24 Hours of Le Mans: 1955

 

The 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 23rd 24 Hours of Le Mans and took place on 11 and 12 June 1955 on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was also the fourth round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship.

During the race, Pierre Levegh crashed into a crowd of spectators, killing 80/84 and injuring 120 in the deadliest accident in motor racing history. The actual death toll is uncertain, put at from 80 to 84, including Levegh, with many more than that number severely injured.

The next round of the World Sports Car Championship at the Nürburgring was cancelled, as was the Carrera Panamericana. The accident caused widespread shock and immediate bans on auto racing in many countries. A number of racing teams including Mercedes-Benz, MG and Bristol had disbanded and withdrawn from racing by the end of the season. The scale of the accident caused some drivers present, including Phil Walters (who had been offered a drive with Ferrari for the rest of the season), Sherwood Johnston, and John Fitch (after completing the season with Mercedes-Benz), to retire from racing. Fitch was coaxed out of retirement by his friend Briggs Cunningham to help the Chevrolet Corvette effort at Le Mans in 1960 and later worked to develop traffic safety devices including the sand-filled "Fitch barrels". Less than three months later, Lance Macklin decided to retire after being involved in a twin fatality accident during the 1955 RAC Tourist Trophy race at Dundrod Circuit. Juan-Manuel Fangio never raced at Le Mans again.

Although Hawthorn was relieved to have gotten his first Le Mans victory, he was devastated by the tragedy. A press photo showed him smiling on the podium swigging from the victor's bottle of champagne, and the French press ran it with the sarcastic headline "Here's to You, Mr Hawthorn".

The official enquiry concluded that no one driver was to blame and that it was instead a tragic combination of circumstances that had caused the accident, including serious deficiencies in the track design and safety.

A few days after the race, a full ban on motor racing events was put into effect by the French government, pending the creation of new rules to ensure the safety of the sport. This complete ban was lifted on September 14, 1955. At this time, the Ministry of the Interior released new regulations for racing events, and codified the approval process that future racing events would need to follow. On the same day, the ACO announced their intent to hold the Le Mans race in 1956, and to make modifications to the Circuit de la Sarthe as necessary to adhere to the Ministry's new regulations. Before the 1956 event, the grandstands and pits were demolished, as well as straightening and widening the track at and approaching the pits, and realigning Dunlop Curve. They increased the separation between the road and the spectators including a wide ditch, and revised other hazardous stretches of the track. Track safety technology and practices evolved slowly until Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart organized a concerted campaign to advocate for better safety measures 10 years later. Stewart's campaign gained momentum after the deaths of Lorenzo Bandini and Jim Clark.

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

Jaguar D Type

6

 Jaguar Cars Ltd.

 Mike Hawthorn
 Ivor Bueb

Jaguar D-Type

Jaguar 3.4L S6

307

2

Aston Martin DB3S

23

 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

 Peter Collins
 Paul Frère

Aston Martin DB3S

Aston Martin 2.9L S6

302

3

Jaguar D Type (example)

10

 Ecurie Francorchamps

 Jacques Swaters
 Johnny Claes

Jaguar D-Type

Jaguar 3.4L S6

296

4

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

(example)

37

 Porsche KG

 Helmut Polensky
 Richard von Frankenberg

Porsche 550 RS Spyder

Porsche 1498cc F4

284

5

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

(example)

66
Reserve

 Ecurie Belge /
 Gustave Olivier

 Wolfgang Seidel
 Olivier Gendebien

Porsche 550 RS Spyder

Porsche 1498cc F4

276

6

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

(example)

62

 Porsche KG

 Helmut 'Helm' Glöckler
/ Jaroslav Juhan

Porsche 550 RS Spyder

Porsche 1498cc F4

273

7

Bristol 450

34

 Bristol Aeroplane Co.

 Peter Wilson
 Jim Mayers

Bristol 450C

Bristol 1979cc S6

271

8

Bristol 450 (example)

33

 Bristol Aeroplane Co.

 Mike Keen
 Tommy Line

Bristol 450C

Bristol 1979cc S6

270

9

Bristol 450 (example)

32

 Bristol Aeroplane Co.

 Tommy Wisdom
 Jack Fairman

Bristol 450C

Bristol 1979cc S6

268

10

Frazer Nash Sebring

35

 Automobiles Frazer Nash Ltd.

 Marcel Becquart
 Richard ‘Dickie’ Stoop

Frazer Nash Sebring

Bristol 1971cc S6

260

11

OSCA MT4

(example)

40

 Edgar Fronteras
(private entrant)

 Giulio Cabianca
 Giuseppe Scorbati

O.S.C.A. MT-4

O.S.C.A. 1491cc S4

256

12

Frazer Nash Sebring (example)

41

 MG Cars Ltd.

 Ken Miles
 John Lockett

MG EX.182

MG 1489cc S4

249

13

Porsche 550 1500/RS

49

 Porsche KG

 Auguste Veuillet
 Zora Arkus-Duntov

Porsche 550 RS Spyder

Porsche 1097cc S4

245

14

Triumph TR2 Sports

(example)

28

 Standard Triumph Ltd.

