Page Created 19/07/2020

24 Hours of Le Mans: 1949

Last Edit: 04/08/2020

 

The 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 17th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 25 and 26 June 1949. Luigi Chinetti won the race for a third time in the first Ferrari barchetta by driving 22.5 hours. This race also saw the death of British driver Pierre Maréchal when his Aston Martin DB2 was involved in an accident between Arnage and Maison Blanche around 1:00 a.m. Marechal had attempted to pass another car there and he hit an embankment and the hapless Briton was crushed by the overturning car.

This was the first race held at the circuit following the end of World War II. Even though the war had ended four years prior, major infrastructure reconstruction throughout France meant that the return of the race was of secondary concern, and thus was not run until after France had established itself again. Following the end of the war the circuit needed extensive repairs. During the war the RAF, then the Luftwaffe, had used the airfield by the pits, as well as the 5 km Hunaudières straight as a temporary airstrip (thereby also making it a target for Allied bombing). So it was four years before the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) was in a position to revive the great race. Assisted with money from the government, the pits and grandstand had been rebuilt, a new 1000-seat restaurant and administration centre built and the whole track was resurfaced. However one section of the hinterland was still off-limits as it had not yet been cleared of landmines. Likewise, in that time the car manufacturers had also been rebuilding.

Most of the entry list for this year's race was from cars built or designed before the war. The ACO put preference to those entered in the last, 1939, race for the Biennial Cup. So there were twelve cars from that race back for the Cup. Otherwise, there were fourteen entries from manufacturers - although "works" entries effectively, many were one-car small companies.

The regulations used by the ACO were based on those of the new FIA, created in 1946. There were ten classes, based on engine size, and at least ten cars had to have been produced before the entry was submitted. Supercharged engines’ equivalence was calculated at 2:1 for engine capacity. However, for this new start, sportscar prototypes were now given admission for the first time, "as an exceptional measure to contribute towards a faster revival of automobile manufacture" by the French Service des Mines (Vehicle registration authority), or its foreign equivalent. That was, in a sense, just formalising an unofficial practice started in the 1930s, when race-specific cars were entered at Le Mans and other races for the win with no intentions of going into full production. The ACO reserved the right to disqualify a car not entered 'in the spirit of the regulations'.

In days of petrol rationing, there was considerable interest in the Index of Performance - the measure of cars making an improvement on its nominal assigned distance, based on engine size. Entrants had to choose to run on either gasoline (68-Octane), diesel or ‘’ternary’’ fuel (a blend of 60% gasoline, 25% ethanol, 15% benzole). All fuel was supplied by the ACO. Fuel, oil and water could only be topped up after 25 laps had been run, and ACO inspectors sealed the radiator and oil-caps after each refill. A spare wheel, fire extinguisher and toolkit had to be carried in the car and on-circuit repairs could only be done by the driver, with the onboard tools. Night-time (when it was compulsory for lights to be on) was defined as being between 9.30pm and 4.30am.

Finally there was the Hors Course rule, whereby after 12 hours, any car that had not completed 80% of its corresponding Performance Index distance was disqualified. Also, the car had to be running to take the chequered flag with a final lap taking no longer than 30 minutes.

Where we have not had a model of the car as raced through the business I've added another example of the car as an illustration (where I have one)

Pos

Car

No

Team

Drivers

Chassis

Engine

Laps

1

1948 Ferrari 166 MM

22

 Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon
(private entrant)

 Luigi Chinetti
 Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon

Ferrari 166 MM

Ferrari 2.0L V12

235

2

Delage D6-70 Coupe Figoni Le Mans (example)

15

 Henri Louveau
(private entrant)

 Henri Louveau
 Juan Jover

Delage D6S-3L

Delage 3.0L i6

234

3

Frazer Nash (example)

26

 Mrs. P. Trevelyan
(private entrant)

 Harold John Aldington
 Norman Culpan

Frazer Nash High Speed Le Mans Replica

Bristol 2.0L I6

224

4

Delage D6-70 Coupe Figoni Le Mans (example)

14

 W.S. Watney
(private entrant)

 Louis Gérard
 Francisco Godia-Sales

Delage D6S-3L

Delage 3.0L I6

212

5

Delahaye 135M Figoni-Falaschi (example)

11

 Pierre Meyrat
(private entrant)

