1949 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 17th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 25 and 26 June 1949. Luigi Chinetti won the race for a third time in the first Ferrari barchetta by driving 22.5 hours. This race also saw the death of British driver Pierre Maréchal when his Aston Martin DB2 was involved in an accident between Arnage and Maison Blanche around 1:00 a.m. Marechal had attempted to pass another car there and he hit an embankment and the hapless Briton was crushed by the overturning car.

This was the first race held at the circuit following the end of World War II. Even though the war had ended four years prior, major infrastructure reconstruction throughout France meant that the return of the race was of secondary concern, and thus was not run until after France had established itself again. Following the end of the war the circuit needed extensive repairs. During the war the RAF, then the Luftwaffe, had used the airfield by the pits, as well as the 5 km Hunaudières straight as a temporary airstrip (thereby also making it a target for Allied bombing).[1] So it was four years before the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) was in a position to revive the great race. Assisted with money from the government, the pits and grandstand had been rebuilt, a new 1000-seat restaurant and administration centre built and the whole track was resurfaced. However one section of the hinterland was still off-limits as it had not yet been cleared of landmines.[2][3] Likewise, in that time the car manufacturers had also been rebuilding.

1949 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previous: 1939 Next: 1950
Index: Races | Winners


But still, most of the entry list for this year's race was from cars built before the war. The ACO put preference to those entered in the last, 1939, race for the Biennial Cup.[4] So there were twelve cars from that race back for the Cup.[3] Otherwise, there were fourteen entries from manufacturers - although "works" entries effectively, many were one-car small companies.

The regulations used by the ACO were based on those of the new FIA, created in 1946. There were ten classes, based on engine size, and at least ten cars had to have been produced before the entry was submitted. Supercharged engines’ equivalence was calculated at 2:1 for engine capacity. However, for this new start, sportscar prototypes were now given admission for the first time, "as an exceptional measure to contribute towards a faster revival of automobile manufacture" by the French Service des Mines (Vehicle registration authority), or its foreign equivalent[5] That was, in a sense, just formalising an unofficial practice started in the 1930s, when race-specific cars were entered at Le Mans and other races for the win with no intentions of going into full production. The ACO reserved the right to disqualify a car not entered 'in the spirit of the regulations'.[2]

In days of petrol rationing, there was considerable interest in the Index of Performance - the measure of cars making an improvement on its nominal assigned distance, based on engine size. Entrants had to choose to run on either gasoline (68-Octane), diesel or ‘’ternary’’ fuel (a blend of 60% gasoline, 25% ethanol, 15% benzole). All fuel was supplied by the ACO. Fuel, oil and water could only be topped up after 25 laps had been run, and ACO inspectors sealed the radiator and oil-caps after each refill. A spare wheel, fire extinguisher and toolkit had to be carried in the car and on-circuit repairs could only be done by the driver, with the onboard tools. Night-time (when it was compulsory for lights to be on) was defined as being between 9.30pm and 4.30am.

Finally there was the Hors Course rule, whereby after 12 hours, any car that had not completed 80% of its corresponding Performance Index distance was disqualified. Also, the car had to be running to take the chequered flag with a final lap taking no longer than 30 minutes.

Prizemoney still overwhelmingly favoured the Index of Performance, awarding FF1,000,000 to that competition's winner (equivalent to about €23000 currently), whereas only 10% of that - FF100,000 was awarded to the winners on overall distance and of the Biennial Cup. FF10,000 was awarded to the leader at the end of each hour, increasing to FF25,000 at the 6-hour mark, FF50,000 at 12-hours, FF100,000 at 18-hours and FF200,000 at the 24th hour. So a car leading start-to-finish would still only reap FF675,000 compared to the Index of Performance. There was also a FF50,000 prize with the Coupe des Dames for the top female driver.[6]


From a staggering initial list of over a hundred prospective entries, the ACO trimmed the field down to 49 starters.[7] There were 18 cars in the S3000 and S5000 categories - 15 French and 3 British cars. These included 3 Talbots, 7 Delahayes, 4 Delages and a Delettrez, driven by its constructor brothers – the first diesel-engined car to compete at Le Mans, using an engine from an American Army GMC truck.[8] The Talbot-Lagos included the two biggest cars in the field: a new SS saloon for André Chambas’ Ecurie Verte team, and a 2-seater sportscar modified from the current T26 grand-prix car for Paul Vallée's works-supported Ecurie France team. Both used the new 4.5L straight-6 engine, developing 240 bhp. The third Talbot was a modified pre-war T150C raced by the very capable father-and-son Rosier team.

Most French hopes rested on the Delahayes: there were two new 4.5L 175 S raced by Parisian car-dealer Charles Pozzi (himself teamed with 1938 winner Eugène Chaboud), as well as five privately entered pre-war type 135 CS (a sports-car version of the 135 S grand prix car, and race-winner in 1938), running the smaller 3.6-litre 160 bhp engine.

Delage was represented by four D6S cars, all privately entered. Built just after war's end in the Delahaye factory, but based on a pre-war chassis and the old 3.0-litre, 145 bhp engine

The three British cars were a 2.4L Healey Elliott saloon driven to and from the race from England,[9] a unique 1938 Bentley sedan originally designed for the Greek tycoon Nico Embiricos,[10] and a brand-new Aston Martin DB2 prototype, with a 2.6L Lagonda engine designed by W.O. Bentley[11]

The middle categories (S2000 and S1500) numbered 16 cars. In retrospect, the biggest news was the arrival of an Italian newcomer: Enzo Ferrari was represented by two racing versions of his first production car, with a two-litre V12 developing 140 bhp and a top speed of 210kph. He had been Alfa Romeo's team manager in the 1930s but was now a constructor in his own right. However, not confident of the car's reliability, Ferrari had not entered instead the pair were privately entered. Both had recently been purchased after gaining success in the Mille Miglia.

Entered from Great Britain were a new Frazer-Nash ‘High-Speed’, driven by British motorcycle ace Norman Culpan, and company owner Harold Aldington and a works trio of lightened HRG 1500s (co-organised by future Gulf team manager John Wyer). David Brown, who had recently purchased Aston Martin and Lagonda, fielded three works prototypes – the aforementioned 2.6L DB2 and two 2.0L versions. Three privately entered Astons also took the start, including two pre-war models.

A number of small specialist sportscar companies started up in post-war France, and two of the most significant were those of Amédée Gordini, and Charles Deutsch/René Bonnet. Overcommitted in 1949, the 1500cc Gordinis didn’t make the start, but two new DB cars were present – one driven by the team owners themselves.

Finally, there were 15 cars in the small classes (S1100 & S750). A traditional rivalry was started between the Monopoles, Simcas, Gordinis (and later DBs in this class) all using Citroen, Simca or Panhard engines at various times, all vying for the Index of Performance prize. Under the ‘prototype’ provision, a half-dozen Simcas were entered with a variety of bodystyles and one of those (for Mahé/Crovetto ) was installed with the race's first pit/car radio, as pioneered in American motor-racing.[12][13]

The other new international marque in the race were two Aero-Minors with 745cc two-stroke engines from Czechoslovakia (one of which had to drive all the way to the race from Prague after its truck-transporter broke down). A privately entered Renault 4CV was the first rear-engined car to race at Le Mans.[14]


As was usual, the cars were numbered in order of their engine size, the big Talbot-Lago of Chambas and Morel having #1. There was no grid based on practice time, instead the cars would be lined up, in echelon, in numerical order for the iconic “Le Mans start”. It was Louis Rosier in his Talbot T150 who recorded the fastest lap in practice. Jean Lucas badly damaged the Dreyfus Ferrari avoiding a child who had wandered onto the circuit during the practice. Tireless work overnight got the car repaired just in time to take the start.



The race started at 4pm in blazing hot sunshine, and Pozzi's new Delahaye sports-cars took off into a handy lead. At the end of the first hour, Chaboud and Flahaut led in the Delahayes, from Dreyfus, Rosier, Chinetti, and Vallée in one of the big Talbots. The pace of the leading Delahayes was frantic; in the second hour André Simon set the fastest lap of the race. Soon after, Rosier came to a stop at Arnage after 21 laps, his car overheating. However, because it was before the 25-lap minimum he was not allowed to refill the water and became an early retirement.[15]

Four hours in, Chaboud still led from Flahault, with the Ferraris of Chinetti (now up to 3rd) & Dreyfus just behind.[16] Yet barely half an hour later, just before dusk, Chaboud, with a big lead, stopped at Mulsanne with an engine fire, burning out the electrics. The sister car of André Simon briefly took over the lead, until he also started having problems with overheating dropping him down to 18th, and was overtaken by the Ferrari.


Chinetti stayed in the car through the night, as Mitchell-Thompson was not feeling well.[16] When he pitted, Dreyfus took over at the front but then just before 10pm Dreyfus crashed heavily and rolled near the Maison Blanche corner when trying to overtake two cars at once. The driver was uninjured but the car was wrecked.[17] This time it was the Talbot-Lago of Mairesse / Vallée that inherited the lead ahead of Chinetti. Through attrition, the Delage of Veuillet/Mouche and the Culpan/Alderton Frazer-Nash had risen to 3rd and 4th respectively.

