1968 24 Hours of Le Mans

 

The 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 36th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 28 and 29 September 1968 on the Circuit de la Sarthe, in Le Mans, France.

Originally scheduled for the weekend of 15 and 16 June, the race had to be delayed until September due to protests, strikes, and civil unrest in France during the summer of 1968. The rescheduled race increased the chances of the Group 6 Prototypes against the Group 4 Sports cars, as the new Prototype cars had matured during the season. It also increased the amount of darkness that drivers would be racing in compared to June, by about three hours: a total of 11 hours. Its new date made it the tenth and final round of the 1968 World Sportscar Championship of a tense and close championship between Ford and Porsche.

The winners were Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi, in the J.W. Automotive Gulf-Oil Ford GT40. Despite Porsche finishing second and third, the victory was enough to give Ford the manufacturer's title.

There were also two major accidents during the race ending the racing careers of Willy Mairesse and Mauro Bianchi (Lucien's younger brother), who both suffered severe burns in the crashes.

Straight after the 1967 race, the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale - the FIA’s regulatory body) convened to discuss ways to limit the increasingly dangerous speeds in Sports car racing, mindful of what led to the 1955 disaster. It was decided to impose a 3-litre (120-litre fuel tank) on Group 6 Prototypes and a 5-litre limit (160-litre fuel tank) on Group 4 Sports. There remained no engine limit on the Group 3 GTs. It effectively banned the big-block Fords and Chaparral, as well as the big Ferraris and the new Mirage and Lola-Aston Martin and marked the end of an era. The theory was that manufacturers would turn to the use of 3-litre Formula One engines to save development costs.

However, it was the immediate implementation in the next year that caused much unrest with the companies. The CSI cited ‘safety concerns’ justifying the rapid action. Enzo Ferrari cancelled his Prototype program. He was not alone in believing a 5-litre Sports car would outperform a 3-litre Prototype, and that only the big manufacturers would be able to make the minimum 50 big-engined cars to get Group 4 homologation.

Because the race was rescheduled and the longer period of darkness, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) permitted one battery change. With high speed being such a talking point, Ford volunteered to sponsor a major road realignment on the main straight, installing a chicane just before the pitlane. The changes added at least 10 seconds to a lap, as well as causing greater wear on tyres and brakes. Although the track had been widened and safety features of the track improved in the aftermath of the 1955 disaster, this was the first significant layout-change to the circuit since 1932. Diverting the racing away from the pits also significantly increased the safety of the pit-crews. Finally, in line with the global racing trend, commercial advertising was now allowed on cars.

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

Pos

Car

No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 Ford GT40 9  JW Automotive Engineering  Pedro Rodriguez
 Lucien Bianchi
Ford GT40 Ford 4.9L V8 331
2 Porsche 907 66  Squadra Tartaruga  Hans-Heinrich ‘Rico’ Steinemann
 Dieter Spoerry
Porsche 907LH Porsche 2.2L F8 326
3 Porsche 908 33  Porsche System Engineering  Rolf Stommelen
 Jochen Neerpasch
Porsche 908LH Porsche 3.0 L Flat-8 325
4 Alfa Romeo T33/2 39  Autodelta SpA  Ignazio Giunti
 Giovanni ‘Nanni’ Galli
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 1996cc V8 322
5 Alfa Romeo T33/2 38  Autodelta SpA  Carlo Facetti
 Spartaco Dini
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 1996cc V8 315
6 Alfa Romeo T33/2 40  Autodelta SpA  Mario Casoni
 Giampiero Biscaldi
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 1996cc V8 305
7 Ferrari 275LM 21  D. Piper
(private entrant)
 David Piper
 Richard Attwood
Ferrari 250LM Ferrari 3.3L V12 302
8 Alpine Renault A220 30  Société Automobiles
Alpine
 André de Cortanze
 Jean Vinatier
Alpine A220 Renault-Gordini 3.0L V8 297
9 Alpine Renault A220

(example)

57  Ecurie Savin-Calberson  Alain LeGuellec
 Alain Serpaggi
Alpine A210 Renault-Gordini 1470cc S4 289
10 Alpine Renault A220

(example)

52  Société Automobiles
Alpine
 Jean-Luc Thérier
 Bernard Tramont
Alpine A210 Renault-Gordini 1296cc S4 288
11 Alpine Renault A220

(example)

