot 4.5L S6 Engine
5.0 Georges GS Spyder
Grignard

Robert
S Automobiles Manzon Accident in
DNS 17 Gordini T24S Gordini 3.0L S8
3.0 Gordini Élie Bayol practice
Jean Behra

Jim Russell
S Arnott Racing Coventry Accident in
DNS 45 Peter Arnott Sports
1.1 Cars Climax 1098cc S4 practice
Taylor

Lino Fayen
S Moretti Took grid
DNS 54 Herman Moretti 750S Moretti 750cc S4
750 Automobili too late
Rogenry

Giorgio
S Moretti Ubezzi Took grid
DNS 55 Moretti 750S Moretti 750cc S4
750 Automobili Mesnest too late
Bellanger

Jacques
S Société Pierre Ferry Sports
Reserve 70 Blaché Renault 747cc S4
750 Ferry F750
Louis Pons
Jean-Marie
Dumazer
S Automobiles André
Reserve 72 VP 155R Renault 747cc S4
750 VP Héchard
Jérôme
Pourond

Jean-Louis
Renault
S Rosier
Reserve 75 Ecurie Rosier 4CV/1068 Renault 747cc S4
750 Jean Spyder
Estager

Index of Performance[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Helmut Polensky
S Porsche 550 RS
1 37 Porsche KG Richard von 1.241
1.5 Spyder
Frankenberg

S Mike Hawthorn
2 6 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar D-Type 1.232
5.0 Ivor Bueb

S Aston Martin Lagonda Peter Collins


3 23 Aston Martin DB3S 1.228
3.0 Ltd Paul Frère

S 66 Ecurie Belge / Wolfgang Seidel Porsche 550 RS


4 1.204
1.5 Reserve Gustave Olivier Olivier Gendebien Spyder

S Helmut Glöckler Porsche 550 RS


5 62 Porsche KG 1.193
1.5 / Jaroslav Juhan Spyder

S Jacques Swaters
6 10 Ecurie Francorchamps Jaguar D-Type 1.186
5.0 Johnny Claes

S Louis Cornet
7 63 Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet DB HBR-MC 1.179
750 Robert Mougin

8 34 Bristol Aeroplane Co. Bristol 450C 1.139


S Peter Wilson
2.0 Jim Mayers

S Mike Keen
9 33 Bristol Aeroplane Co. Bristol 450C 1.131
2.0 Tommy Line

S Auguste Veuillet Porsche 550 RS


10 49 Porsche KG 1.128
1.1 Zora Arkus-Duntov Spyder

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum distance for the car, and
a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.[46]

21st Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1954/1955)[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Helmut Polensky
1 37 Porsche KG Porsche 550 RS Spyder 1.241
1.5 Richard von Frankenberg

S Helmut Glöckler
2 62 Porsche KG Porsche 550 RS Spyder 1.193
1.5 / Jaroslav Juhan

S Mike Keen
3 33 Bristol Aeroplane Co. Bristol 450C 1.131
2.0 Tommy Line

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Castelloti, #4 Ferrari 121 LM – 4m 14.0s; 191.14 kp/h (118.77 mph)
 Fastest Lap – Hawthorn, #6 Jaguar D-Type – 4m 06.6s; 196.96 kp/h (122.39 mph)
 Fastest Car in Speedtrap – Fangio, #19 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR – 292.21 kp/h (181.57 mph)
 Distance – 4135.38 km (2569.73 miles)
 Winner's Average Speed – 172.31 km/h (107.07 mph)
 Attendance – about 400 000

1956 24 Hours of Le Mans


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1956 24 Hours of Le Mans


Previous: 1955 Next: 1957

Index: Races | Winners

The 24ème Grand Prix d’Endurance les 24 Heures du Mans 1956 was a race for Sports Cars, and
took place on 28 and 29 July 1956 on the Circuit de la Sarthe. The race was won by Ron
Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson driving a Jaguar D-Type for the new Ecurie Ecosse team. This race
also marked the golden jubilee of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) founded in 1906, however
because of the previous year's terrible accident, celebrations were deferred to 1957 to go along with the
imminent 25th anniversary of the race.[1]

Le Mans in 1956

Following the events of 1955, the front stretch and pit lane were redesigned in order to enhance driver
and spectator safety. This involved a change to the layout of the Dunlop curve, shortening the overall
length of the track by 31 meters.
This race saw the death of French driver Louis Héry when his Monopole was involved in an accident
early in the race.

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish and post-race
 5Official results
 6Did Not Finish
 7Index of Performance
 822nd Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1955/1956)
 9Statistics
 10References
 11External links

Regulations[edit]
The official enquiry into the 1955 Le Mans disaster found severe deficiencies in the track layout along
the main straight and for quite some time there were serious concerns for the future of the race.
However, the ACO took all the recommendations on board and was able to convince the French
government for continuation. The extensive renovations cost FF300 million, moving 70000 cubic metres
of earth[2][3] and meant the race was delayed 7 weeks to the end of July.
The pit straight was redesigned: it was widened by 13m (giving room for a deceleration lane), the small
kink removed by straightening the approach, and the Dunlop curve realigned, steepened and eased,
moving the Dunlop Bridge. This all had the effect of shortening the lap by 31 metres. The grandstand
was demolished and rebuilt with new spectator terraces beyond a ditch between the track. The postwar
pits were also torn down and a new 3-storey complex built giving more space for crews and with
hospitality suites above (although there was still no barrier out to the racing line). This limited the
number of starters to 52, down from 60.[4]
Elsewhere on the track, the Indianapolis and Maison Blanche corners were also widened and
resurfaced, and a dangerous hump on the road after Arnage was removed. A new “signalling pits” was
built just after the Mulsanne corner (in the same place Bentley had used 20 years earlier with a phone-
link back to the pits) so as to reduce crew congestion and driver distraction on the critical pit straight
area.[4][5][6]
Regarding new regulations, the ACO also set a number of new restrictions with a view to limit maximum
speeds. Prototypes were now given a maximum engine size of 2.5L. Production cars had to have 50
units “built, sold or provided for”[7] and were still unrestricted in engine capacity. These new limits put the
ACO out of step with the FIA and hence the race was dropped from the 1956 World Sportscar
Championship. Full-width windscreens, at least 200mm, high were also mandatory further trimming top-
speed. Other effects to encourage economy limited all fuel tanks to a maximum size of 130 litres, and
the liquids replenishment (fuel, oil, water) window was extended again, from 32 to 34 laps (458 km /
284 miles) meaning a minimum practical fuel economy of 10.8mpg would be needed. Finally, drivers
were now only allowed to do 72 consecutive laps and 14 hours in total.[8]

Entries[edit]
Although Mercedes-Benz and Cunningham had withdrawn from racing, there was still strong support
from the car manufacturers and 14 sent works-entries.[9]

Category Classes Entries

Large-engines S-5000 / S-3000 18

Medium-engines S-2000 / S-1500 14

Small-engines S-1100 / S-750 17

To some surprise, Jaguar and Aston Martin were able to present cases to the ACO that their current
cars qualified as production models. Jaguar bought three of its updated D-types (now 130 kg lighter and
up to 275 bhp), the lead car of Mike Hawthorn / Ivor Bueb equipped with fuel-injection.[10] Their other
drivers were the experienced Jack Fairman and Ken Wharton, and Paul Frère with new team-
member Desmond Titterington. The team arrived in red-hot form after a comprehensive 1-2-3-4 result
at the Reims 12-hour race. The reliable ally, Equipe Nationale Belge, fielded a new production D-Type.
It also saw the arrival of Scotsman David Murray (racing driver)’s new Ecurie Ecosse under team
manager Walter “Wilkie” Wilkinson. Murray’s drivers were fellow-Scots Ron Flockhart and Ninian
Sanderson, stepping up from the smaller classes. In the absence of the big Cunninghams and Talbots
this year, the Jaguars had the S-5000 class to themselves.
Two true production cars, privately entered into the race, were a Jaguar XK140 and a gull-
wing Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
Aston Martin returned with a pair of the DBR3S, nominally production models but allowed non-standard
components.[11] Again, a strong driver line-up was represented, including Stirling Moss (this year a
Maserati F1 works driver, but who were not at Le Mans this year) with Peter Collins and Roy
Salvadori with Peter Walker. The team, having abandoned its Lagonda project, instead arrived with its
own new 2.5L prototype – the DBR1/250. Its smaller engine still managed to produce virtually the same
power (212 bhp) as its big brothers. It was driven by F1 drivers Reg Parnell and Tony Brooks
Ferrari, without the production facilities to compete with the British, instead had to create a new 2.5L
‘prototype’ for, essentially, the one-off duel at Le Mans. Engineer Vittorio Jano developed last year’s
2.5L S-4 grand-prix engine and put it into a chassis adapted from the new 500 TR (the inaugural
version of the “Testarossa”). Called the 625 LM, it gave 225 bhp giving a maximum speed of 230 km/h
– 10 km/h slower than the Jaguars. Team drivers were race-winner Maurice Trintignant and Olivier
Gendebien, Phil Hill and André Simon and Spanish noble 'Marquis' Alfonso de Portago with Duncan
Hamilton (fired from Jaguar for ignoring team orders at the Rheims race once too often).[12][13] Although
the 2.0L V12 in the 500 TR was considered too weak by the factory to take on the Jaguars, there were
three private-entries including a second car for the Equipe Nationale Belge.
Like Ferrari, French manufacturers Gordini and Talbot could not produce enough to meet the ACO
requirements and therefore would have to enter their cars as prototypes. Gordini had two 2.5L cars and
a smaller car in the S-1500 category. The larger cars trialled different engines: one using the 2.5L
Straight-8 in the Grand Prix cars, and the other a new, more powerful, Straight-6 version (giving about
230 bhp).[14] Talbot, now in receivership and in a change of tack, had adapted the 2.5L grand-prix
engine from the Maserati 250F to their new road-cars. Two cars were entered for Jean Behra with Louis
Rosier and Jean Lucas with pre-war Maserati veteran Geoffredo “Freddie” Zehender.[15][13]
After their great success in the previous race, Porsche returned in force with new cars: a pair of 550A
Coupés and a 356 Carrera production model. The new car had famously recently beaten the bigger
works Ferraris and Maseratis in the non-Championship Targa Florio. The factory also supported a
further a pair of older, privately entered 550 RS spyders and a 356A. Competing in the S-1500 class
were a pair of private Maseratis and Colin Chapman’s Lotus 11 with the new FWB-Climax engine. His
two other cars still used the smaller 1098cc FWA-Climax engine. The other entrants in the S-1100 class
were Cooper’s T39 using the same Climax engine, and a tiny French RB fitted with an OSCA 1093cc
engine.
For once the smallest, S-750, class was not the preserve of the French. Italian
manufacturers Stanguellini and Moretti both sent two-car entries, and OSCA a single car. They were up
against a strong DB-works entry of four cars, and three Monopoles. Panhard had closed its racing
department after the 1955 disaster and appointed Monopole, effectively as its works team.
Over the flying kilometre on the Mulsanne straight, the following top speeds this year were recorded this
year:[16]

Car Engine Horsepower Maximum Speed

Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 285 bhp 156.8 mph

Ferrari 625 LM Ferrari 2.5L S4 225 bhp 144.7 mph

Aston Martin DB3S Aston Martin 2.9L S6 240 bhp 142.6 mph

Gordini T15S Gordini 2.5L S8 <230 bhp 142.4 mph

Porsche 550A Porsche 1.5L F4 135 bhp 138.0 mph

Maserati 150S Maserati 1.5L S4 125 bhp 129.5 mph


Lotus 11 / Cooper T39 Climax FWA 1.1L S4 83 bhp 119 mph

D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 747cc F2 - 109.2 mph

Practice[edit]
This year there were only the two practice sessions assigned – on the Wednesday and Thursday.
Hawthorn set the fastest lap of 4:16.0 early on. Titterington was barely 3 seconds slower but then he
demolished his car in an accident, forcing the team to prepare the spare car for the race.[17] The best
Moss could do in the Aston Martin was a 4:27[18] Meanwhile, the team was also finding the fuel
consumption of their prototype DBR1, easily the noisiest car in the field, was excessive and therefore
needed to trim it back to be able to get through the race.[11] Most of the other larger cars were also doing
checks on their fuel consumption for the new regulations, and having to adjust their engine settings
accordingly[19]
As a comparison, some of the lap-times recorded during practice were:[18]

Car Driver Best Time

Jaguar D-Type Hawthorn 4min 16sec

Aston Martin DB3S Moss 4min 27sec

Ferrari 625 LM de Portago 4min 28sec

Porsche 550A von Trips 4min 40sec

Lotus 11 (1.5L) Chapman 4min 46sec

Lotus 11 (1.1L) 5min 08sec

DB-Panhard HBR-5 5min 46sec

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
The allure of the race was as great as ever and huge crowds returned, keen restore the traditional
festive atmosphere. An immaculately observed minute’s silence was held before the start of the race for
the previous year’s victims and a simple commemorative plaque unveiled.[9][20]
The race started in light drizzle, making the new track surface treacherously greasy. As usual, Moss
was lightning-quick and first off the line in his Aston Martin. Hawthorn’s more powerful Jaguar blasted
past him on the back straight and led at the end of the first lap. On lap three, Paul Frère got it sideways
in the narrow Esses and spun his Jaguar. Fairman, close behind in the sister car, slammed on the
brakes and also spun, then de Portago arrived unsighted and with nowhere to go broadsided Fairman.
All three cars got going again: Frère limped on but came to a halt on the Mulsanne straight. De Portago
got a bit further but the Ferrari’s oil cooler was smashed. Fairman got to the pits but the damage was
too severe to repair. Ten minutes gone and three works entries were already eliminated. Hill’s Ferrari
barely managed to skate through his teammate’s oil, but soon his clutch started to fail. More drama
occurred minutes later when Hawthorn came in from the lead with an engine misfire. It was eventually
traced to a hairline crack in a fuel line – the delay and repair cost an hour, and 21 laps, and dropped the
remaining works Jaguar out of contention.
But worse had happened between these issues: Louis Héry, local garage owner in his second Le Mans,
crashed his private Monopole-Panhard heavily at Maison Blanche. The car rolled and tore itself apart.
Héry, critically injured, died in the ambulance en route to the hospital.[7]
On lap 7, Flockhart used his superior speed to get his Ecosse Jaguar into the lead, but the veteran
drivers Moss and Walker kept their Aston Martins in contact. After the first pit-stops and driver-changes
Sanderson put the Ecosse Jaguar onto a more conservative race strategy and Collins took the lead in
the 3rd hour as the rain got heavier. The two remaining works Ferraris moved up to 3rd and 4th when
the Walker/Salvadori Aston was delayed by ignition problems. Yet again Gordini was quick and
competitive – the T15 of Manzon and Guichet, with the 2.5L F1 engine, holding a solid 5th place, and
its sister car a couple of places behind tussling with the Belgian Jaguar.
Night[edit]
Being run a month later, the night was that bit longer and intermittent showers persisted through the
night.[7] Just before 10pm on the run from Maison Blanche to the pits Fernand Tavano’s Testarossa
went off the road, spun and hit the bank. Facing the opposite direction, his headlights blinded ’Helm’
Glöckler who’s Porsche Carrera ran straight into the Ferrari. Tavano was thrown clear by the heavy
impact as his car was shoved into the roadside ditch, but the Porsche rolled and burst into flames.
Glöckler was pulled out by rescuers with minor burns and a broken leg.[21]
By midnight Sanderson had retaken the lead, yet as the track got damp again, the experience of the F1
racers showed and Moss & Collins retook the lead by 3am, with Gendebien/Trintignant third, four laps
down. Hill/Simon running 4th, had been changing gears with no clutch until they were forced out with
rear axle failure just before half-time. The remarkable Porsche 550s were running 5th and 6th. Near the
end of the night though the Maglioli’s leading Porsche was slowed and eventually stopped by engine
issues. The prototype Aston Martin was surprising many, running in the top-10, and by the early hours
of the morning had climbed up to 4th. Sadly for the partisan crowd, both Gordinis had fallen by the
wayside with engine problems. In the small hours Cliff Allison’s Lotus, doing 190 km/h, struck a dog
chasing a rabbit on the Mulsanne Straight wrecking the radiator.[22][23]
Morning[edit]
The rain stopped for a while around dawn and that suited the bigger Jaguar, and they retook the lead
and by 8am had built a 3-minute margin. Soon after dawn the last of the 2-litre class was out – the
Ferrari of Jean Lucas, having got into the top-10, was disqualified for refuelling two laps too
early.[24] Around 7.30, in a sudden downpour, Peter Walker, running 8th, crashed heavily at the Dunlop
bridge just after the pits. The car rolled and sat in the middle of the road but the driver was able to get
out with just cuts, bruises and a broken finger.[25] Later in the morning Moss and Collins lost their 2nd
gear, limiting their chase and they gradually gave up ground.[26] Around noon the Talbot of
Behra/Rosier, having barely kept up with the Aston Martin, Ferraris and Gordinis in its class, but
through attrition, moved up to 8th, was stopped by a broken rear axle.[15]
Finish and post-race[edit]
In the end all the leading cars stayed reliable to the finish: the exception was the Aston Martin prototype
which, having slipped back to 7th with engine issues, broke its rear suspension in the final hour.
The Ecosse Jaguar won by a lap from the Aston Martin. The Ferraris were never able to compete with
the leaders but Gendebien/Trintignant came home third a further six laps back. Yet again the Belgian
Jaguar had a good run, this time finishing 4th, fully 16 laps behind the winner. The leading Porsche of
von Trips and von Frankenberg was 5th, just missing out on the Index of Performance, but finishing an
enormous 37 laps ahead of the only other class-finisher: the privateer Maserati of Bourillot/Perroud in
9th. Having been driving up from the back of the field for 23 hours, Hawthorn and Bueb finished a
commendable 6th place, with Hawthorn’s determination getting him the race’s fastest lap, albeit well
down on the previous year.[7]
The rivalry between the Climax-engined kit-cars went the way of Lotus. Jopp and Bicknell had retaken
the S-1100 lead around 11am after the Cooper of Americans Hugus and Bentley had held it for 12
hours, and finished just over a lap ahead, as the cars finished 7th and 8th overall. The DB works team
did well again with three of their four cars finishing (in 10th, 11th and 12th overall), and taking the
valuable Index of Performance prize
A mere 13 finishers were classified (the lowest ratio of the decade), and given the tricky conditions it
was no surprise that there were 16 major accidents.[10] It was a credit to the preparation and
organisation of the fledgling Ecurie Ecosse team to win on its first attempt at Le Mans.
Although not one of the event’s most exciting races it was, nevertheless, a testament to the dedication
and tradition of the ACO that it was able to overcome the terrible events of 1955 – lesser of which have
seen the demise of similar events. This was the final race overseen by the great Charles Faroux – the
engineer and journalist who was the co-founder of the great race. He died the following February aged
74. Closely involved in international motor-racing administration he was also the race director for
the Monaco Grand Prix.[7]

