1961 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1961 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1960 Next: 1962
Index: Races | Winners

The 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 29th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 10 and 11 June 1961. It was also the 4th round of the 1961 World Sportscar Championship. Ferrari and Maserati were the main title contenders, with Porsche an outside chance for the Championship.

Le Mans in 1961

Ferrari’s competition soon wilted in the race – the Maseratis were fast but fragile. The Aston Martins, though reliable, couldn’t match the Italian cars’ pace. In the end it was a race between the two works team cars and the NART entry, And when the Rodriguez brothers’ engine blew with just two hours to go, it was a clear 1-2 victory for the Ferrari works team. A privateer Ferrari GT was third with an American-run Maserati fighting it way back up to fourth, a full 22 laps behind the winner.

Regulations[edit]

The second year of the new FIA regulations did not see significant changes. The controversial windscreen rules regarding minimum height and width were also updated with a maximum slope, which closed the loophole that Maserati had cleverly worked around in the previous year.[1]

For its part, race-organisers, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) increased the maximum continuous driving stint up from 52 to 60 laps, given the faster speeds the cars were running at. However, the total driving time remained at 14 hours per driver. The time to complete the final lap time-limit was shortened from 30 to 20 minutes to reduce the incidences of slow or stationary cars out on the circuit trying to run down the clock to finish.

Scrutineering was moved from the Place des Jacobins in Le Mans city to the circuit. Finally, this year the ACO trialled a new IBM race-timing computer system (which had a few teething problems[2]) and opened the first French automobile museum.[1][3]

Entries[edit]

With the dropping interest in the World Championship, from both manufacturers and fans, there were only 65 entries in total for the race. With two entries rejected, there were 55 starters and 8 reserves. It could be said that the modern Le Mans started in 1961 with the presence of significant mid- and rear-engined cars.[4]

Official ‘works’ entries numbered 26, although Maserati and Aston Martin both gave support to their customer teams. Biggest team presence was the 5-strong Deutsch & Bonnet team, with 4-car entries from the Scuderia Ferrari, Porsche, Abarth and NART teams.

Category Classes Sports
Entries
GT
Entries
Total
Entries
Large-engines 5.0+, 5.0, 4.0, 3.0, 2.5L 11 10 (+2 reserves) 21
Medium-engines 2.0, 1.6, 1.3L 7 (+1 reserve) 11 (+1 reserves) 18
Small-engines 1.15, 1.0, 0.85L 16 (+3 reserves) 0 16
Total Cars 34 (+4 reserves) 21 (+3 reserves) 55 (+7 reserves)

Once again Ferrari dominated the entry list with 11 cars spreads across both the Sport and GT divisions. The racing division of the company was now entitled Societa Esercizio Fabbriche Automobili e Corse (SEFAC) and it arrived with four cars. Two were the latest iteration of the proven Testarossa race-winner, for their best endurance-racing partnership: Phil Hill / Olivier Gendebien as well as Willy Mairesse with Ferrari-debutante Mike Parkes.[5] There was also the new, very fast, mid-engined 246 SP ‘Dino’ which had already impressed in the season to be driven Ferrari’s lead F1 drivers Wolfgang von Trips / Richie Ginther. The 2.4-litre V6 engine developed 270 bhp.[6] The final works entry was a prototype of the new GT car being built for the upcoming 1962 rules changes. It still had the 3-litre V12 engine used in the Testarossa and was driven by Giancarlo Baghetti and Fernand Tavano (who had won the GT-division in the 1960 race as a Ferrari privateer).[7] The North American Racing Team (NART) was also entered, with the TR61 car that had won the Sebring race.[5] It would be driven by the very fast, young, Rodriguez brothers, Pedro and Ricardo

Maserati arrived with a new model, the T63, with a mid-mounted, 3-litre variant of the famous 250F V12 Grand Prix engine. It was said to be capable of 300 kp/h (185 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight.[8] Two were entered by Briggs Cunningham, who had raced it at Sebring and a third for the Scuderia Serenissima, who had run it in the Targa Florio. Camoradi did not send its cars this year. Cunningham himself was entered with Bill Kimberley in a longtail 2-litre T60.[9]

Representing Great Britain was Aston Martin and Cooper. Jaguar was a notable absentee for the first time since 1950. The Border Reivers, the only team to break up the Ferrari monopoly at the previous year’s results, returned with their DBR1/300. This year Jim Clark was paired with two-time winner Ron Flockhart.[10]His former team, Ecurie Ecosse, ran the new Cooper T57. Running with the 2.6-litre FPF Climax engine it was underpowered on the straights, but excellent handling kept it competitive.[11]

Porsche arrived with three of their new RS61 cars, each with a different Flat-four engine. The 2-litre variant now developed 185 bhp with a top speed of 155 mph (250 kp/h). It was driven by Masten Gregory and Bob Holbert. The two coupés were driven by the Porsche F1 team drivers Hans Herrmann / Edgar Barth and Jo Bonnier/Dan Gurney.[12]

Completing the 2-litre field, Triumph once again entered three cars in the Sports division, as its TR4 had not been homologated for GT racing as yet.[13]

The smaller-engined classes were well supported once again, with Abarth, Austin Healey and OSCA taking on the dominant Deutsch et Bonnet cars. As well as the standard, reliable HBR-4 cars, DB also introduced its new mid-engined HBR-5 spyder for Vidilles/Moynet.[14]

Six Abarth entries included four works cars. The little 701cc Fiat engine developed a mere 64 bhp. A special 850cc-variant (developing 73 bhp and doing 120 mph on the Mulsanne straight) was in the reserves to be driven by New Zealanders Denis Hulme/Angus Hyslop.[15] OSCA arrived with one of their successful 750 Sport cars as a works entry and an up-engined 988cc entered by NART for the Index prizes.

Once again the GT division was dominated by Ferrari with seven privateer entries. Stirling Moss was back, with Graham Hill, this time in a Ferrari co-entered by Rob Walker and NART. This year, their main competition would come from the Aston Martin DB4s of John Ogier’s new Essex Racing Team (who also ran a DBR1/300 in the Sports division) and French privateer Jean Kerguen. Re-styled by Zagato, they were the biggest cars in the field with their 3.7-litre engines.

Otherwise, the mid-range GT classes were rather limited. A pair of French AC Aces were the only entries in the 2-litre class, Lotus had the 1.3-litre category to itself with five Elites entered including two works cars. There was competition in the 1.6-litre class though, with Porsche up against Sunbeam returning to Le Mans after over 30 years away[3]

Curiously, Chris Lawrence’s Morgan 4+4 entry was rejected by the ACO because it looked, essentially, too old-fashioned and not meeting the ‘spirit of the race’.[16]

Practice[edit]

Over the April test weekend, the Ferrari 246 SP was fastest, three seconds ahead of Hill in the Testarossa and fully nine seconds from the Maserati T63s. The Ferrari 250 GT was fully 20 seconds faster than its Aston Martin competition.[17] However, Jo Schlesser crashed one of the GTs, breaking his arm and leg, keeping him out of the race.[18]

In official practice, Ginther in the 246 SP was again fastest. Mike Parkes, who had never driven a Testarossa before, was immediately on the pace with 4th fastest time.[5][16]

Race[edit]

Start[edit]

The day of the race started with light showers, but by the time 4pm came around the overcast conditions had dried out the circuit.[19][8] Moss, as always, was quick but by dint of starting further up the grid, Jim Clark’s Aston Martin was first car under the Dunlop bridge. Two of the last to get away were Mike Parkes’ Ferrari[5] and Augie Pabst’s Maserati.[5] But at the end of the first lap, Ginther in the 246 SP led Hill’s Testarossa, Hansgen’s Maserati then Pedro Rodriguez in the NART Ferrari, Clark, Moss & Salvadori.[20] Within five laps, Rodriguez had got to the front and together with Ginther and Hill they built a gap from the chasing pack, swapping places often.[19] The first pitstops and driver-changes came after 90 minutes of racing. The 246SP was able to run up to 15 minutes longer before refuelling, therefore building up a bit of a lead.

The showers returned around 6pm, wet enough to make the track very slippery.[21] Walt Hansgen went off at speed at Tertre Rouge, while running fourth. The impact broke his arm and cracked some vertebrae.[22] Bill Halford, running 7th in the Ecosse Cooper soon after taking the wheel, went off at the Dunlop Curve, hitting the embankment at nearly 200kph (120mph). The car rolled, throwing Halford out but he luckily escaped with just scratches and bruises.[11] Then Bill McKay crashed the Ecosse Sprite at Maison Blanche also breaking his arm.