53  Trophée Le Mans  Bob Wollek
 Christian Ethuin
Alpine A210 Renault-Gordini 1296cc S4 282
12 Porsche 911 43  J.-P. Gaban
(private entrant)
 Jean-Pierre Gaban
 Roger van der Schrick
Porsche 911 T Porsche 1991cc F6 281
13 Porsche 911 64  C. Laurent
(private entrant)
 Claude Laurent
 Jean-Claude Ogier
Porsche 911 T Porsche 1991cc F6 276
14 Alpine Renault A220

(example)

55  Société Automobiles
Alpine
 Jean-Pierre Nicolas
 Jean-Claude Andruet
Alpine A210 Renault-Gordini 1005cc S4 272
15 Austin Healy Le Mans Sprite

(example)

50  Donald Healey Motor Company  Roger Enever
 Alec Poole
Austin-Healey Sprite Le Mans BMC 1293cc S4 255
N/C * Fiat Dino

(example)

46  Ecurie Fiat-Abarth France  Marcel Martin
 Jean Mésange
Fiat Dino Ferrari 1986cc V6 253
N/C * Alpine Renault A110 61  Ecurie Léopard  Jacques Bourdon
 Maurice Nussbaumer
Alpine A110 Renault-Gordini 1296cc S4 215
N/C * Alpine Renault A110

(example)

51  B. Collomb
(private entrant)
 Bernard Collomb
 François Laccarrau
Alpine A110 Renault-Gordini 1296cc S4 167
DNF Matra 630

(example)

24  Equipe Matra Sports  Johnny Servoz-Gavin
 Henri Pescarolo
Matra MS630 Matra 3.0L V12 283
DNF Alpine Renault A220 27  Ecurie Savin-Calberson  Mauro Bianchi
 Patrick Depailler
Alpine A220 Renault-Gordini 3.0L V8 257
DNF Porsche 910

(example)

45  J.-P. Hanrioud
(private entrant)
 Jean-Pierre Hanrioud
 André Wicky
Porsche 910 Porsche 1991cc F6 248
DNF Porsche 911 44  Auguste Veuillet  Guy Chasseuil
 Claude Ballot-Léna
Porsche 911 T Porsche 1991cc F6 224
DNF Ferrari 275LM 20  Scuderia Filipinetti  Herbert Müller
 Jonathan Williams
Ferrari 250LM Ferrari 3.3L V12 212
DNF Ferrari 250 LM 14  North American Racing Team  Masten Gregory
 Charlie Kolb
Ferrari 250LM Ferrari 3.3L V12 209
DSQ Porsche 906LE

(example)

42  C. Poirot
(private entrant)
 Christian Poirot
 Pierre Maublanc
Porsche 906 Porsche 1991cc F6 202
DNF Alpine Renault A220

(example)

29  Société Automobiles
Alpine
 Jean Guichet
 Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Alpine A220 Renault-Gordini 3.0L V8 185
DNF Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark 4  Scuderia Filipinetti  Jean-Michel Giorgi
 Sylvain Garant
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 157
DNF Alfa Romeo T33/2

(example)

41  Autodelta SpA  Nino Vaccarella
 Giancarlo Baghetti
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 1996cc V8 150
DNF Porsche 907

(example)

35  A. Soler-Roig
(private entrant)
 Alex Soler-Roig
 Rudi Lins
Porsche 907LH Porsche 2.2L F8 145
DNF Lola T70

(example)

6  J. Epstein
(private entrant)
 Jackie Epstein
 Edward Nelson
Lola T70 Mk. III Chevrolet 5.0L V8 143
DNF Ford GT40

(example)

12  Strathaven Ltd  Mike Salmon
 Eric Liddell
Ford GT40 Ford 4.7L V8 131
DNF Porsche 908

(example)

34  Porsche System Engineering  Joe Buzzetta
 Scooter Patrick
Porsche 908 LH Porsche 3.0L F8 115
DSQ Porsche 908 32  Porsche System Engineering  Gerhard Mitter
 Vic Elford
Porsche 908 LH Porsche 3.0L F8 111
DNF Ford GT40 10  JW Automotive Engineering  Paul Hawkins
 David Hobbs
Ford GT40 Ford 4.9L V8 107
DNF Alfa Romeo T33/2

(example)

37  Racing Team VDS  Teddy Pilette
 Rob Slotemaker
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 1996cc V8 104
DSQ Porsche 907

(example)

67  P. Farjon  Robert Buchet
 Herbert Linge
Porsche 907/8 Porsche 2.2L F6 102
DNF Ferrari 250 LM 19  P. Vestey
(private entrant)
 Paul Vestey
 Roy Pike
Ferrari 250LM Ferrari 3.3L V12 99
DNF Still Looking 22  Howmet Corporation  Ray Heppenstall
 Dick Thompson
Howmet TX Continental Turbine (3.0L equiv) 84
DNF Ferrari 275 GTB

