Forty years ago, the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1975
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Forty years ago, the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1975

This is the next stop in our journey back in time. Today, we

Summary:

Date: 14 and 15 June 1975
Weather: Sunny
Number of competitors: 55
Number of withdrawals: 24
Spectators: 120,000
Starter: Jean-Marie Balestre (Chairman of the FFSA)
 

Striking aspects:

That year, the organisers introduced a fuel limitation, capping consumption at 40 litres per 100 kilometres. The 24 Hours of Le Mans was not part of the World Endurance Championship. No major constructor officially entered the race.

Among the 55 competitors, the favourites were the Mirages (n°10 driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Vern Schuppan and n°11 driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell) and the Ligier JS2s (n°5 Jean-Louis Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil, n°6 with Henri Pescarolo and François Migault and n°97 with Jean-Pierre Jarier and Jean-Pierre Beltoise).

Mirage dominated throughout, especially the n°11, which went on to win. The other competitors encountered a variety of problems. Only one Ligier survived, the n°5 finished second, followed by the second Mirage.
 

Key facts:

A new combined ranking was introduced to replace rankings by energy (performance and consumption index)
End of preliminary test sessions in April.
First victory for the famous V8 Ford-Cosworth.
Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx took the first of their three wins together.
First Le Mans for Toyota, who provided the engine for the Sigma Turbo.
The last Le Mans to date for Maserati, as engine supplier for Ligier.
First class win for an all-women team in 1600-2000 cc for Dacremont, Hoepfner and Mouton in a Moynet LM75.
First win for a car named after a sponsor.
The BP tower was sponsored by a brand of cigarettes (until 1990).
First Le Mans for Nissan, as Datsun, the export name of the brand.
First Le Mans for an Alpine barchetta-style open car.
Last entry for Ligier (until it returned last year).
First Le Mans for a March.
 

Winners:

Overall: Mirage Gulf GR 8 Ford driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell
4,595.577 km covered at an average speed of 191.482 kph.
Lead: 22 km

Fastest lap time in practice: 3:49.09 - Jacky Ickx (B) in the Gulf Mirage Ford GR8
Fastest lap time in race: 3:53.8 - C.Craft (GB) in the De Cadenet Ford.
Combined ranking: PORSCHE Carrera S - R. Boubet and P. Dermagne
Fuel ranking: LOLA ROC T 292 - J.-M. Lemerle, A. Levie and P. Daire

 

David Bristol / ACO - Translated from French by Emma Paulay

Thanks to Info-course for the data.

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, LE MANS 24 HOURS, SUNDAY 15 JUNE 1975, RACE. The n°11 Gulf Mirage GR8 Ford heads for victory.