LE MANS 24 HOURS 1975

14th -15th June

55 starters 30 classified finishers

Sports Car racing was in the doldrums the world championship being dorninaled by Alfa Romeo following Matra's wilhdrawal. The A. C. O. 's attempt to do something difierent with an event based on a fuel consumption formula of 40 litres per 100 kms only succeeded in driving the public away. A Lamborghini made a timid appearance but did not get beyond qualifying. There were no fewer Ithan 24 Porsche Carreras in RS or RSR form, one of which had a turbo - charged fIat 6 cylinder power unit . Datsun, soon to be named Nissan, discovered Le Mans as did Toyota who installed a turbo - charged engine in the Sigma. John Wyer saw the race as an ideal opportunity for his Mirages baptised Gulf in honour of their sponsor. His reward was first and third places for the powder blue and orange cars powered by the 3 litre Cosworth engine also used by 2 of the 3 Ligiers, the JS2 of Belloise and Jarier sticking to the V8 Maserati unit. The main opposition carne from the fIat 6 turbocharged Porsche 908/04 prepared by Reinhold Joesl and the heavily modified Lala of Alain de Cadenel. The main interest in a monotonous race carne from the Lafosse - Chaseuil Ligier which, delayed at the start, was 9 laps behind the leaders on Sunday morning but closed the gap to only 13 kilometres at the finish! The GTs , very much at home with this special set of regulations, filled fifth to thirteenth places. Porsche accumulaled wins in the GT, GTS and GTX calegories as well as in the Index of Performance. The start was given by Jean - Marie Balestre. Presidenl of the French Federalion of Molor Sport.

CIRCUIT :

Unchanged, the same 13.640 km layout being used.

REGULATlONS : The event did not count for Ihe World Championship for Makes. Thermal Efficency lndex suppressed. An interval of 20 laps minimum between refuelling stops. Drivers had to set their qualifying times after 2IH00. Maximum cubic capacity for sports cars limted to 3 litres, free for Ihe other categories. Engine marking cancelled and the competitor's word of honour was accepted conceming the mechanical characteristics of his vehicle. Freedom to change the mechanical organs of the car provided that the scrutineers were informed and the defective parts put at their disposal. Creation of a so - called combined classification resulting from the positions of each car in the Index of Performance and the fuel consumption classitication.

STARTERS :

55 cars 6 nations 17 makes

France : 1 Alpine, 3 Ligiers, 1 Moynet, 1 Tecma.

Germany : 3 BMWs, 27 Porsches.

Great Britain : 1 De Cadenet, 6 Lolas, 1 March, 2 Mirages.

Italy : 2 Ferraris, 2 De Tomasos.

J apan : 1 Datsun, 1 Mazda, 1 Sigma.

United States : 1 Chevrolet, 1 Ford.

SUMMARY :

The April test session was cancelled but even so there were 70 cars at scrutineering. No Ferraris, Matras or Alfa Romeos. On the initiative of Herve Poulain, an auctioneer, BMW had their works 3 litre CSL Coupe decorated by the American artist, Alexander Calder, and entrusted to the trio of Poulain -Posey - Guiche!. Drama on the grid 90 minutes before the start as the scrutineers decided not to allow the NART enlered Dino to start. Luigi Chinetti then modified the composition of his three driver line - ups which the ACO refused to accept. In a fit of rage, the triple winner withdrew his entries. This made the day of a Porsche, the Datsun and the Sigrna. A Soulh American entered unqualified Porsche look advantage of the general confusion to do 3 laps! From the start the Mirages went to the front, first the Schuppan - Jassaud car and then the Ickx - Bell one which was to lead for 23 hours. Ligier, Porsche and De Cadenet's waiting game met with little reward as 2 of the JS2s were eliminaled by accidents before midnight, and the Joesl 908/4 lost three - quarters of an hour at half - distance after a coming - together with an open 2 seater. The De Cadenet lost its bonnel twice before running into suspension and exhaust problems but struggled on to finish fourteenth. In the under 2 litre calegory, victory fell to the Simca engined Moynel driven by the all ladies team of Mrs Dacremonl, Mrs Hoepffner and a certain Michele Moulon. The other all - ladies crew of Lella Lombardi and Marie Claude Beaumonl went out early on in their Alpine. In the GT category the main interest was provided by an all- out war between the Gelo Racing, Kremer and Buchel Porsche Carrera RSRs wilh victory going to Gelo Racing thanks to John Fitzpatrick and Gijs van Lennep. There was a brief alert in the Mirage camp on Sunday aftenoon when the leading car slopped twice for 15 minules allowing the pursuing Ligier to come even closer. But not close enough as a lap separated it from the winners at 16H00.

RECORDS :

In a word none as fuel economy was the principal aim of the entranls. Chris Craft's fastest lap was 14"2 off that of Cevert in 1973 (3'53"8 as opposed to 3'39"6 for the Frenchman) while Ickx and Bell covered to, 994 fewer kms than the 1974 winners.

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Sports Car Races

Targa Florio 1963

Sebring 1966

Stardust GP 1968

Le Mans 1930

Le Mans 1949

Le Mans 1950

Le Mans 1951

Le Mans 1952

Le Mans 1953

Le Mans 1954

Le Mans 1955

Le Mans 1956

Le Mans 1957

Le Mans 1958

Le Mans 1959

Le Mans 1960

Le Mans 1961

Le Mans 1962

Le Mans 1963

Le Mans 1964

Author: ArchitectPage