Seven winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: generation 1946-1949
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Seven winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: generation 1946-1949

In 1945 after World War II, it would take four years for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to resume. Between the end of the conflict and June 24, 1949, seven future winners were born.

To the exceptional lineage born during World War II (Pedro Rodriguez, Richard Attwood, Gérard Larrousse, Derek Bell, Gijs van Lennep, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Oliver, Henri Pescarolo, Helmut Marko, Vern Schuppan and Jacky Ickx, with 25 wins between them at Le Mans), must be added seven other drivers and 13 additional victories.

Five among them have in common having won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of a Porsche: Hurley Haywood, Klaus Ludwig, Al Holbert, Jürgen Barth and Don Whittington. In a curious twist of fate, Jochen Mass - who has raced with Porsche for a long while in endurance - won at Le Mans at the wheel of a Sauber-Mercedes. The exception in this German domination was French - and even from Le Mans: Jean Rondeau, the only driver to win at the 24 Hours at the wheel of his very own car!

On June 25, 1949, the checkered flag was waved at the 17th edition of the 24 Hours on the first of nine wins for Ferrari. And in the mid-1960s the 1940-1949 generation would achieve great things in the history of the race. Even today, the legend continues...

Hurley Haywood (born on May 4, 1948): winner in 1977, '83 and '94
Don Whittington (born on January 23, 1946): winner in 1979
Jean Rondeau (May 13, 1946-December 27, 1985): winner in 1980
Jochen Mass (born on September 30, 1946): winner in 1989
Al Holbert (November 11, 1946-September 30, 1988): winner in 1983, '86 and '87
Jürgen Barth (December 10, 1947): winner in 1977
Klaus Ludwig (May 5, 1949): winner in 1979, '84 and '85

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 14-15 1980. Born in 1946, Le Mans native Jean Rondeau scored a win at the wheel of his own car, along with another French driver: Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.