24th - 25th June
60 starters 29 classified finishers
60 starters: the largest - ever field in the history of the 24 Hour race and a French victory celebrated by the "Marseillaise" at the finish. Ferrari against Talbot, Jaguar and Aston Martin with a further international touch being added by the first appearance of two Cadillacs. Among the debutants, some present or future stars: Juan Manuel Fangio, Froilan Gonzalez, Maurice Trintignant and Jean Behra. Due to good weather and a newly resurfaced track, all the records were broken. Out of the 16 British cars at the start, 14 made it to the finish. Latin rout: all the Simcas and Ferraris (15 in total) retired. With the exception of a few laps (two? ) Louis Rosier never relinquished the wheel of the winning Talbot. First family success and a 100% Auvergnian one. The Monopole which dead - heated for victory in the Index of Performance with an Aston Martin, came from the Floquet - Monopole factory in Poissy not too far from that of Anthony Lago in Suresnes. The start was given by Mr. Jean Letourneau, "Ministre Francais des Etats Associes" (French Commonwealth minister! )".
13, 492 kms. Unchanged since 1932. The track was resurfaced and retarred during the 1949/50 winter. New Dunlop Bridge in the shape of a half - tyre spanning the track in the middle of the right - hander following the pits.
The same as in 1949, the A. C. O. supplying all the competitors with 80 octane commercial fuel. Oil, water and petrol refuelling allowed only every 25 laps. Scrutineering was transferred from the run - down "HaIles des Toiles" to the Manege Cavignac also situated in the town of Le Mans at 1 Avenue Jean Juares.
60 cars 5 nations 24 makes
France: 1 Delage, 2 Delahayes, 1 Delettrez, 3 D. B. s, 1 Ferry, 1 M. A. P., 2 Monopoles, 4 Panhards, 5 Renaults, 10 Simcas, 3 Talbots. Great Britain: 1 Allard, 3 Aston Martins, 2 Bentleys, 2 Frazer N ashes, 3 Jaguars, 1 Jowett, 2 Healeys, 1 M. G, 1 Riley. Czechslovakia : 2 Aero - Minors, 1 Skoda. Italy: 5 Ferraris, 1 Fiat.
U. S. A. : 2 Cadillacs.
Only 3 supercharged cars: 2 Simcas from the Amedee Gordini stable (nos 32 and 33) whose Wade superchargers increased their cubic capacity from 1500 to 3000 ccs (due to coefficient). The other was the M. A P prototype with a two stroke, flat 4 cylinder unit with horizontally opposed pistons, taken from a tractor and considered as a 5000 cc engine, hence almost similar to the V8 Cadillac powering the 2 Cadillacs and the Allard. Thirteen entries in the 501 to 750 cc class. Contrasting styles of the 2 Cadillacs with no. 3 having pretty Sedan 61 coupe coachwork while the no. 2 Spyder was fitted with a bizarre parallelepiped body. The Chinetti - Selsdon win in 1949 had obviously inspired the Ferrari owners as there were 5 of them at the start: two new type 195's
with 2400 cc power units while the three 166 MMs had 1995 cc engines. As for the three 4. 5 litre Talbots they were in fact thinly disguised grand prix single - seaters fitted with two - seater bodywork. The one driven by Rosier and son was a post - war model while the other 2 were both of 1939 vintage.
The withdrawals of a Ferrari, a 203 Peugeot and a Svenska - Champion (Sweden) allowed 3 reserves (the no. 64 DB, the no. 63 4 CV Renault and the no. 66 Simca) on to the starting grid. Like many other teams, Aston Martin came by road and lost a DB2 and Jack Fairman in a road accident in which his pregnant wife Marion suffered a broken back. The Aston was beyond repair so it was replaced by the prototype UMC 66 which lasted only 8 laps in the race (broken crankshaft). Tyre problems for the Jaguars which, although) privately entered, were in fact works prepared, and Hall's Bentley during practice. Piston changes on the V8 Cadillac and the Allard before the race. Following an accident during practice with Veuillet at the wheel, the no. 9 Delahaye remained stuck in the pits at flagfall. The Allard which was second before half - distance, lost most of its gears during a foggy night. In the early morning a rocker arm had to bee changed on the leading Talbot. This took 40 minutes and Louis Rosier gave himself an extra 10 minutes to freshen up during which time his son Jean - Louis covered 2 laps! At 6HOO another Talbot driven by Meyrat/Mairesse was in the lead ahead of the Johnson/Hadley JagUar. Jean Lucas overturned his Ferrari at Tertre Rouge and there were no Ferraris left in the race by Sunday morning. With fewer than 4 hours to go to the finish, the Pozzi Flahault Delahaye was disqualified (water radiator seals broken and bonnet straps broken). At lunch time Louis Rosier was back in the lead. The highest placed Jaguar (3rd) went out in the early afternoon 2 hours from the end with clutch problems due to the engine being used to slow the car. The Bonnet - Bayol D. B leading the Index of Performance lost one of its 2 cylinders letting the Abecassis - Macklin Aston Martin into the lead. In fact, the British duo were to be caught on the line by the Hemard - de Montremy Monopole, hence 2 winners of the Index. During the final hour, Tom Cole in the Allard was lapping faster than all the competitors still racing and over took the Rolt - Hamilton Healey to bring his Allard home in 3rd place, the best - ever Le Mans, result for the make.
With a lap in 4'53"5, 165, 490 km/h 1.0 Rosier pulverised the old circuit rec( which dated from 1939 (5'12"1). In additil the Rosier family set new distance and average speed records covering 3465, 120 kms (110, 360 kms more than the Wimille - Veyron Bugatti in 1939) at an average Speed of 144, 380 km/h.
Sports Car Races