Official results[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[27]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps

S Ninian Sanderson
1 4 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 300
5.0 Ron Flockhart

S Stirling Moss Aston Martin Aston Martin


2 8 Aston Martin Ltd. 299
3.0 Peter Collins DB3S 2.9L S6

Olivier Gendebien
S
3 12 Scuderia Ferrari Maurice Ferrari 625 LM Ferrari 2.5L S4 293
3.0
Trintignant

Jacques Swaters
S Equipe Nationale
4 5 ‘Freddy’ Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 284
5.0 Belge
Rousselle

Graf Wolfgang
S von Trips Porsche 550A Porsche 1498cc
5 25 Porsche KG 282
1.5 Richard von Coupe F4
Frankenberg

S Mike Hawthorn Jaguar D-


6 1 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar 3.4L S6 280
5.0 Ivor Bueb Type FI
S Reg Bicknell Climax FWA
7 36 Lotus Engineering Lotus 11 253
1.1 Peter Jopp 1098cc S4

S Cooper Car Ed Hugus Climax FWA


8 33 Cooper T39 252
1.1 Company John Bentley 1098cc S4

S C. Bourillot Claude Bourillot Maserati 1497cc


9 30 Maserati 150S 245
1.5 (private entrant) Henri Perroud S4

S Automobiles Gérard Laureau DB HBR-5


10 40 Panhard 747cc F2 231
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Paul Armagnac Spyder

Jean-Claude
S Automobiles DB HBR-5
11 45 Vidilles Panhard 747cc F2 225
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Coupé
Jean Thépenier

S Automobiles André Héchard DB HBR-4


12 46 Panhard 747cc F2 220
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Roger Masson Spyder

N/C S R. Bourel Roland Bourel Porsche 1290cc


34 Porsche 356A 212
* 1.5 (private entrant) Maurice Slotine F4

Jean-Marie
S
13 41 Just-Emile Vernet Dumazer VP 166R Renault 845cc S4 210
1.1
Lucien Campion

 Note *: Not Classified because of Insufficient distance covered

Did Not Finish[edit]


Clas N Lap
Pos Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s o s

Aston
DN S Aston Reg Parnell Aston Martin Transmissi
14 Martin 246
F 3.0 Martin Ltd. Tony Brooks 2.5L S6 on (24hr)
DBR1/250

DN S Automobiles Tal Jean Behra Talbot- Maserati 2.5L Transmissi


17 220
F 3.0 bot Louis Rosier Lago Sport S6 on (21hr)
Premature
DS S R. Walshaw Robert Walshaw Jaguar
6 Jaguar 3.5L S6 209 Refuelling
Q 5.0 (private entrant) Peter Bolton XK140
(21hr)

Aston
DN S Aston Peter Walker Aston Martin Accident
9 Martin 173
F 3.0 Martin Ltd. Roy Salvadori 2.9L S6 ((16hr)
DB3S

Colin Chapman
DN S Lotus Engineerin Climax FWB Engine
32 Herbert Lotus 11 172
F 1.5 g 1459cc S4 (21hr)
MacKay-Fraser

François Picard Premature


DS S Ferrari Ferrari 1985cc
22 Los Amigos Bob Tappan 137 refuelling
Q 2.0 500 TR S4
Howard Hively (14hr)

Umberto Porsche
DN S Porsche 1498cc Engine
24 Porsche KG Maglioli 550A 136
F 1.5 F4 (16hr)
Hans Herrmann Coupé

DN S Jean Py OSCA 1093cc Gearbox


37 René Breuil RB Sport 116
F 1.1 Yves Dommée S4 (15hr)

DN S Phil Hill Ferrari 625 Transmissi


10 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 2.5L S4 107
F 3.0 André Simon LM on (10hr)

Richard ‘Dickie’ Frazer


DN S Automobiles Fra Bristol 1977cc Accident
23 Stoop Nash Sebrin 100
F 2.0 zer Nash Ltd. S6 (10hr)
Tony Gaze g

Hermano da
DN S Automobiles Gor Gordini T2 Gordini 2.5L Clutch
16 Silva Ramos 90
F 3.0 dini 3S S6 (12hr)
André de Guelfi

DN S Lotus Engineerin Cliff Allison Climax FWA Accident


35 Lotus 11 89
F 1.1 g Keith Hall 1098cc S4 (10hr)

DN S Automobiles Gor Robert Manzon Gordini T1 Gordini 2.5L Engine


15 80
F 3.0 dini Jean Guichet 5S S8 (8hr)
Serge
Salmson
DN S J.-P. Colas Nersessian Salmson 2.3L Gearbox
19 2300S Cou 80
F 3.0 (private entrant) Georges S4 (10hr)

Monneret

DN S Equipe Nationale Lucien Bianchi Ferrari Ferrari 1985cc Steering


20 76
F 2.0 Belge Alain de Changy 500 TR S4 (8hr)

André Milhoux
DN S Automobiles Gor Gordini T1 Gordini 1495cc Out of fuel
29 Clarence de 67
F 1.5 dini 7S S6 (8hr)
Clareur

Marcel Lauga
DN S Moretti Moretti 750 Moretti 747cc Engine
48 Jean-Michel 62
F 750 Automobili Gran Sport S4 (10hr)
Durif

DN S P. Meyrat Pierre Meyrat Ferrari Ferrari 1985cc Accident


21 61
F 2.0 (private entrant) Fernand Tavano 500 TR S4 (8hr)

Max Nathan
DN S Porsche Porsche 1498cc Accident
F 1.5
26 Porsche KG Helmut ‘Helm’ 356 Carrera F4
61
(8hr)
Glöckler

Fürst Paul von


Metternich- Mercedes-
DN S Mercedes-Benz Engine
7 P. Metternich Winneburg Benz 58
F 3.0 3.0L S6 (8hr)
Wittigo von 300SL
Einsiedel

Panhard-
DN S Automobiles Pan Jean Hémard Panhard 745cc Engine
49 Monopole 50
F 750 hard Pierre Flahaut F2 (7hr)
X89

Carel Godin de
Porsche
DN S W. Seidel Beaufort Porsche 1498cc Suspension
27 550 RS 48
F 1.5 (private entrant) Mathieu F4 (8hr)
Spyder
Hezemans

Pierre Chancel Panhard-


DN S Automobiles Pan Panhard 745cc Accident
50 André Monopole 46
F 750 hard F2 (6hr)
Beaulieux X88
Claude Storez Porsche
DN S G. Olivier Porsche 1498cc Electrics (8
28 Helmut 550 RS 45
F 1.5 (private entrant) F4 hr)
Polensky Spyder

René-Philippe
DN S Automobili Stanguellini Stanguellini 74 Accident
52 Faure 36
F 750 Stanguellini 750 Sport 1cc S4 (6hr)
Gilbert Foury

DN S L. Cornet Louis Cornet Maserati 15 Maserati Engine


31 35
F 1.5 (private entrant) Robert Mougin 0S 1487cc S4 (4hr)

Jean Lucas
DN S Automobiles Tal Talbot- Maserati 2.5L Accident
18 Geoffredo 32
F 3.0 bot Lago Sport S6 (7hr)
Zehender

DN S Automobili Pierre Duval Stanguellini Stanguellini 74 Engine


53 23
F 750 Stanguellini Georges Guyot 750 Sport 1cc S4 (4hr)

Marceau
DN S Moretti Esculus Moretti 750 Moretti 747cc Electrics (7
47 22
F 750 Automobili François Gran Sport S4 hr)
Guillaud

Fatal
DN S L. Héry Louis Héry Monopole Panhard 745cc
51 5 accident
F 750 (private entrant) Lucien Pailler X86 F2
(1 hr)

DN S Automobili O.S. Jean Laroche O.S.C.A. 75 OSCA] 749cc Accident


42 4
F 750 C.A. Rémy Radix 0S S4 (1hr)

DN S Jack Fairman Jaguar D- Accident


3 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar 3.4L S6 3
F 5.0 Ken Wharton Type (1hr)

Fernand
DN S Automobiles DB HBR-5 Panhard 747cc Accident
44 Carpentier 2
F 750 Deutsch et Bonnet Coupé F2 (1hr)
Pierre Savary

DN S Alfonso, Marqui Ferrari 625 Accident


11 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 2.5L I4 2
F 3.0 s de Portago LM (1hr)
Duncan
Hamilton

DN S Paul Frère Jaguar D- Accident


2 Jaguar Cars Ltd. Desmond Jaguar 3.4L S6 2
F 5.0 Type (1hr)
Titterington

Index of Performance[edit]
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Automobiles Gérard Laureau


1 40 DB HBR-5 Spyder 1.166
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Paul Armagnac

S Graf Wolfgang von Trips


2 25 Porsche KG Porsche 550A Coupe 1.159
1.5 Richard von Frankenberg

S Automobiles Jean-Claude Vidilles


3 45 DB HBR-5 Coupé 1.135
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Jean Thépenier

S Reg Bicknell
4 36 Lotus Engineering Lotus 11 1.118
1.1 Peter Jopp

S Ed Hugus
5 33 Cooper Car Company Cooper T39 1.114
1.1 John Bentley

S Stirling Moss
6 8 Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 1.113
3.0 Peter Collins

S Olivier Gendebien
7 12 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 625 LM 1.110
3.0 Maurice Trintignant

S Automobiles André Héchard


8 46 DB HBR-4 Spyder 1.110
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Roger Masson

S Ninian Sanderson
9 4 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type 1.101
5.0 Ron Flockhart

10 5 Equipe Nationale Belge Jaguar D-Type 1.041


S Jacques Swaters
5.0 ‘Freddy’ Rousselle

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum
distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.[28]

22nd Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1955/1956)[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

S Automobiles Gérard Laureau


1 40 DB HBR-5 Spyder 1.166
750 Deutsch et Bonnet Paul Armagnac

S Graf Wolfgang von Trips


2 25 Porsche KG Porsche 550A Coupe 1.159
1.5 Richard von Frankenberg

S Stirling Moss
3 8 Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 1.113
3.0 Peter Collins

 Note: Only the top three positions are included in this set of standings.

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Hawthorn, #1 Jaguar D-Type – 4m 16.0s; 186.20 kp/h (117.56 mph)
 Fastest Lap – Hawthorn, #1 Jaguar D-Type – 4m 20.0s; 186.38 kp/h (115.82 mph)
 Distance - 4,034.93 km (2,507.19 mi)
 Winner’s Average Speed - 168.12 km/h (104.46 mph)
 Attendance – 250 000[29]

1957 24 Hours of Le Mans


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1957 24 Hours of Le Mans

Previous: 1956 Next: 1958

Index: Races | Winners

The 1957 24 Heures du Mans was the 25th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Grand Prix of
Endurance, and took place on 22 and 23 June 1957, on the Circuit de la Sarthe. It was also the fifth
round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship. Some 250,000 spectators had gathered for
Europe’s classic sports car race, around an 8.38-mile course. The prospect of an exciting duel
between Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Porsche was enough to draw large crowds to the
24 Hours race, now back at its usual date and reintegrated into the World Championship.
Le Mans in 1957

Never before had a single nation swept the board so completely as Britain did in 1957. The great
success of the Jaguars in taking the first four and sixth places became all the more significant when it is
considered that all of the cars were privately entered (albeit with some factory support), and matched
against the works entries of some of the greatest sport car manufacturers.

