1972 24 Hours of Le Mans

 

The 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 40th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 10 and 11 June 1972. It was the ninth round of the 1972 World Championship for Makes.

This year's marked the start of a new era with revised Sports-Prototype regulations putting a 3-litre limit on engine size. There was also a significant change to the track with the construction of the new technical section subsequently named the Porsche Curves bypassing the dangerous Maison Blanche corner, which had been the site of many serious accidents in the past.

Having already won the Manufacturers’ Championship Ferrari chose not to contest the race. Matra were strong favourites for the outright win after not running the other races to focus on its Le Mans preparation. Once the challenge from Alfa Romeo and Lola had dissipated overnight, Matra were able to ease off to secure a popular 1–2 victory for the home country – France's first since 1950. Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill were the winners, with a healthy 11-lap margin over teammates François Cevert and Howden Ganley.

However the victory was tarnished by the death of veteran Formula One racer Jo Bonnier who died when his Lola prototype collided with a Ferrari GT and flew over the barriers into the trees on the Sunday morning.

Once again, the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale - the FIA’s regulations body) overhauled its FIA Appendix J, redefining its motorsport categories. The former Group 6 Prototypes and Group 5 Sports categories were combined into a new, third-generation, Group 5 Sports-Prototype class with a 3-litre engine limit (or 2142cc if turbo-powered, using the x1.4 equivalency) with a minimum weight of 650 kg (1,433 lb 0.08 oz). There was also no minimum production required. Not for the last time, the FIA’s idea was to encourage manufacturers to build, develop and use engines based around the current Formula One 3.0-litre standard.

Recognising the growing interest in touring car racing, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) opened the entry list to Group 2 Special Touring Cars, alongside the Group 4 Special GTs and the new Group 5. Entries for the Group 2 and 4 categories had a 2-litre minimum but no upper limit on engine size. They also revamped the minimum distance and speed requirements. No longer a set lap-time to qualify, all cars had to be within 140% of an average of the three best practice laps put up. Also the sliding scale of target distances was discarded. Now cars had to achieve at least 70% of its class winner to be classified. Therefore the Index of Performance, now redundant, was discontinued. Also, the Index of Thermal Efficiency now only applied to Group 2 and 4.

But the biggest change was to the track layout, with a new series of curves being built between Arnage and the Ford chicane bypassing the dangerously fast Maison Blanche section. Financed by Porsche, it therefore became known as the “Porsche curves”. The Ford chicane was also redesigned with a second chicane added just up the track to allow a dedicated pit-lane entrance lane to be built. This allowed cars to decelerate off the racing line and off the main track, greatly increasing safety. Although the modifications only added 71 m (232 ft 11.28 in) to the overall track length, there was a noticeable change in lap times and average speed slowing the prototypes' speeds by 30 km/h (18 mph). The circuit still had cars using full throttle for over 65% of the lap however.

Prizemoney this year included FF80000 (£6400) for outright victory, and half that to the respective winners of the GT category and Index of Thermal Efficiency.

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 Reason
1 Matra MS670 15  Equipe Matra-Simca Shell  Henri Pescarolo
 Graham Hill
Matra-Simca MS670 Matra 3.0L V12 344 N/A
2 Matra MS670 14  Equipe Matra-Simca Shell  François Cevert
 Howden Ganley
Matra-Simca MS670 Matra 3.0L V12 333 N/A
3 Porsche 908 60  Siffert ATE Racing  Reinhold Joest
 Michel Weber
 Mario Casoni
Porsche 908LH Coupé Porsche 3.0L F8 325 N/A
4 Alfa Romeo T33/3 18  Autodelta SpA  Nino Vaccarella
 Andrea de Adamich
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 307 N/A
5 Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona 39  Automobiles Charles Pozzi  Claude Ballot-Léna
 Jean-Claude Andruet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 306 N/A
6 Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

74  North American Racing Team  Sam Posey
 Tony Adamowicz
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 304
 
N/A
7 Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

34  Scuderia Filipinetti  Mike Parkes
 Jean-Louis Lafosse
 Jean-Jacques Cochet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 302 N/A
8 Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona 36  Ecurie Francorchamps  Derek Bell
 Teddy Pilette
 Richard Bond
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 301 N/A
9 Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

38  North American Racing Team  Jean-Pierre Jarier
 Claude Buchet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 297 N/A
10 Ford Capri Mk1(example) 54  Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland  Gerry Birrell
 Claude Bourgoignie
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 292 N/A
11 Ford Capri Mk1 52  Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland  Dieter Glemser
 Alex Soler-Roig
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 289 N/A
12 Still Looking 68  Duckham's Oil Motor Racing
(private entrant)
 Alain de Cadenet
 Chris Craft
Duckhams LM72 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8
 
