1975 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1975 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1974 Next: 1976
Index: Races | Winners

The 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 43rd Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 14 and 15 June 1975.

Pre-race[edit]

In the wake of the oil crisis, Le Mans introduced rules in 1975 regarding fuel consumption. In response, the CSI excluded the 24 Hours from the World Championship for Makes. The rules required cars to go a minimum of 20 laps between refueling, along with the use of mandated fuel tank sizes. These regulations would be a predecessor to the Group C era of the 1980s.

Running at lower RPM to match the fuel limitation, a Cosworth DFV engine could be reliable on 24 hours. John Wyer had planned his retirement but he couldn't resist to the opportunity to win Le Mans again, and he chose not to retire this year and to make Le Mans the sole race of the Gulf team program for the 1975 season. Two new Gulf GR-8's were designed and constructed especially for Le Mans, largely a derivative of the Gulf GR-7 but with new bodywork giving up-to-date aerodynamics optimized for Le Mans and fuel efficiency. With the technology of Gulf that could provide specially tuned fuel, the Gulf team were by far the favorite.

The new rules were also an opportunity for Guy Ligier who had previous experience in racing a Cosworth at Le Mans. As Matra had withdrawn from competition, Ligier managed to acquire the services of Matra's engineer Gérard Ducarouge, and the sponsorship of Gitanes. The sales of Ligier road going JS-2 had decreased drastically with the oil crisis, and the team was preparing his entry in Formula One for 1976. This left limited financial and engineering means for endurance racing. Ligier made the choice to run the race with the experienced Ligier JS-2's chassis fitted with DFV engines and Hewland gearboxes. In terms of performance the Gulf prototypes were clearly superior to the Ligier that were initially designed in 1971 as Maserati-powered road-cars and hacked as Cosworth-powered prototypes in 1975. Achieving superior reliability was the sole chance for the team to gain advantage over the Gulfs. Ligier chose to run some races of the World Championship before Le Mans as tests runs for the Cosworth-powered JS-2.

Gulf entered 2 GR-8's in Le Mans while Ligier entered 2 JS-2 Cosworth and one JS-2 Maserati. Both rivals had seriously downgraded their DFV engines: the Gulf had around 380 hp (280 kW), while the Ligiers had 420 hp (310 kW) to compensate some of their handicap.

Alpine-Renault entered one 2.0L A441 C with an all-women team. As the A441 was probably the best 2.0L car of that era and 2.0L cars weren't much restrained by fuel limitation, this car was a serious outsider.

Porsche made a minimal effort, being represented only by private teams. The rest of the opposition consisted in a brand new and very aerodynamic-looking Lola T380-Cosworth entered by the gentleman-driver Alain de Cadenet, partnering Chris Craft. De Cadenet was here to finish, according to various sources he had limited his DFV RPMs so low that the engine wasn't able to deliver more than 350 hp.

Race[edit]

Two-litre class-winning Moynet LM 75 of Mouton, Hoepfner and Dacremont

Without surprise, the two Gulfs took the lead of the race. Vern Schuppan and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud had an alternator failure and went six laps down to teammates Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. Near midnight the brand-new de Cadenet Lola was were it was expected to be, in third position, but the car lost its entire rear bodywork on the straight. François Migault hit it at full stride with his Ligier. After nearly an hour's repairs attempts, the Ligier coupe retired. The Lola carried on; by luck the engine cover had missed the rear wing completely.

Not long after 2:30 p.m. Ickx pitted to repair a broken exhaust pipe, the repairs were completed as the remaining Ligier entered the lead lap. During the race the V8 powered Ligiers were also plagued by broken exhaust pipes due to DFV's destructive vibrations to a worse extent that the Gulf but with the experience gained in other races and a design of the exhaust system allowing quicker parts exchange, they lost less time in the pits than the Gulfs.

The Gulf GR-8 driven by Ickx and Bell won the race. The other Gulf had mechanical problems and finished third, leaving second position to a Ligier piloted by Guy Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil. The gap between the winning Gulf and the Ligier was only one lap.

De Cadenet's Lola was 14th, finishing the race with a bodywork stuck together with a lot of adhesive tape. De Cadenet came back in 1976 with the same chassis updated with major bodywork modifications finishing third for what remains the best result of de Cadenet at Le Mans, and the best result of a Lola chassis.

