1958 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1958 24 Hours of Le Mans
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Index: Races | Winners

The 24 Heures du Mans was the 26th 24 Hours of Le Mans, Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 21/22 June 1958, on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was also the fifth round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship, which was running to new regulations introduced at the beginning of the season. Some 150,000 spectators had gathered for Europe’s classic sports car race, around an 8.38-mile course. The prospect of an exciting duel between Ferrari, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Porsche was enough to draw large crowds to the 24 Hours race.

Le Mans in 1958

Fifteen hours of rain, three of which were torrential, a bad summer solstice. Thirteen accidents, one fatal. First ever success in the event by an American and a Belgian driver. A third win for Scuderia Ferrari whose 250 TR took over the lead in the third hour, while the British challenge ran out of stream. After their 1957 rout, the Italians took their revenge as Osca also won the Index of Performance.

Report[edit]

Entry[edit]

A grand total 70 racing cars were registered for this event, of which only 59 when allowed to practice, trying to qualify for the 55 places for the race. The number of starters was fixed at 55 following some regulations changes prior to the previous year’s event.[1]

The battle of the previous years between Jaguar and Italian concerns of Ferrari was joined by the English marque, Aston Martin, fresh from their triumph on the 1000km of Nürburgring with their Aston Martin DBR1. For this race, they brought along a two-year old Aston Martin DB3S for the Whitehead brothers. They supported the trio of DBR1s, of Stirling Moss/Jack Brabham, Tony Brooks/Maurice Trintignant and Roy Salvadori/Carroll Shelby. Although there was no official works Jaguar entry, the Coventry marque was still very much present in the form of the twice-winning Ecurie Ecosse. They had two D-Types for Jack Fairman/Masten Gregory and Ninian Sanderson/Jock Lawrence. There was a factory-supported car for Duncan Hamilton, driving with Ivor Bueb.[2][3]

Just prior to the meeting, Enzo Ferrari wisely decided not to enter his latest two prototypes, judging that his well proven 3-litre 12-cylinder Testa Rossa was just the car for Circuit de la Sarthe. The crews were Mike Hawthorn/Peter Collins, Phil Hill/Olivier Gendebien and Wolfgang von Trips/Wolfgang Seidel. A fourth car was planned but Gino Munaron had an accident and Luigi Musso had not recovered from his Grote Prijs van Belgie incident. The factory was backed up by no less other six other privately entered Testa Rossas.[4][5]

Judged to be too young, 16-year-old Ricardo Rodríguez was not allowed to start by the organisers, Automobile Club de l'Ouest, so was replaced by the older brother, Pedro Rodríguez.[6]

Qualifying[edit]

Qualifying was held over three sessions for a total of 660 minutes over the 18 and 19 June, a few days prior to the race. Most of the qualifying runs took place on a dry track and the best time was achieved by Moss, who pushed his Aston Martin around in time of 4 minutes and 7 seconds, averaging 121.7 mph. Next quickest with his team-mate, Brooks, with the majority of the Aston drivers quicker than the rest of the field. The honour of the fastest Jaguar went to Fairman, who did 4 min 13 sec, a time matched by Hawthorn in his Ferrari. The others Ferraris were around the 4 min 20 sec mark.[7]

Race[edit]

When the French tricolour fell at 16:00, the first car sparkling into life was the No.2 of Moss. Almost simultaneously the Aston was shooting toward the Dunlop bridge, so spectacularly fast that by the time it passed under it, the other cars had barely moved. Moss already that a 20-yard lead on Brooks, who was pressed by a horde of Jaguars and Ferraris. After just 4½ minutes after his standing but flying start, Moss past the pits with a lead of a quarter of a mile on Hawthorn, Brooks, von Trips and Gendebien. Heading the rest of the pack was the Aston of Salvadori.[8]

After just 5 laps, Moss was 13 seconds ahead of Hawthorn and was stretching the lead on every lap despite of the fact Hawthorn was pushing harder all the time. It the Ferrari driver who set the fastest lap with a remarkable time if 4 mins 8 sec (124.4mh). By 17:00, Moss was leading Hawthorn by 26 sec. Then came von Trips, Brooks, Gendebien and the first of Jaguars, Hamilton. Such was Moss’s pace, all the competitors with exception of the first three leaders, had been lapped at least once. The following hour saw Moss extend his lead over Hawthorn to 95 sec., lapping regularly close to the fastest lap of the day. Hawthorn tried to keep up, but his car seemed to be suffering from a slipping clutch, with vin Trips and Brooks rapidly closing it on him. Shortly after 18:00 (two hours) Moss was suddenly missing, with a broken crankshaft. Around this time, an enormous storm fell on the circuit, flooding the track and reducing the visibility to nil.[9][10]

With night falling and the rain pouring even harder, the track became awash and a terrible series of accidents began, a series which only ended with the checkered flag. Between 18:30 and 22:00, no less than 12 cars were involved in bad crashes. Several people were injured and unfortunately, one lost their life. Jean-Marie Brousselet, who raced under the pseudonym “Mary”, was fatally injured when his Jaguar went out of control just beyond the Dunlop bridge. Also involved in this terrible accident was Bruce Kessler. The American ran into the remains of the Jaguar at high speed, just a few seconds after Brousselet had crashed. Luckily for Kessler, he was thrown out of his Ferrari, receiving only serious bruises and broken ribs. As for his Ferrari, had was completely demolished and burned. Another American, Jay Chamberlain crashed his Lotus and was lucky to be picked off the track, before François Picard’s Ferrari crashed into it, totally destroying the little Lotus. Fortunate both Chamberlain and Picard only received minor injuries. Among the casual during this period were Stuart Lewis-Evans (who had replaced Shelby as Salvadori’s team-mate) in his Aston Martin; Jean Hébert whose Alfa Romeo burned to nothing and Maurice Charles was another Jaguar driver to crash at high speed and needed hospital treatment.[11]

After six hours of racing, the high-speed driving coupled with the unthinkable weather conditions, 21 cars were already eliminated. Meanwhile, Hill/Gendebien were leading the race for Ferrari, by over a minute from their team-mates, the all-German pairing von Trips/Seidel. Closing up rapidly was the Jaguar of Hamilton/Bueb, who had passed the last Aston Martin of Brooks/Trintignant. As for the all-English Ferrari of Hawthorn/Collins, that had fallen back to 11th place. During the next hour, Bueb was driving magnificently, quite at ease in the wet, making a remarkable progression. He passed the leading Ferrari shortly after 23:00. The two cars were now circulating together, and were soon joined by von Trips. Just before midnight, Hill took over from Gendebien. Minutes later, Hamilton did the same in the Jaguar and Seidel in the second Ferrari. In the early hours of Sunday morning, Hill demonstrated his talents as one of the world’s finest sports car drivers on adverse weather conditions. In the next two and half hours, not only did Hill regain the lead, he lapped Hamilton.[12]

At the halfway point, there was just 26 cars left running. The weather was not improving. Hill/Gendebien were still leading with Hamilton/Bueb a lap adrift. As for the von Trip’s Ferrari, that was crashed quite badly by Seidel and was out. Now in third, some five laps behind the leader was the Aston of Brooks/Trintignant, still going strong.[13]

The morning hours saw more storms and more casualties. Hawthorn/Collins retired their Ferrari. Gearbox troubles accounted for Brooks/Trintignant and we had not a single car in the 1100cc class. One of the Lister-Jaguar had had difficulties and required a 135-minute visit to pit lane to change a broken camshaft before rejoining the race. With only a few remaining, it seemed that nothing could alter the result. At one point, the Jaguar did gain on the Ferrari only for the Italian motor to extend its lead to just under two laps. Just before midday, just as a fresh storm fell heavily on the circuit, Hamilton left the road, resulting in a trip to the hospital with only slight injuries. With him disappeared the last Jaguar, making it a tough day for the Coventry marque.[14][15]

