1973 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1973 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1972 Next: 1974
Index: Races | Winners

The 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 41st Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 9 and 10 June 1973. It was the eighth round of the 1973 World Championship of Makes.

Pre-race[edit]

In 1973, Matra competed against Ferrari for the World Champion title, and Ferrari came to Le Mans, as the race could be decisive for the title. The beginning of the championship had showed that the Matra 670s had better handling, but the Ferraris showed better reliability.

The Matras 670s were updated to the 670B specification consisting mainly of larger spoilers. The main weakness of the 1972 670 was the ZF gearbox (the gearbox used in the stock GT40 Mk1 and the De Tomaso Pantera). By the end of the 1972 race, it had showed so much wear that it was obvious that it could not finish a 24-hour race with serious opposition. New Porsche "Type 1983" gearboxes especially built for Matra by Porsche were fitted in the 670B.

For Le Mans, the Ferrari 312PB had a previously unseen longtail bodywork. John Wyer was back with two Cosworth-powered Gulf Mirage M6 roadsters. In 1000 km races the M6s had proven they were serious competitors, and the Matras and Ferraris were only slightly ahead. Alfa Romeo was more affected than Ferrari by strikes and social troubles in Italy. Alfa racing subsidiary Autodelta did not enter the new flat-12 powered cars, and the marque was represented only by a V8 powered private car entered by Scuderia Brescia Corse. A Sigma powered by a Mazda Wankel engine was entered; this was the first Japanese car to qualify for Le Mans, as well as the first Wankel-powered car to race.

Race[edit]

Ferrari sent the Arturo Merzario/Carlos Pace 312PB out first as a hare.

Matra raced to their plan and let the Ferrari go. While the Matras were all running at the same speed, the Ferraris had a variety of strategies. Carlos Reutemann and Tim Schenken were running among the Matra. Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman were running with the slowest 3L cars, the Lolas and the private Alfa Romeo.

Ferrari swapped the lead with Matra through the next four hours, but Henri Pescarolo would repeat as winner, with Gérard Larrousse as co-driver.

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1973
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 S
3.0
11 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Henri Pescarolo
France Gérard Larrousse
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 355
2 S
3.0
16 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Italy Arturo Merzario
Brazil Carlos Pace
Ferrari 312PB Ferrari 3.0L Flat-12 349
3 S
3.0
12 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Jean-Pierre Jaussaud
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 331
4 S
3.0
46 Germany Martini Racing Team Switzerland Herbert Müller
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 328
5 S
3.0
3 Spain Escuderia Montjuich - Tergal Switzerland Bernard Chenevière
Spain Juan Fernandez
Spain Francisco Torredemer
Porsche 908/3 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 319
6 GT
5.0
39 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France Claude Ballot-Léna
United Kingdom Vic Elford
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 316
7 S
3.0
4 Ecuador Guillermo Ortega - Ecuador Marlboro Ecuador Guillermo Ortega
Ecuador Fausto Merello
Porsche 908/1 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 316
8 GT
3.0
45 Germany Porsche Kremer Racing Team Switzerland Paul Keller
Germany Erwin Kremer
Germany Clemens Schickentanz
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 316
9 GT
5.0
40 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France Alain Serpaggi
France José Dolhem
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 315
10 GT
3.0
63 Germany Gelo Racing Team Germany Georg Loos
Germany Jürgen Barth
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 311
11 T
5.0
51 Germany BMW Motorsport Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Austria Dieter Quester
BMW 3.0CSL BMW 3.3L I6 307
12 GT
+5.0
30 France Greder Racing Team France Henri Greder
France Marie-Claude Charmasson
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 303
13 GT
5.0
38 United States North American Racing Team France François Migault
United States Luigi Chinetti Jr.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 299
14 GT
3.0
48 France Porsche Sonauto BP Racing United States Peter Gregg
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 298
15 S
3.0
60 Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Carlo Facetti
Italy Sergio Morando
Italy Teodoro Zeccoli
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 298
16 GT
3.0
41 Switzerland Schiller Racing Team Switzerland Jean Selz
Switzerland Florian Vetsch
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.7L Flat-6 297
17 GT
3.0
42 France René Mazzia France Pierre Mauroy
France Marcel Mignot
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 290
18 GT
+5.0
69 France J.C. Aubriet / Écurie Léopard France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France "Depnic"
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 282
19 S
3.0
18 France Claude Laurent France Claude Laurent
France Martial Delalande
France Jacques Marché
Ligier JS2 Maserati 2.9L V6 270
20 GT
5.0
34 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps France Jean-Claude Andruet
United Kingdom Richard Bond
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 270
21 S
3.0
52 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland André Wicky
Morocco Max Cohen-Olivar
Switzerland Philippe Carron
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 270

