21st - 22nd June
17 starters 9 classified finishers
19 entries and 17 starters: the smallest field ever in the history of the 24 Hour race. Bentley against Mercedes - Benz. Barnato and Birkin against Caracciola. An unequal duel but a ruthless and spectacular battle that lasted 10 hours. Fifth and final Bentley victory and third personal success for Wolf "Babe" Barnato. The British Talbots came in third and fourth confirming the cross - channel domination. Only 3 French cars at the start but 3 at the finish. Gregoire again classified. For the first time there were 2 lady drivers, Mrs Mareuse and Mrs Siko who finished seventh in their Bugatti. The supercharged Alia Romeo and Lea Francis both finished. Finally M. G, a make that was to have a long Le Mans history, appeared for the first time.
16, 430 kms. The layout inaugurated the previous year.
The A. C. 0 decided to accept private entries and Bentley took full advantage of this new clause being represented by 2 different teams. The works entries consisted of 3 Speed Sixes while the three 4. 5 litre supercharged models were entered under the banner of their new owner, the Honourable Miss Dorothy Paget. The calculations for the Index of Performance were staggered from 1400 kms for the 500 cc class to 2500 kms for the 6001 to 7000 cc class or over.
17 cars 5 nations 9 makes
France: 1 Bugatti, 2 Tractas.
Germany: 1 Mercedes - Benz.
Great Britain: 5 Bentleys, 1 Lea Francis, 2 M. G. s (Morris Garage), 2 Talbot - Darracqs G.B.
Italy: 1 Alia Romeo.
United States of America: 2 Stutz.
Out of the 17 starters, 5 were supercharged (the two 4. 5 litre Bentleys, the Mercedes-Benz SS, the 6 C Alia Romeo and the Lea Francis). On the Mercedes - Benz the supercharger was clutch - operated and could be engaged as required. The German car also set a new cubic capacity record with 7096 ccs. In terms of sheer power, the SS Mercedes put out 200 bhp (with supercharger engaged) as against 180 bhp for the Speed Six Bentleys and 175 bhp for the supercharged 4. 5 litre models. At the bottom end of the scale the little M. G. s put out between 27 and 30 bhp.
A B. N. C. was withdrawn as was the 4. 5 litre supercharged Bentley no. 7 which B. H Wood and J. Dunfee were to have shared. In practice, the 4. 5 litre Bentleys from the Dorothy Paget stable ran into considerable problems.The fuel supplied by the organisers did not suit the engine characteristics of these cars which were prepared by Tim Birkin and team - managed by Kensington Moir. The modifications necessary to make them run on benzol were in part responsible for the withdrawal of the third D. Paget car, which was entered for the Spa 24 Hour race the following weekend. In the Bentley camp the role of hare fell to Birkin. In a pre - determined plan his job was to break the Mercedes by forcing it to over - use the supercharger, its Achilles Heel. In their battle for the lead (indeed, they almost collided on the entry to Mulsanne), the lap record took another hammering: 7'01" and then 6'52" for Carraciola and then an incredible 6'48" for Birkin. The plan worked and the Mercedes fell by the wayside after 83 laps. However, in homage to the German team's courage the car was allowed to remain in front of its pit until the end of the race. The no. 3 Bentley of Clive Dunfee got stuck in the sand near Pontlieue and the Birkin - Chassagne car finally gave up the ghost towards the end with a blown piston, having more than served its purpose. The only real incident for Barnato was avoiding Louis Rigal as the latter jumped from his burning Stutz. Satisfactory debut for the Talbots both of which finished ahead of the Alia Romeo. Both M. G. 's retired. Fourth consecutive finish for Tracta and its creator, J. C. Gregoire.
In Bentley no. 4 Barnato and Kidston increased the distance and average speed records from 2843, 830 kms and 118, 492 km/h to 2930, 663 kms and 122, 111 km/h respectively. Tim Birkin lowered his 1929 lap record of 7'21", 133, 551 km/h by no fewer than 33" to 6'48", a speed of 144,362 km/h! It was to remain the outright record for circuit no. 2.
Sports Car Races