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice and Pre-Race
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish and post-race
 5Official results
 6Did Not Finish
 7Did Not Start
 8Index of Performance
 923rd Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1956/1957)
 10Statistics
 11Standings after the race
 12References
 13External links

Regulations[edit]
After the major changes in the previous year, the ACO relented on its engine-size limitation –
prototypes were again an open limit. They did, however, address body-shape requirements: the token
second seat. Cars now had to have at least two doors and both seats had to be the same size, in a
cockpit a minimum 1.2m wide.[1] The minimum windscreen height was reduced from 20 to 15 cm,
maximum fuel-tank size was 120 litres, and the total fuel usage restrictions were removed a year after
they were imposed. One of the oldest regulations was removed – of having to carry all spares and tools
on the car, allowing them to be left in the pits.[2][3]
This all re-aligned with the FIA/CSI, who themselves issued a major new Appendix C to the Sports Car
regulations based closely on the 1956 ACO regulations.[4][3] Therefore, the Le Mans race was drafted
back into the World Sportscar Championship.
The number of starters was fixed at 55. The maximum drive time stayed at 14 hours, but drivers were
now limited to a maximum single stint of 36 laps, down from the previous year’s 72 laps. The interval
between refuelling was reduced for the first time, down to 30 laps from 34 laps. This year, for the Index
of Performance, the target distances for nominal engine sizes were set as follows (according to a
specific formula):[5]
Engine Capacity Total Distance Average Speed

S-4000 3710.8 km 154.6 kph

S-3500 3671.2 km 153.0 kph

S-3000 3619.0 km 150.8 kph

S-2500 3547.1 km 147.8 kph

S-2000 3441.9 km 143.4 kph

S-1500 3272.7 km 136.4 kph

S-1100 3040.0 km 126.7 kph

S-1000 2956.5 km 123.2 kph

S-750 2666.7 km 111.1 kph

The Hors Course rule was revised: there would be systematic disqualification after every 6 hours
(rather than previous 12 hours) of cars that had fallen more than 20% below its nominal Index of
Performance at that time.[6][7][4] Finally, the ACO formalised a ban on female drivers, after the death of
Annie Bousquet in the 1956 12 Hours of Reims[2]

Entries[edit]
A total of 82 racing cars were registered for this event, of which 58 were allowed to practice, trying to
qualify for the 55 starting places for the race. The big talking point with the entry list was the non-
appearance of the works Jaguar team, which had retired from racing at the end of the previous year;
and the arrival in force of Maserati in the top class.[1][8][7]

Category Classes Entries

Large-engines S-5000 / S-3000 22

Medium-engines S-2000 / S-1500 15 (+2 reserves)


Small-engines S-1100 / S-750 18 (+3 reserves)

In the absence of the works team, the defending champions put their support behind their customer
teams. Ex-works driver Duncan Hamilton and Ecurie Ecosse both had one of the experimental fuel-
injected 3.8L-engined cars, capable of nearly 300 bhp. Ecurie Ecosse also ran the 3.4L car that Paul
Frère had crashed early in the previous year’s race (and arriving still in its British Racing Green straight
from the Jaguar factory[9]). Frère himself was racing for his native Equipe Nationale Belge using the
same car the team had finished 4th in 1956. Finally there was the car for French industrial diamond-
manufacturer privateer Jean Brussin (racing under the pseudonym “Mary”) in conjunction with the Lyon-
based Los Amigos racing team.[10][1]
Aston Martin, now managed by Reg Parnell as John Wyer had moved up to be general manager,
brought three works cars: their new DBR2, as well as two DBR1/300s with uprated 3.0L engines
generating 245 bhp. Their regular drivers Roy Salvadori and Tony Brooks were paired with new team-
members Les Leston and Noël Cunningham-Reid respectively. The one-off DBR2 used the defunct
Lagonda P166 frame fitted with the 3.7L engine of the new DB4 road-car (producing 290 bhp) and
given to the Whitehead brothers.[11][1] The team had good reason to be confident for outright honours,
after Brooks and Cunningham-Reid raced to victory over the Italians in their DBR1/300 at the most
recent round of the championship: the 1000km of Nürburgring. There was also an older DB3S entered
for two French gentleman-drivers filled a vacant fourth works entry.[12]
Ferrari arrived, it hoped, with an overwhelming force of ten cars. The works team had two of their
mighty new Type 335 S, with its big 4.0L V12 engine (capable of 430 bhp) for their grand prix
drivers: Mike Hawthorn / Luigi Musso and Peter Collins / Phil Hill - their driver ranks were sadly
depleted after the deaths, earlier in the year, of works drivers Eugenio Castellotti and then Alfonso de
Portago (in an accident that led to the end of the iconic Mille Miglia). The team also ran a pair of Type
250 TR prototypes testing for the upcoming CSI regulations changes.[13][9] One with a 3.0L V12 for
Ferrari test-driver Martino Severi and Stuart Lewis-Evans, and the other with a 3.1L V12 for Maurice
Trintignant and Olivier Gendebien, who had been Ferrari’s best performers in the previous year’s race,
finishing 4th.[14] There were also a pair of privately entered 3.5L 290 MM and three 2.0L Testarossas
(including Equipe Nationale Belge running a Jaguar, Ferrari and a Porsche to hedge their bets).[15][1]
Maserati also turned up with confidence this year: Stirling Moss was now a Maserati works driver, and
was to drive the coupé version (designed by Vanwall’s Frank Costin) of the 450S with French-
American Harry Schell, while the spyder version was run by Jean Behra / André Simon. Its 4.5L V8
developed 420 bhp (being the biggest engine in this year’s race) although the cars still used big,
obsolete drum brakes. Along with these were a 3.0L car and a pair of smaller 2.0L cars.[1] Juan Manuel
Fangio (who had won at Sebring with Behra in a 450 spyder) was present in the pit, as a ‘reserve driver’
to put concern in the opposition teams.[16][17][18]
France, now a fading force in the major categories was only represented by a pair of Talbot-Maseratis
for the Ecurie Dubonnet team and two works Gordinis (as usual, split between the S-3000 and S-2000
classes). As it turned out, this was to be the last appearance from these stalwart supporters of the
race.[1]
Although Bristol was no longer running, its 2.0L engine was used by Frazer Nash and debutante AC
Cars to take on the five medium-engined privateer Ferraris and Maseratis in the S-2000 class. Without
Lotus present, the six Porsches had the S-1500 class to themselves. The works team brought a pair of
550As as well as one of the new 718 RSK for Umberto Maglioli and East German Edgar Barth. The
other three were Belgian, French and American private entrants.[19]
The British instead pushed into the S-1100 class with the FWA-Climax engine powering the Lotus (after
a class win at Sebring), Cooper and Arnott cars. They were up against a Stanguellini stepping up a
class, and a 1-off appearance from Germany of an unusual, plastic DKW using its 3-cylinder 2-stroke
motorcycle engine (developing less than 50 bhp!).[20]
The smallest, S-750, class was the usual assortment of French and Italian cars except for a lone Lotus
muddying the waters.[1] Colin Chapman had convinced Coventry Climax to develop a short-stroke
version of its successful FWA engine (generating 75 bhp) to take on the French in the lucrative Index of
Performance (the handicap system which measured cars exceeding their specified target distance by
the greatest ratio). Lotus works driver Cliff Allison, and Keith Hall, were its drivers. Lucky to reach
scrutineering in time, it was presented with no exhaust and without having the engine been run.[21]

Practice and Pre-Race[edit]


A number of events were held over the race weekend to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the ACO –
postponed as they were from the previous year after the 1955 disaster. Seventy classic French cars
from the very earliest years of the organisation, with drivers in period costume,[22] did demonstration laps
of the circuit in a ‘Race of Regularity’ – the winning 1908 Roland-Pillain recorded doing over 50 mph
along the Mulsanne straight .[2][23] This year also saw a demonstration lap performed by the first turbine
car – a Renault L’Etoile Filante.[4][24]
The big Italian cars set the first sub-4 minute laps in practice: Mike Hawthorn in the Ferrari, then Fangio
driving Behra’s Maserati spyder – his 3.58:1 being the fastest single lap of the decade.[25] Moss had a
major moment when the special new large brakes on his car locked coming up to Mulsanne corner at
top speed. Getting back to the pits he got the regular brakes fitted instead.[18] Meanwhile, the works
Ferraris were fitted with experimental pistons and one of the works prototype Testarossas suffered
piston failure before it could get to do any laps. It was scratched when other cars started getting similar
problems and time ran out to make repairs.[13] Severi & Lewis-Evans were allowed to change to
the Type 315 S that had won that fateful Mille Miglia.[14] It was a harbinger for bad problems to come.
The lead Ecosse Jaguar had developed a misfire in practice. After the crew fixed it, Murray took it out
onto public roads to test it at 4am on race-day morning. Winding it up to its 178 mph top speed he was
lucky not to be held by the gendarmerie.[26] The Whitehead brothers found their new Aston Martin DBR2
was very quick, but deliberately eased off in practice in case team manager Reg Parnell bumped them
from the car for his other drivers.[11] In Friday practice, one of the Talbots had terminal issues and had to
be scratched.[20] It was also soon apparent that the little French cars would have a fight on their hands
this year, as the small Lotus-Climax was proving to be very quick – almost 25 seconds per lap
quicker.[27][18] Chapman’s own 1475cc Lotus had practiced faster than the Porsches in its class (and
breaking the S-1500 lap record), but dropped a valve and had to be withdrawn.[21] His American co-
drivers, Herbert MacKay-Fraser and Jay Chamberlain (Lotus’ agent in California) were substituted into
the team’s S-1100 reserve entry. This left the S-1500 class the sole preserve of Porsche.[18]

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
Despite the poor weather leading up to race day, it began cloudy and humidly muggy. By the 4 pm
start, the crowd was around 250,000. The usually quick and nimble Moss was slowed trying to squeeze
into his cramped Maserati coupé so the first car to clear the startline was the Ferrari of Peter Collins,
leaving a long trail of rubber, followed by the three Aston Martins. Unfortunately, the final appearance of
Talbot was rather ignominious: its transmission broke as it left its start-box and it only went a handful of
metres giving its driver, Bruce Halford the shortest debut on record.[20] At the end of the first lap, Collins
was in the lead (already on lap-record pace, from a standing start[1]), followed by Brooks, Hawthorn,
Gendebien and Salvadori fifth. But on the second lap Collins dropped back to tenth with engine trouble,
pitting at the end of the next lap to retire with a seized piston. The Ferrari of Hawthorn had taken over
the lead, hounded by the Maseratis of Moss, then Behra, at a blistering pace.
At the end of the first hour and 14 laps, Hawthorn had a 40-second lead over the Maseratis of Behra
and Moss, then Gendebien, Bueb’s Ecosse Jaguar and Brooks in the Aston Martin.[28] The other
Jaguars were biding their time, running just in the top-10. Soon enough, trouble struck more of the
Italian cars: Moss’ Maserati began to smoke ominously and heavily, and after 26 laps, just before the
two-hour mark, Hawthorn came into the pits to change tyres.[29] The task of inserting the new spare into
the Ferrari’s tail took considerably longer than to change the wheel.[30] Desperate to get back into the
race, he leapt into the car – to be ordered out again smartly by a marshal.[18] In the meantime, Behra
took over the lead, and Hawthorn finally re-joined back in fifth place. In trying to catch the lead pack,
Hawthorn set a new lap record with the first two sub-4 minute laps. Around 30 laps the regular pitstops
and driver-changes started. The Moss Maserati, now in the hands of Harry Schell after a long pit stop
costing a dozen laps,[30] was soon to retire with rear axle trouble, just four laps after a similar issue cost
their teammates Behra/Simon - forced to retire when it caused Simon to have an accident on his
opening lap from the pits, splitting the fuel tank.[30] Hawthorn refueled and handed the Ferrari over to
Musso to start moving back up the field.[18]

The race winning Jaguar D-Type of Flockhart/Bueb

This attrition of the Italian challengers, combined with a very rapid fuel stop,[30] moved the Ecurie Ecosse
car of Flockhart/Bueb into the lead at the start of the third hour – a lead they would not relinquish. In the
fourth hour, Musso, having fought back up to second place, was hobbled by another seized piston
destroying his engine out on the Mulsanne straight just before dusk. With the Severi/Lewis-Evans
Ferrari held back with braking problems, this left the Gendebien/Trintignant car as the sole challenger
from Maranello, who took over second place from their teammates.
Another casualty in the fourth hour was the second Gordini – the first having only lasted 3 laps – when
it pulled into the pits with terminal engine issues. With dwindling funds, this was to be a disappointing
end to Amedee Gordini’s long association with Le Mans.[31]
By 9 pm, when the majority of the second fuel stops had been completed, the Ecosse Jaguar still led
the race, now with Bueb back behind the wheel; Brooks, back in the Aston Martin, held second place,
Gendebien in third, Masten Gregory, in Hamilton’s Jaguar was fourth with the second Ecurie Ecosse
Jaguar running fifth being chased by the Severi/Lewis-Evans Ferrari making up for lost time. The works
Porsches were scrapping amongst themselves, just out of the top-10, for the lead in the S-1500 and
well ahead of the Belgian Testarossa leading the S-2000 class.[7][18]
Night[edit]
Just before 10:30 pm, the Whitehead brothers had to retire the big Aston Martin out of the top-10 when
its gearbox finally broke. When the Scarlatti/Bonnier Maserati retired with clutch failure, the works team
had finished its dismal race after only 6 hours. Soon after midnight Gendebien retired out of third with a
holed crankcase and yet another piston failure, leaving Ferrari’s fortunes barely any better. Salvadori
retired around 2am, when the gearbox of his Aston Martin finally broke, after he had been running with
only 4th gear for most of his stint. Meanwhile, the remaining Aston Martin was still lying second to
Bueb’s D-Type. When Brooks took over he was four minutes behind Bueb; two hours later, he was only
two minutes adrift when his gearbox also left him with only 4th gear and he started dropping
back.[18] Then at 1.50am came the most serious accident of the race: Brooks’ Aston Martin, now trailing
by two laps and still stuck in 4th gear, was coming out of Tertre Rouge when he lost control, hit the
bank and rolled. He was then hit by Maglioli closely following in the Porsche 718, which had been
comfortably leading the S-2000 class and running 7th overall. Brooks was taken to hospital with severe
cuts and bruises.[32][33] This left Jaguar sitting 1-2-3-4: Ecurie Ecosse, leading from Equipe Nationale
Belge, then the second Ecosse and the Los Amigos cars. Lewis-Evans, battling failing brakes, had the
last works Ferrari back in 5th.
Missing from the list was Hamilton’s Jaguar that had been delayed around midnight by a burnt-through
exhaust pipe which was filling the cockpit with fumes and overheating the fuel lines and burning a hole
in the cockpit-floor. When Hamilton pitted, the exhaust system was welded up and the hole repaired
with a plate of steel cut out of an unattended gendarmerie wagon by the “enterprising” pit-crew![34] The
car returned to the race in 11th and set about a hard race to make up time.[35][18][7] Meanwhile, the Lotus
in the S-750 class held a comfortable margin in the Index of Performance over the OSCA, with Mackay-
Fraser’s Lotus and Chancel’s Panhard, the best of the little French cars, battling for third.
By half-distance, the order at the top had stabilised (the leader having done 165 laps), but with the
attrition of the front-runners more of the smaller cars were coming up into the top-10. With the demise
of Maglioli, it was now the works Porsche of Storez/Crawford that was running a very creditable 6th
having done 152 laps. The big American Ferrari of George Arents was now 7th (147 laps) then 3 laps
back to the Belgian Ferrari of Bianchi/Harris in 8th, leading the S-2000 category. In 9th was the little
Lotus of Mackay-Fraser/Chamberlain, doing a mighty job leading the S-1100 class, on 141 laps and a
lap back was the new AC Ace (virtually a shop-standard car[4]) running very consistently. The little DKW
stopped near the pits but the driver was able to run down, pick up a fuel pump and go back and fit it
himself to get back into the race.[33][18]
Morning[edit]
By 5:30 am, as dawn broke the overnight mist changed to a heavy fog covering the circuit (the only bad
weather of the weekend). Although at times the visibility forced drivers to slow to 50 kph this did not
dramatically affect the lap times of the Jaguars. From this point on it became a real test of endurance –
with almost half the field retired or barely running.[33] An hour later, and the lead Jaguar completed its
200th lap and holding a comfortable 5-lap lead over the field. At 6:55 am, “Freddy” Rousselle, in the
Belgian Jaguar running second came to a halt at Mulsanne for nearly an hour with ignition trouble.[32] He
eventually got the car moving again and got back to the pits and later rejoined down in sixth place
putting in very rapid times to haul back the leaders. By 10am, they were back up to 4th.[18][7]
Although other classes had been hit by retirements, the S-2000 was still very close – the Bianchi
Ferrari, running 8th overall, was still leading the class ahead of Rudd’s AC, Tavano’s Ferrari, Dickie
Stoop’s well-travelled Fraser-Nash and Guyot’s Maserati. In the Index of Performance, the small Lotus
still had a comfortable lead, now ahead of their bigger brother running second and the works Porsche in
third. Overnight the OSCA had hit troubles and slipped back.
At three-quarter time (10am), as the fog finally lifted, the order was staying very static – the four
Jaguars holding the top places over a 16-lap spread. The leader had a comfortable 7-lap advantage
over its teammate running second and the others about four laps apart from each other. The Ferrari
and Porsche were both on the same lap and chasing the Belgian Jaguar two laps ahead of them.
Finish and post-race[edit]
In the last hour the leading Porsche, which had been running as high as 5th, ran out of fuel near Maison
Blanche. Storez pushed it back to the pit-entrance, but could not refuel (being inside its 30-lap window)
and it could never be pushed around the track again meaning they could not complete the final lap in
the required 30 minutes to be classified.[19] In contrast, the little Stanguellini came into the pits stuck in
top gear. Unable to restart and not allowed an assisted start from the pit-crew, the driver set about
pushing the car himself: half a mile to the top of the Dunlop hill, to the great cheers of support from the
crowd. Half an hour later, he was able to bump-start the car on the downhill, still stuck in top-gear, and
went on to take the last finishing position.[36]
But otherwise the leaderboard remained unchanged. At 4:00pm, the chequered flag fell and for the
second year in succession, in a formation finish with his teammate, Flockhart brought a dark blue
Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type first past the finish line. The winners were never challenged in a trouble-
free run, except for one unscheduled stop to change a light bulb.[10] In fact, the car spent only 13
minutes and 9 seconds on pit lane during the 24 hours! [7] The margin of triumph over the Jaguar of
Lawrence/Sanderson was eight laps.
As well as being the Ecurie Ecosse team’s finest hour, it was also Jaguar’s greatest triumph finishing a
fine 1-2-3-4-6.[37] Third home was the local Equipe Los Amigos Jaguar of Lucas/”Mary” who were two
laps adrift. After their delays in the morning, Rousselle/Frère brought their Equipe Nationale
Belge Jaguar home in fourth, 17 laps behind the winners. The Lewis-Evans Ferrari held on to fifth place
ahead of the hard-charging Hamilton Jaguar just one lap behind. Hamilton’s D-Type was the only one
to hit serious trouble when he and Gregory had lost two hours due to electrical and exhaust problems
the night before.[38][7]
In the other classes, it was the privateers that saved the blushes of the works teams – the older French
Aston Martin won the S-3000 class by finishing 11th. After the late demise of the Storez Porsche, it was
the American Porsche coming 8th who were the sole finisher in the S-1500 keeping up Porsche’s class-
win tradition. Likewise, the Ferrari Testarossa of Ecurie Nationale Belge finishing 8th, won the S-2000
class by 7 laps from the AC Ace and also ahead of the S-1500s whom it had been outperformed by for
almost the whole race.
Although the public glamour was associated with those that took the outright victory, the performance of
the Lotus marque should not be overlooked. Four cars entered, four finished, including the little 750cc
version which finished 14th and beat their French opposition to win the Index of Performance. The seal
on the British success was set by the Mackay-Frazer/Chamberlain Lotus – winning the S-1100 class by
a huge distance (26 laps) over its teammates, winning the Biennial Cup and 2nd on Index.[18]
The good weather meant the winning car set a new race distance record, exceeding the previous
record set in 1955 by 138 mi (222 km). Before his retirement, Mike Hawthorn put in a new lap record in
his Ferrari. A special award was made to Roger Masson who had pushed his Lotus single-handedly for
four miles, taking over an hour to get back to the pits after running out of petrol on the Mulsanne
straight in the early hours of the race.[24] It was refuelled and they went on to finish 16th.
As well as being the only entry for Arnott and DKW, the 1957 race was to be the last appearance for
French stalwarts Talbot and Gordini – none of the cars from these manufacturers made it to the end.