It was under a menacing black sky, that a triumphant Hill crossed the finishing line at 16:00, ending one of the wettest and most difficult 24 Heures du Mans in history. Second step on the podium went to the valiant Aston Martin of Graham Whitehead and Peter Whitehead, while third was the Jean Behra/Hans Herrmann in their 1600cc Porsche 718 RSK. The winning partnership, averaged a speed of 106.201 mph, was only 7.4 mph slower than 1957’s victory by the bigger Jaguar, running in ideal weather conditions. The little 750cc Osca, driven by Alejandro de Tomaso and Carlo Davis won the Index of Performance in spite of the late attacks by others, ensuring two victories for Italy, made the Italians forget their defeat of the previous year. Ferrari had also secured the World Championship for Constructors, with one round still to go. The race was run in such terrible conditions that only 20 cars out of the 55 starters were able to complete the race, and actually just 17 could be classified as having covered the official distance.[16][17]

For the fourth consecutive race, Hawthorn was the quickest driver over a single lap, but his best lap of 4’ 08 was well down on his 3’ 58.7secs of 1957. This was the same for the overall race distances as Gendebien/Hill covered around the same the fifth place crew of the previous year. Again, the wet conditions were mainly responsible for this discrepancy.[18]

Official Classification[edit]

Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1st S3.0 14 Italy Scuderia Ferrari Belgium Olivier Gendebien
United States Phil Hill
Ferrari 250 TR 58 Ferrari 3.0L V12 305
2nd S3.0 5 United Kingdom A.G. Whitehead United Kingdom Graham Whitehead
United Kingdom Peter Whitehead
Aston Martin DB3S Aston Martin 3.0L I6 293
3rd S2.0 29 West Germany Porsche KG France Jean Behra
West Germany Hans Herrmann
Porsche 718 RSK Spyder Porsche 1.6L Flat-4 291
4th S1.5 31 West Germany Porsche KG East Germany Edgar Barth
Belgium Paul Frère
Porsche 718 RSK Spyder Porsche 1.5L Flat-4 290
5th S1.5 32 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort
West Germany Herbert Linge
Porsche 550 RS Porsche 1.5L Flat-4 288
6th S3.0 21 Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge Belgium ”Jean Beurlys”
Belgium Alain de Changy
Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 279
7th S3.0 22 United States Ed Hugus United States Ed Hugus
United States Ray Erickson
Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 278
8th S2.0 28 United Kingdom AC Cars Ltd. United Kingdom Richard Stoop
United Kingdom Peter Bolton
A.C. Ace LM Prototype Bristol 2.0L I6 257
9th S2.0 27 United Kingdom A.C. Ace Ltd. Switzerland Hubert Patthey
Belgium Georges Berger
A.C. Ace LM Prototype Bristol 2.0L I6 255
10th S1.5 34 France Jean-Paul Colas France ”Franc”
France Jean Kerguen
Porsche 550 RS Porsche 1.5L Flat-4 254
11th S750 42 Italy Automobili Osca Argentina Alejandro de Tomaso
United Kingdom Colin Davis
Osca S750 Osca 0.7L I4 252
12th S750 44 France Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet France Gérard Laureau
France Louis Cornet
D.B. Barquette Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 250
13th S750 46 France Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet France Paul Armagnac
France Jean-Claude Vidilles
D.B. Barquette Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 242
14th S750 41 Italy Automobili Osca France Jean Laroche
France Rémy Radix
Osca S750 Osca 0.7L I4 241
15th S3.0 10 United Kingdom Bruce Halford United Kingdom Bruce Halford
United Kingdom Brian Naylor
Lister Jaguar 3.0L I6 241
16th S2.0 24 United Kingdom Peerless Cars United Kingdom Peter Jopp
United Kingdom Percy Crabb
Peerless GT Coupé Triumph 2.0L I4 240
17th S750 51 France Equipe Monopole Courses France Jacques Poch
France Guy Dunaud
Monopole X86 Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 218
18th S750 45 France Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet France Robert Mougin
France Jean Lucienbonnet
D.B. Coupé Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 214

Not Classified[edit]

Failed to cover 70% of winner's distance (213 laps)

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
19th S750 53 Italy Automobili Stanguellini France Fernand Sigrand
France René-Louis Revillon
Stanguellini 750S Bialbero Stanguellini 0.7L I4 211
20th S750 55 United Kingdom Team Lotus Engineering United Kingdom Alan Stacey
United Kingdom Tom Dickson
Lotus Eleven Coventry Climax 0.7L I4 202

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps Reason
21st S3.0 8 United Kingdom J. Duncan Hamilton United Kingdom Duncan Hamilton
United Kingdom Ivor Bueb
Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.0L I6 251 Accident
22nd S3.0 3 United Kingdom David Brown Racing Dept. United Kingdom Tony Brooks
France Maurice Trintignant
Aston Martin DBR1/300 Aston Martin 3.0L I6 173 Gearbox
23rd S1.1 38 United Kingdom Team Lotus Engineering United Kingdom Innes Ireland
United Kingdom Mike Taylor
Lotus Eleven Coventry Climax 1.1L I4 162 Ignition
24th S3.0 1 Spain Francisco Godia Spain Francisco Godia-Sales
Sweden Jo Bonnier
Maserati 300 S Maserati 3.0L I6 142 Engine
25th S750 47 France Bernard Deviterne France Marcel Laillier
France René Bartholoni
D.B. Coupé Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 129 Engine
26th S2.0 25 United States North American Racing Team Mexico Pedro Rodríguez
France José Behra
Ferrari 500 TR Ferrari 2.0L I4 119 Overheating
27th S3.0 12 Italy Scuderia Ferrari United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn
United Kingdom Peter Collins
Ferrari 250 TR 58 Ferrari 3.0L V12 112 Clutch
28th S750 54 Italy Automobili Stanguellini France René Philippe Faure
France Michel Nicol
Stanguellini S750 Stanguellini 0.7L I4 110 Engine
29th S3.0 16 Italy Scuderia Ferrari West Germany Wolfgang von Trips
West Germany Wolfgang Seidel
Ferrari 250 TR 58 Ferrari 3.0L V12 101 Accident
30th S750 48 France Equipe Monopole Course France Maurice van der Bruwaene
France Jacques Lefourel
Monopole X89 Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 101 Gearbox
31st S1.1 40 United Kingdom John Ogier United Kingdom Tommy Bridger
United Kingdom Peter Blond
Tojeiro Coventry Climax 1.1L I4 83 Rear axle
32nd S3.0 19 United States North American Racing Team United States E.D. Martin
France Fernand Tavano
Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 77 Ignition, clutch
33rd S3.0 20 France Equipe Los Amigos France François Picard
Guatemala Jaroslav Juhan
Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 72 Accident
34th S3.0 18 United States North American Racing Team United States Dan Gurney
United States Bruce Kessler
Ferrari 250 TR 58 Ferrari 3.0L V12 64 Collision, fire
35th S1.5 37 Italy Squadra Virgilio Conrero France Marcel Lauga
France Jean Hébert
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce Zagato Alfa Romeo 1.3L I4 59 Accident
36th S2.0 30 West Germany Porsche KG West Germany Richard von Frankenberg
France Claude Storez
Porsche 718 RSK Porsche 1.6L Flat-4 55 Accident
37th S3.0 4 United Kingdom David Brown Racing Dept. United Kingdom Roy Salvadori
United Kingdom Stuart Lewis-Evans
Aston Martin DBR1/300 Aston Martin 3.0L I6 49 Accident
38th S3.0 11 France Henri Peignaux France Jean-Marie Brousselet
France André Guelfi
Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.0L I6 47 Fatal accident
(Brousselet)
39th S3.0 17 France Fernand Tavano Cuba Alfonso Gomez-Mena
Italy Piero Drogo
Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 45 Engine
40th S750 50 France Equipe Monopole Course France Bernard Consten
France Jean Vinatier
Monopole VM5 Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 44 Engine
41st S3.0 9 Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge Belgium Freddy Rouselle
Belgium Claude Dubois
Lister Jaguar 3.0L I6 43 Oil pressure
42nd S1.5 35 United Kingdom Lotus Engineering United States Jay Chamberlain
United States Pete Lovely
Lotus 15 Coventry Climax 1.5L I4 39 Accident
43rd S750 52 Italy Automobili Stanguellini France Georges Guyot
France Pierre Ros
Stanguellini S750 Bialbero Stanguellini 0.7L I4 38 Accident
44th S3.0 58 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps Belgium Lucien Bianchi
Belgium Willy Mairesse
Ferrari 250 TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 33 Accident
45th S1.5 36 Italy Squadra Virgilio Conrero Italy Giorgio Ubezzi
Belgium Eric Catulle
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Zagato Alfa Romeo 1.3L I4 31 Fuel feed
46th S3.0 2 United Kingdom David Brown Racing Dept. United Kingdom Stirling Moss
Australia Jack Brabham
Aston Martin DBR1/300 Aston Martin 3.0L I6 30 Con rod
47th S3.0 57 United Kingdom Maurice Charles United Kingdom Maurice Charles
United Kingdom John Young
Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.0L I6 29 Accident
48th S1.1 39 United Kingdom Car Exchange United Kingdom Bill Frost
United Kingdom Bob Hicks
Lotus Eleven Coventry Climax 1.1L I4 28 Spun
49th S2.0 23 France Jean Thépenier France Marcel Martin
France Michel Dagorne
Maserati 200S I Maserati 2.0L I4 20 Gearbox
50th S750 56 France Equipe Lotus France France Roger Masson
France André Héchard
Lotus Eleven Coventry Climax 0.7L I4 19 Accident
51st S750 49 France Equipe Monopole Course France René Cotton
FranceAndré Beaulieux
Monopole X86 Panhard 0.7L Flat-2 10 Engine
52nd S3.0 6 United Kingdom Ecurie Ecosse United Kingdom Jack Fairman
United States Masten Gregory
Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.0L I6 7 Engine
53rd S2.0 26 United Kingdom Team Lotus Engineering United Kingdom Cliff Allison
United Kingdom Graham Hill
Lotus 15 Coventry Climax 2.0L I4 3 Engine
54th S3.0 7 United Kingdom Ecurie Ecosse United Kingdom Jock Lawrence
United Kingdom Ninian Sanderson
Jaguar D-Type Jaguar 3.0l I6 2 Engine
55th S750 43 France Just-Emile Vernet France Jean-Marie Dumazer
France Robert Dutoit
V.P. Renault 0.7L I4 2 Gearbox

