The 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary celebrated at the Chantilly Concours d'Elegance
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The 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary celebrated at the Chantilly Concours d'Elegance

The Centenary Trophy has continued its tour of prestigious motor shows. After its unveiling at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance in California in August, it was displayed at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion (California) and Goodwood Revival (UK) before moving on to Chantilly, near Paris. Since it was created in 2014, Chantilly Arts & Elegance has become an important fixture on the international Concours d’Elegance circuit. This year, two classes and several awards were devoted to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Our camera captured ten prime moments.

Chantilly Arts & Elegance provided a splendid showcase for the Centenary Trophy (above) that will be presented to the winners of the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Trophy was displayed on the Château’s lawns with cars that have raced at Le Mans, much to the delight of visitors who posed for photographs by its side, and on the prizewinners’ podium.

Five cars from the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the lawn of the Château de Chantilly, with the unmistakeable aerodynamics of the CD Panhard LM64 in the foreground. This unusual body with its four wheel spats and high rear fins conceals a two-cylinder engine with a capacity of just 843 cm3. Nonetheless, its drivers Alain Bertaut and André Guilhaudin coaxed it to a peak speed of 225 kph on the Mulsanne Straight! The CD Panhard LM64 was awarded the special prize in the “Legend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Mulsanne Straight Speed & Aerodynamism” class. ACO President Pierre Fillon is pictured having a friendly chat with the winners.

A Panhard two-cylinder engine also powers the Monopole X86 (#23), built by the French marque’s piston supplier. The car has a distinctive outline with its plunging contours, its large windows and especially its gull-wing doors. After retiring in 1956, it finished 18th in 1957 (with Pierre Chancel/Pierre Hemard) and 17th in 1958 (with Jacques Poch/Guy Dunaud-Saultier).

The Monopole X86 won first prize in the “Legend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Performance Index” class at Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2022. The performance index was of special interest to small-engined cars of the 1950s and ’60s as it was calculated on the ratio between the cubic capacity of the car’s engine and the distance covered in the race. The winners received their award from Pierre Fillon (next to the Centenary Trophy).

With Chantilly Arts & Elegance celebrating the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ferrari was inevitably not far away. This 512 M was entered in 1971 by Roger Penske. With his favourite driver-cum-engineer Mark Donohue, Penske made specific alterations to the body – most notably a rear wing covering the entire width of the car. Donohue and British co-driver David Hobbs were forced to retire, although they did achieve the fastest-ever lap by a Ferrari at Le Mans in qualifying with a time of 3:18.5 (an average speed of 244.274 kph). This 512 M won first prize in the “Legend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Mulsanne Straight Speed & Aerodynamism” class at Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2022. After more than five decades away, Penske will be back at Le Mans for the Centenary, partnering Porsche’s venture into the Hypercar class.

In the early 1980s, the Lola T600 ushered in a historic aerodynamic evolution at Le Mans – the first prototype to incorporate ground effect. Air flows into tunnels on each side of the cockpit creating a vacuum that increases downforce while increasing peak speed. In 1980, the T600’s inaugural season in the IMSA Championship concluded with the title for British driver Brian Redman. The model displayed at this year’s Chantilly Arts & Elegance competed in the 1981 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by Guy Edwards, Juan Fernández and Emilio de Villota. Powered by a Ford-Cosworth V8 engine derived from Formula One, it finished 15th overall.

Thirty years ago, the 905 notched the first of Peugeot’s three victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The model exhibited at Chantilly set off from pole position that year before finishing third in the hands of Mauro Baldi, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Philippe Alliot, while the one driven by Mark Blundell, Yannick Dalmas and Derek Warwick won the race. In 1993, the 905 made a clean sweep of the podium with Christophe Bouchut/Geoff Brabham/Eric Helary winning from Thierry Boutsen/Yannick Dalmas/Teo Fabi and Philippe Alliot/Mauro Baldi/Jean-Pierre Jabouille. In 2009, the 908 HDi FAP secured Peugeot’s third and final Le Mans triumph to date, with David Brabham, Marc Gené and Alexander Wurz sharing the wheel.

This Bugatti marked the return of the marque to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994. This model – presented in 1991 – was christened EB110 to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Ettore Bugatti. Entered by French press baron Michel Hommell, this EB110 S was driven by Eric Helary, Jean-Christophe Boullion and Alain Cudini. It reached a high of sixth place overall during the night before being hit by a turbo problem. It eventually retired 45 minutes from the finish. It was awarded first prize in the “Bugatti Renaissance” class at Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2022.

ACO CEO Stéphane Darracq was a member of the Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2022 judging panel, along with Pierre Fillon and 24 Hours Museum Director Fabrice Bourrigaud.

The winners of the two classes of the contest devoted to the 24 Hours received a specially designed award to commemorate the Centenary as well as the Chantilly Arts & Elegance trophy.

PHOTOS: LOUIS MONNIER / ACO

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