Stirling Moss & Graham Hill had been putting in incredible lap-times with their Ferrari GT, easily leading the GT division, but also ahead of the Aston Martin and Maserati prototypes. Moss even recorded the 7th fastest racing lap ever on the circuit.[18] By 7pm they were running fifth overall.

At 8pm, after four hours and two pitstops, the race order was the Ferraris of von Trips, P.Rodriguez, P.Hill and Parkes. Salvadori was 5th, the last car on the lead lap. Then came the Ferrari GTs of Moss, Tavano and Noblet with Clark in 9th. The UDT Lotus was leading the Index of Performance, with von Trips in second .[21]

Night[edit]

The rain continued into the early evening. Then about 10.30pm Ginther had to pit to have its lights fixed that cost them 10 minutes and several laps. This left Hill/Gendebien ahead of the rival Rodriguez brothers then their teammates Parkes/Mairesse. What prevented the race becoming a dull, repetitive procession was the inter-team rivalry between NART and the works team. Close racing in a damp night meant the lead changed repeatedly through the night. At 1am, after 9 hours, the two leading cars had done 123 laps, Parkes-Mairesse 3 laps back, then Ginther/von Trips, Moss/Hill and Salvadori/Maggs all on 118 laps. Seventh was the Pabst/Thompson Maserati two laps further back.[23]

However, at 1.30am the Walker Ferrari was nobbled by a dislodged fan blade slicing a radiator hose, ending its fine run.[18] The Ferrari GT prototype had been running very well, staying in the top ten, stalking the Walker 250GT, however in the early hours of Sunday it was retired with engine issues.[7] Not long before that Clark’s Aston Martin had blown its engine on the Mulsanne straight while he was running 5th.[10] The Essex Aston Martin of Salvadori/Maggs moved up to fifth place.

At 4am, the Rodriguez brothers led from the three works Ferraris, then the Aston Martin and the recovering Maserati. Noblet’s Ferrari GT was 7th, ahead of Tavano’s GT prototype, the leading Porsche (Bonnier/Gurney) and Trintignant’s GT. The privateer DB of Masson/Armagnac was leading the Index of Performance from the Contrillier/Foitek Abarth.[24]

Morning[edit]

By dawn the track was drying again. But at 7.30am, the NART car came into the pits with a bad misfire, and it took half an hour to fix. Von Trips and Ginther had driven hard after their delay and managed to get back up to second place, four laps behind Hill/Gendebien. But then at 8am, another bad miscalculation by the Ferrari team ran von Trips out of fuel in consecutive Le Mans.[25] The Essex Aston Martin had been lapping consistently, moving up to 4th when the Ferrari retired. However it was retired mid-morning with a split, leaking, oil tank.[7]

Another hard pursuit, this time by the NART Ferrari trying to make up their lost half hour, kept the spectators interested. By midday they had overtaken Mairesse and was in second. But the strain finally told on the engine and at 2pm, with just 2 hours to go, the Rodriguez’ Ferrari crawled into the pits with terminal engine issues. Bonnier and Gurney had been running a strong 5th but became the first Porsche retirement when its engine broke after 12.30pm. The French Aston Martin GT had been running well, 3rd in class behind the Ferraris and 9th overall. But with an hour to go, at its last pitstop, a mechanic left a spanner in the engine and it short-circuited the battery.[26]

Finish and post-race[edit]

From there on, the team Ferraris held station with the race finishing under soft rain. Hill and Gendebien, the 1958 winners, won again finishing three laps (37.86 km (23.53 mi)) ahead of their teammates Parkes/Mairesse.[27] Third place, and thirteen laps further back, was the privateer Ferrari GT of Noblet/Guichet ahead of the Pabst/Thompson Maserati. Porsche had a better race this year, with the all-American Gregory/Holbert works car finishing an excellent 5th, after consistently running in the top-10 from Saturday night. The Herrmann/Barth car came in 7th, while the Porsche GT of Linge/Pon was 10th, easily winning its class.[12]