Official results[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[39] Class Winners are
in Bold text.

Clas Lap
Pos No Team Drivers Chassis Engine
s s

Ron
1 S5.0 3 Ecurie Ecosse Flockhart Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.8L S6 327
Ivor Bueb

Ninian
Sanderson
2 S5.0 15 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 319
John ‘Jock’
Lawrence

Jean Lucas
3 S5.0 17 Equipe Los Amigos ”Mary” (Jea Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 317
n Brussin)

Paul Frère
4 S5.0 16 Equipe Nationale Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.4L S6 310
Belge Freddy
Rousselle

Stuart Lewis-
Evans
5 S5.0 8 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 315 S Ferrari 3.8L V12 300
Martino
Severi
Duncan
D. Hamilton Hamilton
6 S5.0 4 Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.8L S6 299
(private entrant) Masten
Gregory

Lucien
Equipe Nationale Bianchi
7 S2.0 28 Ferrari 500 TRC Ferrari 1985cc S4 288
Belge Georges
Harris

Ed Hugus
E. Hugus Porsche 1498cc
8 S1.5 35 Carel Godin Porsche 550A 286
(private entrant) S4
de Beaufort

Jay
62
Chamberlain Coventry Climax
9 S1.1 (reserve Lotus Engineering Lotus Eleven 285
Herbert FWA 1098cc S4
)
MacKay-Fraser

Ken Rudd
10 S2.0 31 AC Cars AC Ace Bristol 1970cc S6 281
Peter Bolton

N/ Claude Porsche 1498cc


S1.5 34 Porsche KG Storez Porsche 550A 275
C* F4
Ed Crawford

Jean-Paul
Colas Aston Martin Aston Martin
11 S3.0 21 Aston Martin Ltd. 272
Jean DB3S 3.0L S6
Kerguen

Georges
G. Guyot Maserati 1985cc
12 S2.0 26 Guyot Maserati A6GCS 260
(private entrant) S4
Michel Parsy

Bob
R. Walshaw Coventry Climax
13 S1.1 42 Walshaw Lotus Eleven 259
(private entrant) FWA 1098cc S4
John Dalton

Cliff Allison Coventry Climax


14 S750 55 Lotus Engineering Lotus Eleven 259
Keith Hall FWC 745cc S4
Jack
Coventry Climax
15 S1.1 40 Cooper Cars Brabham Cooper T39 254
FWA 1098cc S4
Ian Raby

André
A. Héchard Héchard Coventry Climax
16 S1.1 41 Lotus Eleven 253
(private entrant) Roger FWA 1098cc S4
Masson

Automobiles Louis Cornet DB HBR-4


17 S750 49 Panhard 745cc F2 239
Deutsch et Bonnet Henri Perrier Spyder

Pierre
Equipe Monopole Monopole X89
18 S750 52 Chancel Panhard 745cc F2 238
Course Coupé
Jean Hémard

Automobili O.S.C. Jean Laroche


19 S750 46 O.S.C.A. 750 S OSCA 749cc S4 234
A. Rémy Radix

58 Fernand
Automobili Stanguellini S75 Stanguellini 741c
20 S750 (reserve Sigrand 214
Stanguellini 0 Sport c S4
) Michel Nicol

 Note *: Ran out of fuel; Not classified because last lap too slow

Did Not Finish[edit]

Cla
Pos No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps Reason
ss

Richar
d ‘Dickie’
DN S2. Automobiles F Bristol 1971c Oil leak
24 Stoop Frazer Nash Sebring 240
F 0 razer Nash Ltd. c S6 (24hr)
Peter
Jopp

Ferna
235
DN S2. F. Tavano nd Tavano Ferrari Engine
27 Ferrari 500 TRC Engi
F 0 (private entrant) Jacqu 1985cc S4 (22hr)
ne
es Péron
Rober
DN S75 Equipe t Chancel Panhard 745c Engine
53 Monopole X88 Coupé 230
F 0 Monopole Course Pierre c F2 (24hr)
Flahault

Georg
DN S5. G. Arents e Arents Ferrari 3.5L Brakes
10 Ferrari 290 MM 183
F 0 (private entrant) Jan de V12 (16hr)
Vroom

Wolfg
DN S1. W. Seidel ang Seidel DKW 994cc Engine
45 DKW Monza Coupé 151
F 1 (private entrant) Heinz S3 (2-Stroke) (21hr)
Meier

Tony
Brooks
DN S3. Aston Aston Martin Aston Martin Accident
20 Noël 140
F 0 Martin Ltd. DBR1/300 2.9L S6 (12hr)
Cunningha
m-Reid

Léon
DN S2. L. Coulibeuf Coulibeuf Maserati Fuel leak
25 Maserati 200S 136
F 0 (private entrant) José 1998cc S4 (15hr)
Behra

René-
Philippe
DN S75 Automobili Stanguellini S750 Bial Stanguellini 7 Engine
56 Faure 131
F 0 Stanguellini bero 41cc S4 (14hr)
Gilber
t Foury

Franç Water
DN S2. Equipe Los ois Picard Ferrari
29 Ferrari 500 TRC 129 pump
F 0 Amigos Richie 1985cc S4
(13hr)
Ginther

Umbe
rto
DN S1. Porsche Accident
32 Porsche KG Maglioli Porsche 718 RSK 129
F 5 1498cc F4 (12hr)
Edgar
Barth

54 René 127
DN S75 Equipe Monopole X88 Panhard 745c Gearbox
Cotton
F 0 Monopole Course Jacqu Spyder c F2 (14hr)
es Blanchet

Jean-
Claude
DN S75 Automobiles Panhard 747c Accident
50 Vidilles DB HBR-4 Spyder 126
F 0 Deutsch et Bonnet c F2 (14hr)
Jo
Schlesser

Paul
DN S75 Automobiles Armagnac Panhard 747c Accident
51 DB HBR-4 Spyder 120
F 0 Deutsch et Bonnet Gérar c F2 (15hr)
d Laureau

Roy
Aston
DN S3. Aston Salvadori Aston Martin Oil pipe
19 Martin 2.9L 112
F 0 Martin Ltd. Les DR1/300 (10hr)
S6
Leston

Olivie
r
DN S5. Scuderia Gendebien Ferrari 3.1L Piston
9 Ferrari 250 TR 109
F 0 Ferrari Mauri V12 (10hr)
ce
Trintignant

Hans
Herrmann
DN S1. Richar Porsche 500A Porsche Ignition
33 Porsche KG 87
F 5 d von 1498cc F4 (8hr)
Frankenber
g

Peter
Whitehead
DN S5. Aston Aston Martin Gearbox
5 Graha Aston Martin DBR2 81
F 0 Martin Ltd. 3.7L S6 (8hr)
m
Whitehead

Jacqu
DN S5. Equipe es Swaters Ferrari 3.5L Engine
11 Ferrari 290 MM 73
F 0 Nationale Belge Alain V12 (9hr)
de Changy

12 Giorgi Maserati 300S 73


DN S3. Officine Maserati 3.0L Clutch
o Scarlatti
F 0 Alfieri Maserati Joaki S6 (7hr)
m ‘Jo’
Bonnier

Claud
60 Premature
DS S1. Equipe e Dubois Porsche
(reser Porsche 550A 70 refuel
Q 5 Nationale Belge Georg 1498cc F4
ve) (8hr)
e Hacquin

Berna
57 rd
DN S75 B. Deviterne Panhard 747c Engine
(reser Deviterne DB HBR-5 Coupé 68
F 0 (private entrant) c F2 (9hr)
ve) Marce
l Laillier

Franc
esco
DN S1. Automobili Stanguellini S1100 Pr Stanguellini Ignition
44 Siracusa 67
F 1 Stanguellini ototipo 1089cc S4 (8hr)
Rober
to Lippi

Mike
DN S5. Scuderia Hawthorn Ferrari 4.0L Piston
7 Ferrari 335 S 56
F 0 Ferrari Luigi V12 (5hr)
Musso

Jim
DN S1. Russell Climax FWA Ignition
39 Arnott Cars Arnott Sports 46
F 1 Denni 1098cc S4 (6hr)
s Taylor

Jean
DN S3. Automobiles G Guichet Gordini 3.0L Engine
18 Gordini T24S 38
F 0 ordini André S8 (4hr)
Guelfi

Stirlin
DN S5. Officine g Moss Maserati 450S Zagato Maserati 4.5L Transmiss
1 32
F 0 Alfieri Maserati Harry Coupé V8 ion (4hr)
Schell

Jean Transmiss
DN S5. Officine Behra Maserati 4.5L ion,
2 Maserati 450S Spyder 28
F 0 Alfieri Maserati André V8 accident
Simon (3hr)
Mauri
DN S1. M. Slotine ce Slotine Porsche Piston
36 Porsche 356A 26
F 5 (private entrant) Rolan 1498cc F4 (4hr)
d Bourel

Gotfri
61
DN S2. G. Köchert d Köchert Ferrari Out of
(reser Ferrari 500 TRC 18
F 0 (private entrant) Erwin 1985cc S4 fuel (3hr)
ve)
Bauer

Berna
rd Consten
DN S75 Automobiles V.P. 166R Renault 747cc Engine
47 Jean- 15
F 0 V.P. Dynamique S4 (3hr)
Marie
Dumazer

Claren
DN S2. Automobiles G ce de Rinen Gordini T15S Gordini Engine
30 3
F 0 ordini Robert 1988cc S6 (1hr)
La Caze

Peter
DN S5. Scuderia Collins Ferrari 4.0L Piston
6 Ferrari 335 S 2
F 0 Ferrari Phil V12 (1hr)
Hill

Franc
DN S3. Ecurie o Bordoni Talbot-Lago Sport Maserati 2.5L Transmiss
23 0
F 0 Dubonnet Bruce 2500 S6 ion (1hr)
Halford

Did Not Start[edit]

Clas N
Pos Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s o

Stuart Lewis-
Evans Ferrari 3.8L Practice -
DNS S5.0 8 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 315 S
V12 Piston
Martino Severi

Jean Blanc Talbot- Practice -


Maserati 2.5
DNS S3.0 22 Ecurie Dubonnet Georges Lago Sport Mechanica
L S6
Burggraff 2500 l
Jay Chamberlain
Coventry
Herbert Practice -
DNS S1.5 37 Lotus Engineering Lotus Eleven Climax FPF
MacKay-Fraser Engine
1475cc S4
Colin Chapman

Alfa Romeo
DN A. Pagani Alfranco Pagani Alfa Romeo
S1.5 38 Giulietta Sebrin withdrawn
A (private entrant) Mario Poltronieri g 1290cc S4

DN Automobili O.S.C. Guilio Cabianca OSCA


S1.1 43 O.S.C.A. MT-4 withdrawn
A A. Colin Davis 1098cc S4

”Franc” (Jacque
DN J. Dewez s Dewez) Renault Renault
S750 48 withdrawn
A (private entrant) Robert 4CV Spéciale 747cc S4
Schollmann

Index of Performance[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Cliff Allison
1 S750 55 Lotus Engineering Lotus Eleven 1.308
Keith Hall

Jay Chamberlain
2 S1.1 62 Lotus Engineering Lotus Eleven 1.260
Herbert MacKay-Fraser

Automobiles Louis Cornet


3 S750 49 DB HBR-4 Spyder 1.208
Deutsch et Bonnet Henri Perrier

Pierre Chancel
4 S750 52 Equipe Monopole Course Monopole X89 Coupé 1.201
Jean Hémard

Ron Flockhart
5 S5.0 3 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type 1.190
Ivor Bueb

E. Hugus Ed Hugus
6 S1.5 35 Porsche 550A 1.176
(private entrant) Carel Godin de Beaufort
Jean Laroche
7 S750 46 Automobili O.S.C.A. O.S.C.A. 750 S 1.176
Rémy Radix

Ninian Sanderson
8 S5.0 15 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type 1.170
John ‘Jock’ Lawrence

Jean Lucas
9 S5.0 17 Equipe Los Amigos Jaguar D-Type 1.161
”Mary” (Jean Brussin)

R. Walshaw Bob Walshaw


10 S1.1 42 Lotus Eleven 1.145
(private entrant) John Dalton

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum distance for the car, and
a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.[40]

23rd Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1956/1957)[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Jay Chamberlain
1 S1.1 62 Lotus Engineering Lotus Eleven 1.260
Herbert MacKay-Fraser

Automobiles Louis Cornet


2 S750 49 DB HBR-4 Spyder 1.208
Deutsch et Bonnet Henri Perrier

Pierre Chancel
3 S750 52 Equipe Monopole Course Monopole X89 Coupé 1.201
Jean Hémard

 Note: Only the top three positions are included in this set of standings.

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Fangio, #2 Maserati 450S Spyder – 3m 58.1s; 203.53 kp/h (126.46 mph)
 Fastest Lap: Hawthorn, #7 Ferrari 335 S - 3:58.7secs 203.20 kp/h (126.15 mph)
 Distance - 4,397.11 km (2,732.24 mi)
 Winner’s Average Speed - 183.22 km/h (113.85 mph)
 Attendance – 250 000.[6] (or >150 000[23])

1958 24 Hours of Le Mans


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1958 24 Hours of Le Mans

Previous: 1957 Next: 1959

Index: Races | Winners

The 1958 24 Heures du Mans was the 26th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Grand Prix of
Endurance, and took place on 21 and 22 June 1958, on the Circuit de la Sarthe. It was also the fifth
round of the 1958 World Sports Car Championship, which was running to new regulations introduced at
the beginning of the season. Some 150,000 spectators had gathered for Europe’s classic sports car
race, around the 8.38-mile course. The prospect of an exciting duel between Ferrari, Jaguar, Aston
Martin and giantkiller Porsche was enough to draw large crowds to the 24 Hours race.

