Thu 20 Jan 2022 09:46:02 CET

Le Mans Milestones

1925: This was the first year of the Le Mans-style start in which, at the drop of the French flag, the drivers would run to their cars and have to start them up before they could actually start racing. Début for Chrysler.

1926: Début for future winners Peugeot

1927: The race is commonly remembered for the infamous White House crash, which involved all three of the widely-tipped Bentley team's entries, this caused the retirement of two of them. The race was eventually won by the third which, although badly damaged, was able to be repaired by drivers Benjafield and Davis

1928: Team Aston Martin first appearance at La Sarthe

1929: Race won by Bentley who also finished 2nd 3rd and 4th. The winning car driven by the most successful driver ever at Le Mans, Woolf Banarto, 3 entries, 3 wins 100% strike rate

1930: The pairing of Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse would go in history as the first women to compete and finish in the race. The Winning Bentley being the same car that was victorious in 1929 Just 18 cars made the start. Début for Mercedes Benz.

1931: First victory for Alfa Romeo. Last Chrysler entry until the Vipers appeared.

1932: Introduction of the Esses, Tetre Rouge and Dunlop Curve, shortening the circuit to 13.5 km. Winner Raymond Sommer drove some 20 hrs as his co-driver was taken ill.

1933: The first and second placed Alfa Romeo's separated by just 9.5 seconds after 24 hours. The Alfa team were managed by Enzo Ferrari.

1934: Luigi Chinetti's second victory at Le Mans was notable for his outstanding driving and his pit crew's ability to produce chewing gum on demand to stem the flow of fuel from a fractured petrol tank. Driving an Alfa 8c 2300 with Philip Etancelin.

1935: Three MG's were entered and driven by 6 ladies, 2 per car all three cars finished the 24 hours. All but 6 of the 28 finishers were British.

1936: Race was cancelled because of the great depression in France

1937: Last outing for Chenard et Walcker, winners of the first ever Le Mans race. Total race distance exceeded 2000 miles (2044)

1938: The leading Alfa broke down with the finish almost in sight, it's lead at the time was over 100 miles but thus handed the win to Delahaye

1939: Last race before WWII. Racing would not return for 9 years. Début for BMW who won the up to 2000CC class

1949: This race featured the début of Ferrari as a car maker in his own right, who won with their 166LM, driver Chinetti racing for 22 hrs after Selsdon fell ill. It also featured the first diesel engined car (Delettrez) and the first rear engined car, the Renault 4CV.

1950: Débuts for Fangio and Cadillac at Le Mans. The race was won by father and son team Rosier, Father Louis driving for all but 20 minutes. Dunlop bridge first constructed. 1st Le Mans that no Bentley had taken the start.

1951: Débuts for Porsche and Lancia. Despite around 16 hours of rain during the race it was won by Jaguar at an average of just over 150 km/h. The fastest lap was by Stirling Moss at almost 170km/h

1952: The race was almost won by “Levegh” in his Talbot who drove single-handed for over 22½ hours before the car broke a crankshaft. The winning Mercedes was the first ever closed in car to win.

1953: Début for Disc brakes. Rules changed to prevent a driver racing over 18 hours. A total of 19 makes were entered with 50 out of the 60 cars being “works” backed. The winning C type was the first to average over 100mph.

1954: Maserati teams car transporter crashed en-route to the circuit preventing them for taking the start. Rain in the last 2 hours led to an exciting finish between Jag and Ferrari, the Ferrari just winning by 2½ miles.

1955: Year of the deadly crash that launched a car into the crowd killing 88+ people. This resulted in major work to the start and pit area as well as moving the Dunlop bridge and building signalling pits out at Mulsanne, all at great cost to the ACO. A total ban on motor sports was imposed in many countries, Racing is still banned in Switzerland.

1956: Race was run in July for only the 2nd time to allow for building works on the circuit and construction of the new pit complex that would last until 1991.

1957: The winning Jaguar spent just over 13 minutes in the pits during the race. The cars only unscheduled stop being to replace a light bulb. This would be the last Le Mans for Jaguar for 31 years.

1958: First ever driver wins for Belgium and USA. A rain soaked race saw only 17 finishers out of 55 starters. The winning Ferrari was 100 miles clear of the 2nd placed Jag

1959: Aston Martins first and so far only win. Débuts for Jim Clark and SAAB with a couple of 2 stroke 93's. Just 13 finishers out of 55 due to the fast race pace and the heat.

1960: 13 Ferraris started 6 finished. Winner Paul Frere was also a successful rower winning 3 Belgium championships

1961: A battle between the Scuderia Ferrari and the similar NART Ferrari driven by the Rodrigaz brothers lasted for 22 hrs before the NART car cried enough, the cars were just 2½ seconds apart after 15 hours racing. Morgan were refused an entry as their car looked to “old fashioned”

1962: Début for E type Jaguar. The race was between the same four drivers as 1961 with the same end result. Morgan were allowed to race despite the car still looking old fashioned, going on to win the 2lt. class.

