24 Hours of Le Mans and WWII (3): 1942
Back

24 Hours of Le Mans and WWII (3): 1942

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. Four among them were born in 1942: Gijs van Lennep, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Oliver and Henri Pescarolo.

Four drivers and eight wins - Born on March 16, 1942, New Zealander Gijs van Lennep (March 16, 1942) won with Porsche his two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: in 1971 with the 917 and in 1976 with the 936. Austrian driver Jochen Rindt (April 18, 1942-September 5, 1970) gave Ferrari its ninth and last win to-date in 1965, along with the American Masten Gregory. Along with Jacky Ickx, in 1969, British driver Jackie Oliver (born on August 14, 1942) won his fourth consecutive victory with Ford. A four-time winner (1972-73-74-84), Henri Pescarolo (born September 25, 1942) is the only French driver to have one three consecutive victories at Le Mans, and also holds the record for most participations at the 24 Hours.

World War II in Asia and Africa in 1942 - On the Pacific front, the U.S. won the naval battle Midway against Japan in June. In Egypt, the two battles of El Alamein (in July then October-November) were a strategic duel between the German Erwin Rommel and the Brit Bernard Montgomery, who gave the Allies a decisive victory to turn the conflict in Africa around.

Ten personalities born in 1942 - Boxer Mohammed Ali (January 17th), Spanish politician Felipe Gonzalez (March 5th), singer Aretha Franklin (March 25th), Beatle Sir Paul McCartney (June 18th), Beach Boy Brian Wilson (June 20th), actor Harrison Ford (July 13th), novelist Isabel Allende (August 2nd), director Martin Scorsese (November 17th), designer Calvin Klein (November 19th) and guitarist Jimi Hendrix (November 27th).

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

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SUNDAY JUNE 11 1972, PODIUM. Along with British driver Graham Hill (at left), Henri Pescarolo (at right) celebrates the first of his three consecutive wins at the wheel of a Matra. A fourth would follow in 1984, that time with a Porsche 956.