1973 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1973 24 Hours of Le Mans
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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.

Le Mans in 1973

The race promised to be close, with Ferrari, Matra and Porsche all having two wins in the championship along with a surprise victory for Mirage at Spa. It did indeed turn out to be one of the most tense Le Mans, with the race won in the pits as both Ferrari and Matra took turns in the lead only to be stymied by mechanical failures. All three Ferraris had time in the lead, but as mechanical issues overtook them it was the Matra of Henri Pescarolo and Gérard Larrousse, despite its own tribulations, that took the chequered flag. In the end it was a comfortable six-lap margin over the second-placed Ferrari of Merzario and Pace with the Matra of Jabouille/Jaussaud third.

There was a certain symmetry for a French car and a French team winning the fiftieth anniversary of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ferrari did win the GT category after a close tussle with Porsche, and BMW had the only finisher in the Group 2 Touring Car category.

Regulations[edit]

In the second year of the new regulations, there were no changes. This year the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) extended the eligible classes to eight with an extra one each in Group 5 and 2.[1] Reserves were not kept, rather the ACO selected the 55 starters from those who arrived taking into account the results of the Four-Hour race at the Test Weekend.[2]

1973 was the 50th anniversary of the first race and there was much pomp and celebration. Included in this were races for pre-war and post-war cars and the first parade of historic Le Mans competitors. The French Post Office issued a special commemorative stamp.[2]

Entries[edit]

The ACO received 112 applications. Even though Autodelta, the Alfa Romeo works team withdrew just days before the event there were 61 cars present for practice on race-week. With Sports-prototypes from Matra, Ferrari, Mirage and Ligier as well as Ford and BMW in Group 2, there were 22 ‘works’ entries.[1]

Category Sports-
Prototype
Group 5
Special
GT
Group 4
Special
Touring
Group 2
Total
Entries
Large-engines
>2.5L classes
22 24 6 52
Medium-engines
< 2.5L classes
9 0 0 9
Total Cars 31 24 6 61

After a distinct lack of success, Matra withdrew from Formula One to concentrate on contesting the World Championship of Makes against Ferrari. Its new longtail MS670B was made lighter, more aerodynamic and, importantly, equipped with Porsche "Type 1983" gearboxes. The V12 engine was tuned back to put out 450 bhp.[3] and the car now ran on 13” tyres instead of the former 15”.[4] Adding two cars to their regular Championship team made a strong 4-car challenge in an all-French driver line-up. Jean-Pierre Beltoise and François Cevert were constantly quickest but pushed their car hard, whereas Henri Pescarolo/Gérard Larrousse drove with endurance in mind, having got both of Matras victories to date. A third 670B was prepared for Jean-Pierre Jabouille/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud while Patrick Depailler/Bob Wollek had an older MS670.

After a dominant 1972 season, Ferrari was having a much tougher time this year, despite having come from the latest round with a 1-2 victory at the Nürburgring. With the championship carefully balanced, the works team arrived in force with proven reliability. The latest iteration of the 312PB was wider and longer to take bigger tyres and improve handling. The aerodynamic longtail chassis increased speed on Le Mans’ big straights while the improved V12 was now capable of 460 bhp in race-trim.[5] The regular team driver pairings of Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman (who had both Ferrari victories this year) and Arturo Merzario/Carlos Pace were augmented by Carlos Reutemann/Tim Schenken.

After 1971 John Wyer had retired from racing. However, he had started plans for his own car-design and convinced Gulf Oil to back the project. Former Ford engineer Len Bailey designed the Mirage M6 based around the Cosworth DFV engine. However, the engine was renowned for vibration and being hard on components so a V12 engine was commissioned from Weslake for a new coupé. But continual unreliability meant the Weslake project was shelved and the team focused on improving the V8 spyder refitted with ZF gearboxes[6], buoyed by a 1-2 result at Spa.[7] Their drivers were Derek Bell/Howden Ganley and Mike Hailwood/John Watson (nursing a broken leg[7][4])/Vern Schuppan.

Alfa Romeo was more affected than Ferrari by the strikes and social troubles in Italy. Autodelta, the Alfa works team, felt their new 500 bhp flat-12 powered car was still unprepared for 24 hours and did not enter. But they were represented by their customer team, Scuderia Brescia Corse, with a V8 T33/3.[8]

Lola did return to Le Mans after a promising, but tragic, race the previous year. The Scuderia Filipinetti had taken overJo Bonnier’s team after his death. Despite the Swiss team’s owner Georges Filipinetti dying in May from a heart attack, a car was entered for Jean-Louis Lafosse and Hughes de Fierlandt.[9][10] An ex-Bonnier Lola was also run by former hill-climb champion Daniel Rouveyran. Alain de Cadenet also returned to Le Mans after a strong run the previous year in his Duckhams-Cosworth, paired again with Chris Craft. The body was redesigned to be more aerodynamic although no high-speed testing had been able to be done.[11] Ligier finally had the improved Citroen-Maserati V6 engine, now capable of 330 bhp and three cars were entered for the race, including one for Guy Ligier himself, with Jacques Laffite.[12][2] Filling out the Group 5 field were four older Porsche 908s, including the regular entries from the Spanish Escuderia Montjuïch and Swiss André Wicky.[8]

The 2-litre Group 5 class was well represented this year. The Chevron chassis was designed to accommodate a variety of engines and five were entered. Cosworth recommended an engine rebuild of their 2-litre FVC engine after only four hours of racing, so running 24 hours was problematic. They were up against a French ACE, a Lola and an old Porsche 910.[13] Perhaps the most interesting entry was the first Japanese car to race at Le Mans, and with the first Japanese drivers. Shin Kato’s Sigma was powered by a Mazda Wankel twin-rotary engine. With a claimed performance of 260 bhp it was calculated as a 2292cc equivalent. Three were built for the Japanese series and one came to Le Mans.[4]


Once again it was Ferrari versus Chevrolet in the GTS Group 4. The 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” now developed 440 bhp and nine were entered by the customer teams, many with works-prepared engines.[4][2] Vic Elford was coaxed out of semi-retirement by the French Charles Pozzi team and there were four from the North American Racing Team (NART) including their young drivers’ Trofeo car (managed by Phil Hill).[14][4] Four Corvettes were entered: the two French cars of Henri Greder and the Ecurie Léopard. John Greenwood arrived with two cars, one carrying a special alloy 7-litre engine boosted to put out 700 bhp.[15]

Porsche came to Le Mans with its bigger, burlier version of the 911 to take on the big cars in Group 4. Before homologation was granted it had a surprise win at Sebring beating the Group 5, and followed it up in what was to be the final Targa Florio.[16] The Carrera RS was lightened, with a big rear spoiler and flared wheel-arches to take wider 11” tyres. The engine had been bored out to 2.7-litres, and now produced 240 bhp. The RSR-variant had a bigger 2.8-litre engine good for 300 bhp. The Martini International team returned, led by David Yorke (former team manager at JW Automotive) and with works support, had two experimental versions capable of 320 bhp in the Sports category.[17][2] Further lightened, they had 14” tyres and were driven by Gijs van Lennep/Herbert Müller and Reinhold Joest/Claude Haldi. Additionally, a squadron of eleven standard 911 GTs arrived for practice from privateer teams.[18]


In Group 2, the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) was again very popular with top drivers and close racing, and the mighty battle between the works teams of BMW and Ford spilled over into Le Mans. Ford Germany arrived with three 3-litre Capris for drivers Dieter Glemser/John Fitzpatrick, Gerry Birrell/Hans Heyer and Helmuth Koinigg/Jean Vinatier.[19] In response, BMW turned up with the 3.0 CSL run by its newly set up BMW Motorsport works team under Jochen Neerpasch (formerly at Ford). The car had a more powerful 360 bhp over the Capri’s 300 bhp.[2][4] Their drivers were Chris Amon/Hans-Joachim Stuck and Toine Hezemans/Dieter Quester with a third for the Wicky Racing Team.[20]


Practice[edit]

At the March test weekend, Beltoise put in a time for the Matra four seconds faster than Ferrari had 12 months earlier. Ferrari, citing labour strikes in Italy, did not attend. But Merzario and Ickx immediately set the pace on Wednesday night when official practice started.[1] The only other sub-3:40 time was from the Cevert/Beltoise Matra; in fact these two works teams filled the top seven spots on the grid. Next were the two Gulf Mirages and the Gitanes Lola in tenth. None of the teams had been trying too hard to compete for a top time.[21] The smaller teams had a far tougher time. Both the Duckhams and the Ligiers were suffering from unstable aerodynamics. The Duckhams was running over ten seconds slower than it had the previous year. In the small-engine class, the Spanish Chevron was 13th (4:11.0) just ahead of the Sigma rotary (4:11.1). The Porsche RSR prototypes were slower than their test weekend times, until van Lennep found performance improved with narrower rear tyres. Müller recorded a 4:14.9 to be 18th on the grid.[21] Several incidents gave the mechanics all-nighter repair jobs: John Watson’s Mirage spun in the Porsche curves and the rear section lifted and clouted him on the head; Lola had a tyre blowout rip up the rear bodywork and Ferrari got an urgent call from the factory saying the valve springs were set wrong needing 48 changes per engine.[21][5]

It was close in the Group 2 and 4 categories with only three seconds covering the best Ferraris, Porsches, Fords and BMWs. Quickest was Glemser in the Ford Capri (4:16.0 for 22nd) ahead of Elford’s Ferrari. The Corvettes were off the pace with Greenwood’s being the best with a 4:19.6. His special-engine car was disqualified by the officials after Don Yenko had had an accident doing illegal road-testing on public roads after a full differential change. His daughter, also in the car, was taken to the hospital for stitches.[15][21] The Kremer-Porsche caught fire when oil leaked onto the hot exhaust, necessitating a full engine-change, and Walter Brun put the Wicky-BMW into the Armco at the chicane.[21][20]

Race[edit]

Start[edit]

Bright sunshine in race week became dark clouds on Saturday morning, however by 4pm it was sunny again.[22] Honorary starter this year was Sylvain Floirat, President of Matra.[23] From the first lap, Merzario was bolting ahead, sent out as the ‘hare’ to lead the Matras into a race – a role he relished.[5][22] However none of the other teams took the bait. A number of cars were coming in immediately with problems: Reinhold Joest’s Martini Porsche with gearbox problems[17] and the Grossman Ferrari with a puncture.[14] Hailwood’s Mirage had no clutch and Amon’s BMW on had fifth gear. The Gitanes Lola, the Duckhams and the Sigma also all had early issues.[22]

By the pit stops around the end of the first hour, Merzario had built a significant lead but already needed to change brakepads.[22] After the first driver changes, Carlos Pace only got six laps in the Ferrari until he had to stop, partly soaked in petrol from a split fuel tank, losing six laps.[5][24] Matra was now 1-2-3 with Cevert leading from Larrousse and Wollek, chased by Reutemann in the Ferrari. 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 Matras. Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman were running with the slowest 3-litre cars, the Lolas and the Alfa Romeo.

After four hours, Jaussaud’s front tyre blew out while going down the Mulsanne Straight. Ten laps were lost repairing the suspension. Less than an hour later, Beltoise had almost the same thing happen, and his Matra lost eight laps.[3][22] As the Pescarolo/Larrousse car had been delayed fixing its brakes the lead fell to the Wollek/Depailler Matra. Then at 9.30pm, their car was in the pits with a terminal oil-pump problem and suddenly the Matra challenge was looking very shaky.[23] At the same time, the GT-leading Sam Posey’s NART Ferrari lost five minutes in a poor pitstop, allowing the Charles Pozzi car of Elford/Ballot-Léna to take the category lead.[14] These cars were all having a close running battle with the Martini Porsche, the Spanish 908, the Maublanc Chevron 2-litre and the fastest Capri.[22]

Night[edit]

So by 10pm after six hours, it was now the Schenken/Reutemann Ferrari leading from Pescarolo/Larrousse. Third was Ickx/Redman, hitherto run conservatively, ahead of the Hailwood/Watson/Schuppan Mirage, Merzario’s Ferrari and the Brescia Alfa Romeo. Wollek’s Matra was 7th and the Müller/van Lennep Porsche 8th. Then when Pescarolo was delayed again, this time by a faulty gear selector, Ferrari was running 1-2. Both Merzario and Cevert were pushing their cars hard to make up lost time and just before midnight, Cevert put in the fastest lap of the race.[22]