 Pierre Meyrat
 Robert Brunet

Delahaye 135CS

Delahaye 4.0L I6

210

6

Bentley Embiricos

6

 H.S.F. Hay
(private entrant)

 Jack "Zoltan" Hay
 Tommy Wisdom

Embiricos Bentley Paulin

Bentley 4.3L I6

210

7

Aston Martin DB2 (example)

27

 Arthur Jones
(private entrant)

 Arthur Jones
 Nick Haines

Aston Martin DB2

Aston Martin 2.0L I4

207

8

HRG Lightweight LM

35

 Ecurie Lapin Blanc
 HRG Engineering

 Eric Thompson
 Jack Fairman

HRG 1500 Lightweight Le Mans

Singer 1.5L I4

202

9

Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet Anthem

12

 René Bouchard
(private entrant)

 René Bouchard
 Pierre Larrue

Delahaye 135MS

Delahaye 3.6L I6

200

N/C*

Delahaye 135M Figoni-Falaschi (example)

9

 Henry Leblanc
(private entrant)

 Henry Leblanc
 Jean Brault

Delahaye 135CS

Delahaye 3.6L I6

194

10

Aston Martin DB1 Spyder

29

 Robert Lawrie
(private entrant)

 Robert Lawrie
 Richard W. Parker

Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports (DB1)

Aston Martin 2.0L I4

193

11

Still Looking

44

 Monopole-Poissy

 Jean de Montrémy
 Eugène Dussous

Monopole Sport

Simca 1.1L I4

185

N/C*

Healey-Elliot

20

 Jack Bartlett
(private entrant)

 Jack Bartlett
 Nigel Mann

Healey Elliott

Riley 2.4L I4

180

12

Simca 8 Sport Cabrio (example)

47

 N.J. Mahé / R. Crovetto
(private entrant)

 Norbert Jean Mahé
 Roger Crovetto

Simca Huit

Gordini 1.1L I4

178

13

Still Looking

58

 Let-Aviation

 František Sutnar
 Otto Krattner

Aero Minor Sport 750

Aero 0.7L Flat-2
(2-Stroke)

177

14

Still Looking

41

 Auguste Lachaize
(private entrant)

 Auguste Lachaize
 Albert Debille

DB Tank

Citroën 1.5L I4

176

N/C*

Simca 8 Sport Cabrio (example)

52

 André Guillard
(private entrant)

 André Guillard
 Théodore Martin

Simca Huit

Gordini 1.1L I4

156

15

Still Looking

60

 Ecurie Verte

 Emmanuel Baboin
 Pierre Gay

Simca Six

Simca 0.6L I4

156

16

Still Looking

59

 Jacques Poch
(private entrant)

 Ivan Hodač
 Jacques Poch

Aero Minor Sport 750

Aero 0.7L Flat-2
(2-Stroke)

150

DNF

1950 Talbot Lago T26 GS (example)

1

 André Chambas / Écurie Verte

 André Chambas
 André Morel

Talbot-Lago Grand Sport Coupé

Talbot-Lago 4.5L I6

222

DNF

Delage D6-70 Coupe Figoni Le Mans (example)

18

 Auguste Veuillet
(private entrant)

 Auguste Veuillet
 Edmond Mouche

Delage D6-3L

Delage 3.0L I6

208

DNF

Aston Martin DB2

28

 Mrs. R.P. Hichens
(private entrant)

 Pierre Marechal
 Donald Mathieson

Aston Martin DB2

Aston Martin 2.0L i4

192

DNF

Still Looking

4

 Ecurie Charles Pozzi

 André Simon
 Pierre Flahaut

Delahaye 175S

Delahaye 4.5L I6

179

DNF

Still Looking

42

 René Bonnet
 Automobiles DB

 René Bonnet
 Charles Deutsch

DB 5

Citroën 1.5L I4

175

DSQ

MG TC Special Le Mans

(example)

43

 G.E. Phillips
(private entrant)

 George Phillips
 R.M. Dryden

MG TC Special Body

MG 1.3L I4

134

DNF

Still Looking

8

 Louis Villeneuve
(private entrant)

 Marius Chanal
 Yves Giraud-Cabantous

Delahaye 135CS

Delahaye 3.6L I6

128

DNF

Still Looking

10

 R.R.C. Walker Racing Team

 Tony Rolt
 Guy Jason-Henry

Delahaye 135CS

Delahaye 3.6L I6

126

DNF

Still Looking

5

 Etablissements Delettrez

 Jean Delettrez
 Jacques Delettrez

Delettrez Diesel

Delettrez 4.4L I6
(Diesel)

