LE MANS 24 HOURS 1925

20th - 21st June

the 1925 event saw the English challenge strengthened as, in addition to 2 Bentleys, there was abrace of purposeful looking Sunbearns and a tiny Austin Seven. Intenationally speaking, the newly - ereated event came of age with the entry of a Chrysler from the USA and 7 ltalian cars. The Lorraine saved Freneh honour after the unexpeeted mechanical failure of the big Chenard et Walckers. The Chassagne - Davis Suhbearn managed to split the Lorraine double at the last moment. The ltalian enlered O. M. s made their mark while the Chenard et Walckers pulled off a double in the forrn of victory in tbe Biennial and Triennial Cups thanks to tbe little 1100 cc "tanks". The only compensation for the 4 litre Chenards was that Lagaehe improved his own lap record by 9".

CIRCUIT :

17,262 kms. The layout was unehanged but the A. C. O refused to give in to the financial exigencies of the owners of the land bordering tbe pits and, on tbe initiative of its general secretary, Georges Durand, quit Les Raineries and moved all the facilities (race control, pits, timing etc) on to Les Hunaudieres. These were now sited just beside tbe place from which Wilbur Wright had taken off in 1908.

REGUlATIONS:

Increasing severity concerning the use oí equipment. Numerous organs were sealed (in particular, the radiator caps). The starting handle was banned on all ears having an electric starter. A 20 lap miniium interval had to be respeeted between eaeh stop do take on fuel, water and oil. The hood had to be put up at the very start of the raee. The cars no longer lined up in rows but were placed in what was to be called the "Le Mans start" : i. e, lined up diagonally against the pits in decreasing cubic capacity order. To prevent tbe drivers from jumping the gun in putting up their hood, they were lined up on tbe other side of the road and sprinted to their ears. This type of start was used until 1969!

STARTERS:

STARTERS :

49 cars 4 nations 22 makes

France : 1 Amilcar, 4 Aries, 2 Bignans, 4 Chenard et Walckers, 3 Corre la Lieomes, 3 D. F. P. s (Doriot- Flandrin - Parant) , 2 E. H. P. s (Ets Henri Precloux), 2 G. M. s (Gendron et Michelot), 3 Lorraine Dietrichs, 1 Majola, 1 Montier - Ford, 1 Ravel, 3 Rolland Pilains, 3 S. A. R. A. s (Ste des Automobiles a Refroidissement par Air), 1 Sizaire Berwiek, 2 Talbots.

Great Britain : 1 Austin Seven, 2 Bentleys, 2 Sunbearns.

Italy : 4 Diattos, 3 O. M. s (Officine Mecanishe)

United States of Ameriea : 1 Chrysler

Makes.first appearanee:

Drivers, first appearanee :

SUMMARY:

Withdrawal of a Chrysler and an A. C as well as the Omega Six team. Henry Seagrave took off from the start like a scalded eat, but the winner of the 1923 A. C. F Grand Prix was let down by his clutch. The 2 Bentleys took up the running but not for long: Moir ran out of fuel and the Duff - Clement ear lost 5 laps beeause of a ruptured fuelline. Their race was finally ended by a fire. The water pipes on the Chenard et Walckers all ruptured resulting in blown engines on both 4 litre cars. The drivers of the 1100 cc models were warned in time and saved the make's honour even if Senechal had to make up a lot of lost time. His little 'Tank" was knocked off the track by another competitor but thanks to a pieee of fencing, he made it back on to the circuit! Stoffel in the Chrysler was less fortunate as he went off into a ditch to avoid another ear, and the time lost prevented him from meeting his set distanee by only 2 laps

RECORDS:

In covering 24, 446 kilometres more than the winning Chenard et Walcker in 1923 and 156, 642 kilometres more than the 1924 winners, the Rossignol - de Coureelles Lorraine Dietrieh set a new world distance record for 24 hours on roads. The lap record was again set by Andre Lagaehe at the wheel of his Chenard et Walcker : this time he lowered his 1924 figure of 9'19" (111, 168 km/h) by 9" to 9'10" (112,987 km/h). Seven cars covered more tban 2000 kms. The two O. M. s dead heated, and in the different cubic capacity classes all previous records were beaten.

The tragic side of the fair

On Friday evening, just after the Pontlieue hairpin, young Andre Guilbert (Rave!) crashed during a final reconnaissance. His car was hit head - on by a van which was on tbe left - hand side of the road. If the van driver and his friends were only slightly injured, the unfortunate Guilbert received multiple fractures and died 4 days later in tbe Le Mans hospital, the first victim of the 24 Hour event. There was anotber tragedy in the raee itself. The Belgian eharnpion, Andre Pisart, in his Chenard et Walcker, saw tbe accident whieh he deseribed in his book "My Races" published by the Editions Lumieres. "On the seventh lap, just after the new pits on the long Les Hunaudieres straight and a little before the Mulsanne corner, I saw Marius Mestivier just ahead of me in his Amilcar. I was about to pass him when 1 saw his car suddenly turn over on him, the rear chasing the front. The unfortunate driver was literally pulverised as his brakes had seized solid I got passed on the side but was very struek by tbe death of this great friend".

In fact, the exact causes of this accident were never clearly established. Pisar! said it was tbe brakes : others called the tyres into question while some said that the brilliant driver and Amilcar mechanic, the elder brother of Mauriee Mestivier, tbe future president of Agaci, lost control of his ear after being hit on the head by a bird. He was only 26 .

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Author: ArchitectPage