1963: First victory for a mid engined car (Ferrari) and 1st all Italian car and drivers victory. Début for a turbine car. Also the prototype GT40. Ferrari's filled the first 6 places.

1964: The start of something? The Ford GT's leading at the start before all retiring allowing another Ferrari 1-2-3. Porsches finishing 7th and 8th

1965: Last of 9 on the trot wins for Ferrari the NART entered 250LM and driven by Rindt and Gregory took an unexpected win thanks to the faster Fords and Scuderia team breaking. Only 2nd time a closed coupé had won (1952 the first)

1966: Ford take a 1-2-3 in the closest ever finish, although stage managed and in spite of an impressive 3 car crash during the night. First V8 engined car to win. Début for future race winners Henri Pescarolo, Jackie Ickx and Porsche 911

1967: First and only victory for an all American car and drivers (Ford/Gurney/Foyt). A special bubble was installed in the GT40 roof to accommodate 6'-3” Dan Gurney. Reportedly responsible for starting the now traditional spraying of the victory Champagne. Début for the Gulf racing colours.

1968: The race was held in September due to student protests and worker strikes in France. Début for French ex men's skier Bob Wollek. The Ford Chicane was opened. Fast Porsches 1-2-3-4 in the early stages dropped out to let Ford take a hatrick of wins.

1969: Last “Le Mans start” with the drivers running (or walking) to their cars for the start. Crash barriers installed along the Mulsanne. The 1st and 2nd places separated by 120m at the finish with the winning Ford (chassis no 1075) just ahead of the Porsche 908.

1970: A Porsche 908 was used as a camera car for the 1970 film “Le Mans” during the race. Début for future winner Derek Bell. A Porsche won every class. Just 7 cars finished out of 51 starters, 2 Ferraris and 5 Porsches

1971: A massive 5335km covered by the winning Porsche 917 during the race, a record that stood until 2010. The lap record of 3.13.90 still stands (and always will as the track has changed). Début for the Ford Cosworth DFV engine at Le Mans. Out of 49 cars 33 were from Porsche

1972: Porsche curves and the second Ford chicane constructed. Winner Graham Hill (with Pescarolo) became the only driver ever to win the F1 crown, Indy 500 and Le Mans. Débuts for Jochian Mass and Hans Stuck.

1973: The Sigma was entered with a rotary Mazda engine, a first for this type of engine as well as the first Japanese car to qualify.

1974: Début for Mazda and Jean Rondeau. Retirement from sports car racing for previous winners Ferrari and Matra. Début for Yojira Terada 1st of 29 races.

1975: First victory for the Ickx/Bell partnership (Mirage). Début for Datsun and Alain de Cadenet. Le Mans was excluded from the World Championship for makes by the CSI for changing the fuel consumption rules.

1976: Regulation changes and a potential shortage of cars the ACO invited IMSA and NASCAR from the USA, 2 NASCAR's started. Gulf team boss John Wyer was apparently heard to say, “I doubt that they would be very fast on the straight and very much doubt they will manage to stop at the end of it.” 1st race since 1949 there was no Ferrari entered. First win for a turbo charged car

1977: The winning Porsche 936 almost lost having blown a piston, but so great was the lead the car sat in the pit for over an hour, the cylinder was disconnected and the smoking car finished the last lap on 5 cylinders. The car was in 41st place 18hrs before. Début for Tom Walkinshaw.

1978: First win for Renault who then retired from Le Mans and went to F1. Début for Hawaiian Tropic who sponsored a race car.

1979: Almost a Hollywood ending with actor Paul Newman finishing 2nd overall. The top 3 Porsche 935 cars were derived from the 911, by then a 15 year old design (They are still racing today).

1980: Jean Ronreau (with Jaussaud) piloted a car bearing his own name to victory, for the first and only time. Beating the favoured Porsche in an exciting rain soaked race.

1981: Début for Tiff Needel, Emanuele Pirro, Eddie Jordan, and Cale Yarborough of NASCAR fame. Won by Ickx/Bell in a Porsche 14 laps clear of the Rondeau, no pit stop by the Porsche exceeded 4 minutes. Kremer entered a Porsche 917 10 years after the last 917 entry

1982: A formation finish for the début Porsche 956 finishing in numerical order 1,2 & 3. A return to the top tier for Aston Martin (7th) and début for Courage racing team. Ford powered 16 of the 28 starters but Porsche derived cars won all the classes.

1983: 17 seconds between the first 2 Porsches at the end, the smoking and slowing no3 car just limping over the line from Ickx/Bell's similar car. Porsche's filled the top 8 spots. Début for Mario Andretti who finished 3rd and Jan Lammers (8th). Many sleepless nights thanks to Mazda introducing their 717 Gp C2 car.

1984: Return of Jaguar to GpC with Group 44 racing. Boycotted by the “Works” Porsche team, however the top 7 cars at the finish were Porsche's. Pescarolo's 4th victory.

1985: Mercedes returned after 30 years. Won by the Joest “New Man” Porsche the same chassis (117) as 1984. Porsche were 1-2-3-4-5.

