Matra at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as seen by Jean-Marc Teissèdre
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Matra at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as seen by Jean-Marc Teissèdre

Author of the annual official 24 Hours of Le Mans book, Jean-Marc Teiss

Matra, was the great French challenger of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1972, Matra won its first victory at Le Mans. That year, Jean-Marc Teissèdre, who hadn't yet become a journalist, experienced his first 24 Hours as a spectator.

Jean-Marc Teissèdre: "In 1972, the Matra really marked me. It was my first time at Le Mans and a local said to me: 'I am going to show you Le Mans as it should be seen.' In the middle of the night, he took me to the Mulsanne Straight (devoid of chicances which were added in 1990, editor's note). That's how I wound up on the first floor of the Génissel restaurant (located at the edge of the straight, editor's note), with strawberries and whipped cream, listening to the noise of the cars. The V12 Matra is unforgettable and indeed excited me more than my little bowl of strawberries (laughs)! If one was lucky, one could hear it at the beginning of the straight up until the braking at Mulsanne. At the time, I wasn't yet working at Autohebdo (the magazine was created four years later in January of 1976, editor's note), so I didn't know the drivers, but for those memories, Matra is for me quite legendary."

Matra's three consecutive victories also belong to Henri Pescarolo, the only French driver to have won three times in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Graham Hill (1972) then with Gérard Larrousse (1973 and 1974).

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

Photo: Copyright - ARCHIVES ACO

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY JUNE 10 1972, START. The three Matras at the front of the starting grid. One can recognize the helmets of Henri Pescarolo (No. 15), François Cevert (No. 14) and Jean-Pierre Beltoise (No. 12).