Reinhold Joest, Jürgen Barth, and Mario Casoni were fourth in their aged Porsche 908/3.

Official results[edit]

Le Mans in 1975
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 S
3.0
11 United Kingdom Gulf Research Racing Co. United Kingdom Derek Bell
Belgium Jacky Ickx
Mirage GR8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 336
2 S
3.0
5 France Gitanes Automobiles Ligier France Jean-Louis Lafosse
France Guy Chasseuil
Ligier JS2 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 335
3 S
3.0
10 United Kingdom Gulf Research Racing Co. Australia Vern Schuppan
France Jean-Pierre Jaussaud
Mirage GR8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 330
4 S
3.0
15 Germany Ovoro Joest Racing Germany Reinhold Joest
Italy Mario Casoni
Germany Jürgen Barth
Porsche 908/3 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 325
5 GT 58 Germany Gelo Racing Team United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Liechtenstein Manfred Schurti
Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 315
6 GT 69 Belgium "Beurlys" Belgium Jean Blaton
United Kingdom Nick Faure
United Kingdom John Cooper
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 311
7 GT 53 France ASA Cachia Bondy France Jacques Borras
France Pascal Moisson
France Henri Cachia
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 309
8 GT 55 France Écurie Robert Buchet France Claude Ballot-Léna
Canada Jacques Bienvenue
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 304
9 GT 65 Germany Jägermeister Kremer Racing United States Billy Sprowls
Mexico Juan Carlos Bolaños
Mexico Andres Contreras
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 304
10 GT
Ser.
84 Switzerland Gerhard Maurer Switzerland Gerhard Maurer
Switzerland Christian Beez
Switzerland Eugen Strähl
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 295
11 GT
Ser.
67 France Anne-Charlotte Verney France Anne-Charlotte Verney
France Yvotte Fontaine
France Corinne Tarnaud
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 294
12 GT 47 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps France Jean-Claude Andruet
Belgium Teddy Pilette
Belgium Hughes de Fierlandt
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 293
13 GT 48 France Marcel Mignot France Marcel Mignot
United States Harry Jones
France Philippe Gurdjian
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 293
14 S
3.0
4 United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet
United Kingdom Chris Craft
De Cadenet-Lola T380 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 291
15 GTX 20 Switzerland Porsche Club Romand France Bernard Béguin
Switzerland Peter Zbinden
Switzerland Claude Haldi
Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo Porsche 3.0L Turbo Flat-6 291
16 GT 43 Belgium Team Claude Dubois
Ecuador Ecuador Marlboro Team
Switzerland Pierre Rubens
Italy Paolo Bozzetto
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 290
17 Gt
Ser.
77 France Philippe Dagoreau France Thierry Sabine
France Philippe Dagoreau
Switzerland Jean-Pierre Aeschlimann
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
18 GT
Ser.
80 France X Racing France Raymond Touroul
France Philippe Hesnault
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 284
19 GT
Ser.
63 Switzerland Porsche Club Romand Switzerland Jean-Claude Bering
Germany Klaus Utz
Germany Horst Godel
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 283
20 GT
Ser.
87 France X Racing France René Boubet
France Philippe Demagne
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.6L Flat-6 283
21 S
2.0
35 France Société Esso France Christine Dacremont
France Michèle Mouton
France Marianne Hoepfner
Moynet LM75 ROC-Simca 2.0L I4 269
22 S
2.0
30 France Jean-Marie Lemerle France Jean-Marie Lemerle
France Patrick Daire
France Alain Levié
Lola T292 ROC-Simca 2.0L I4 265
23 GT 61 France Écurie Armagnac Bogorre France Christian Bussi
France Patrick Metral
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 265
24 S
2.0
28 France Société ROC France François Sérvanin
France Jacques Henry
France Albert Dufrène
Lola T294 ROC-Simca 2.0L I4 257
25 GT 71 France Joël Laplacette France Claude Pigeon
France Joël Laplacette
France Alain Leroux
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.7L Flat-6 257
26 GT 72 France André Haller Germany Hans Schuller
France André Haller
France Benoit Maechler
Datsun 240Z Datsun 2.4L I6 253
27 T 91 Germany Heiddeger Racing Team France Daniel Brillat
Italy Giancarlo Gagliardi
Switzerland Michel Degoumois
BMW 2002Ti BMW 2.0L I4 251
28 GT 50 France Louis Meznarie France Hubert Striebig
Germany Helmut Kirschoffer
France Pierre Mauroy
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 242
29 S
2.0
38 United Kingdom Rays Racing United Kingdom Nigel Clarkson
United Kingdom Derek Worthington
Lola T292 Ford Cosworth BDG 2.0L I4 240
30 S
2.0
23 United Kingdom Madison Racing Team United Kingdom Richard Knight
United Kingdom Mike Knight
France Christian Mons
March 75S Ford Cosworth 2.0L I4 217

Disqualified[edit]

Replenished the car's oil before the allowable time.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
31 GT
Ser.
78 France Écurie Buchet — Cyril Grandet France Bob Wollek
France Cyril Grandet
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6 293

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
32 S
2.0
27 France Société ROC France Laurent Ferrier
France Xavier Lapeyre
France Christian Ethuin
Lola T294 ROC-Simca 2.0L I4
33 S
2.0
29 France Société ROC France Pierre-Marie Painvin
France Franz Hummel
Lola T292 ROC-Simca 2.0L I4
34 S
3.0
3 France Christian Poirot France Christian Poirot
France Gérard Cuynet
Ecuador Guillermo Ortega
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
35 GT 59 Germany Gelo Racing Team Australia Tim Schenken
New Zealand Howden Ganley
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
36 S
3.0
1 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Morocco Max Cohen-Olivar
Switzerland Philippe Coran
France Joël Brachet
Porsche 908/2 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8
37 S
3.0
6 France Gitanes Automobiles Ligier France Henri Pescarolo
France François Migault
Ligier JS2 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8
38 GT 52 France Écurie du Nord Switzerland William Vollery
France Roger Dorchy
Switzerland Eric Chapuis
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
39 T 98 France Auto Mazda Claude Bouchet France Claude Bouchet
France Jean Rondeau
Mazda RX-3 Mazda 12A 1.2L 2-Rotor
40 GT 57 United States Ganto Racing United States John Rulon-Miller
United States Tom Waugh
France Serge Godard
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
41 GT 60 Germany Gelo Racing Team Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Liechtenstein Manfred Schurti
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
42 GT 68 France Guy Verrier France Guy Verrier
Switzerland Florian Vetsch
Switzerland Jean-Robert Corthay
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
43 GT 7 Belgium Beurlys International Auto France Pietro Polese
Italy "Willer"
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8
44 T 93 France Hervé Poulain France Hervé Poulain
United States Sam Posey
France Jean Guichet
BMW 3.0CSL BMW 3.5L I6
45 S
2.0
26 Switzerland Elf Switzerland France Marie-Claude Charmasson
Italy Lella Lombardi
Renault-Alpine A441 Renault 2.0L V6
46 S
3.0
18 Japan Sigma Automotive Co. Ltd. Japan Hiroshi Fushida
Japan Harukuni Takahashi
Sigma MC75 Toyota 2.3L Turbo I4
47 GT 16 Germany Joest Racing / Tebernum Germany Clemens Schickentanz
Germany Hartwig Bertrams
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
48 GT 96 France Bonnemaison — Thiaw France Lucien Nageotte
France Gérard Picard
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Porsche 3.0L Flat-6
49 T 95 France Shark Team France Jean-Claude Guérie
France Dominique Fornage
Ford Capri RS Ford 3.0L V6
50 S
3.0
97 France Gitanes Automobiles Ligier France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
France Jean-Pierre Jarier
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6
51 S
3.0
12 Switzerland Racing Team Schulthess France Hervé Bayard
Switzerland Heinz Schulthess
Lola T284 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8
52 S
2.0
40 France Philippe Mettetal France Jean Ragnotti
France Michel Lateste
Tecma 755 Ford 1.8L I4
53 GT
Ser.
83 France Jean-Yves Gadal France Jean-Yves Gadal
France "Ségolen"
Porsche 911 Carrera RS Porsche 2.6L Flat-6
54 T 90 France Jean-Claude Aubriet France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France "Depnic"
BMW 3.0CSL BMW 3.5L I6
55 GT 42 France Henri Greder France Henri Greder
France Alain Cudini
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole Position - #11 Gulf Racing Research Co. - 3:49.09
  • Fastest Lap - #4 Alain de Cadenet - 3:53.80
  • Distance - 4595.577 km
  • Average Speed - 191.482 km/h