24 Hours of Le Mans and WWII (1): 1940
Back

24 Hours of Le Mans and WWII (1): 1940

World War II interrupted the saga of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a decade, but a generation of 11 future winners was born between 1940 and 1945. Three among them in 1940: Pedro Rodriguez, Richard Attwood and G

Three drivers and four wins - Long loyal to Ferrari, Mexican Pedro Rodriguez (January 18, 1940-July 11, 1971) had to wait to join the Gulf outfit in order to win his one victory at Le Mans (1968) at the wheel of a Ford GT40. He was also a very fast driver, with two pole positions (1963 and 1971). British driver Richard Attwood (born on April 4, 1940) marked history in 1970 by giving Porsche the first of its 17 wins at the 24 Hours. As for French driver Gérard Larrousse (May 23, 1940), he won both as a driver with Matra (1973 and '74) and an outfit owner with Renault-Alpine (1978).

World War II in Europe in 1940 - The spring German offensive culminated in the occupation of Denmark, Norway the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France. On May 13th, Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister in London, where General de Gaulle launched his appeal on June 18th. On August 5th began the Battle of Britain subjecting the country to intensive bombings.

Ten personalities born in 1940 - Mexican businessman Carlos Slim (January 28th), jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (April 12th), actor Al Pacino (April 24th), singer Tom Jones (June 7th), actor Patrick Stewart (July 13th), Beatles Ringo Starr (July 7th) and John Lennon (October 9th), director Brian de Palma (September 11th), Brazilian football player Edson Arantes do Nascimento called "Pelé" (October 23rd) and director Terry Gilliam (November 22nd).

Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO 

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY & SUNDAY JUNE 10-11 1961. For his fourth appearance at the 24 Hours, Pedro Rodriguez (21 years old) along with his younger brother Ricardo (19 years ago), caused a splash by battling for the lead in the race against future winners Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien.