18th - 19th June
25 starters 9 classified finishers
There was a new section including new Esses, inaugurated with much pomp and ceremony by the A. C. O during night - time practice. It was much appreciated by drivers and spectators - 25 starters as in 1931, twelve of which (a sign of the times) had supercharged engines. However, on paper anyway, the race looked like an Alfa Romeo benefit with 7 of the Italian cars among the entries. The Bentley, the Mercedes - Benz and the Stutz all appeared out - dated, and the French spectators' hopes were invested in the Pair of 2.3 litre works T 43 Bugattis from Molsheim entrusted to Chiron - Bouriat and Czaikowski - Friderich. The outsiders consisted ofan English Talbot and 3 Aston Martins. Among the other entries was a Salmson making a return, a Caban, an Amilcar, an Alta (making its Le Mans debut) and the little M. G which had just missed out on being classified the previous year. Also present was a Citroen which seems to have been forgotten by many of the most scrupulous Le Mans historians. It did in fact do 3 laps! The Bugatti challenge soon faded as Chiron and Bouriat, who had started off cautiously in the wake of the Alfas, went out with a pierced radiator around 19HOO. The only danger to the Italian cars now seemed to come from the over - exuberance of their own drivers. At the start of the race Marinoni had already gone into the sand at Amage. He got going again only to go off at Maison Blanche as did Minoia. In addition "Nime" managed to overturn his 8C Alfa thus reducing the ltalian cars' numeric advanatge. Indeed, Maison Blanche looked a bit like a breaker's yard as on lap 1, Trevoux had also capsized his Bentley there and had been hit by the Stutz. The Fourcet brothers Mercedes - Benz had blown a piston due to a pierced sump so as twilight fell, it was a decimated field that tackled the night. In spite of their early mishaps, the AIfa Romeos held the first 3 places with Cortese - Giudotti leading Birkin - Howe and Sommer Chinetti. However around midnight the English pair, who had passed their ltalian rivals delayed by a windscreen change , were affIicted in turn by the first sigos of the malady that would force their retirement at dawn : the block was leaking and the cylinderhead gasket would not hold. Back into the lead went the ltalians tailed by Sommer (Chinetti being hors de combat through sickness). The only surviving works Bugatti was still in the running but it would not survive the early afternoon. Sommer, the privateer and marathonian (20 hours behind the wheel), got past his rivals, slowed by braking and wing mounting bracket problems, and went on to victory by almost 2 laps.
13, 492 kms. The increasing enroachment of the Le Mans suburbs and the A. C. O's desire for autonomy resulted in the club finally moving its circuit away from the urban zone. A 75 hectare private plot was purchased and a new road was made in the Tertre Rouge sector. This layout was to be used until 1955. In addition, the A. C. O created new spectator enclosures around the incline and the dip leading to !he Tertre Rouge Esses.
On account of the new layout, the interval between refuelling stops was increased from 20 to 24 laps, a distance 01323, 808 kms. The obligation to carry 60 kilos for each unoccupied seat was cancelled. The handicap imposed on supercharged cars increased from 30 to 33%.
26 cars 5 nations 14 makes
France : 1 Amilcar, 1 B. N. C (Bollack, Netter et Cie), 4 Bugattis, 1 Caban, 1 Citroen, 1 Rally, 1 Salmson.
Germany : 1 Mercedes - Benz.
Great Britain : 1 Alta, 3 Aston Martíns, 1 Bentley, 1 M. G. , 1 Talbot Darracq.
ltaly : 7 Alfa Romeos.United States : 1 Stutz
Not only Birkin and Howe, The previous year's winners, had the right to their lap of honour, but also George Eyston in the huge 20 CV Panhard with which he had set a new world record for one hour at an average speed of 210.392 km/h on the Montlhery oval just a short time before the race. Another but alas sadder homage was the one minute's silence in memory of the Peugeot driver, Andre Boillot, who had succumbed to injuries received in the d'Ars hillclimb. The start was given by M. Gourdeau, the Sarthe member of parliament and state secretary for tourism. The Alfa Romeos coachwork was by Touring but the Sommer - Chinetti car wore a very pretty aerodynamic body by Figoni. In addition, the Franco - ltalian entry was shod by Englebert and not by Dunlop, and the cunning Chinettl had also litted an extra - large capacity fuel tank. In practice the red cars and the Bugattis set virtually the same times. It was not until the start that Zehender and Prince Djordjadze in the no. 14 . Alfa were replaced by Marinoni and Guaita, a couple of authentic Milanese technicians. The intrepid Mrs Siko was still there, also in an Alfa but this time, a 6C model. The Amilcar racing equipment had been bought first of all by J. Scaron and then by C. A. Martin. In their personal car, Martín and his friend Bodoignet gave Amilcar its highest placing (8th) and best average speed (85.128 km/h) ever in the 24 Hour race. It was a debut win for Luigi Chinetti but it was rather the tuner than the driver who should have been congratulated! The Lewis - Rosé Richards Talbot finished a fine third on only 5 cylinders, and there was a second successive win lor Aston Martin ( Newsome Windengren) in the 1101 to 1500 cc class as well as first place in the Index of Performance.
Sports Car Races