LE MANS 24 HOURS 1934

16th - 17th June

44 starters 23 classified finishers

This year the signs of overall economic reeovery were reflecled in lhe number of entries. 44. over half of which were British (23). Not sinee 1925 had there been so many starters.

Again it looked like an Alfa Romeo cake - walk in spite of the presenee of 4 Bugattis induding a 4.9 litre model and a pair of T 55s plus the venerable Lorraine. In the ltalian camp. the 4 Alfa Romeos were ostensibly private entries but in faet works prepared. No Chiron this year discouraged perhaps by his 5 starts and 5 retirements. However having his first ever Le Mans 24 Hour race was the great Phi - Phi Etancelin of cap and goggles fame! Partnered by Luigi Chinetti he looked the most likely to pose a threat to Raymond Sommer the 1933 winner. During night practice Etancelin in his Alfa. painted in Freneh blue got round at a speed of 149 km/h (the fastest ever lap at Le Mans up to that date) in a car, that he had not even had the time to run in before it arrived at the cireuit. After the start. given by Vicount de Rohan Chabot.

President of the A C. F and the National Federation of Clubs. Sommer jumped into the lead leaving Rose Richards to deal with Chinetti and stretehed out his lead at a rate of l0" per lap!

Too good to last however as on lap 14 the leading Alfa Romeo caught fire just beside Arnage and was eliminaled. There were still 3 Alfas in the first 3 plaees followed by Pierre Veyron in the 4. 9 litre Bugatti tailed by the remarkable supereharged M. G of Ford and Baumer. Next of the ltalian cars to retire was the third - placed one of Clifford and Saunders - Davis (dutch). and a fresh blow to Italian hopes carne at around 21HOO when the Chinetti - Etaneelin ear stopped with a punctured fuel tank allowing the Rose Richards - Howe Alfa Romeo into first place.

Radiator repaired Etancelin went baek out into the fray and was there to take up the lead when the English pair were eliminated with faulty lighting. Thus as morning broke the sole remaining Alfa had a 17 lap lead over the second - placed car a Riley! The Bugatti had retired allowing the M.G up into an amazing second place before it too suceumbed to the rigours of Le Mans. The only suspense left was whether or not the Freneh blue Alfa would make it to the ehequered flag as it still had a leaking radiator. And the remedy ? Chewing gum! In the Etaneelin - Chinetti pito jaws were chomping furiously to provide enough gum to block the leak. It seemed to work as the Franco - ltalian pairing took the ehequered flag to give Alfa Romeo its fouth consecutive and last (up to the present) overall vietory in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. The other outstanding feature was the performance of the Rileys : 6 slarters and 6 finishers with second and third overall. a class win (1101 to 1500 ees) for the Sebilleau - Delaroche car and a triple in the Index of Performance allied to victory in the Biennial Cup for the Van der Beeke Peaeoek entry . The Martin - Eccles M. G. carne home in a brilliant fourth place and won the 751 to 1100 cc dass. The best the Freneh could do was ninth.

CIRCUIT :

13. 492 kms. A new surface between Mulsanne and Arnage. The pits were completely renovated bringing their number up to 60. In addition. an extra open - air floor was also provided for manufacturers constructors the press and others. Each pit was equipped with an automatic fuel dispenser. A mini - chapel was built on the inside of the Tertre Rouge Esses. AlI the publie spectator enclosures were now supplied with drinking water. A 9 hole golf course was laid out behind the pits in the "Les Bruyeres" zone.

REGUlATIONS:

no change

STARTERS:

44 ears 3 nations 15 makes

Franee : 4 Amilears. 1 B. N C. (Bollaek. Netter et Cie). 5 Bugattis. 2 Derbys. 1 Lorraine Dietrieh. 1 Rally. 1 Salmson. 2 Traetas.

Great Britain : 5 Aston Martins. 1 Austin. 1 Lagonda. 4 M. G. s. 6 Rileys. 6 Singers. ltaIy ; 4 Alfa Romeos.

SUMMARY:

Three nocturnal practice sessions were programmed on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the event. This time the road was dosed "execpt to local residents who had to drive in a clockwise direction like the competitors". The S. J Dusenberg driven by the Prinee of Roumania and the American Whitney Straight did not survive praetice. The 4. 9 litre Bugatti of Veyron - Labrie which had the largest cubic capcity. Was in fact the ex - Chiron - Varzi 1931 car. Appearance of V8 engines in the T. A Derbys designed by the engineer. Lepicard one of which (no. 16) had a famous pair of drivers ex - boxing ehampion. Louis Villeneuve and artist Georges Hammel better known as Geo Ham. The latter in faet. almost met with disaster in the first practice session. Reappearanee of a 100% feminine pairing in the no. 38 Riley driven by Kaye Petre and Dorothy Champney. Like the Rileys. the K3 M. G. s used a Wilson pre - selector gearbox.

RECORDS:

None. as the distance covered. 2886.938 kms at an average speed of 120. 289 km/h. was equivalent to that of 1929. Fastest lap fell to Philippe Etaneelin in 5'41"0. a far cry from his praetice performance. The relatively low speed explains perhaps. the high number of finishers. Not since 1923 had so many bouquets been handed out!

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Sports Car Races

Targa Florio 1963

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Le Mans 1930

Le Mans 1949

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Le Mans 1952

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Le Mans 1956

Le Mans 1957

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Le Mans 1960

Le Mans 1961

Le Mans 1962

Le Mans 1963

Le Mans 1964

Author: ArchitectPage

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