288 N/A
13 Porsche 911S(example) 41  L. Meznarie
(private entrant)
 Sylvain Garant
 Jürgen Barth
 Michael Keyser
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 285 N/A
14 Still Looking 27  R. Ligonnet
(private entrant)
 René Ligonnet
 Barrie Smith
Lola T290 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 284 N/A
15 Chevrolet Corvette C3 4  North American Racing Team  Bob Johnson
 Dave Heinz
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 284 N/A
16 De Tomaso Pantera GT4(example) 32  C. Dubois
(private entrant)
 Jean-Marie Jacquemin
 Yves Deprez
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 282 N/A
17 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS 46  North American Racing Team  Jean-Pierre Laffeach
 Gilles Doncieux
Dino 246 GT Ferrari 2418cc V6 265 N/A
18 Porsche 908

(example)

24  Wicky Racing Team  Peter Mattli
 Hervé Bayard
 Walter Brun
Porsche 907 Porsche 1997cc F6 252 N/A
DNF Matra-Simca MS660

(example)

16  Equipe Matra-Simca Shell  Jean-Pierre Jabouille
 David Hobbs
Matra-Simca MS660C Matra 3.0L V12 278 Transmission
(24hr)
DNF Spark S1981; Porsche 908; 1971 24h Le Mans DNF; Weigel & Haldi; RN60(example) 5  Escuderia Montjuïch  Juan Fernandez
 Francesco Torredemer
 Eugenio Baturone
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L F8 278 Accident
(24hr)
DNF Alfa Romeo T33/3(example) 19  Autodelta SpA  Rolf Stommelen
 Giovanni ‘Nanni’ Galli
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 263 Transmission
(19hr)
DNF Spark S1981; Porsche 908; 1971 24h Le Mans DNF; Weigel & Haldi; RN60(example) 6  H.-D. Weigel
(private entrant)
 Hans-Dieter Weigel
 Helmuth Krause
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 244 Accident
(20hr)
DNF Chevrolet Corvette C3 29  Greder Racing  Henri Greder
 Marie-Claude Beaumont
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 235 Accident
(21hr)
DNF Alfa Romeo T33/3(example) 17  Autodelta SpA  Vic Elford
 Dr. Helmut Marko
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 232 Transmission
(19hr)
DNF Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

57  North American Racing Team  Masten Gregory
 Luigi Chinetti Jr
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 226 Engine
(20hr)
DNF Lola T280 8  Ecurie Bonnier  Jo Bonnier
 Gijs van Lennep
Lola T280 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 213 Fatal Accident
(18hr)
DNF Porsche 911S(example) 42  C. Haldi
(private entrant)
 Claude Haldi
 Paul Keller
 "Gédéhem" (Gérard Dantan-Merlin)
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 208 Engine
(18hr)
DNF Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

35  Scuderia Filipinetti  Bernard Cheneviére
 Florian Vetsch
 Gérard Pillon
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 204 Accident
(18hr)
DNF Ligier JS2

(example)

22  Automobiles Ligier  Jacques Laffite
 Pierre Maublanc
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 195 Engine
(24hr)
DNF Chevrolet Corvette C3 71  Écurie Léopard  Jean-Claude Aubriet
 "Dépnic" (Jean-Claude Depince)
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 188 Engine
(19hr)
DNF Porsche 910(example) 65  "Novestille"
(private entrant)
 Louis Cosson
 Jean-Louis Ravenel
Porsche 910 Porsche 2379cc F6 188 Wheel bearing
(16hr)
DNF Ligier JS2

(example)

56  C. Laurent
(private entrant)
 Claude Laurent
 Martial Delalande
 Jacques Marché
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 186 Engine
(19hr)
DNF Porsche 911S(example) 45  R. Touroul
(private entrant)
 "Lee Banner" (Fernand Saropoulos)
 Dominique Bardini
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 183 Engine
(16hr)
DNF Ford Capri Mk1(example) 53  Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland  Jochen Mass
 Hans-Joachim Stuck
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 152 Oil pump
(14hr)
DNF Lola T280 7  Ecurie Bonnier  Baron Hughes de Fierlandt
 Gérard Larrousse
Lola T280 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 86 Transmission
(7hr)
DNF Spark S1981; Porsche 908; 1971 24h Le Mans DNF; Weigel & Haldi; RN60(example) 76  J. Egreteaud
(private entrant)
 Jean-Claude Lagniez
 Raymond Touroul
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 83 Out of fuel
(8hr)
DNF Chevrolet Corvette C3 72  John Greenwood Racing  Alain Cudini
 Bernard Darniche
 John Greenwood
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 82 Engine
(9hr)
DNF Still Looking 23  G.Edwards
(private entrant)
 Brian Robinson
 Jean Rondeau
Chevron B21 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 76 Engine
(10hr)
DNF Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

37  Maranello Concessionaires  Peter Westbury
 John Hine
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 72 Engine
(9hr)
DNF BMW 3.0 CSL

(example)