[19][20][21]

Class Winners[edit]

Class Winners
Sports 3000 14 Ferrari 250 TR 58 Gendebien / Hill
Sports 2000 29 Porsche 718 RSK Behra / Herrmann
Sports 1500 31 Porsche 718 RSK Barth / Frère
Sports 1100 No finishers
Sports 750 42 Osca S750 TN de Tomaso / Davis
Biennial Cup No finishers
Index of Performance 42 Osca S750 TN de Tomaso / Davis

[23]

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Championship Points
1 Italy Ferrari 32 (38)
2 West Germany Porsche 18 (19)
3 United Kingdom Aston Martin 14
4 United Kingdom Lotus 3
5 Italy Osca 2
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included in this set of standings.

Championship points were awarded for the first six places in each race in the order of 8-6-4-3-2-1, excepting the RAC Tourist Trophy, for which points were awarded on a 4-3-2-1 for the first four places. Manufacturers were only awarded points for their highest finishing car with no points awarded for positions filled by additional cars. Only the best 4 results out of the 6 races could be retained by each manufacturer. Points earned but not counted towards the championship totals are listed within brackets in the above table.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Quentin Spurring. Le Mans 24 Hours: The Official History of the World’s Greatest Motor Race 1949-59. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1844255375
  • Brian Laban. Le Mans 24 Hours: The Complete Story of World’s Most Famous Motor Race. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1852270629


World Sportscar Championship
Previous race:
1000km of Nürburgring
1958 season Next race:
RAC Tourist Trophy