(example)

17  Scuderia Filipinetti  Jacques Rey
 Claude Haldi
Ferrari 275 GTB Ferrari 3.3L V12 78
DNF Alpine Renault A220

(example)

56  Société Automobiles
Alpine
 Jean-Louis Marnat
 Jean-François Gerbault
Alpine A210 Renault-Gordini 1005cc S4 71
DSQ Still Looking 23  Howmet Corporation  Bob Tullius
 Hugh Dibley
Howmet TX Continental Turbine (3.0L equiv) 60
DNF Porsche 908

(example)

31  Porsche System Engineering  Jo Siffert
 Hans Herrmann
Porsche 908 Porsche 3.0L F8 59
DNF Alpine Renault A220

(example)

28  Société Automobiles
Alpine
 Henri Grandsire
 Gérard Larrousse
Alpine A220 Renault-Gordini 3.0L V8 59
DNF Ferrari 206C

(example)

36  North American Racing Team  François Chevalier
 Bernard Lagier de Giuseppe
Dino 206 S Ferrari 1986cc V6 54
DNF Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark 3  Scuderia Filipinetti  Umberto Maglioli
 Henri Greder
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 53
DNF Deep-Sanderson BMC DS301

(example)

49  C. J. Lawrence
(private entrant)
 Chris Lawrence
 John Wingfield
Deep Sanderson 302 Ford 1598cc S4 35
DNF Porsche 911 60  Wicky Racing Team  Willy Meier
 Jean de Mortemart
Porsche 911 T Porsche 1991cc F6 30
DNF Chevron B16 Ford

(example)

25  J. Woolfe
(private entrant)
 John Woolfe
 Digby Martland
Chevron B12 Repco 3.0L V8 27
DNF Healey SR Climax

(example)

47  Donald Healey Motor Company  Clive Baker
 Andrew Hedges
Healey SR Coventry Climax 1968cc V8 20
DNF Ford GT 40 11  JW Automotive Engineering  Brian Muir
 Jackie Oliver
Ford GT40 Ford 4.9L V8 15
DSQ Lola T70

(example)

7  Sportscars Unlimited  Ulf Norinder
 Sten Axelsson
Lola T70 Mk. III Chevrolet 5.0 L V8 47
DNF Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 Coda Lunga 65  Racing Team VDS  Serge Trosch
 Karl von Wendt
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 1996cc V8 7
DNF Moynet LM75

(example)

54  André Moynet
(private entrant)
 Max Jean
 René Ligonnet
Moynet XS Simca 1204cc S4 6
DNF Ford GT40

(example)

8  C. Dubois
(private entrant)
 Willy Mairesse
 “Beurlys” (Jean Blaton)
Ford GT40 Ford 4.7L V8 0
DNS Still Looking 5  Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus  Giorgio Pianta
 Enrico Pinto
Iso Rivolta GT Chevrolet 5.4L V8 Practice accident
DNQ Marcos Volvo 1800GT

(example)

48  Marcos Racing Ltd.  Jeremy ‘Jem’ Marsh
 John Quick
Marcos GT Volvo B20 1998cc S4 Did not qualify
DNQ Still Looking 68  H. Giraud
(private entrant)
 Patrick Champin
 Philippe Marchesi
Hrubon Renault 1296cc S4 Did not qualify
DNP Ferrari 275 GTB

(example)

15  North American Racing Team  Bob Grossman
 Edgar Berney
Ferrari 275 GTB Ferrari 3.3L V12 Failed scrutineering
DNA Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark

(example)

1  Sunray DX Oil Company
 
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 Withdrawn
DNA Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark

(example)

2  Sunray DX Oil Company
 
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 Withdrawn
DNA Ferrari 250 LM

(example)

16  Scuderia Filipinetti
 
Ferrari 275LM Ferrari 3.3L V12 Withdrawn
DNA Ferrari 250 LM

(example)

 

18  Scuderia Filipinetti  Edgar Berney
 Francisco de Heredia
Ferrari 250LM Ferrari 3.3L V12 Withdrawn
DNA Still Looking 26  Automobili Serenissima  Jonathan Williams
 
Serenissima Mk.168 ATS 3.0L V8 Withdrawn
DNA Porsche 910

(example)

45  B. Pon
(private entrant)
 Ben Pon
 Gijs van Lennep
Porsche 910 Porsche 1991cc F6 Withdrawn

 


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Last Edit: 17/04/2022 Page Created 16/04/2022