Soon after midnight, Schuppan went wide at Tertre Rouge, hit the barrier and rolled his Mirage.[7][22] The Merzario/Pace Ferrari was back in the pits, this time for 40 minutes replacing a slipping clutch.[5] The Elford/Ballot-Léna spent 11 minutes changing brakepads, allowing the NART Ferrari through to the GT-lead again.[14] In Group 2, all three Fords had been badly as night fell. The Birrell/Heyer car was out early, and its drivers transferred to the other team cars. The Glemser/Fitzpatrick car had got as high as tenth with the Hezemans/Quester BMW close by in 12th. Both cars were delayed before midnight and spent the rest of the night working back through the field.[19]

Then at 2.30am the leader was stopped out on the track by a broken conrod, and soon after Beltoise’s Matra (now running 5th) again had a tyre blow out on it but this time it threw him into the guard-rails.[23][25] So at half-time, Ickx was leading Pescarolo by two laps, while 8 laps further back Facetti in the surprising Alfa Romeo was ahead of Merzario and the Martini Porsche.[25] After all the mechanical problems with the Group 5 cars, the NART Ferrari 365 was sixth leading the GTs, hounded by the Kremer and Sonauto Porsches and Elford’s Ferrari. Ecuadorian Guillermo Ortega’s privateer Porsche 908 rounded out the top-10.[26]

Morning[edit]

Dawn came with mist and a light drizzle, but cleared to be another sunny day.[23] But then after leading for seven hours, the lead Ferrari started sounding rough and just after 9am Redman brought it in with a split exhaust header.[23][27] Coincidentally, a lap later Pescarolo also came in, with brake problems.[25] It was the Matra that got back out into the lead just 15 seconds before the Ferrari.[5] Mid-morning the third-placed Alfa Romeo’s gearbox’s broke. Seventy minutes were spent repairing it.[8][25]

In the GT race, the NART Ferrari was running sixth and still held a narrow lead over the Kremer Porsche, made easier when the Porsche lost time in the early morning with a jammed brake calliper and detached exhaust. The Gregg/Chasseuil Sonauto Porsche was in 8th overall at 6am when a puncture on the Mulsanne Straight damaged the suspension dropping down the order.[18] They were not alone, as most of the GT field had serious problems in the morning.[25] In Group 2, it was resolved when the remaining Ford of Glemser/Fitzpatrick/Heyer got a broken conrod at 10.40am, leaving the BMW as the last Group 2 car running.[19]

Then at 11am Minter bought the GT-leading Ferrari from 7th, smoking badly from a cracked piston.[14] At the same time Ickx brought the pursuing Ferrari in with a split fuel cell like its sister-car had had earlier, costing 25 minutes and six laps to repair. But an hour later the Matra’s starter motor failed in a regular pit-stop costing 20 minutes, and it was even once again.[3][25][25]

Finish and post-race[edit]

Finally, with barely 90 minutes to go, the Ickx/Redman Ferrari was out – another conrod had broken and the car was wheeled away to a standing ovation from the crowd in the grandstand opposite.[5][25] After that Pescarolo and Larrousse were able to ease off and cruise to the finish. In the end they finished six laps ahead of the Merzario/Pace Ferrari.[23] Eighteen laps further back (and still not overtaken Ickx’s retired Ferrari on distance) was the recovering Matra of Jabouille/Jaussaud.

In a very close finish, the French Ferrari of Elford/Ballot-Léna was sixth, barely a lap ahead of the hard-charging Kremer Porsche, with Ortega’s privateer Porsche 908 between them. Ninth was the other Pozzi Ferrari of Serpaggi/Dolhem with Georg Loos’ Porsche RSR in tenth.[18] The Brescia Corse Alfa Romeo had had a troubled end to the race with gearbox, clutch then fuel-pump issues after a solid first half but eventually got home in 15th.[8]

After the win at Le Mans, Matra stormed home in the Championship winning the next two rounds. The final round in Argentina was cancelled due to lack of support, giving Matra the championship with five victories (all to Pescarolo/Larrousse) to Ferrari’s two.[6] In the European GT season it was Claude Ballot-Léna and Clemens Schickentanz, both driving Porsche RSRs who shared the championship on equal points.[28] Toine Hezemans won the European Touring Car Championship for BMW.[29] Later in the summer, “Pesca” and Larrousse came back to Le Mans to be presented with the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit.[3] Still to date, 1973 was the final time that both the Scuderia Ferrari works team and Alfa Romeo have raced at Le Mans.[5][8]


Official results[edit]

Finishers[edit]

Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[30] Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos Class No. Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Laps
1 S
3.0
11 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Henri Pescarolo
France Gérard Larrousse
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 G 355
2 S
3.0
16 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Italy Arturo Merzario
Brazil Carlos Pace
Ferrari 312PB-73 Ferrari 3.0L F12 G 349
3 S
3.0
12 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
France Jean-Pierre Jaussaud
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 G 331
4 S
3.0
46 Germany Martini Racing Team Switzerland Herbert Müller
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L F6 D 328
5 S
3.0
3 Spain Escuderia Montjuïch
Switzerland Haberthur Racing[8]
Spain Juan Fernandez
Spain Francisco Torredemer
Switzerland Bernard Chenevière
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L F8 G 319
6 GTS
5.0
39 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi United Kingdom Vic Elford
France Claude Ballot-Léna
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 316
7 S
3.0
4 Ecuador G. Ortega
(private entrant)
Ecuador Guillermo Ortega
Ecuador Fausto Morello
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 G 316
8 GTS
3.0
45 Germany Kremer Racing Team Germany Erwin Kremer
Switzerland Paul Keller
Germany Clemens Schickentanz
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L F6 D 316
9 GTS
5.0
40 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France Alain Serpaggi
France José Dolhem
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 315
10 GTS
3.0
63 Germany Gelo Racing Team Germany Georg Loos
Germany Jürgen Barth
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L F6 D 311
11 TS
5.0
51 Germany BMW Motorsport Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Austria Dieter Quester
BMW 3.0 CSL BMW 3.3L S6 D 307
12 GTS
+5.0
30 France Greder Racing Team France Henri Greder
France Marie-Claude Beaumont
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 M 303
13 GTS
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 G 299
14 GTS
3.0
48 France Sonauto BP Racing United States Peter Gregg
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L F6 G 298
15 S
3.0
60
(reserve)
Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Carlo Facetti
Italy “Pam” (Marsillio Pasotti)
Italy Teodoro Zeccoli
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 G 298
16 GTS
3.0
41 Switzerland Schiller Racing Team
(private entrant)
Switzerland Jean Selz
Switzerland Florian Vetsch
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.7L F6 F 298
17 GTS
3.0
42 France R. Mazzia
(private entrant)
France Pierre Mauroy
France Marcel Mignot
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8L F6 D 290
18 GTS
+5.0
69
(reserve)
France Écurie Léopard France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France “Depnic” (Jean-Claude Depince)
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 M 282
19 S
3.0
18 France C. Laurent
(private entrant)
France Claude Laurent
France Martial Delalande
France Jacques Marché
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 M 270
20 GTS
5.0
34 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps France Jean-Claude Andruet
United Kingdom Richard Bond
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 G 270
21 S
3.0
52 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland André Wicky
Morocco Max Cohen-Olivar
Switzerland Philippe Carron
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 F 270