Le Mans in 1958

The race was dominated by fifteen hours of rain, three of which were torrential, marking a bad summer
solstice.[1] Thirteen accidents, one killing gentleman-driver Jean-Marie Brussin. It marked the first ever
overall win for an American and a Belgian driver and was the third win for the Scuderia Ferrari. The
works Testarossas took over the lead in the third hour when, this year, it was the British challenge that
ran out of steam. After their 1957 rout, the Italians took their revenge as Osca also won the Index of
Performance.

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish and post-race
 5Official results
o 5.1Did Not Finish
 6Did Not Start
 7Index of Performance
 824th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1957/1958)
 9Statistics
 10Standings after the race
 11References
 12External links

Regulations[edit]
This year, the second under the new FIA Appendix C rules, a revision put a maximum engine size of
3.0 litres. This was an effort to limit the very high speeds of the new Maserati and Ferrari prototypes
(and, indirectly ruling out the Jaguars) in the Sportscar Championship. The equivalence for forced-
induction engines (supercharged or turbo) was reduced from x1.4 down to only x1.2 to encourage
manufacturers to utilise that technology.
For the race itself, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) allowed an increase of a driver’s stint to a
maximum of 40 laps (from 36), although the 14-hour total limit was still in place. Pushing a car
anywhere on the track, aside from in the pit-line, was now no longer allowed.[2][1]
Following Colin Chapman’s example for Lotus in the previous year, many cars adopted the
‘wraparound’ windscreen to meet the official dimension requirements. This year Chapman introduced
tonneau-covers for the passenger seat to reduce draught and air resistance.[1]

Entries[edit]
A total of 70 cars registered for the event, of which 59 were allowed to practice, to qualify for the 55
starting places event.[3][4][5]

Category Classes Entries

Large-engines S-3000 21 (+2 reserves)

Medium-engines S-2000 / S-1500 15 (+2 reserves)

Small-engines S-1100 / S-750 19 (+3 reserves)

The duels of the previous years between Jaguar and Ferrari were trimmed back by the new engine
restriction. Although those manufacturers arrived with new engines, it also made Aston Martin (fresh
from their triumph on the 1000km of Nürburgring) much more competitive, already with its tried and
tested 3-litre engine. In the main class, only Ferrari and Aston Martin sent works entries.
Although defending champions Jaguar had no works team, they developed the new short-stroke 3-litre
XK-engine, using carburettors not fuel-injection, to meet the 3.0L regulations for their customer
teams.[6] It operated at around 5500-7000rpm, instead of the 4500-5800rpm of the previous bigger
engines.[7] Winners of the past two races the Ecurie Ecosse team had two cars, for Ninian
Sanderson/’Jock’ Lawrence and Jack Fairman/Masten Gregory The three other privateers included
former winners Duncan Hamilton driving with Ivor Bueb. Also using the new 3-litre Jaguar motor was
the new, small British manufacturer Lister, with two cars. Brian Lister had already been very successful
in Britain however his lead driver, Archie Scott-Brown had been tragically killed at a sports-car race
at Spa-Francorchamps just three weeks earlier.
Ferrari again arrived with a mighty force with no less than eleven cars for their works and private teams.
Just prior to the meeting, Enzo Ferrari decided not to enter his latest two prototypes, reasoning that his
well proven 3-litre 12-cylinder Testa Rossa was just the car for the circuit, and his best drivers. The
pairings mostly came from the Ferrari F1 works team: Mike Hawthorn/Peter Collins, Phil Hill/Olivier
Gendebien and Wolfgang von Trips/Wolfgang Seidel (called in to replace Luigi Musso injured in the
previous weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix). A fourth car was planned but Gino Munaron was also injured.
The factory was backed up by no less than six other privately entered Testa Rossas, including two
for Luigi Chinetti’s new North American Racing Team (NART) and single entries for Le Mans
regulars Equipe Nationale Belge and Equipe Los Amigos.[8][9] A 2-litre Ferrari was entered for the
Mexican Rodriguez brothers. However, Ricardo was judged to be too young (16 years old) by the ACO,
and not allowed to start so he was replaced by José Behra (Jean Behra’s brother).[6][1][10]
Without its big engines and now in serious financial trouble, Maserati did not put in an effort this year,
with only two private entries: in the 3-litre and a 2-litre classes.[11]
The new regulations suited Aston Martin very well, as they had already been running 3-litre cars for
several years. They entered three of their updated DBR1s, as well as a privateer entry for the
Whitehead brothers running a three-year old Aston Martin DB3S (the runner-up car in 1955[12]). The
strong driver line-up in the works team consisted of Stirling Moss/Jack Brabham, Tony Brooks/Maurice
Trintignant and Roy Salvadori/ Stuart Lewis-Evans.[6][8][9]
After its success in the previous year, Lotus returned with four works cars and two private entries. It
was only a month after Cliff Allison came sixth after the team’s auspicious F1 début at the Monaco
Grand Prix. For this race, they put at least one car in 4 classes. The new Lotus 15 was designed
by Frank Costin and carried several Coventry-Climax engine options: a 2-litre, 1.5-litre or even 750cc
(for the affiliated Equipe Lotus France privateer team). Colin Chapman also got Coventry Climax to
develop a new 741cc engine based on their 650cc lightweight boat engine. Finally, there were also a
pair of older Lotus 11 models to contest the S-1100 class
The S-2000 class had a diverse group of eight entries: aside from the new Lotus and the privateer
Maserati, AC returned with two entries, one based around a John Tojeiro design. NART had a Ferrari
500 TR, and the British company Peerless entered a true GT car, with a Triumph engine.
Porsche, having dominated the S-1500 class now broadened their focus by uprating two of their three
works 718 RSKs with 1.6L engines. The 718RSK in the S-1500 was supported by three privately
entered 550A cars. As well as a works Lotus there were two Alfa Romeo Giuliettas from the Italian
Squadra Virgilio Conrero team.
The reduced S-1100 class was the preserve of the Coventry Climax engine – two Lotuses and a car
from the new specialist designer John Tojeiro. There was a big field in the smallest S-750 class and
dominated by works entries: defending champions Lotus had two cars; from France were three from
Deutsch et Bonnet, four from Monopole and one from specialist VP-Renault. Italy had a pair of OSCAs
and four from Stanguellini

Practice[edit]
After the success of the vintage cars in the previous year, this year on the Friday evening the ACO held
a 1-hour regularity trial for classic Le Mans race-cars.[2]
Qualifying was held over three sessions for a total of 660 minutes over the Wednesday and Thursday.
Most of the qualifying runs took place on a dry track and the best time was achieved by Moss, who
pushed his Aston Martin around in time of 4:07, averaging 121.7 mph. Next quickest were Brooks and
most of his Aston Martin teammates, ahead of the rest of the field. Fastest Jaguar went to Fairman,
who did 4 min 13 sec, a time matched by Hawthorn in his Ferrari. The others Ferraris were around the
4 min 20 sec mark.[9]
The 2-litre Lotus 15 proved remarkably quick – Allison and debutante Graham Hill had the 4th and 5th
fastest times in practice in a car virtually half the weight of the Ecosse Jaguars. In contrast the small
works Lotus broke its new engine and had to switch to an FWC-spare.[13]
As a comparison, some of the lap-times recorded during practice were:[14][1]

Class Car Driver(s) Best Time

S-3000 Aston Martin DBR1/300 #2 Moss 4min 07.3sec

S-2000 Lotus 15 #26 G. Hill 4min 12.7sec


S-3000 Jaguar D-Type #6 Fairman 4min 13sec

S-3000 Ferrari 250 TR/58 #12 Hawthorn 4min 13sec

4min 20.5sec[1] /
S-2000 Porsche 718 RSK #29 Behra
4min 29sec[14]

S-1500 Porsche 718 RSK #31 Barth 4min 31sec

S-1100 Lotus 11 #38 Frost/Hicks 5min 10sec

S-750 OSCA 750S #42 de Tomaso 5min 19sec

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
It was a hot and sunny afternoon when the French tricolour fell at 4 pm. The first driver away was Moss
in his Aston Martin – as lightning-quick off the line as usual – chased by his teammate Brooks and the
Jaguars and Ferraris. Just 4½ minutes after his standing start, Moss came past at the end of the first
lap with a quarter-mile, five-second, lead on Hawthorn, Brooks, von Trips, Gendebien and the Aston of
Salvadori. The best Jaguar was tenth.[15] At the end of the second lap, Sanderson brought in one of the
Ecosse Jaguars with a broken piston. Five laps later, his teammate Fairman arrived with the same
terminal problem.[7] The rapid Allison/Hill 2-litre Lotus, so fast in practise, had also retired after only
three laps with a blown head-gasket.[16]
Moss was very fast – extending his lead by 3 seconds a lap over the pursuing Ferraris. Hawthorn,
leading the pack, tried his hardest – setting the fastest lap of the race at 4min 08sec. After the first hour,
Moss was leading Hawthorn by 26 sec. Then came von Trips, Brooks, Gendebien and Hamilton in his
Jaguar, with only the first three on the lead lap.[17] Behra’s uprated Porsche was leading the 2-litre class,
running in 11th ahead of bigger Ferraris, Jaguars and Listers and well ahead of the rest of their class.
Meanwhile, the two OSCAs were leading the S-750 class as well as the Index of Performance. The
Ecosse Jaguars were gone – the team blaming the ‘official’ fuel for burning out the pistons[11] though it
was traced to defective valvegear operation.[7]
Such was Moss’s pace, all the competitors with exception of the first three leaders, had been lapped at
least once. In the next hour Moss extended his lead to 95 seconds. Hawthorn tried to keep up, but his
car was now suffering from a slipping clutch, with von Trips and Brooks rapidly closing in on
him.[17] Then at 6.10pm just a lap before the first pit-stops were due, Moss stopped at the Mulsanne
corner with a broken conrod.[12] Hawthorn went to the pits for an extended stop and it was the other
works Ferraris – Hill ahead of von Trips – who took up the lead positions, ahead of Brooks’ Aston
Martin and Hamilton’s Jaguar.
Soon after, the weather (which was to dominate the rest of the race) suddenly changed as an
enormous storm swept across the circuit, flooding the track and reducing the visibility to nil.[10][9] The
track was soon awash and a terrible series of accidents began: between 6.30 and 10pm, no less than a
dozen cars were involved in crashes. In the 3rd hour Maurice Charles lost control of his Jaguar in the
downpour at Maison Blanche and was taken to hospital after being hit by two other cars.[7] In the 5th
hour as a second downpour started, Stuart Lewis-Evans tangled the second Aston Martin with a back-
marker at Dunlop Curve doing terminal damage.
But the worst happened in the twilight just after 10pm when Jean-Marie Brussin (racing under the
pseudonym “Mary”) lost control of his Jaguar going into the sweeping Dunlop curve after the pits, hitting
the earth bank, rolling and ending up near the crest of the rise. Unsighted, the next car on the scene
was Bruce Kessler’s NART Ferrari, running 5th, who smashed into the Jaguar and burst into flames.
Kessler was fortunate to be thrown clear, receiving only heavy bruising and broken ribs, but Brussin
was killed in the accident.[18][17][19] Duncan Hamilton, running second at the time, was next to the scene
but was alerted by an anonymous spectator throwing his hat onto the track – an action that Hamilton
later considered possibly saved his life - by giving him just enough time to lift off and avoid the wrecked
cars.[20]
Night[edit]
Hamilton was driving extremely well in the wet and soon after 10pm had his Jaguar up to second and
within the hour had taken the lead after the next scheduled pit-stops. Phil Hill recalled the night-time
driving: “The volume of rain was amazing but I discovered that if I sat on the tool roll to prop myself up –
no, we didn’t use seatbelts – and then tilted my head back and looked just over the tip of the windshield
and under the bottom of my visor, the view wasn’t too bad.” He also keenly listened out for the sound of
downshifting gears from cars ahead to get an idea of the approaching Mulsanne corner at the end of
the long straight.[21][22][23]
Indeed, around 11.40pm von Trips (in the second-placed Ferrari) came to the high-speed Mulsanne
kink and saw wreckage across the track and a driver lying unconscious on the road. Jean Hébert had
been thrown clear when he rolled his Alfa Romeo avoiding a crashed car, and which had then caught
fire. Von Trips stopped, ran back and pulled the Frenchman clear, as well as the biggest of the
wreckage. When marshals ran up from the nearest post, he got back into his car and carried on his
race. Hébert was not seriously injured.[24][25]
Another major accident then occurred at the Dunlop curve just before midnight. American Jay
Chamberlain crashed his Lotus also avoiding a spinning car. He was lucky to be picked off the track
before François Picard, in the Equipe Los Amigos Ferrari, crashed into it and destroying both cars,
although both Chamberlain and Picard only received minor injuries. At 12.15am Wolfgang Seidel
slipped his Ferrari, running 3rd, off at Arnage. Although only suffering light damage, it was well and truly
stuck in the thick mud. Seidel was later reprimanded for not making more of an effort to dig out the
car.[23] Hill, having taken over from Gendebien, drove exceptionally through the rain to catch and pass
Hamilton’s co-driver Ivor Bueb to go back into the lead. By 2.30am he had established a solid lap-and-
a-half advantage.[26]
Hawthorn and Collins finally retired at 2am – having driven back up to 9th after falling as low as 18th
with their clutch problems. NART’s last Ferrari running – the 2-litre 500 TR of Rodriguez / Behra -
retired just before half-time with a holed radiator.[27] At this point, there were just 26 cars left running, just
half the field. The weather was not improving. Hill/Gendebien were still leading with Hamilton/Bueb a
lap adrift. Now in third, some five laps behind the leader was the Aston Martin of Brooks/Trintignant, still
going strong. The S-2000 Behra/Herrmann Porsche (proving very stable in the rain) had moved up to
4th overtaking the Whitehead brothers’ Aston Martin. The Halford/Taylor Lister was 6th with the Barth/
Frère Porsche in 7th leading the S-1500 class. Meanwhile, in the Index of Performance, it was a very
close race between the works cars of de Tomaso’s OSCA and Laureau’s DB[17][9]
Morning[edit]
Soon after 6am Trintignant, who had been running a solid 3rd through the night, was stopped by a
broken gearbox.[12][28] It ground to a halt at Mulsanne corner, where Moss had parked the sister car
almost exactly twelve hours earlier.
Bruce Halford’s Lister-Jaguar was running in 7th when it struck engine problems. Losing half an hour
replacing the camshaft it then stopped on the Mulsanne straight. Watched by a crowd, and discretely
advised by his mechanic standing nearby, co-driver Brian Naylor spent over an hour repairing the
gearbox on his own and bump-starting it again.[29]
Hamilton had been running a solid 2nd place all morning but it was another heavy thunderstorm around
noon that led to his retirement. Coming into Arnage he was suddenly confronted with a stationary
Panhard in the road. Taking avoiding action, he lost control and rolled the Jaguar which landed upside-
down straddling a water-soaked ditch. Once again, he was lucky as two spectators were nearby,
sheltering from the heavy rain, and could pull out the unconscious Hamilton before he drowned. He was
taken to hospital with concussion, minor cuts and leg injuries.[20][9][4] Hamilton’s accident had happened
right in front of Hill and the Jaguar’s demise left the Hill / Gendebien Ferrari with an enormous 10-lap
lead over Whitehead’s Aston Martin. The Porsche team had been having an outstanding race with the
Behra / Herrmann 1.6L RSK up to 3rd despite, struggling with fading brakes. The 1.5L variant of
Barth/Frère was a lap behind and the privateer Porsche of Carel de Beaufort in 5th.
Finish and post-race[edit]
By mid-afternoon the rain finally ceased, so it was rather ironic that the race ended in sunshine on a
drying track. Hill crossed the finish line at 4pm, ending one of the wettest and most difficult 24 Heures
du Mans in history. Second step on the podium went to the private-entry Aston Martin of the Whitehead
brothers. Porsche completed its best Le Mans to date with a remarkable 3-4-5 result with the S-2000
and S-1500 class victories after so many of the bigger-engined cars failed.
The OSCA of de Tomaso/Davis won the S-750 class, finishing 11th overall, having been chased hard
throughout the race by the DB-Panhard of Laureau/Cornet, eventually finishing only 2 laps ahead of
them. Three DBs finished, however only a single representative from Lotus, Stanguellini and Monopole
got to the finish line in this largest class. In contrast, both OSCAs finished and claimed a 1-2 success in
the Index of Performance, giving both major trophies to Italian cars. Alejandro de Tomaso subsequently
founded his own supercar company in the next year, with his racing wife, Coca-Cola heiress,
Elizabeth Isabel Haskell.[30][31]The new Tojeiro-AC eventually finished 8th, and second in S-2000 (the
only other classified finisher in the class) but 31 laps behind the Porsche. Throughout Sunday Stoop
and Bolton had battled loose handling, traced to the differential mountings gradually falling apart and
had driven very cautiously in the bad weather. It managed to exactly meet its Index requirements with a
ratio of 1.0, whereas the other AC, finishing 2 laps behind just missed out being classified. The Lister
made it to the finish but its delays had also cost it too much time to be classified.[32][33]
This was Ferrari’s third win, and coincidentally, the 1954 second victory had also been a contest in the
rain versus Duncan Hamilton’s Jaguar. This time however none of the Jaguars or works Aston Martins
finished. Despite the atrocious weather for most of the race, the race distance of winners Gendebien
and Hill would still have given them fifth place in the previous year’s race. For the fourth consecutive
race, Hawthorn was the quickest driver over a single lap, but his best lap of 4’ 08 was well down on his
3’ 58.7 record of 1957.[10] Sadly, this was the last Le Mans for the Ferrari works drivers: both Musso and
Collins were killed in Grand Prix later in the year and, after retiring as the 1958 F1 World Champion,
Hawthorn would also be killed within the next year.[34][35] In a grim year it also saw the death of Peter
Whitehead, killed in an accident when his half-brother was driving in the Tour de France Automobile.[12]