 Ninian Sanderson
 Bob Dickson

Triumph TR2

Triumph 1991cc S4

242

15

Triumph TR2 Sports

(example)

29

 Standard Triumph Ltd.

 Ken Richardson
 Bert Hadley

Triumph TR2

Triumph 1991cc S4

242

16

Still Looking

63

 Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet

 Louis Cornet
 Robert Mougin

DB HBR-MC

Panhard 745cc F2

236

17

Frazer Nash Sebring (example)

64

 MG Cars Ltd.

 Ted Lund
 Hans Waeffler

MG EX.182

MG 1489cc S4

234

18

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

(example)

65

 Gustave Olivier
(private entrant)

 Gonzague Olivier
Josef Jeser

Porsche 550 RS Spyder

Porsche 1498cc F4

234

N/C *

Triumph TR2 Sports

(example)

68
Reserve

 Standard Triumph Ltd.

 Leslie Brooke
 Mortimer Morris-Goodall

Triumph TR2

Triumph 1991cc S4

214

19

Still Looking

59

 Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet

 Louis Héry
 Georges Trouis

DB HBR Spyder

Panhard 745cc F2

209

N/C *

Still Looking

47

 Cooper Car Co.

 John Brown
 Edgar Wadsworth

Cooper T39

Coventry Climax 1098cc S4

207

DNF

Maserati 300S

(example)

16

 Officine Alfieri Maserati

 Luigi Musso
 Luigi "Gino" Valenzano

Maserati 300S

Maserati 3.0L S6

239

DNF

Still Looking

22

 Briggs Cunningham

 Briggs Cunningham
 Sherwood Johnston

Cunningham C6-R

Offenhauser 2.9L S4

196

DNF

Jaguar D Type (example)

7

 Jaguar Cars Ltd.

 Tony Rolt
 Duncan Hamilton

Jaguar D-Type

Jaguar 3.4L S6

186

DNF

Still Looking

30

 Automobiles Gordini

 Hermano da Silva Ramos
 Jacques Pollet

Gordini T15S

Gordini 1987cc S8

145

DNF

Still Looking

52

 Société Monopole

 Jean Hémard
 Pierre Flahault

Monopole X86

Panhard 745cc F2

145

DNF

Stanguellini 1100 Sports (example)

60

 Automobili Stanguellini

 René Philippe Faure
 Pierre Duval

Stanguellini S750 Bialbero

Stanguellini 740cc S4

136

DNF

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

19

 Daimler-Benz AG

 Juan Manuel Fangio
 Stirling Moss

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

Mercedes-Benz 3.0L S8

134

DNF

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (example)

21

 Daimler-Benz AG

 Karl Kling
 André Simon

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

Mercedes-Benz 3.0L S8

130

DNF

Still Looking

51

 Automobiles Panhard
et Levassor

 René Cotton
 André Beaulieux

Panhard VM-5

Panhard 850cc F2

108

DNF

Ferrari 121 LM

5

 Scuderia Ferrari

 Maurice Trintignant
 Harry Schell

Ferrari 735 LM

Ferrari 4.4L S6

107

DNF

Jaguar D Type (example)

8

 Jaguar Cars Ltd.

 Don Beauman
 Norman Dewis

Jaguar D-Type

Jaguar 3.4L S6

106

DNF

Aston Martin DB3S (example)

24

 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

 Roy Salvadori
 Peter Walker

Aston Martin DB3S

Aston Martin 2.9L S6

105

DNF

Ferrari 750 Monza (example)

12

 "Heldé"

 "Heldé" (Pierre Louis-Dreyfus)
 Jean Lucas

Ferrari 750 Monza

Ferrari 3.0L S4

104

DNF

Still Looking

58

 Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet

 Paul Armagnac
 Gérard Laureau

DB HBR-MC

Panhard 745cc F2

101

DSQ

Lotus 9 (example)

48

 Lotus Engineering

 Colin Chapman
 Ron Flockhart

Lotus Mark IX

Coventry Climax 1098cc S4

99

DNF

Maserati 300S

(example)

31

 Officine Alfieri Maserati

 Carlo Tomasi
 Francesco Giardini

Maserati 200S

Maserati 1986cc S4

96

DNF

Still Looking

50

 Automobiles Panhard
et Levassor

 Pierre Chancel
 Robert Chancel

Panhard VM-5

Panhard 850cc F2

94

DNF

Lagonda V12

1

 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

 Reg Parnell
 Dennis Poore

Lagonda DP-166

Lagonda 4.5L V12

93

DNF

Aston Martin DB3S (example)

25

 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

 Tony Brooks
 John Riseley-Pritchard

Aston Martin DB3S

Aston Martin 2.9L S6

83

DNF

1954 Salmson 2300S Barquette Philippe Charbonneau (example)

27

 J.-P. Colas
(private entrant)

 Jean-Paul Colas
 Jacques Dewez

Salmson 2300S Cabriolet

Salmson 2.3L L4

82

DNF

Ferrari 121 LM (example)