123

DNF

Still Looking

45

 Monopole-Poissy

 Jean Hémard
 Raymond Leinard

Monopole

Simca 1.1L I4

120

DNF

Simca 8 Sport Cabrio (example)

48

 Just-Emile Vernet
(private entrant)

 Just-Emile Vernet
 Claude Batault

Simca Huit

Simca 1.1L I4

118

DNF

Singer Nine Le Mans (example)

56

 Jacques Savoye
(private entrant)

 Jacques Savoye
 Marcel Renault

Singer 9

Singer 1.0L I4

97

DNF

Still Looking

2

 Écurie France
 Talbot-Lago

 Paul Vallée
 Guy Mairesse

Talbot-Lago Monoplace Décalée

Talbot-Lago 4.5L I6

95

DNF

Simca 8 Sport Cabrio (example)

54

 Mme Vivianne Elder
(private entrant)

 Vivianne Elder
 René Camerano

Simca Huit

Simca 1.1L I4

95

DNF

Still Looking

46

 Robert Redge
(private entrant)

 Félix Lecerf
 Robert Redge

Simca Dého

Simca 1.1L I4

89

DNF

Still Looking

50

 Amédée Gordini
 Automobiles Gordini

 Pierre Veyron
 José Scaron

Simca-Gordini T8

Simca 1.1L I4

88

DNF

HRG 1.5 Litre (example)

34

 Ecurie Lapin Blanche
 HRG Engineering

 Jack Scott-Douglas
 Neville Gee

HRG 1500 Lightweight Le Mans

Singer 1.5L I4

83

DNF

Delage D6-70 Coupe Figoni Le Mans (example)

16

 Marc Versini
(private entrant)

 Marc Versini
 Gaston Serraud

Delage D6-3L

Delage 3.0L I6

58

DNF

Ferrari 166 MM

23

 J.A. Plisson
(private entrant)

 Jean Lucas
 Pierre Louis-Dreyfus ("Ferret")

Ferrari 166 MM

Ferrari 2.0L V12

53

DNF

Still Looking

3

 Ecurie Charles Pozzi

 Eugène Chaboud
 Charles Pozzi

Delahaye 175S

Delahaye 4.5L I6

52

DNF

Aston Martin 2 Litre (example)

30

 Peter Monkhouse
(private entrant)

 Peter Monkhouse
 Ernest Stapleton

Aston Martin Speed Model

Aston Martin 2.0L I4

45

DNF

Simca 8 Sport Cabrio (example)

51

 Robert Tocheport
(private entrant)

 Robert Tocheport
 Roget Carron

Simca Huit

Simca 1.1L I4

45

DNF

Riley RM 1.5 Litre (example)

36

 Just-Emile Vernet
(private entrant)

 Georges Trouis
 Roger Eckerlein

Riley RMA

Riley 1.5L I4

40

DNF

Aston Martin 2 Litre (example)

31

 Dudley C. Folland
(private entrant)

 Anthony Heal
 Dudley Folland

Aston Martin Speed Model

Aston Martin 2.0L I4

26

DNF

Still Looking

7

 Ecurie Rosier

 Louis Rosier
 Jean-Louis Rosier

Talbot-Lago Spéciale

Talbot-Lago 4.1L I6

21

DNF

Renault 4cv (example)

57

 Camille Hardy
(private entrant)

 Camille Hardy
 Maurice Roger

Renault 4CV

Renault 0.8L I4

21

DNF

HRG 1.5 Litre (example)

33

 Ecurie Lapin Blanche
 HRG Engineering

 Peter Clark
 Mortimer Morris-Goodall

HRG 1500 Lightweight Le Mans

Singer 1.5L I4

11

DNF

Aston Martin DB2

19

 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.

 Leslie Johnson
 Charles Brackenbury

Aston Martin DB2

Lagonda 2.6L I6

6

DNF

Still Looking

32

 Louis Eggen
(private entrant)

 Louis Eggen
 Egon Kraft de la Saulx

Alvis TA 14

Alvis 1.9L I4

6

DNF

Still Looking

49

 Amédée Gordini
 Automobiles Gordini

 Jean Trévoux
 Marcel Lesurque

Simca-Gordini TMM

Simca 1.1L I4

5

 

 


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