Official results[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[36] Class Winners are
in Bold text.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps

1 S3.0 14 Scuderia Olivier Gendebien Ferrari 250 TR/58 Ferrari 3.0L V12 305
Ferrari Phil Hill

A.G. Whitehead Peter Whitehead Aston Martin Aston Martin


2 S3.0 5 293
(private entrant) Graham Whitehead DB3S 3.0L S6

Jean Behra Porsche 1588cc


3 S2.0 29 Porsche KG Porsche 718 RSK 291
Hans Herrmann F4
Edgar Barth Porsche 1498cc
4 S1.5 31 Porsche KG Porsche 718 RSK 290
Paul Frère F4

Carel Godin de Porsche 1498cc


5 S1.5 32 Baron de Porsche 550A 288
Beaufort
Beaufort F4
Herbert Linge

“Beurlys” (Jean
6 S3.0 21 Equipe Blaton) Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 279
Nationale Belge
Alain de Changy

Ed Hugus
E. Hugus
7 S3.0 22 Ray “Ernie” Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 278
(private entrant)
Erickson

Richard “Dickie”
AC Ace LM
8 S2.0 28 AC Cars Ltd Stoop Bristol 1971cc S6 257
Prototype
Peter Bolton

N/C Hubert Patthey


S2.0 27 A.C. Ace Ltd. AC Ace Bristol 1971cc S6 255
* Georges Berger

Jean Kerguen
J.-P. Colas Porsche 1498cc
9 S1.5 34 ”Franc” (Jacques Porsche 550A 254
(private entrant) F4
Dewes)

Alejandro de
10 S750 42 Automobili O.S.C.A. 750S OSCA 749cc S4 252
Tomaso
OSCA Colin Davis

Automobiles Gérard Laureau D.B. HBR-4


11 S750 44 Panhard 745cc F2 250
Deutsch et Bonnet Louis Cornet Spyder

Paul Armagnac
Automobiles D.B. HBR-4
12 S750 46 Jean-Claude Panhard 745cc F2 242
Deutsch et Bonnet Spyder
Vidilles

Automobili Jean Laroche


13 S750 41 O.S.C.A. 750S OSCA 749cc S4 241
Osca Rémy Radix
N/C B. Halford Bruce Halford
S3.0 10 Lister Jaguar 3.0L I6 241
* (private entrant) Brian Naylor

N/C Peter Jopp Triumph 1991cc


S2.0 24 Peerless Cars Peerless GT Coupé 240
* Percy Crabb S4

Jacques Poch
14 S750 51 Equipe Monopole X86 Panhard 745cc F2 218
Monopole Courses Guy Dunaud-
Saultier

Automobiles Robert Mougin D.B. HBR-4 GTS


15 S750 45 Panhard 745cc F2 214
Deutsch et Bonnet Jean Lucienbonnet Coupé

François Sigrand
Automobili Stanguellini S750
16 S750 53 René-Louis Fiat 741cc S4 212
Stanguellini Sport
Revillon

Coventry Climax
Team Lotus Alan Stacey
17 S750 55 Lotus 11 FWC 202
Engineering Tom Dickson
741cc S4

 Note *: Not Classified because of Insufficient distance covered


Did Not Finish[edit]

Clas Lap
Pos No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s s

J. D. Duncan
DN Jaguar 3.0L Accident
S3.0 8 Hamilton Hamilton Jaguar D-Type 251
F S6 (20hr)
(private entrant) Ivor Bueb

Tony
DN Aston Brooks Aston Martin Aston Martin Gearbox
S3.0 3 173
F Martin Ltd. Maurice DBR1/300 3.0L S6 (15hr)
Trintignant

Team Innes Coventry


DN Electrics
S1.1 38 Lotus Ireland Lotus 11 Climax FWA 162
F (20hr)
Engineering Mike Taylor 1098cc S4

S3.0 1 F. Godia- Francisco Maserati 300 S 142


DN Maserati Transmissio
Sales “Chico” Godia-
F (private entrant) Sales 3.0L S6 n (15hr)
Jo Bonnier

Marcel
DN B. Laillier D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 745c Engine
S750 47 Deviterne 129
F René Coupé c F2 (14hr)
(private entrant)
Bartholoni

North Pedro
DN Ferrari Overheating
S2.0 25 American Rodríguez Ferrari 500 TR 119
F 1998cc V12 (12hr)
Racing Team José Behra

Mike
DN Scuderia Hawthorn Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Clutch
S3.0 12 112
F Ferrari Peter TR/58 V12 (11hr)
Collins

René-
DN Automobili Philippe Faure Stanguellini S75 Engine
S750 54 Fiat 741cc S4 110
F Stanguellini Michel 0 Sport (14hr)
Nicol

Wolfgang
DN Scuderia von Trips Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Accident
S3.0 16 101
F Ferrari Wolfgang TR/58 V12 (9hr)
Seidel

Maurice van
DN Equipe der Bruwaene Panhard 745c Accident
S750 48 Monopole Monopole X89 101
F Jacques c F2 (12hr)
Course
Lefourel

Tommy Coventry
DN Transmissio
S1.1 40 John Ogier Bridger Tojeiro TCM Climax FWA 83
F n (9hr)
Peter Blond 1098cc S4

North Fernand
DN Tavano Ferrari 3.0L Electrics
S3.0 19 American Ferrari 250 TR 77
F Edwin V12 (8hr)
Racing Team
Martin

DN Equipe Los François Ferrari 3.0L Accident


S3.0 20 Ferrari 250 TR 72
F Amigos Picard V12 (7hr)
Jaroslav
Juhan

North Dan Gurney


DN Ferrari 3.0L Accident
S3.0 18 American Bruce Ferrari 250 TR 64
F V12 (7hr)
Racing Team Kessler

Jean Hébert
DN Squadra Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo Accident
S1.5 37 Marcel 59
F Virgilio Conrero Giulietta SZ 1290cc S4 (8hr)
Lauga

Richard von
DN Porsche Frankenberg Porsche Porsche Accident
S2.0 30 55
F KG Claude 718 RSK 1588cc F4 (9hr)
Storez

Roy
DN Aston Salvadori Aston Martin Aston Martin Accident
S3.0 4 49
F Martin Ltd. Stuart DBR1/300 3.0L S6 (5hr)
Lewis-Evans

"Mary" (Jea
H. Fatal
DN n-Marie Brussin) Jaguar 3.0L
S3.0 11 Peignaux Jaguar D-Type 47 accident
F André S6
(private entrant) (7hr)
Guelfi

Alfonso
DN F. Tavano Gomez-Mena Ferrari 3.0L Engine
S3.0 17 Ferrari 250 TR 45
F (private entrant) V12 (7hr)
Piero Drogo

Bernard
DN Equipe Consten Monopole VM- Panhard 745c Engine
S750 50 Monopole 44
F Jean S c F2 (10hr)
Course
Vinatier

Freddy
DN Equipe Rouselle Jaguar 3.0L Engine
S3.0 9 Lister 43
F Nationale Belge Claude S6 (4hr)
Dubois

Jay Coventry
DN Lotus Accident
S1.5 35 Chamberlain Lotus 15 Climax FPF 39
F Engineering (8hr)
Pete Lovely 1476cc S4
Georges
DN Automobili Stanguellini 750 Accident
S750 52 Guyot Fiat 741cc S4 38
F Stanguellini S (5hr)
Pierre Ros

Lucien
58
DN Ecurie Bianchi Ferrari 3.0L Accident
S3.0 (reserve Ferrari 250 TR 33
F Francorchamps Willy V12 (4hr)
)
Mairesse

Giorgio
DN Squadra Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo Fuel system
S1.5 36 Ubezzi 31
F Virgilio Conrero Giulietta SVZ 1290cc S4 (8hr)
Eric Catulle

Stirling
DN Aston Moss Aston Martin Aston Martin Engine
S3.0 2 30
F Martin Ltd. Jack DBR1/300 3.0L S6 (3hr)
Brabham

57 Maurice
DN M. Charles Jaguar 3.0L Accident
S3.0 (reserve Charles Jaguar D-Type 29
F (private entrant) S6 (3hr)
) John Young

Coventry
DN Car Bob Hicks Accident
S1.1 39 Lotus 11 Climax FWA 28
F Exchange Bill Frost (3hr)
1098cc S4

Eugène
DN J. Martin Maserati Gearbox
S2.0 23 Thépenier Maserati 200 SI 20
F Michel 1994cc S4 (3hr)
(private entrant)
Dagorne

André Coventry
DN Equipe Héchard Climax Accident
S750 56 Lotus 15 19
F Lotus France Roger FWMA (4hr)
Masson 741cc S4

Equipe René Cotton


DN Panhard 745c Engine
S750 49 Monopole André Monopole X86 10
F c F2 (2hr)
Course Beaulieux

DN Ecurie Jack Jaguar 3.0L Engine


S3.0 6 Jaguar D-Type 7
F Ecosse Fairman S6 (1hr)
Masten
Gregory

Team Coventry
DN Cliff Allison Engine
S2.0 26 Lotus Lotus 15 Climax FPF 3
F Graham Hill (1hr)
Engineering 1965cc S4

Ninian
DN Ecurie Sanderson Jaguar 3.0L Engine
S3.0 7 Jaguar D-Type 2
F Ecosse John ‘Jock’ S6 (1hr)
Lawrence

Jean-Marie
DN Automobil Dumazer Renault 747c Gearbox
S750 43 V.P. Spyder 2
F es V.P. Robert c S4 (1hr)
Dutoit

Did Not Start[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason

J. Bonnier Joakim ‘Jo’


DNS S3.0 15 Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 Withdrawn
(private entrant) Bonnier

C. Goethals Christian Porsche 1498cc


DNS S1.5 33 Porsche 550A Withdrawn
(private entrant) Goethals F4

Heinz
59 H. Schiller Schiller Porsche 1498cc Reserve
DNS S1.5 Porsche 550A
(reserve) (private entrant) Claude Tot F4 entry
Hans Wirz

Roger
60 Automobili Stanguellini 750 Reserve
DNS S750 Castelain Fiat 741cc S4
(reserve) Stanguellini S entry
Pierre Ros

Louis
61 Automobiles Chardin Renault 747cc Reserve
DNS S750 V.P. Sport
(reserve) V.P. Michel S4 entry
Heymel

DNS S750 De Pontac .. CTAP


62 Renault 747cc Reserve
Laforcade
(reserve) Gaston S4 entry
Serraud

Ian Baillie
Richard
63 Peerless GT Triumph 1991cc Reserve
DNS S2.0 Peerless Cars Gibson
(reserve) Coupé S4 entry
John
Dalton

Index of Performance[edit]
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Alejandro de Tomaso
1 S750 42 Automobili OSCA O.S.C.A. 750S 1.270
Colin Davis

Automobiles Gérard Laureau


2 S750 44 D.B. HBR-4 Spyder 1.265
Deutsch et Bonnet Louis Cornet

Automobiles Paul Armagnac


3 S750 46 D.B. HBR-4 Spyder 1.225
Deutsch et Bonnet Jean-Claude Vidilles

Jean Laroche
4 S750 41 Automobili Osca O.S.C.A. 750S 1.216
Rémy Radix

Edgar Barth
5 S1.5 31 Porsche KG Porsche 718 RSK 1.191
Paul Frère

S1.5 32 Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 550A 1.183


6 Baron de Beaufort
Herbert Linge

S2.0 29 Jean Behra Porsche 718 RSK 1.181


7 Porsche KG
Hans Herrmann

8 S3.0 14 Olivier Gendebien Ferrari 250 TR/58 1.135


Scuderia Ferrari
Phil Hill

9 S750 51 Equipe Monopole Courses Monopole X86 1.103


Jacques Poch
Guy Dunaud-Saultier

A.G. Whitehead Peter Whitehead


10 S3.0 5 Aston Martin DB3S 1.089
(private entrant) Graham Whitehead

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum
distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.[37]

24th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1957/1958)[edit]


There were no eligible finishers for the Biennial Cup.[38]

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Moss, #2 Aston Martin DBR1/300 – 4m 07.3s; 195.85 kp/h (121.70 mph)
 Fastest Lap: Hawthorn, #12 Ferrari 250 TR/58 - 4:08.0secs; 195.40 kp/h (121.42 mph)
 Distance - 4,101.93 km (2,548.82 mi)
 Winner’s Average Speed - 170.91 km/h (106.20 mph)
 Attendance – 150 000[14]
The 24 Heures du Mans was the 27th 24 Hours of Le Mans, Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place
on 20 and 21 June 1959, on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was also the fourth round of the F.I.A. World Sports
Car Championship. The prospect of an exciting duel between Ferrari, Aston Martin and
giantkillers Porsche was enough to draw large crowds and some 150,000 spectators gathered for
France’s classic sports car race, around the 8.38-mile course.
Aston Martin finally achieved the coveted outright win, doing it with a 1-2 finish. The marque had first
entered the Le Mans race in 1928, running every race since 1931[1]and had finished second three times
and third twice before this victory.