49  Team Schnitzer-Motul  Hans Heyer
 René Herzog
BMW 2800 CS BMW 3.0L S6 70 Engine
(7hr)
DNF Porsche 911S(example) 44  J. Sage
(private entrant)
 Gelo Racing Team
 Jean Sage
 Georg Loos
 Franz Pesch
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 64 Engine
(8hr)
DNF Chevrolet Corvette C3 28  John Greenwood Racing  John Greenwood
 Dick Smothers
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 53 Engine
(10hr)
DNF Porsche 911S 80  Porsche-Kremer Racing Team  Erwin Kremer
 John Fitzpatrick
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 39 Engine
(5hr)
DNF Porsche 911S 79  J.-P. Gaban
(private entrant)
 Hermes Delbar
 Roger van der Schrick
Porsche 911S Porsche 2450cc F6 36 Transmission
(4hr)
DNF De Tomaso Pantera GT4(example) 30  Escuderia Montjuïch  José Juncadella
 Fernando de Baviera
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 36 Engine
(9hr)
DNF De Tomaso Pantera GT4(example) 31  Escuderia Montjuïch  Herbert Müller
 Cox Kocher
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 31 Engine
(10hr)
DNF Still Looking 69  M. Dupont
(private entrant)
 Michel Dupont
 Jean-Paul Bodin
 Paul Blancpain
Chevron B19/21 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 29 Transmission
(5hr)
DNF Porsche 911S(example) 40  R. Mazzia
(private entrant)
 Pierre Mauroy
 Marcel Mignot
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 27 Engine
(4hr)
DNF Ford Capri Mk1(example) 84  Shark Team
(private entrant)
 Jean-Claude Guérie
 Jean-Pierre Rouget
 Cyril Grandet
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 26 Engine
(4hr)
DNF Ferrari 364 GTB/4 Daytona

(example)

75  Automobiles Charles Pozzi  François Migault
 Daniel Rouveyran
 Jean-Claude Andruet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 22 Transmission
(9hr)
DNF Spark S1981; Porsche 908; 1971 24h Le Mans DNF; Weigel & Haldi; RN60(example) 58  Bosch Racing Team  Walter Roser
 Otto Stuppacher
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 11 Accident
(2hr)
DNF Ligier JS2

(example)

21  Automobiles Ligier  Guy Ligier
 Jean-François Piot
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 7 Engine
(3hr)
DNF De Tomaso Pantera GT4(example) 33  Société Franco-Brittanic  Guy Chasseuil
 Jean Vinatier
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 3 Engine
(2hr)
DNF Matra MS670(example) 12  Equipe Matra-Simca Shell  Jean-Pierre Beltoise
 Chris Amon
Matra-Simca MS670 Matra 3.0L V12 1 Engine
(2hr)
DNS Still Looking 26  Veglia GRAC Racing  Lionel Noghès
 “Cyprien” (Christian Mons)
 Alain Finkelstein
GRAC MT16 Cosworth FVC 1825cc S4 0 Practice Accident
DNS Porsche 911S(example) 43  J. Mesange
(private entrant)
 Jean Mesange
 Paul Keller
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 0 Did not start
DNS Spark S1981; Porsche 908; 1971 24h Le Mans DNF; Weigel & Haldi; RN60(example) 61  Wicky Racing Team  André Wicky
 Walter Brun
 Max Cohen-Olivar
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 0 Mechanical
issues
DNS Porsche 911S(example) 78  Gelo Racing Team  Jean Sage
 Georg Loos
 Pierre Greub
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 0 Did not start
DNQ Datsun 240Z(example) 47  Motor Racing Facilities
(private entrant)
 Robert Grant
 Martin Birrane
 Serge Trosch
Datsun 240Z Datsun 2394cc F6 0 Did not qualify
DNQ Porsche 911S(example) 51  Wicky Racing Team  Jean-Pierre Aeschlimann
 Juan Diez
Porsche 911S Porsche 2480cc F6 0 Did not qualify
DNQ Citroen SM(example) 55  AGACI  Guy Verrier
 Gérard Foucault
 François Monath
Citroën SM Maserati 2.9L V6 0 Did not qualify
DNQ Lola T280(example) 64  Scuderia Filipinetti  Dominique Martin
 Jean-Jacques Cochet
 Gérard Pillon
Lola T280 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 0 Did not qualify
DNQ De Tomaso Pantera GT4(example) 73  Scuderia Brescia Corse  Gianpiero Moretti
 Enrico Pasolini
 “Pooky” (Vincenzo Cazzago)
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 0 Did not qualify
DNQ Ford Capri Mk1(example) 82  C. Buchet
(private entrant)
 Claude Buchet
 Joël Bonnemaison
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 0 Did not qualify
DNQ Still Looking 85  Société Darnval  Jean-Daniel Jakubowski
 Peter Schweitzer
Taydec Mk3 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 0 Did not qualify
 

 


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Last Edit: 24/04/2022 Page Created 23/04/2022