Briggs Cunningham had an uncomplicated race in the 2-litre Maserati, never missing a beat as it finished 8th. In fact, it was the car that spent the shortest time in the pits during the race.[9] Triumph again staged a formation finish, however this year its three cars were classified, the best one finishing 9th. In the competitive 850cc class, it was the two ‘Kiwis’ in the Abarth 850 that beat the chasing DBs home by a clear six laps. The Foitek/Condrillier Abarth had the great misfortune to break an oil-pipe on the penultimate lap preventing the Italian marque claiming a 1-2 class finish.[15]

This 5th win for Ferrari put it on equal footing with Bentley and Jaguar for most victories.[28] The win contributed to a significant year for Ferrari. Bandini and Scarfiotti won the final round at the new race at Pescara securing the World Championship. Baghetti went on a purple streak winning his first three F1 races and becoming the only driver to win an F1 World Championship race in his first opportunity, at Reims. Ferrari won the F1 Constructor’s Championship and Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips were the two contenders for the Driver’s title that was sadly decided when von Trips was killed at Monza.

This was also the last Le Mans for Stirling Moss who had a career-ending crash at Goodwood early in the next year. In his ten appearances he never won, but his speed and competitiveness was always a highlight for the spectators.

The Index of Performance again went to a DB, but not the works team. Instead it was the small Equipe Chardonnet which won the prize. The special Sunbeam coupé won the Index of Thermal Efficiiency, and the company promptly produced a short run of the “Harrington Le Mans” model to capitalise on its success.[29]

This was the last year of the Sportscar World Championship (in its current form) as the FIA had decreed that going forward, the Championship would be based around GT cars.[30]

Official results[edit]

Finishers[edit]

Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[31] Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 S
3.0
10 Italy SEFAC Ferrari Belgium Olivier Gendebien
United States Phil Hill
Ferrari 250 TRI/61 Ferrari 3.0L V12 333
2 S
3.0
11 Italy SEFAC Ferrari Belgium Willy Mairesse
United Kingdom Mike Parkes
Ferrari 250 TRI/61 Ferrari 3.0L V12 330
3 GT
3.0
14 Belgium P. Noblet
(private entrant)
Belgium Pierre Noblet
France Jean Guichet
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 317
4 S
3.0
7 United States B.S. Cunningham United States Augie Pabst
United States Dick Thompson
Maserati Tipo 63 Maserati 3.0L V12 311
5 S
2.0
33 West Germany Porsche KG United States Masten Gregory
United States Bob Holbert
Porsche RS61 Spyder Porsche 1967cc F4 309
6 GT
3.0
20 Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge United States Bob Grossman
Belgium André Pilette
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 309
7 S
2.0
32 West Germany Porsche KG Germany Edgar Barth
Germany Hans Herrmann
Porsche RS61 Coupé Porsche 1606cc F4 306
8 S
2.0
24 United States B.S. Cunningham United States Briggs Cunningham
United States Bill Kimberley
Maserati Tipo 60 Maserati 1989cc S4 303
9 S
2.0
26 United Kingdom Standard Triumph Ltd United Kingdom Peter Bolton
United Kingdom Keith Ballisat
Triumph TR4S Triumph 1985cc S4 284
10 GT
1.6
36 West Germany Porsche KG Germany Herbert Linge
Netherlands Ben Pon
Porsche 356B GS Porsche 1588cc S4 284
11 S
2.0
27 United Kingdom Standard Triumph Ltd United Kingdom Les Leston
Netherlands Rob Slotemaker
Triumph TR4S Triumph 1985cc S4 279
12 GT
1.3
38 United Kingdom Team Lotus Engineering United Kingdom Trevor Taylor
United Kingdom Bill Allen
Lotus Elite Coventry Climax 1216cc S4 268
13 GT
1.3
40 France Ecurie Edger France Bernard Kosselek
France Pierre Messenez
Lotus Elite Coventry Climax 1216cc S4 267
14 S
850
60
(reserve)
Italy Abarth & Cie New Zealand Denny Hulme
New Zealand Angus Hyslop
Abarth 850S Fiat 847cc S4 263
15 S
2.0
25 United Kingdom Standard Triumph Ltd France Marcel Becquart
United States Mike Rothschild
Triumph TR4S Triumph 1985cc S4 262
16 GT
1.6
34 United Kingdom Sunbeam Talbot United Kingdom Peter Harper
United Kingdom Peter Procter
Sunbeam Alpine Harrington Sunbeam 1592cc S4 261
17 GT
2.0
28 France Equipe Chardonnet France Jean-Claude Magne
France Georges Alexandrovitch
AC Ace Bristol 1971cc S6 261
18 S
850
53 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France Gérard Laureau
France Robert Bouharde
D.B. HBR-4 Spyder Panhard 702cc F2 257
19 S
850
45 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France André Moynet
France Jean-Claude Vidilles
D.B. HBR-5 Spyder Panhard 848cc F2 243
20 S
850
48 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France André Guilhaudin
France Jean-François Jaeger
D.B. HBR-4 Panhard 848cc F2 243
21 S
850
47 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France Edgar Rollin
France René Bartholoni
D.B. HBR-4 Panhard 848cc F2 239
22 S
850
52 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France Jean-Claude Caillaud
France Robert Mougin
D.B. HBR-4 Rallye Panhard 848cc F2 237