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
22 S
3.0
15 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Belgium Jacky Ickx
United Kingdom Brian Redman
Ferrari 312PB Ferrari 3.0L Flat-12 332
23 S
2.0
25 Switzerland Michel Dupont Switzerland Michel Dupont
Switzerland Paul Blancpain
Chevron B23 Ford Cosworth FVC 1.8L I4 229
24 GT
5.0
6 United States North American Racing Team United States Sam Posey
United States Milt Minter
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 254
25 T
3.0
55 Germany Ford Motorwerke Germany Dieter Glemser
United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick
Germany Hans Heyer
Ford Capri RS Ford 3.0L V6 239
26 S
3.0
7 France Équipe Gitanes Cigarettes France France Jean-Louis Lafosse
Sweden Reine Wisell
Belgium Hughes de Fierlandt
Lola T282 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 164
27 GT
5.0
36 United States North American Racing Team France Lucien Guitteny
United States Bob Grossman
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 192
28 GT
5.0
33 United Kingdom J.C. Bamford Excavators Ltd. United Kingdom Neil Corner
United Kingdom Willie Green
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 163
29 GT
5.0
37 United States North American Racing Team Argentina Rubén Luis di Palma
Argentina Nestor Garcia Veiga
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 211
30 S
3.0
8 United Kingdom Gulf Research Racing United Kingdom Derek Bell
New Zealand Howden Ganley
Mirage M6 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 163
31 GT
5.0
56 France Shark Racing Team France Jean-Claude Guérie
France Cyril Grandet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 174
32 S
3.0
19 France Automobiles Ligier France Jean-Pierre Paoli
France Alain Couderc
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 174
33 T
5.0
50 Germany BMW Motorsport New Zealand Chris Amon
Germany Hans Joachim Stuck
BMW 3.0CSL BMW 3.3L I6 160
34 T
3.0
53 Germany Ford Motorwerke France Jean Vinatier
Austria Helmut Koinigg
United Kingdom Gerry Birrell
Ford Capri RS Ford 3.0L V6 152
35 GT
3.0
49 France Jean Egreteaud France Jean Egreteaud
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 139
36 S
2.0
22 France Raymond Touroul France Raymond Touroul
France Jean-Pierre Rouget
Porsche 910 Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 142
37 S
3.0
5 United Kingdom Duckhams Oil United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet
United Kingdom Chris Craft
Duckhams LM
(Lola T280)
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 81
38 S
3.0
17 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Australia Tim Schenken
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari 312P/B Ferrari 3.0L Flat-12 182
39 S
3.0
10 France Équipe Matra-Simca Shell France François Cevert
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 157
40 S
2.5
26 Japan Sigma Automotive Japan Tetsu Ikuzawa
Japan Hiroshi Fushida
France Patrick Dal Bo
Sigma MC73 Mazda 12A 2.3L 2-Rotor 79
41 GT
3.0
44 Switzerland Porsche Club Romand France Jean-François Piot
Switzerland Peter Zbinden
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 110
42 GT
3.0
78 France Jean Sage France Hervé Bayard
France René Ligonnet
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 95
43 GT
3.0
43 Germany Max Moritz Racing Team Germany Gerd Quist
Germany Manfred Laub
Germany Jürgen Zink
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L Flat-6 103
44 S
3.0
9 United Kingdom Gulf Research Racing United Kingdom Mike Hailwood
United Kingdom John Watson
Australia Vern Schuppan
Mirage M6 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 112
45 S
2.0
21 France Pierre Maublanc France Pierre Maublanc
France Robert Mieusset
Chevron B23 BMW 2.0L I4 90
46 S
3.0
14 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Patrick Depailler
France Bob Wollek
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 84
47 S
2.0
28 France Jacques Henry France Jacques Henry
France Fred Stalder
France Gernard Grobot
Lola T292 Ford Cosworth FVC 1.9L I4 84
48 S
3.0
47 Germany Martini Racing Team Germany Reinhold Joest
Switzerland Claude Haldi
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 54
49 S
2.0
27 Spain Escuderia Montjuich Spain José Juncadella
Spain Jorge de Bagration
Chevron B23 Ford Cosworth FVC 1.9L I4 52
50 S
3.0
61 France Daniel Rouveyran France Daniel Rouveyran
France Christian Mons
France Christian Ethuin
Lola T280/82 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 38
51 GT
+5.0
29 United States John Greenwood United States John Greenwood
United States Bob Johnson
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 37
52 S
3.0
62 France Automobiles Ligier France Guy Ligier
France Jacques Laffite
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 24
53 T
3.0
54 Germany Ford Motorwerke United Kingdom Gerry Birrell
Germany Hans Heyer
Ford Capri RS Ford 3.0L V6 4
54 S
2.0
2 Switzerland Blancpain Total Dinitrol France Roger Dubois
Belgium Christine Beckers
France Pierre Pagani
Chevron B21/23 Ford Cosworth FVC 1.8L I4 9
55 T
5.0
58 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Walter Brun
Switzerland Cox Kocher
Switzerland Jean-Pierre Aeschlimann
BMW 3.0CSL BMW 3.3L I6 1

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole Position - #16 SpA Ferrari SEFAC - 3:37.50
  • Fastest Lap - #10 Equipe Matra-Simca Shell - 3:39.60
  • Distance - 4853.945 km
  • Average Speed - 202.247 km/h

Trophy Winners[edit]

  • Index of Thermal Efficiency - #45 Porsche Kremer Racing Team

References[edit]

  • (French) 24 heures du Mans 1973 in Automobile Historique n°49, June/July 2005