3

 Scuderia Ferrari

 Umberto Maglioli
 Phil Hill

Ferrari 735 LM

Ferrari 4.4L S6

76

DNF

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

(example)

38

 W. Ringgenberg
(private entrant)

 Walter Ringgenberg
 Hans-Jörg Gilomen

Porsche 550/4

Porsche 1498cc F4

65

DNF

Connaught ALSR (example)

43

 Connaught Engineering

 Kenneth McAlpine
 Eric Thompson

Connaught AL/SR

Lea-Francis 1484cc S4

60

DNF

Ferrari 121 LM (example)

4

 Scuderia Ferrari

 Eugenio Castellotti
 Paolo Marzotto

Ferrari 735 LM

Ferrari 4.4L S6

52

DNF

Still Looking

69

 A. Constantin
(private entrant)

 Jacques Savoye
 Jacques Poch

Constantin 203C Spyder

Peugeot 1425cc S4
Supercharged

52

DNF

Still Looking

46

 Kieft Cars Ltd.

 Alan Rippon
 Ray Merrick

Kieft Sport

Coventry Climax 1098cc S4

47

DNF

Still Looking

57

 Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet

 René Bonnet
 Claude Storez

D.B. HBR

Panhard 745cc F2

44

DNF

Jaguar D Type

9

 Briggs Cunningham

 Phil Walters
 William "Bill" Spear

Jaguar D-Type

Jaguar 3.4L S6

43

DNF

Cooper Jaguar T33

11

 Cooper Car Co

 Peter Whitehead
 Graham Whitehead

Cooper T38

Jaguar 3.4L S6

38

DNF

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (example)

20

 Daimler-Benz AG

 "Pierre Levegh" (Pierre Bouillin)
 John Fitch

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

Mercedes-Benz 3.0L L8

34

DNF

Frazer Nash Sebring (example)

36

 Automobiles Frazer Nash Ltd.

 Cecil Vard
 Dick Odlum

Frazer Nash Sebring

Bristol 1971cc S6

33

DNF

Still Looking

53

 Société Monopole

 Francis Navarro
 Jean de Montrémy

Monopole Sport X88

Panhard 745cc F2

30

DNF

Austin Healey 100

26

 Lance Macklin
(private entrant)

 Lance Macklin
 Les Leston

Austin-Healey 100 S

BMC A90 2.7L S4

28

DNF

Frazer Nash Sebring

42

 MG Cars Ltd.

 Dick Jacobs
 Joe Flynn

MG EX.182

MG 1489cc S4

27

DNF

Still Looking

56

 Automobiles VP

 Yves Giraud-Cabantous
 Yves Lesur

VP 166R

Renault 747cc S4

26

DNF

Maserati 300S

(example)

15

 Officine Alfieri Maserati

 Roberto Mieres
 Cesare Perdisa

Maserati 300S

Maserati 3.0L S6

24

DNF

Ferrari 750 Monza

14

 "Mike Sparken"
(private entrant)

 "Mike Sparken" (Michel Pobejersky)
 Masten Gregory

Ferrari 750 Monza

Ferrari 3.0L S4

23

DNF

Still Looking

61

 Ufficine Nardi

 Dr. Mario Damonte
 Roger Crovetto

Nardi ‘Damolnar’ Bisiluro

Giannini 735cc S4

5

DNF

Still Looking

39

 Kieft Cars Ltd.

 Berwyn Baxter
 John Deeley

Kieft Sport

Turner 1493cc S4

4

DNS

Talbot T26 SS

(example)

2

 Ecurie Rosier

 Louis Rosier
 Georges Grignard

Talbot-Lago T26 GS Spyder

Talbot 4.5L S6

0

DNS

Still Looking

17

 Automobiles Gordini

 Robert Manzon
 Élie Bayol
 Jean Behra

Gordini T24S

Gordini 3.0L S8

0

DNS

Still Looking

45

 Arnott Racing Cars

 Jim Russell
 Peter Taylor

Arnott Sports

Coventry Climax 1098cc S4

0

DNS

Still Looking

54

 Moretti Automobili

 Lino Fayen
 Herman Rogenry

Moretti 750S

Moretti 750cc S4

0

DNS

Still Looking

55

 Moretti Automobili

 Giorgio Ubezzi
 Mesnest Bellanger

Moretti 750S

Moretti 750cc S4

0

Reserve

Still Looking

70

 Société Pierre Ferry

 Jacques Blaché
 Louis Pons

Ferry Sports F750

Renault 747cc S4

0

Reserve

Still Looking

72

 Automobiles VP

 Jean-Marie Dumazer
 André Héchard
 Jérôme Pourond

VP 155R

Renault 747cc S4

0

Reserve

Renault 4CV Labourdette Vutotal Cabriolet

(example)

75

 Ecurie Rosier

 Jean-Louis Rosier
 Jean Estager

Renault 4CV/1068 Spyder

Renault 747cc S4

0

 


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Last Edit: 22/08/2020 Page Created 17/07/2020