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps Reason
DNF S
3.0
17 United States North American Racing Team Mexico Pedro Rodríguez
Mexico Ricardo Rodríguez
Ferrari 250 TRI/61 Ferrari 3.0L V12 305 engine
(23hr)
DNF GT
4.0
1 France J. Kerguen
(private entrant)
France Jean Kerguen
France “Franc” (Jacques Dewes)
Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Aston Martin 3.7L S6 286 battery
(24hr)
DNF S
2.0
30 West Germany Porsche KG Sweden Joakim ‘Jo’ Bonnier
United States Dan Gurney
Porsche RS61 Coupé Porsche 1679cc F4 262 engine
(23hr)
DNF GT
1.6
37 France A. Veuillet
(private entrant)
France Pierre Monneret
France Robert Buchet
Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Porsche 1588cc S4 261 engine
(23hr)
DNF S
850
55 Italy Abarth & Cie France Paul Condrillier
Switzerland Karl Foitek
Abarth 700S Fiat 701cc S4 255 oil pipe
(24hr)
DNF GT
3.0
21 United Kingdom Ecurie Chiltern United Kingdom John Bekaert
United Kingdom Richard “Dickie” Stoop
Austin-Healey 3000 BMC 2.9L S6 254 engine
(23hr)
DNF S
3.0
4 United Kingdom Essex Racing Team United Kingdom Roy Salvadori
South Africa Tony Maggs
Aston Martin DBR1/300 Aston Martin 3.0L S6 243 split oil tank
(19hr)
DNF S
2.5
23 Italy SEFAC Ferrari Germany Wolfgang von Trips
United States Richie Ginther
Ferrari Dino 246 SP Ferrari 2.4L V6 231 out of fuel
(17hr)
DNF S
850
54 France R. Masson
(private entrant)
France Roger Masson
France Paul Armagnac
D.B. HBR-4 Panhard 702cc F2 208 engine
(20hr)
DNF GT
1.3
39 United Kingdom Team Lotus Engineering United Kingdom John ‘Mac’ Wyllie
United Kingdom David Buxton
Lotus Elite Coventry Climax 1216cc S4 193 overheating
(20hr)
DNF S
3.0
12 Italy SEFAC Ferrari France Fernand Tavano
Italy Giancarlo Baghetti
Ferrari 250 GT/TR Ferrari 3.0L V12 163 engine
(13hr)
DNF GT
3.0
16 Italy Scuderia Serenissima France Maurice Trintignant
Italy Carlo Maria Abate
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 162 transmission
(13hr)
DNF S
3.0
5 United Kingdom Border Reivers United Kingdom Jim Clark
United Kingdom Ron Flockhart
Aston Martin DBR1/300 Aston Martin 3.0L S6 132 clutch
(11hr)
DSQ GT
1.6
35 United Kingdom Sunbeam Talbot United Kingdom Peter Jopp
United Kingdom Paddy Hopkirk
Sunbeam Alpine Sunbeam 1592cc S4 130 premature refill
(12hr)
DNF S
1.0
43 United States North American Racing Team United States Ed Hugus
United States David Cunningham
O.S.C.A. Sport 1000 OSCA 988c S4 125 clutch
(13hr)
DNF S
850
8 Italy Scuderia Serenissima France Piero Frescobaldi
Italy Raffaele Cammarota
Abarth 700S Fiat 701cc S4 124 suspension
(12hr)
DNF GT
3.0
18 United States North American Racing Team
United Kingdom Rob Walker Racing Team
United Kingdom Stirling Moss
United Kingdom Graham Hill
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 121 water hose
(10hr)
DNF GT
2.0
29 Switzerland Ecurie Lausannoise Switzerland André Wicky
Switzerland Edgar Berney
AC Ace Bristol 1971cc S6 115 overheating
(11hr)
DNF S
850
56 Italy Abarth & Cie Italy Giancarlo Sala
Italy Giancarlo Rigamonti
Abarth 700S Fiat 701cc S4 111 dynamo
(13hr)
DNF S
850
51 United Kingdom UDT Laystall Racing Team United Kingdom Cliff Allison
United Kingdom Mike McKee
Lotus Elite Coventry Climax 1216cc S4 102 engine
(11hr)
DNF GT
1.3
41 France Ecurie Los Amigos France Jean-François Malle
United Kingdom Robin Carnegie
Lotus Elite Coventry Climax 1216cc S4 86 out of fuel
(10hr)
DNF S
850
50 Italy Automobili OSCA France Jean Laroche
United Kingdom Colin Davis
O.S.C.A. Sport 750 OSCA 746cc S4 85 overheating
(10hr)
DNF GT
3.0
19 United States North American Racing Team United States George Arents
United States George Reed
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 76 electrical
(7hr)
DNF S
1.0
42 United Kingdom Donald Healey Motor Company United States John K. Colgate Jr.
Australia Paul Hawkins
Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite BMC 994cc S4 64 engine
(8hr)
DNF GT
3.0
15 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps Belgium Lucien Bianchi
Belgium Georges Berger
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 60 clutch
(7hr)
DNF S
3.0
9 Italy Scuderia Serenissima Italy Ludovico Scarfiotti
Italy Nino Vaccarella
Maserati Tipo 63 Maserati 3.0L V12 53 engine
(7hr)
DNF S
1.0
46 United Kingdom Ecurie Ecosse United Kingdom Ninian Sanderson
United Kingdom Alan McKay
Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite BMC 994cc S4 40 accident
(4hr)
DNF S
3.0
22 United Kingdom Ecurie Ecosse United Kingdom Tommy Dickson
United Kingdom Bruce Halford
Cooper T57 ‘Monaco’ Coventry Climax 2.6L S4 32 accident
(3hr)
DNF S
3.0
6 United States B.S. Cunningham United States Walt Hansgen
New Zealand Bruce McLaren
Maserati Tipo 63 Maserati 3.0L V12 31 accident
(3hr)
DNF GT
4.0
3 United Kingdom Essex Racing Team Australia Lex Davison
Australia Bib Stillwell
Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Aston Martin 3.7L S6 25 engine
(3hr)
DNF GT
4.0
2 United Kingdom Essex Racing Team United Kingdom Jack Fairman
France Bernard Consten
Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Aston Martin 3.7L S6 22 engine
(3hr)
DNF S
850
49 Italy Abarth & Cie Italy Teodoro Zeccoli
France Jean Vinatier
Abarth 700S Fiat 701cc S4 15 accident
(2hr)
DNF S
2.0
58
(reserve)
United Kingdom T. Lund
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Ted Lund
South Africa Bob Olthoff
MG MGA Twin Cam MG 1762cc S4 14 engine
(2hr)