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Laps Reason
DNF S
3.0
15 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Belgium Jacky Ickx
United Kingdom Brian Redman
Ferrari 312PB-73 Ferrari 3.0L F12 G 332 Engine
(24hr)
DNF GTS
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 G 254 Engine
(21hr)
DNF TS
3.0
55 Germany Ford Motorenwerke
Deutschland
Germany Dieter Glemser
United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick
Germany Hans Heyer
Ford Capri LV Ford 3.0L V6 D 239 Engine
(20hr)
DNF S
2.0
25 Switzerland M. Dupont
(private entrant)
Switzerland Michel Dupont
Switzerland Paul Blancpain
Chevron B23 Cosworth FVC 1980cc S4 F 229 Gearbox
(22hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
33 United Kingdom J.C. Bamford Excavators
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Neil Corner
United Kingdom Willie Green
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 214 Gearbox
(18hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
37 United States North American Racing Team Argentina Rubén Luis di Palma
Argentina Nestor García-Veiga
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 G 211 Transmission
(18hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
36 United States North American Racing Team United States Bob Grossman
France Lucien Guitteny
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 G 192 Accident
(19hr)
DNF S
3.0
19 France Automobiles Ligier France Alain Couderc
France Jean-Pierre Paoli
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 M 174 Oil leak
(17hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
56
(reserve)
France Shark Racing Team
(private entrant)
France Jean-Claude Guérie
France Cyril Grandet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 D 174 Gearbox
(17hr)
DNF S
3.0
7 France Équipe Gitanes
Cigarettes de France
France Jean-Louis Lafosse
Sweden Reine Wisell
Belgium Baron Hughes de Fierlandt
Lola T282 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 G 164 Transmission
(20hr)
DNF S
3.0
8 United Kingdom Gulf Research Racing United Kingdom Derek Bell
New Zealand Howden Ganley
Mirage M6 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 F 163 Oil pump
(18hr)
DNF TS
5.0
50 Germany BMW Motorsport New Zealand Chris Amon
Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck
BMW 3.0 CSL BMW 3.3L S6 D 162 Accident
(16hr)
DNF S
3.0
17 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Australia Tim Schenken
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari 312PB-73 Ferrari 3.0L F12 G 162 Engine
(12hr)
DNF S
3.0
10 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France François Cevert
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 G 157 Accident
(12hr)
DNF TS
3.0
53 Germany Ford Motorenwerke
Deutschland
France Jean Vinatier
Austria Helmut Koinigg
United Kingdom Gerry Birrell
Ford Capri LV Ford 3.0L V6 D 152 Engine
(15hr)
DNF S
2.0
22 France R. Touroul
(private entrant)
France Raymond Touroul
France Jean-Pierre Rouget
Porsche 910 Porsche 1985cc F6 D 142 Fuel system
(13hr)
DNF GTS
3.0
49 France J. Egreteaud
(private entrant)
France Jean Egreteaud
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8L F6 D 140 Axle
(14hr)
DNF S
3.0
9 United Kingdom Gulf Research Racing United Kingdom Mike Hailwood
United Kingdom John Watson
Australia Vern Schuppan
Mirage M6 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 F 122 Accident
(10hr)
DNF GTS
3.0
44 Switzerland Porsche Club Romand France Jean-François Piot
Switzerland Peter Zbinden
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8L F6 D 110 Gearbox
(10hr)
DNF GTS
3.0
43 Germany Max Moritz Racing Team Germany Gerd Qvist
Germany Manfred Laub
Germany Jürgen Zink
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8L F6 G 103 Accident
(10hr)
DNF GTS
3.0
78
(reserve)
France J. Sage
(private entrant)
France Hervé Bayard
France René Ligonnet
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8L F6 F 95 Engine
(10hr)
DNF S
2.0
21 France P. Maublanc
(private entrant)
France Pierre Maublanc
France Robert Mieusset
Chevron B21/B23 BMW-Schnitzer M12 1991cc S4[13] F 90 Engine
(9hr)
DNF S
3.0
14 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Patrick Depailler
France Bob Wollek
Matra-Simca MS670B Matra 3.0L V12 G 84 Oil pump
(8hr)
DNF S
3.0
5 United Kingdom Duckhams Oil
Motor Racing
United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet
United Kingdom Chris Craft
Duckhams LM72 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 D 81 Transmission
(13hr)
DNF S
2.5
26 Japan Sigma Automotive Japan Tetsu Ikuzawa
Japan Hiroshi Fushida
France Patrick Dal Bo
Sigma MC73 Mazda 12A 2-Rotor
(2.3L equiv.)
B 79 Transmission
(12hr)
DNF S
3.0
47 Germany Martini Racing Team Germany Reinhold Joest
Switzerland Claude Haldi
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 2.8L F6 D 65 Out of fuel
(7hr)
DNF S
2.0
28 France J. Henry
(private entrant)
France Jacques Henry
France Fred Stalder
France Bernard-Etienne Grobot
Lola T290 Cosworth FVC 1850cc S4 G 64 Engine
(8hr)
DNF S
2.0
27 Spain Escuderia Montjuïch Spain José Juncadella
Spain Jorge de Bagration
Chevron B23 Cosworth FVC 1930cc S4 F 52 Gearbox
(6hr)
DNF S
3.0
61
(reserve)
France D. Rouveyran
(private entrant)
France Daniel Rouveyran
France Christian Mons
France Christian Ethuin
Lola T280/282 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 G 38 Gearbox
(5hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
29 United States John Greenwood Racing United States John Greenwood
United States Bob Johnson
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.1L V8 BF 37 Engine
(4hr)
DSQ S
3.0
62
(reserve)
France Automobiles Ligier France Guy Ligier
France Jacques Laffite
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 M 24 Premature oil
refill (4hr)
DNF S
2.0
2 Switzerland Dinitrol Total Blancpain
(private entrant)
France Roger Dubois
Belgium Christine Beckers
France Pierre Pagani
Chevron B21/23 Cosworth FVC 1796cc S4 M 9 Fuel injection
(3hr)
DNF TS
3.0
54 Germany Ford Motorenwerke
Deutschland
United Kingdom Gerry Birrell
Germany Hans Heyer
Ford Capri RS Ford 3.0L V6 D 4 Electrics
(3hr)
DNF TS
5.0
58
(reserve)
Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Walter Brun
Switzerland Cox Kocher
Switzerland Jean-Pierre Aeschlimann
BMW 3.0 CSL BMW 3.3L S6 F 1 Engine
(2hr)