Le Mans in 1959

Contents
[hide]

 1Regulations
 2Entries
 3Practice
 4Race
o 4.1Start
o 4.2Night
o 4.3Morning
o 4.4Finish and post-race
 5Official results
o 5.1Finishers
o 5.2Did Not Finish
o 5.3Did Not Start
o 5.4Class Winners
o 5.5Index of performance
o 5.6Index of Thermal Efficiency
o 5.725th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1958/1959)
o 5.8Statistics
o 5.9Standings after the race
 6References
 7External links

Regulations[edit]
Significant changes occurred with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) regulations this year.
The FIA had issued its revamped and revised Appendix J rules for Grand Touring (GT) cars and the
ACO followed other endurance races and opened its entry-list to the GT categories for the first time.
Each GT model had to have a minimum production run of 100 cars over 12 consecutive
months.[2] Those not meeting those requirements were put into the Sports Prototypes category. Both GT
and SP ran to the same engine categories within their respective divisions.
The ACO also introduced a new competition to measure optimal car performance. The Index of
Thermal Efficiency (Indice au Rendement Énergétique[3][4]) took into account a car’s weight, speed and
fuel consumption (using standard 95/100-octane supplied fuel). Surprisingly, it did not include engine
size in the calculation. This ran alongside the regular Index of Performance handicap competition,
whose target distances were increased.[2] Fuel, oil and water replenishment remained limited at a
minimum of 30 laps between refills. Only two men, and a third as refueller, were allowed to work on a
car in the pits, meaning the driver had to get out and behind the pit wall to not count against that total.[5]
Regarding the track and organisation, the ACO installed IBM calculators to help with the administration.
As well as considerable re-surfacing, a number of signalling lights were installed.[4] Finally,
acknowledging the huge influx of British spectators to the race, the ACO invited the racing
magazine The Motor to send a journalist to provide race-commentary in English once an hour. This
year the prize-money was £5000 for both the winners on distance and index of performance, and a total
of over £30000.[6]

Entries[edit]
The increase in potential classes to 10 created a lot of interest with manufacturers and drivers and a
total of 97 entries applied for the event. From this the ACO accepted 60 to practise, to qualify for the 54
starting places.[7]

Prototype GT Total
Category Classes
entries entries entries

Large-engines S-3000 14 (+1 reserve) 5 20

Medium-engines S-2000 / S-1500 12 (+1 reserve) 9 (+1 reserves) 23

Small-engines S-1100 / S-750 8 (+2 reserve) 6 (+1 reserve) 17

Total Cars 34 (+4 reserves) 20 (+2 reserves) 54 (+6 reserves)


This year there were seven manufacturer works teams, led by Ferrari and Aston Martin as well as
Porsche, Lotus, DB, OSCA and Triumph. They were joined by the sports-car specialist Lister, Cooper
and Stanguellini teams. It meant that half of the cars in the race were ‘works’ entries.
Defending champions Scuderia Ferrari brought their latest version of the Ferrari 250 TR. The chassis
had been redesigned, made shorter and 77kg lighter. The 3-litre V12 had a new 5-speed gearbox and
now developed 306 bhp. Also, after six years Enzo Ferrari had finally relented and installed Dunlop disc
brakes on the works cars.[8][9][10] His squad of drivers included 1958 winners, Phil Hill/Olivier Gendebien,
joined by Jean Behra/Dan Gurney and Hermano da Silva Ramos/Cliff Allison. There were also three
1958-models entered by private teams including the Equipe Nationale Belge and North American
Racing Team.
A subsidiary team, Scuderia Eugenio Castellotti, was entrusted with a new prototype to take on the
Porsches in the 2-litre division – the V6 196S ‘Dino’. The engine was effectively a half-size version of
the V12 in the 250 TR and produced 200 bhp. It would be driven by Castellotti’s close friend Giulio
Cabianca with Giorgio Scarlatti.[4][11]
As in the previous year, Aston Martin arrived with victory in the 1000km of Nürburgring with
their DBR1/300. Led by director John Wyer and team manager Reg Parnell (himself a veteran of 7 Le
Mans races in the early 1950s), they arrived at Le Sarthe with a very strong driver line-up to give
themselves every chance of victory. The three works cars were driven by Nürburgring winners Stirling
Moss/Jack Fairman alongside the F1 team driver Roy Salvadori with ex-chicken farmer, Texan[9] Carroll
Shelby, and Maurice Trintignant/Paul Frère. This year the cars were more streamlined and Moss and
Fairman were given a more powerful 255 bhp engine to keep up with the Ferraris.[12] Graham
Whitehead again privately entered another DBR1. After the death of his half-brother Peter, he now had
Brian Naylor as co-driver.[13][14] In the GT category there was also a new DB4 GT (also using the DBR1
engine) entered by the Swiss Ecurie Trois Chevrons[4]
With no Maseratis this year, the remaining five cars in the S-3000 category all had Jaguar-
engines: Lister Engineering brought two of their new Frank Costin-designed cars (joined by Jaguar’s
former team manager, Lofty England[15]), with another for the Equipe Nationale Belge, while the
previously successful Ecurie Ecosse team this year entered both a Jaguar D-Type (for Masten
Gregory and Innes Ireland) and a Tojeiro-Jaguar (for Ron Flockhart and Jock Lawrence).
After the very strong run to 3rd. 4th and 5th in the previous year, the Porsche 718 RSK was the car to
beat in the 2.0 and 1.5-litre prototype classes. They had also just achieved their first outright
Championship victory in May’s Targa Florio, finishing 1-2-3-4.[16] The two works cars were driven by
regulars Hans Herrmann / Umberto Maglioli and new team-members Wolfgang von Trips / Jo Bonnier.
Four Porsches made up the only entrants in the S-1500 class, the works car driven by Edgar
Barth / Wolfgang Seidel alongside Dutch, French and American privateers.
Colin Chapman’s Lotus team arrived in force, entering several classes: F1 team driver Graham Hill was
paired with Australian Lotus-agent Derek Jolly in a new 2-litre Lotus 15, while the other team
driver, Alan Stacey was in one of the two Lotus 17s in the 750cc class. Additionally, the team joined
privateer Dickie Stoop in entering Lotus Elites in the new GT-1500 class.
The 2-litre Prototype class was very competitive with 8 strong entries. Up against the Porsches and
Lotus and the new Ferrari, Cooper sent the new T49 ‘Monaco’ (named after its first GP victory)[17] driven
by young works driver Bruce McLaren. Triumph returned to Le Mans with three TR3S cars, its driver
line-up including 1956 race winner Ninian Sanderson. In the smallest Prototype classes, there was only
a single DB in the 1100cc class, but the 750cc was to be contested by DB, OSCA, Lotus and
Stanguellini. One of the works OSCAs was notable as it was driven by the Mexican Rodriguez brothers.
Ricardo had been refused entry the previous year for being underage. This year he did compete,
becoming the youngest ever driver to race at Le Mans, being only 17 years and four months old.[18]
The new GT classes were well supported. The Ferrari 250 GT, in its various guises, was a tried and
true racecar, winning since 1956. The V12 engine produced about 250 bhp. Four were in the entry list
with only a single Swiss-entered Aston Martin DB4 GT competing against it in the GT-3000 class.
AC and MG each had a single car qualify in the GT-2000 class. After the non-appearance of the
Squadra Virgilio Conrero Alfa Romeos, the Lotus Elite was the only model in the GT-1500 class with
five entries. Having produced the required 100 units, DB was able to homologate the HBR-5 into the GT
class, and four works cars were entered. Along with four privateers, it made DB the second biggest
manufacturer present, after Ferrari. They were joined by the first appearance of Swedish manufacturer
Saab looking to expand up its growing success in rallying.[19]

Practice[edit]
For the first time, the ACO was able to close the public roads in April which allowed a test day for teams
to prepare their cars. Only 19 cars took up the opportunity to run for 6½ hours, and it was Phil Hill in the
new Ferrari that set the pace.[2] Surprisingly, Cabianca in the 2-litre Dino Ferrari was second fastest,
ahead of the Aston Martins.[11]
After scrutineering was held on the Monday and Tuesday, nine hours of qualifying were held over two
sessions on the Wednesday and Thursday. Again the Ferraris were fastest and this time is was
debutante Dan Gurney putting in the best time of 4:03.3. However Jean Behra had a major argument
with team manager Romolo Tavoni who had imposed a 7500rpm rev-limit on the cars, limiting top
performance, to protect the engines.[8] Moss recorded 4:10.8, Hansgen’s Jaguar 4:12.2 and Graham Hill
put in a competitive time of 4:20 in the 2-litre Lotus.
Some of the lap-times recorded during practice were:[20][21]

Class Car Driver(s) Best time

S-3000 Ferrari 250 TR/59 #12 Gurney 4m 03.3sec

S-3000 Ferrari 250 TR/59 #15 Allison 4m 03.6sec

S-3000 Ferrari 250 TR/59 #14 P.Hill 4m 04.7sec

S-3000 Jaguar D-Type #3 Gregory 4min 09.7sec

S-3000 Aston Martin DBR1/300 #2 Moss 4min 10.8sec

S-3000 Aston Martin DBR1/300 #5 Salvadori 4min 12sec

S-3000 Lister Sport #2 Hansgen 4min 12.2sec

S-2000 Cooper T49 Monaco #24 Russell 4min 13.6sec

S-3000 Aston Martin DBR1/300 #6 Trintignant 4min 14.8sec

S-2000 Lotus 15 LM #30 G.Hill 4min 20sec

S-1500 Porsche 718 RSK #36 de Beaufort 4min 20.6sec


S-2000 Triumph #30 Sanderson 4min 49.8sec

S-750 Lotus 17 LM #53 Stacey 5min 11.4sec

S-750 Lotus 17 LM #54 Taylor 5min 16.4sec

S-750 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder #50 de Tomaso 5min 18.1sec

S-1100 D.B. HBR-5 GTS-Coupé #49 Masson 5min 18.9sec

Both the Whitehead Aston Martin and the Tojeiro had major problems and needed parts urgently flown
in before the race.
After practice, Dickie Stoop’s Lotus Elite was in a traffic accident driving back to its garage in the town
and was too badly damaged to be ready for the race-start.[22][21]

Race[edit]
Start[edit]
Saturday started with heavy rain, but by 4pm it was dry and very hot.[23] Yet again, Stirling Moss was
first away. Parnell had given him team orders to act as the ‘hare’ and to bait the Ferraris into a race-
pace that would break them - a role he relished.[12][10] Meanwhile, Behra stalled his Ferrari twice on the
line and was 15th at the end of the first lap.[8] He subsequently put in some blistering lap-times (setting a
new 3-litre lap record[23]) to get back up to 3rd by the end of the first hour. Setting the fastest lap of the
race, he then powered his way into the lead passing Moss on the Mulsanne straight around 5.15pm on
the 17th lap.[24][25] Still furious with the team management he hammered the engine at all costs (at one
time getting up to 9500rpm on the Mulsanne straight) to prove his point. At the time of the first driver
changes on the 30th lap, the car needed a lot of water and suffered from overheating thereafter.[2][8][26][14]
Surprisingly, there was not a single retirement in the first hour (although Lund was delayed after his MG
hit a dog at Mulsanne corner). Moss still led from the works Ferraris of Hill, Behra and Allison, then the
two Ecosse cars (Jaguar ahead of Tojeiro) and Graham Hill in the remarkable Lotus 15 leading the 2-
litre class in 7th. The other Aston Martins were 8th and 9th biding their time, ahead of the two Listers,
while the Dino Ferrari was 13th overall ahead of the Porsches in the 2-litre class.
By 7pm, after three hours, the Behra/Gurney Ferrari had a 40-second lead over the Moss/Fairman
Aston Martin. They had a lap’s lead over the rest of the field: leading the pack in third was the
Hill/Gendebien Ferrari, then the Gregory/Ireland Ecosse Jaguar and the Salvadori/Shelby Aston Martin.
The Allison/Ramos works Ferrari had just retired with a blown head gasket and soon after the
Hill/Gendebien car was delayed by engine trouble dropping them to 8th.[2] The Hill/Jolly Lotus that had
started so well had been stymied by gearbox issues, and would eventually retire during the night. The
Dino Ferrari briefly took over leading until fuel issues started, leaving the Porsches to take up the 2-litre
class lead.[27]

Night[edit]
It was at dusk, in the fifth hour, that the first major accident occurred: Brian Naylor hit oil and rolled the
Whitehead Aston Martin at Maison Blanche. Naylor got out, but the car was then heavily struck by Jim
Russell in the Cooper Monaco (running 9th) and then Faure's Stanguellini hit the Cooper's fuel tank.
Both smaller cars went up in flames and although Russell had a broken leg and ribs from the initial
collision both drivers got away with only minor burns.[17]
The Ecurie Ecosse team was still a competitive force, and by 9pm their Jaguar was running second and
the Tojeiro in 4th. But as night fell the pace started taking its toll – around 10pm, on the 70th lap, both
the Ireland/Gregory Jaguar running second and the Moss/Fairman Aston Martin in third were put out
with engine problems. Innes Ireland had a big moment when the connecting rod broke dropping oil all
over his rear tyres and sending him into a big spin in the pitch darkness.[28] And when Behra’s Ferrari
was called into the pits by officials to fix malfunctioning lights suddenly the Salvadori/Shelby Aston
Martin found itself in the lead. Behra and Gurney had slipped to second and the other works Aston
Martin in third. Then came the remaining Lister, Hill’s Ferrari, the Ecosse Tojeiro and then three
Porsches with Bonnier/von Trips leading the 2-litre classes. The Stacey/Greene Lotus headed the Index
of Performance.[27]
However, within hours though the Lister and the Tojeiro were out: the Bueb/Halford Lister succumbed
to engine issues, then the ‘Toj’ started leaking fluids long before its replenishment point. Inevitably the
engine soon seized and the last Jaguar engine was gone. By midnight over half the field had
retired.[26] Aston led Gurney's ailing Ferrari, Aston, Ferrari then the Bonnier Porsche. Behra's engine
finally let go just before 2am when he had slipped back to fourth.
Meanwhile Phil Hill had hunted down the leaders and soon after 2am the Aston Martin lost ten minutes
when Salvadori pitted with major vibrations in the suspension. Fearing transmission issues, the team
was relieved to instead find that it was a destroyed tyre tread lodged up in the wheel-well.[29][30][26] The
Hill/Gendebien Ferrari finally hit the front – its engine issues resolved when the water levels dropped –
and together they set about building a solid lead through the night. By 4am, the halfway mark, that lead
was two laps. They were, however, now the sole Testarossa running as the three privateer cars had all
retired during the evening.[31] The other Aston Martin was third and the works Porsche 4th (and leading
the Performance Index), 4 and 7 laps respectively behind the Ferrari.[32]

Morning[edit]
As the sun rose (for once without the thick rolling fog[33]) the S-750 class Stacey/Greene Lotus had risen
to 14th, leading the Index of Performance by a big margin, when it was stopped by the same distributor
issues that had halted its team-mate. The Lotus 17 was the fastest 750cc ever raced at Le Mans, but
still fragile.
By 6am the field down to only 23 runners. The Ferrari was leading the two remaining Aston Martins and
pulling away. Incredibly, with no other S-3000 class cars left running, four Porsches held down the next
places. Then came the four more-powerful Ferrari GTs, headed by the Belgian car of ”Beurlys” / ”Eldé”.
But then it started going wrong for Porsche. First, the leading works car of von Trips/Bonnier, running
4th, was stopped by clutch problems. Soon afterward the works 1500cc car lost its gearbox. The Dutch
Ecurie Maarsbergen car inherited 4th place for two hours until it too broke its engine. This left
Hugus/Erickson, the American privateers, promoted to 4th still pursued by four Ferraris with the older,
French, 550A in 9th.[16]
Drama happened soon after 11am when Gendebien pitted the leading Ferrari with major overheating
problems. It had been leading for over 9 hours and had a healthy 3-lap lead but it was well ahead of its
next fluid-refill pit-window. The team improvised to cool the engine and Gendebien did slow laps to try
and make it to his pit window, but to no avail – after two more laps, and just before noon, the engine
seized and the last Ferrari hope was gone.[34][35] Around the same time the last two Porsches retired with
engine problems.
With the last Ferrari retired and now holding a comfortable lead, Parnell the Aston Martin team
manager, ordered his two cars to hold station and ease off to protect their engines for the last four
hours. Where Moss had at the start been doing laps of 4m01s and the other cars were set a target of
4m20s, Salvadori now dropped back down to 4m50s[29][26][36] This was prudent as the lead car was
starting to go through oil at a rate. However, with no pressure from the other teams the two cars were
able to cruise to the finish.
The three Triumphs had had a mixed race: two had been eliminated early when both had cooling-fan
blades break off and go through the radiator. The third (raced by Stoop/Jopp) had been called in as a
precaution and had its fan removed then had moved up steadily through the field.[37] It had got up to 7th
overall by the 23rd hour when the oil pump broke forcing a late retirement.[38] Perhaps the unluckiest
drivers were the privateer DB team of Bartholoni/Jaeger who had battled and survived clutch problems
through the whole race only for it to break completely with mere minutes to run.[39]
Finish and post-race[edit]
In the end Shelby brought his car home a lap ahead of Trintignant in a formation finish. All during the
race the Texan had been battling a bout of dysentery. He had even driven with a nitroglycerine capsule
under his tongue in case he had heart problems (which he omitted from telling his team!).[9] Shortly after
the race, he would collapse and sleep for hours.[36] Salvadori drove the majority of the race, doing 14
hours, though he also was getting over flu.[37] Trintignant was also suffering: his right foot had been
burned by the overheating throttle pedal.[29]
Such was the eventual domination of Aston Martin, the third car home was fully 26 laps behind the
winners. That car was the first GT home, the Ferrari 250 GT LWB of ”Beurlys” and ”Eldé”. Yet again the
Equipe Nationale Belge had achieved a podium finish. In fact all the Ferrari GTs finished with the
Belgians leading home the NART car and the two French privateers. In 7th was the Rudd Racing AC
Ace – the sole 2-litre finisher – followed by the first Lotus Elite and a works DB. The little French car
had not even been able to overtake the lap distance of the Hill/Gendebien Ferrari retired 4 hours earlier.
In a race of attrition only 13 cars out of the 54 starters were able to complete the race.
It was Aston Martin's finest hour: as well as the 1-2 outright finish, the team also reached the podium in
all three competitions. Managing Director David Brown had got changed into his ‘Sunday best’ and in
his joy jumped about the winning car for its victory lap. After winning the Tourist Trophy round later in
the year, Aston Martin clinched the World Constructors Championship and Brown withdrew the
company from motorsport (including its unsuccessful venture into Formula 1).[29]
After several lean years, DB returned to the winners’ rostrums when it cleaned up the other trophies.
The team won the lucrative Index of Performance, the new Index of Thermal Efficiency (by the
Armagnac/Consten car doing 25.7 mpg/11.0 litres per 100km),[39] and the Biennial Cup for good
measure, as well as the GT-750 class win. In contrast the winning Aston Martin only managed to do 10
mpg and even the Porsches could only manage 12 mpg.[1][40] Perhaps the unluckiest drivers were the
privateer DB team of Bartholoni/Jaeger who had battled and survived clutch problems through the
whole race only for it to break completely with mere minutes to run.[39]
In a remarkable turn of fortune to the previous year, this was Porsche’s worst performance to date with
none of their cars, works or privateer, finishing. ‘Lino’ Fayen, who finished 6th in his Ferrari GT had fled
France to Venezuela to evade paying debts. He was subsequently arrested while celebrating his
finish.[41]
After a number of bust-ups with the Ferrari management, this was Jean Behra’s last race for the team.
The talented Frenchman was fired but then tragically killed just a fortnight later. He was racing his own
Porsche in a sportscar race as a prelude for the German Grand Prix being held that year at the
dangerous AVUS circuit near Berlin.[42] It was also one of the last races for double-Le Mans winner Ivor
Bueb who was killed two months later in a non-Championship F1 race at Clermont-Ferrand.