Did Not Start[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Reason
DNS GT
1.3
31 United Kingdom Team Lotus Engineering United Kingdom Trevor Taylor
United Kingdom Peter Arundell
Lotus 19 Coventry Climax 1964cc S4 Withdrawn
DNS S
1.0
44 Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge Belgium Claude Dubois
France Gerhard Langlois van Ophem
Abarth 1000S Fiat 982cc S4 Withdrawn
DNS GT
3.0
57
(reserve)
France R. de Lageneste
(private entrant)
France Roger de Lageneste
France “Loustel” (Pierre Dumay)
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Ferrari 3.0L V12 Not
required
DNS S
850
59
(reserve)
France M. Martin
(private entrant)
France Maurice Martin
France Jean-François Jaeger
D.B. HBR Panhard 851cc F2 Not
required
DNS GT
3.0
61
(reserve)
United Kingdom Cambridge Racing United Kingdom Jim Clark
United Kingdom Trevor Taylor
Austin-Healey 3000 BMC 2.9L S6 Not
required
DNS GT
1.3
62
(reserve)
France M. Porthault
(private entrant)
France Maurice Porthault
France Jean Devos
Lotus Elite Coventry Climax 1216cc S4 Not
required
DNS S
850
63
(reserve)
France C. Faucher
(private entrant)
Italy Christian Faucher
France J-J Petit
BMW 700S BMW 700cc S4 Not
required