Did Not Start[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Reason
DNS S
3.0
57
(reserve)
France C. Poirot
(private entrant)
France Christian Poirot
France Jean Rondeau
Germany Jürgen Barth
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 D Did not qualify
DNQ S
2.0
65
(reserve)
France M. Elkoubi
(private entrant)
France Yves Martin
Italy Ugo Locatelli
Italy Massimo Martino
ACE PB-2 Cosworth BDA 1898cc S4 G Did not qualify
DNQ S
2.0
66 United Kingdom Promoto Racing Services
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Brian Robinson
Angola José Uriarte
France Hervé Leguellec
Chevron B19/21 Cosworth FVC 1850cc S4 F Did not qualify
DNS GTS
+5.0
68
(reserve)
United States John Greenwood Racing United States Don Yenko
United States Ron Grable
United States Jim Greendyke
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 BF Disqualified
DNQ GTS
3.0
75
(reserve)
Switzerland Porsche Club Romand Switzerland Pierre Greub
Germany Paul Keller
France Philippe Farjon
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8cc F6 D Did not qualify
DNQ GTS
3.0
84
(reserve)
France L. Meznarie
(private entrant)
France Jean-Claude Boucher
France Jacques Guérin
France Didier Jaunet
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.8cc F6 D Reserve

Class Winners[edit]

Class Sports
Winners
Class Special GT
Winners
Class Special Touring
Winners
Sports
3000
#11 Matra-Simca MS670B Pescarolo / Larrousse * GTS
>5000
#30 Chevrolet Corvette C3 Greder / Beaumont * TS
Sports
2500
no finishers GTS
5000
#39 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Elford / Ballot-Léna * TS
5000
#51 BMW 3.0 CSL Hezemans / Quester
Sports
2000
no finishers GTS
3000
#45 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Kremer / Keller / Schickentanz TS
3000
no finishers
  • Note: setting a new class distance record.

Index of Thermal Efficiency[edit]

For Group 2 and Group 4 cars.[31][32][33]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 GTS
3.0
45 Germany Kremer Racing Team Germany Erwin Kremer
Switzerland Paul Keller
Germany Clemens Schickentanz
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 1.049
2 GTS
5.0
40 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France Alain Serpaggi
France José Dolhem
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 1.043
3= TS
5.0
51 Germany BMW Motorsport Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Austria Dieter Quester
BMW 3.0 CSL 0.98
3= GTS
5.0
39 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi United Kingdom Vic Elford
France Claude Ballot-Léna
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 0.98
3= GTS
3.0
63 Germany Gelo Racing Team Germany Georg Loos
Germany Jürgen Barth
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 0.98
6 GTS
3.0
41 Switzerland Schiller Racing Team
(private entrant)
Switzerland Jean Selz
Switzerland Florian Vetsch
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 0.89
7 GTS
3.0
48 France Sonauto BP Racing United States Peter Gregg
France Guy Chasseuil
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 0.88
8 GTS
+5.0
30 France Greder Racing Team France Henri Greder
France Marie-Claude Beaumont
Chevrolet Corvette C3 0.80
9 GTS
3.0
42 France R. Mazzia
(private entrant)
France Pierre Mauroy
France Marcel Mignot
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 0.77
10 GTS
+5.0
69
(reserve)
France Écurie Léopard France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France “Depnic” (Jean-Claude Depince)
Chevrolet Corvette C3 0.73
  • Note: Only the top ten positions are included in this set of standings.