Official results[edit]
Finishers[edit]
Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[43] Class winners are
in bold text.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps

David Brown Roy Salvadori Aston Martin Aston Martin


1 S3.0 5 323
Racing Dept Carroll Shelby DBR1/300 3.0L S6

David Brown Aston Martin Aston Martin


2 S3.0 6 Maurice 322
Racing Dept DBR1/300 3.0L S6
Trintignant
Paul Frère

“Beurlys” (Jean
Equipe Blaton) Ferrari 250 GT
3 GT3.0 11 Ferrari 3.0L V12 297
Nationale Belge “Eldé” (Leon LWB
Dernier)

North George Arents Ferrari 250 GT


4 GT3.0 18 American Racing Ferrari 3.0L V12 296
André Pilette SWB
Team

F. Tavano Fernand Tavano Ferrari 250 GT


5 GT3.0 16 Ferrari 3.0L V12 294
(private entrant) Bob Grossman California

/ L. Fayen Lino Fayen Ferrari 250 GT


6 GT3.0 20 Ferrari 3.0L V12 293
(private entrant) Gino Munaron LWB

Rudd Ted Whiteaway Bristol 1971cc


7 GT2.0 29 AC Ace 273
Racing John Turner S6

W.S. Frost Peter Lumsden Coventry Climax


8 GT1.5 41 Lotus Elite 270
(private entrant) Peter Riley FWE 1216cc S4

Automobiles René Cotton D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 745cc


9 GT750 46 Deutsch et 258
Louis Cornet Spyder F2
Bonnet

Border John Whitmore Coventry Climax


10 GT1.5 42 Lotus Elite 257
Reivers Jim Clark FWE 1216cc S4

Automobiles Paul Armagnac D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 745cc


11 GT750 45 Deutsch et 247
Bernard Consten Spyder F2
Bonnet

Sture Nottorp
S. Nottorp Saab 93 Sport Saab 748cc S3
12 GT750 44 Gunnar 232
(private entrant) GT 750 (2-Stroke)
Bengtsson

13
Automobili Stanguellini 750
N/C S750 55 Roger Fiat 741cc S4 220
Stanguellini Sport
* Delageneste
Paul Guiraud

 Note *: Not classified because car failed to complete 70% of winner's distance (226 laps). However, Spurring and
Moity list them as a finisher.

Did Not Finish[edit]


Po Lap
Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
s s

DN Olivier Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Overheati


S3.0 14 Scuderia 263
F Gendebien TR/59 V12 ng (20hr)
Ferrari
Phil Hill

Richard
“Dickie”
DN GT2. Standard Triumph Oil pump
25 Stoop Triumph TR3S 245
F 0 Triumph Ltd 1984cc S4 (23hr)
Peter
Jopp

Ed
E. Hugus Hugus
DN Porsche Porsche Engine
S1.5 37 (private Ray 240
F 718 RSK 1498cc F4 (20hr)
entrant) ‘Ernie’
Erickson

J. Jean
DN Kerguen Kerguen Porsche Clutch
S1.5 35 Porsche 550A 229
F (private Robert 1498cc F4 (20hr)
entrant) La Caze

Carel
Godin de
DN Ecurie Porsche Porsche Engine
S1.5 36 Beaufort 186
F Maarsbergen 718 RSK 1498cc F4 (15hr)
Christia
n Heins

F.W.R. Ted
DN GT2. Lund Lund MG A Twin BMC 1588cc Gearbox
33 185
F 0 (private Colin Cam S4 (21hr)
entrant) Escott

Wolfga
DN Porsche ng von Trips Porsche Porsche Clutch
S2.0 31 182
F KG Joakim 718 RSK 1587cc F4 (14hr)
‘Jo’ Bonnier
R. Roger
DN Masson Masson D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 851c Clutch
S1.1 49 179
F (private Jean GTS-Coupé c F2 (23hr)
entrant) Vinatier

Automobil René
DN es Bartholoni D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 745c Clutch
S750 48 169
F Deutsch et Françoi Coupé c F2 (24hr)
Bonnet s Jaeger

Edgar
DN Porsche Barth Porsche Porsche Gearbox
S1.5 34 168
F KG Wolfga 718 RSK 1498cc F4 (14hr)
ng Seidel

Alan Coventry
Team Head
DN Stacey Climax
S750 53 Lotus Lotus 17 LM 156 gasket
F Keith FWMA 742cc
Engineering (14hr)
Greene S4

Ron
Flockhart
DN Ecurie Jaguar 3.0L Overheati
S3.0 8 John Tojeiro 137
F Ecosse S6 ng (12hr)
‘Jock’
Lawrence

Jean
DN Scuderia Behra Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Engine
S3.0 12 129
F Ferrari Dan TR/59 V12 (10hr)
Gurney

Ivor
Brian
DN Bueb Jaguar 3.0L Engine
S3.0 1 Lister Lister Sport 121
F Bruce S6 (9hr)
Engineering
Halford

Graha
Team Coventry
DN m Hill Engine
S2.0 30 Lotus Lotus 15 LM Climax 119
F Derek (10hr)
Engineering 1963cc S4
Jolly

Ninian
DN GT2. Standard Sanderson Triumph Radiator
27 Triumph TR3S 114
F 0 Triumph Ltd Claude 1984cc S4 (10hr)
Dubois
E. D. Edwin
DN Martin ‘Ed’ Martin Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Gearbox
S3.0 19 108
F (private Bill TR/58 V12 (11hr)
entrant) Kimberly

Jean-
Claude Coventry
DN GT1. Equipe Vidilles Climax Engine /
38 Lotus Elite 105
F 5 Los Amigos Jean- FWE 1216cc fire (10hr)
François S4
Malle

Jean
DN Automobil Laroche OSCA 742cc Gearbox
S750 52 O.S.C.A. 750S 88
F i OSCA André S4 (9hr)
Testut

Jim Coventry
DN Cooper Russell Cooper T49 Climax Accident
S2.0 24 79
F Car Company Bruce ‘Monaco’ FPF 1964cc (6hr)
McLaren S4

Hans
DN Porsche Herrmann Porsche Porsche Ignition
S2.0 32 78
F KG Umbert 718 RSK 1587cc F4 (6hr)
o Maglioli

Stirling
David
DN Moss Aston Martin Aston Martin Engine
S3.0 4 Brown Racing 70
F Jack DBR1/300 3.0L I6 (6hr)
Dept.
Fairman

Innes
DN Ecurie Ireland Jaguar 3.0L Engine
S3.0 3 Jaguar D-Type 70
F Ecosse Masten S6 (7hr)
Gregory

Alejand
A. de
ro de
DN GT75 Tomaso D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 745c Gearbox
50 Tomaso 63
F 0 (private Spyder c F2 (9hr)
Colin
entrant)
Davis

DN Scuderia Giorgio Ferrari 196 S Ferrari Out of fuel


S2.0 23 63
F Ferrari Scarlatti ‘Dino’ 1984cc V6 (6hr)
Giulio
Cabianca

René-
62 Philippe
DN Société Stanguellini EF Accident
S750 (reserv Faure Fiat 741cc S4 58
F E.F.A.C. AC 750 Sport (5hr)
e) George
s Guyot

J. Jacque
59
DN GT1. Faucher s Faucher D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 851c Engine
(reserv 53
F 1 (private Gérard Super Rallye c F2 (6hr)
e)
entrant) Leffargue

Graha
A.G.
m
DN Whitehead Aston Martin Aston Martin Accident
S3.0 7 Whitehead 52
F (private DBR1/300 3.0L S6 (5hr)
Brian
entrant)
Naylor

Walt
Brian
DN Hansgen Jaguar 3.0L Engine
S3.0 2 Lister Lister Sport 52
F Peter S6 (5hr)
Engineering
Blond

Lucien
DN Equipe Bianchi Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Engine
S3.0 10 Nationale 47
F Alain TR/58 V12 (5hr)
Belge
de Changy

Cliff
Allison
DN Scuderia Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Engine
S3.0 15 Herman 41
F Ferrari TR/59 V12 (4hr)
o da Silva
Ramos

René-
Louis
DN Automobil Stanguellini 750 Out of fuel
S750 56 Revillon Fiat 741cc S4 37
F i Stanguellini Sport (6hr)
Joseph
Dieu

S.A. Sid
DN GT75 Hurrell Hurrell Saab 93 Sport Saab 748cc Engine
43 35
F 0 (private Roy GT 750 S3 (2-Stroke) (5hr)
entrant) North
Peter
DN GT2. Standard Bolton Triumph 1984 Radiator
26 Triumph TR3S 35
F 0 Triumph Ltd Mike cc S4 (4hr)
Rothschild

Pedro
Water
DN Automobil Rodríguez OSCA 749cc
S750 51 O.S.C.A. 750S 32 pump
F i OSCA Ricardo S4
(5hr)
Rodríguez

J. John
60
DN GT2. Dashwood Dashwood Fraser Nash Le Bristol 1971cc Accident
(reserv 30
F 0 (private William Mans Coupé S6 (5hr)
e)
entrant) Wilks

Mike Coventry
Team
DN Taylor Climax Ignition
S750 54 Lotus Lotus 17 LM 23
F Jonath FWMA 742cc (5hr)
Engineering
an Sieff S4

Hubert
DN GT3. Écurie Patthey Aston Martin Aston Martin Engine
21 Trois 21
F 0 Renaud DB4 GT 3.0L S6 (3hr)
Chevrons
Calderari

Rod
North
DN Carveth Ferrari 250 Ferrari 3.0L Gearbox
S3.0 17 American 21
F Gil TR/58 V12 (3hr)
Racing Team
Geitner

Automobil Gérard
DN GT75 es Laureau D.B. HBR-5 Panhard 745c Engine
47 9
F 0 Deutsch et Pierre Coupé c F2 (3hr)
Bonnet Chancel

Did Not Start[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason

Douglas
58 J.R. Stoop Graham Coventry Climax Road
DNS GT1.5 Lotus Elite
(reserve) (private entrant) Mike FWE 1216cc S4 accident
McKee
Lucien
Bianchi
DNA S3.0 9 Equipe Mauro Lister Sport Jaguar 3.0L S6 Withdrawn
Nationale Belge Bianchi
Jacques
Croisier

André
Equipe Pilette
DNA GT2.0 28 AC Ace Bristol 1971cc S6 Withdrawn
Nationale Belge Armand
Blaton

Squadra Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo


DNA GT1.5 39 Withdrawn
Virgilio Conrero Giulietta SV 1290cc S4

José
Squadra Rosinski Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo
DNA GT1.5 40 Withdrawn
Virgilio Conrero Claude Giulietta SV 1290cc S4
Bobrowski

Team Lotus Colin Coventry Climax


DNA GT1.5 57 Lotus Elite Withdrawn
Engineering Chapman FWE 1216cc S4

Class Winners[edit]
Class Winners

Sports 3000 #5 Aston Martin DBR1/300 Salvadori / Shelby

Sports 2000 No finishers

Sports 1500 No finishers

Sports 1100 No finishers

Sports 750 No classified finishers

Grand Touring 5000 No finishers


Grand Touring 3000 #11 Ferrari 250 GT LWB “Beurlys” / “Eldé”

Grand Touring 2000 #29 AC Ace Whiteaway / Turner

Grand Touring 1500 #41 Lotus Elite Lumsden / Riley

Grand Touring 1100 No finishers

Grand Touring 750 #46 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder Cornet / Cotton

Index of performance[edit]
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Automobiles René Cotton


1 GT750 46 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder 1.210
Deutsch et Bonnet Louis Cornet

David Brown Racing Roy Salvadori Aston Martin


2 S3.0 5 1.181
Dept Carroll Shelby DBR1/300

David Brown Racing Maurice Trintignant Aston Martin


3 S3.0 6 1.178
Dept Paul Frère DBR1/300

Automobiles Paul Armagnac


4 GT750 45 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder 1.158
Deutsch et Bonnet Bernard Consten

Peter Lumsden
5 GT1.5 41 W.S. Frost Lotus Elite 1.113
Peter Riley

“Beurlys” (Jean
Blaton)
6 GT3.0 11 Equipe Nationale Belge Ferrari 250 GT LWB 1.088
“Eldé” (Leon
Dernier)

North American Racing George Arents


7 GT3.0 18 Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1.085
Team André Pilette
Sture Nottorp Saab 93 Sport GT
8 GT750 44 S. Nottorp 1.085
Gunnar Bengtsson 750

Fernand Tavano Ferrari 250 GT


9 GT3.0 16 F. Tavano 1.078
Bob Grossman California

Lino Fayen
10 GT3.0 20 / L. Fayen Ferrari 250 GT LWB 1.075
Gino Munaron

 Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum
distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.[44]
Index of Thermal Efficiency[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Automobiles Paul Armagnac


1 GT750 45 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder 1.339
Deutsch et Bonnet Bernard Consten

Peter Lumsden
2 GT1.5 41 W.S. Frost Lotus Elite 1.243
Peter Riley

David Brown Racing Roy Salvadori Aston Martin


3 S3.0 5 1.226
Dept Carroll Shelby DBR1/300

Maurice
David Brown Racing Aston Martin
4 S3.0 6 Trintignant 1.218
Dept DBR1/300
Paul Frère

John Whitmore
5 GT1.5 42 Border Reivers Lotus Elite 1.124
Jim Clark

Ted Whiteaway
6 GT2.0 29 Rudd Racing AC Ace 1.123
John Turner

Automobiles René Cotton


7 GT750 46 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder 1.110
Deutsch et Bonnet Louis Cornet

25th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1958/1959)[edit]


Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score

Automobiles René Cotton


1 GT750 46 D.B. HBR-5 Spyder 1.210
Deutsch et Bonnet Louis Cornet

Peter Lumsden
2 GT1.5 41 W.S. Frost Lotus Elite 1.113
Peter Riley

Statistics[edit]
Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

 Fastest Lap in practice – Gurney, #12 Ferrari 250 TR/59 – 4m 03.3s; 199.07 km/h (123.70 mph)
 Fastest Lap – Jean Behra, #12 Ferrari 250 TR/59 – 4:00.9secs; 201.16 km/h (125.00 mph)
 Distance – 4,347.90 km (2,701.66 mi)
 Winner’s Average Speed – 181.16 km/h (112.57 mph)