Class Winners[edit]

Class Winners!
Sports 4000 not eligible Grand Touring 4000 no finishers
Sports 3000 #10 Ferrari 250 TRI/61 Gendebien / Hill Grand Touring 3000 #14 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Noblet / Guichet
Sports 2500 no finishers Grand Touring 2500 no entrants
Sports 2000 #33 Porsche RS61 Spyder Gregory / Holbert Grand Touring 2000 #28 AC Ace Magne / Alexandrovitch
Sports 1600 no entrants Grand Touring 1600 #36 Porsche 356B GS Linge / Pon
Sports 1300 no entrants Grand Touring 1300 #38 Lotus Elite Taylor / Allen
Sports 1150 no entrants Grand Touring 1150 no entrants
Sports 1000 no finishers Grand Touring 1000 no entrants
Sports 850 #60 Abarth 850S Hulme / Hyslop Grand Touring 850 not eligible

Index of Thermal Efficiency[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 GT
1.6
34 United Kingdom Sunbeam Talbot United Kingdom Peter Harper
United Kingdom Peter Procter
Sunbeam Alpine Harrington 1.07
2= GT
1.3
40 France Ecurie Edger France Bernard Kosselek
France Pierre Messenez
Lotus Elite 1.03
2= S
850
48 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France André Guilhaudin
France Jean-François Jaeger
D.B. HBR-4 1.03
4 S
2.0
32 West Germany Porsche KG Germany Edgar Barth
Germany Hans Herrmann
Porsche RS61 Coupé 1.02
5= S
850
47 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France Edgar Rollin
France René Bartholoni
D.B. HBR-4 0.99
5= GT
1.6
36 West Germany Porsche KG Germany Herbert Linge
Netherlands Ben Pon
Porsche 356B GS 0.99
7= S
850
60 Italy Abarth & Cie New Zealand Denny Hulme
New Zealand Angus Hyslop
Abarth 850S 0.98
7= S
2.0
33 West Germany Porsche KG United States Masten Gregory
United States Bob Holbert
Porsche RS61 Spyder 0.98
9 S
3.0
10 Italy SEFAC Ferrari Belgium Olivier Gendebien
United States Phil Hill
Ferrari 250 TRI/61 0.93

Index of Performance[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 S
850
53 France Automobiles
Deutsch et Bonnet
France Gérard Laureau
France Robert Bouharde
D.B. HBR-4 Spyder 1.265
2 S
3.0
10 Italy SEFAC Ferrari Belgium Olivier Gendebien
United States Phil Hill
Ferrari 250 TRI/61 1.228
3= S
850
60 Italy Abarth & Cie New Zealand Denny Hulme
New Zealand Angus Hyslop
Abarth 850S 1.219
3= S
2.0
32 West Germany Porsche KG Germany Edgar Barth
Germany Hans Herrmann
Porsche RS61 Coupé 1.219
5 S
3.0
11 Italy SEFAC Ferrari Belgium Willy Mairesse
United Kingdom Mike Parkes
Ferrari 250 TRI/61 1.218
6 S
2.0
33 West Germany Porsche KG United States Masten Gregory
United States Bob Holbert
Porsche RS61 Spyder 1.194
7= GT
3.0
14 Belgium P. Noblet
(private entrant)
Belgium Pierre Noblet
France Jean Guichet
Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1.168
7= S
2.0
24 United States B.S. Cunningham United States Briggs Cunningham
United States Bill Kimberley
Maserati Tipo 60 1.168
9 S
3.0
7 United States B.S. Cunningham United States Augie Pabst
United States Dick Thompson
Maserati Tipo 63 1.146
10 GT
3.0
20 Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge United States Bob Grossman
Belgium André Pilette
Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1.138
  • Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings. A score of 1.00 means meeting the minimum distance for the car, and a higher score is exceeding the nominal target distance.