1986: Despite factory supported teams from Jaguar, Nissan, Toyota and Mercedes Benz works Porsche could not be caught, Derek Bells 4th win and the first without Ickx.

1987: An incorrect micro chip in the Porsche 962's almost cost them dear several cars including 2 of the 3 factory cars retiring with burnt pistons in the first few hours. But Derek Bell's Porsche survived to win, the last of his 5 wins 20 laps clear at the end. Début for Martin Brundle. Début first year for Radio Le Mans

1988: The little WM team wrote history by clocking 407km/h (253mph) in the race. Mercedes withdrew over concerns with their tyres. Jaguar XJ's took the win. Mario, Mike and John Andretti competed in a “family” Porsche. Début for Andy Wallace.

1989: Won by Mercedes no.63, this was the highest race number ever to win, prior to this win the highest victorious race number was 23.

1990: First race with 2 chicanes on the Mulsanne. The 2nd placed Brun Porsche (Brun/Pareja/Larrauri) retiring with 15 minutes left to run let Jaguar take a 1-2 finish. The factory Nissan's (Blundell) set a Mulsanne speed record of 227mph during qualifying and 6 seconds clear of the 2nd placed qualifier. Blundell also becoming the youngest driver to achieve pole.

1991: New pit complex saw in the new 3.5 l rules, however all teams bar Peugeot ran their old GpC cars. Won by the screaming rotary engined bright green and orange Mazda 787B which took full advantage to the rules, becoming the first and only Japanese and non-piston car to win. The 3 victorious drivers of Herbert/Gachot/Weidler were all ex F1 and with former winner J. Ickx as team manager.

1992: 3.5l rules gave Peugoet their first win. Just 28 starters, the smallest since the 1930's, just 50% finished.

1993: A Peugeot 1-2-3 from Toyota in 4-5-6, Début for David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine.

1994: Regulation changes meant race cars had to be derived from road cars, Porsche used a Dauer car, itself derived from the racing 962 to win. The 2nd placed Toyota carried Roland Ratzenberger's name as a driver in tribute after he was killed the month before. Derek Bell announced his retirement

1995: A rain soaked race won by McLaren thanks to JJ Lehto's high speed wet weather night driving and good reliability, Mario Andretti had to settle for 2nd place with team mate Wollek they were less than a lap behind, the closest they have both been to victory. Derek Bell announced his retirement again.

1996: Derek Bell finished 6th in his last Le Mans. All round balloonist, flier and adventurer Steve Fossett raced a Kremer Porsche. The winning Joest Porsche chassis had previously qualified at Le Mans as a Jaguar and raced as a Mazda.

1997: Won by Joest using the same chassis as 1996 (WSC95) the 2nd time Joest achieved this and only the 4th time ever. Début for Panoz, Saleen and Tom Kristensen with his 1st win. Return of Ferrari with the 333SP.

1998: Return of BMW with an F1 Williams designed car. Porsche announce their retirement from sportcar racing

1999: Début for Audi with 4 cars. Mercedes withdrew after flying cars in practice and the race. The race winning BMW team withdrew from sportscars to go into F1 as did Toyota. Début for Jan Magnussen and Racing for Holland. Last time driving at Ler Mans for Pescarolo.

2000: Début for Cadillac and Corvette C5. 1st win for Audi finishing 1-2-3. Last Le Mans for Mario Andretti and Bob Wollek, who sadly died in 2001

2001: Return of MG and Bentley who finished 3rd behind 2 Audi's. Début for French ski star Luc Alphand.

2002: Three wins 3 years in a row for Biela/Kristensen/Pirro and Audi. Filming took place onboard 2 cars for the forthcoming French Michael Valliant film.

2003: Bentley 1st after a gap of over 70 years. Return of TVR after 41 years and début for Spyker

2004: Tom Kristensen takes his 5th straight win in an Audi and his 6th in total, Last race for the Dodge Vipers

2005: Number 7 for Tom, his 6th in a row. Aston Martin return with the DB9

2006: First ever win for a diesel powered car, an Audi. The first time since 1991 that a Porsche or Porsche powered car has not won at least 1 class. A GT1 Corvette finishes 4th overall.

2007: Diesel powered Peugoet return to challenge Audi and lose. Aston Martin challenge Corvette and win.

2008: Last race for Yojiro Terada (29 in total) with a 35th placing in a Courage.

2009: A troubled Lamborghini lasts 1 race lap before retiring.

2010: Distance record set by a Porsche 917 in 1971 is broken at last by the 1st 2nd and 3rd Audi's. The 1971 lap record still stands.

2011: Audi scores the 10th overall win, beating the second-place Peugeot by just 13.8 seconds.

2012: For the first time ever a hybrid car wins the race – the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

2013: With a total of more than 11 breaks and 5 hours leading the field the pace cars set an unwanted record.

2014: 16 year old Matt McMurry became the youngest starter and youngest finisher of this race.

ca_guide/milestones.txt · Last modified: 2014/06/20 14:57 by werner

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