14th -15th June57 Starters 17 classified finishers
13,462 kms. No changes
The gap between refuelling in oil, water and fuel was increased from 25 to 28 laps. Considerable increase in the set average speeds. The International Sporting Commission (the FISA of the era) imposed wings attached to the bodywork, hence a much larger number of closed cars than in the past.
57 cars 5 nations 22 makes
Germany: 3 Mercedes - Benz, 3 Porsches.. France; 1 Constantin - Peugeot, 3 D. B. s, 2 Gordinis, 1 Monopole, 3 Panhards, 6 Renaults, 1 Simca, 3 Talbots.
Great Britain: 2 Allards, 5 Aston Martins, 2 Frazer Nashes, 3 Jaguars, 3 Jowetts, 2 Healeys, 1 Morgan, 2 Nash - Healeys.
Italy: 7 Ferraris, 2 Lancias, 1 Osca.
U. S. A. : 3 Cunninghams.
Return of Merceds - Benz after an absence of 22 years. During practice one of the 300 S18 entered tested a roof - mounted wing to slow down the 175 bhp 6 cylinder car. Kling however found that the system cost him too much speed on the straight. Each Talbot owner had his own ideas about the shape of his car. In addition, the Chambas - Morel entry was fitted with a supercharger, a technique also'used on the short wheelbase 203 Peugeot coupe entered by Alexis Constantin. The works entered XK 120 C Jaguars were fitted with special aerodynamic bodywork with a reduced frontal area and a small radiator grill. The car also had an extended taiL There were 3 Cunninghams, 2 spyders and a coupe. The new DB 3 Aston Martins were the creation of Eberan von Eberhorst, the designer of the pre - war grand prix Auto Unions between 1936 and 1939. The Osca making its debut had a double overhead camshaft 4 cylinder engine. First Sarthe appearance for the 250 S Ferrari. Having broken with Simca, Gordini entered 2 cars with a cubic capacity of 2260 ccs and 1500 ccs respectively.
The Ferraris immediately shot off into the lead with the Simon - Vincent car getting the drop on that of Ascari - Villoresi, the Italian pair soon running into clutch trouble. Once the Ferraris had shot their bolt, the little Gordini of Behra and Manzon took up the running much to everyone's surprise. And the Jaguars? The Coventry cars had all gone out in the first 4 hours, 2 from overheating caused by the new bodywork while the Moss - Walker car retired because of a jammed relief valve. The 2 Cunninghams which tried to match the pace of the leaders, retired as night was falling. Just before half - distance brake trouble struck the leading Gordini and into first place went "Levegh's" Talbot. The Parisian driver's performance was a remarkable exploit as he had refused to be relayed since the start. Alas for him, a bolt on no. 8's crankshaft let go just seventy minutes from the end. As a heart - broken "Levegh" retired Mercedes cruised home to a complet~ly unexpected double. Immediately arguements broke out as to whether the Frenchman's retirement had been caused by mechanical failure or driver fatigue. The Nash - Healey's third place ahead of the sole surviving Cunningham gave an unusual look to the 1952 results. The race was a rout for Aston Martin, one car being destroyed in practice by Pat Griffith and only a private DB 2 managing to reach the chequered flag. Cunningham, Lancia, Porsche, Jowett and Monopole renewed their 1951 class successes.
RECORDS:Quicker than ever as Ascari's lap in 4'40"5, a speed of 173, 159 km/h was over 6 seconds faster than Moss's previous year's record of 4' 46"8. Lang and Reiss covered 3733, 800 kms some 122, 607 kms more than the winners and recordmen of 1951. When would the 4000 km barrier fall ?
Sports Car Races