Statistics[edit]

Taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO

  • Fastest Lap in practice – Ginther, #23 Ferrari 246 SP – 4m 02.8s; 199.59 km/h (124.02 mph)
  • Fastest Lap – Ricardo Rodriguez, #17 Ferrari 250 TRI/61 – 3:59.5secs; 201.20 km/h (125.02 mph)
  • Distance – 4,476.58 km (2,781.62 mi)
  • Winner’s Average Speed – 186.53 km/h (115.90 mph)

FIA World Sportscar Championship: Post-race Standings[edit]

Pos Championship Points
1 Italy Ferrari 24 (30)
2 Italy Maserati 14
3 West Germany Porsche 11
Citations
  1. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.51
  2. ^ Clarke 2009, p.79: Autocar Jun16 1961
  3. ^ a b Moity 1974, p.82
  4. ^ Clausager 1982, p.111
  5. ^ a b c d e Spurring 2010, p.53
  6. ^ Spurring 2010, p.54
  7. ^ a b c Spurring 2010, p.55
  8. ^ a b Clarke 2009, p.73: Autocar Jun16 1961
  9. ^ a b Spurring 2010, p.60
  10. ^ a b Spurring 2010, p.64
  11. ^ a b Spurring 2010, p.67
  12. ^ a b Spurring 2010, p.62
  13. ^ Spurring 2010, p.65
  14. ^ Spurring 2010, p.56
  15. ^ a b Spurring 2010, p.61
  16. ^ a b Clarke 2009, p.72: Autocar Jun16 1961
  17. ^ Spurring 2010, p.73
  18. ^ a b c Spurring 2010, p.59
  19. ^ a b Spurring 2010, p.49
  20. ^ Clarke 2009, p.74: Autocar Jun16 1961
  21. ^ a b Clarke 2009, p.76: Autocar Jun16 1961
  22. ^ Spurring 2010, p.50
  23. ^ Clarke 2009, p.77: Autocar Jun16 1961
  24. ^ Clarke 2009, p.78: Autocar Jun16 1961
  25. ^ Spurring 2010, p.51
  26. ^ Spurring 2010, p.66
  27. ^ Spurring 2010, p.344
  28. ^ Clausager 1982, p.115
  29. ^ Spurring 2010, p.58
  30. ^ Spurring 2011, p.78
  31. ^ Spurring 2010, p.2

References[edit]

  • Clarke, R.M. - editor (2009) Le Mans 'The Ferrari Years 1958-1965' Cobham, Surrey: Brooklands Books ISBN 1-85520-372-3
  • Clausager, Anders (1982) Le Mans London: Arthur Barker Ltd ISBN 0-213-16846-4
  • Laban, Brian (2001) Le Mans 24 Hours London: Virgin Books ISBN 1-85227-971-0
  • Moity, Christian (1974) The Le Mans 24 Hour Race 1949-1973 Radnor, Pennsylvania: Chilton Book Co ISBN 0-8019-6290-0
  • Spurring, Quentin (2010) Le Mans 1960-69 Yeovil, Somerset: Haynes Publishing ISBN 978-1-84425-584-9
  • Wilkins, Gordon - editor (1961) Automobile Year #9 1961-62 Lausanne: Edita S.A.

External links[edit]

  • Racing Sports Cars – Le Mans 24 Hours 1961 entries, results, technical detail. Retrieved 21 November 2017
  • Le Mans History – Le Mans History, hour-by-hour (incl. pictures, YouTube links). Retrieved 21 November 2017
  • Sportscars.tv – race commentary. Retrieved 21 November 2017
  • World Sports Racing Prototypes – results, reserve entries & chassis numbers. Retrieved 21 November 2017
  • Team Dan – results & reserve entries, explaining driver listings. Retrieved 21 November 2017
  • Unique Cars & Parts – results & reserve entries. Retrieved 21 November 2017
  • Formula 2 – Le Mans 1961 results & reserve entries. Retrieved 10 August 2017
  • YouTube “Corvette at Le Mans” colour documentary by GM (35 mins). Retrieved 12 November 2017