Statistics[edit]

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

  • Fastest Lap in practice –A.Merzario, #16 Ferrari 312 PB-73 – 3:37.5secs; 225.77 km/h (140.29 mph)
  • Fastest Lap – F. Cevert, #10 Matra-Simca MS670B – 3:39.6secs; 223.61 km/h (138.94 mph)
  • Winning Distance – 4,853.94 km (3,016.10 mi)
  • Winner’s Average Speed – 202.25 km/h (125.67 mph)
  • Attendance – ?

International Championship for Makes Standings[edit]

As calculated after Le Mans, Round 8 of 10[34]

Pos Manufacturer Points
1 Italy Ferrari 85 (110)*
2 France Matra 84
3 West Germany Porsche 68 (82)*
4 United Kingdom Lola 36
5 United Kingdom Chevron 29
6 United Kingdom Mirage 28
7 Italy Lancia 15
8 United States Chevrolet 12
9 Italy Alfa Romeo 9
  • Note: Only the best 7 of 10 results counted to the final Championship points. The full total earned to date is given in brackets
Citations
  1. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.113
  2. ^ a b c d e f Moity 1974, p.135
  3. ^ a b c d Spurring 2011, p.116-7
  4. ^ a b c d e f Clarke 1997, p.144-5: Autosport Jun14 1973
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Spurring 2011, p.118-9
  6. ^ a b Automobile Year 1973, p.158
  7. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.120-1
  8. ^ a b c d e f Spurring 2011, p.126
  9. ^ Spurring 2011, p.133
  10. ^ Wimpffen 2007, p.116-7
  11. ^ Spurring 2011, p.131
  12. ^ Spurring 2011, p.132
  13. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.128
  14. ^ a b c d e Spurring 2011, p.125
  15. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.134
  16. ^ Spurring 2011, p.139
  17. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.122
  18. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.123
  19. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.130
  20. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.129
  21. ^ a b c d e Clarke 1997, p.147: Autosport Jun14 1973
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke 1997, p.148-9: Autosport Jun14 1973
  23. ^ a b c d e f Spurring 2011, p.115
  24. ^ Clarke 1997, p.155-6: Road & Track Oct 1973
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke 1997, p.150-1: Autosport Jun14 1973
  26. ^ Spurring 2011, p.137
  27. ^ Automobile Year 1973, p.163
  28. ^ Automobile Year 1973, p.203
  29. ^ Automobile Year 1973, p.206
  30. ^ Spurring 2011, p.2
  31. ^ Clausager 1982, p.164-5
  32. ^ Spurring 2011, p.139
  33. ^ Moity 1974, p.190
  34. ^ "International Championship for Makes". World Sports Racing Prototypes.com. Retrieved 2018-06-25. 

References[edit]

  • Armstrong, Douglas – English editor (1974) Automobile Year #21 1973-74 Lausanne: Edita S.A.
  • Clarke, R.M. - editor (1997) Le Mans 'The Ford and Matra Years 1966-1974' Cobham, Surrey: Brooklands Books ISBN 1-85520-373-1
  • 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 (2011) Le Mans 1970-79 Yeovil, Somerset: Haynes Publishing ISBN 978-1-84425-539-9
  • Wimpffen, János (2007) Spyders and Silhouettes Hong Kong: David Bull Publishing ISBN 1-893618-83-8
  • (in French) 24 heures du Mans 1973 in Automobile Historique n°49, June/July 2005

External links[edit]

  • Racing Sports Cars – Le Mans 24 Hours 1973 entries, results, technical detail. Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • Le Mans History – Le Mans History, hour-by-hour (incl. pictures, quotes, YouTube links). Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • World Sports Racing Prototypes – results, reserve entries & chassis numbers. Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • Team Dan – results & reserve entries, explaining driver listings. Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • Unique Cars & Parts – results & reserve entries. Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • Formula 2 – Le Mans results & reserve entries. Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • Motorsport Memorial – details of the year’s fatal accidents. Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • YouTube – Colour amateur footage (no sound), in three parts (Pt 1 - 8mins). Retrieved 6 Jul 2018
  • YouTube – Colour amateur footage (no sound), in three parts (Pt 2 - 6mins). Retrieved 6 Jul 2018
  • YouTube – Colour amateur footage (no sound), in three parts (Pt 3 - 7mins). Retrieved 6 Jul 2018
  • YouTube – Colour amateur footage (no sound), of the vintage parade races (8mins). Retrieved 6 Jul 2018
  • YouTube – B/w French news report of race (1min). Retrieved 6 Jul 2018