At midnight, Chinetti had a narrow lead from Mairesse and Veuillet – all on the same lap. Fourth was Louveau's Delage, then the Frazer-Nash, Gérard's Delage and the Delahaye of Tony Rolt (in his first Le Mans). The leading Aston Martin (of Maréchal/Mathieson) was running in 8th and the brand new “works” DB-5 of Deutsch/Bonnet had moved up into 10th. In the early hours, the Mairesse Talbot retired with engine trouble, and Veuillet's Delage arrived at the pits with an engine-fire, thus allowing Gérard's Delage and the DB to move up the order, and the other big Talbot up into the top-10. Also moving up the leader-board was the Pozzi Delahaye of Simon/Flahaut, having been driven hard though the night back into contention.


Finally at 4.30am, as dawn broke, Chinetti came into the pits with a three-lap lead and handed over the Ferrari to Mitchell-Thompson. He managed just 72 minutes before having to hand it back to Chinetti for the rest of the race.[18] But the hard racing was taking its toll on the new car, and Chinetti was now having to nurse a slipping clutch. The chasing pack was now led by the Delages of Louveau and Gérard, who gradually closed in on the exhausted Chinetti.

After all the hard work getting back to 5th overall, Flahout's engine finally gave out mid-morning. The little DB-5 had reached as high as sixth but then its camshaft seized at a similar time. Likewise, the Delettrez diesel came to a stop. It had performed steadily, if not quickly, but blocked fuel lines caused its demise when in 23rd place.[8]

Except for Louveau's Delage, all the leading cars were now running under duress: aside from Chinetti's clutch, Gérard's Delage was streaming oil-smoke, the Fraser-Nash had lost its clutch and having fuel-feed issues[19] and Maréchal's Aston Martin was losing its brakes. The last was the most serious and, ultimately, tragic: at 1pm the Aston Martin's brakes failed completely coming into the Maison Blanche curves. In a violent crash, the car rolled, the engine was torn away and the roof crushed. Pierre Maréchal was immediately taken to hospital in a critical condition but died the next day from spinal injuries.

Finish and post-race

Through the day, Louveau chased hard, making back two of the laps on the slowing Ferrari. Right up to the last lap he was pulling spectacular four-wheel drifts on the corners, thrilling the growing crowd sensing a heroic French victory. But it was not to be and the veteran Chinetti carefully nursed his car home with just enough pace. At 4pm Charles Faroux, originator and director of the race since its inception in 1923, was again the man to wave the chequered flag – overseen by the new French President, Vincent Auriol.

Chinetti got home by only 15 km - just over a lap - from the charging Louveau (who matched Delage's best Le Mans result). The Frazer-Nash had moved up to third after midday and, although ten laps behind the leaders, kept it despite gearbox problems and virtually no clutch by the end.[20]

The big #1 Talbot-Lago SS sedan had been running well all race and had comfortably moved into 4th place until the very last lap when it stopped on circuit with engine failure (or out of fuel!). After running strongly Louis Gérard lost time when the engine lost a cylinder, then he was one of the first on the scene and stopped to help poor Maréchal.[21] His Delage inherited the Talbot's fourth place and finished trailing a plume of oil smoke.

Veterans Georges Grignard (who would later buy the stock of the bankrupt Talbot company[22]) and Robert Brunet brought home the first of the Delahayes, in 5th place winning the S5000 class. In sixth came the Bentley of owner Jack Hay and racing journalist Tommy Wisdom, that had not missed a beat all race, apart from two punctures. Having had a night's sleep afterward, Hay then swapped the big fuel tank for the family luggage and they headed off to the Côte d’Azur on holiday.[23]

After the demise of the DB, it was the HRG of Jack Fairman (in his first Le Mans) who inherited the 1500cc class lead despite being 10 laps adrift and he held that to the end of the race. Both Aero-Minor's finished (the only manufacturer to finish a complete team) with one of the cars finishing second in the Index of Performance. Otherwise, it was a rugged race in the weekend's heat – only 16 of the 49 starters being classified. The ‘’ternary’’ fuel was blamed for a number of engine problems affecting the cars during the race.[13]

For the Italian-born Chinetti, who had emigrated to America after the war, this was his third Le Mans victory (the second man to do so after Woolf Barnato’s trio of victories for Bentley). He had driven for nearly 23 hours – no mean feat for the 47-year old – which was the reverse of his first win in 1932, when he had been ill and Raymond Sommer had to do most of the driving.[11] Mitchell-Thompson, after finishing 4th in the 1939 race and victory here, won the Biennial Cup.

It was the first victory for a V12 engine, and until the Porsche victory in 2015 with its 2.0L hybrid-turbo, the Ferrari 1995cc engine was the smallest engine to win Le Mans outright. Such overachievement also meant a clear victory in the Index of Performance, giving a clean sweep to Ferrari of all the silverware – a spectacular effort for a company competing in its very first Le Mans, not matched until McLaren’s comprehensive win at first attempt in 1995. After being repaired, Dreyfus’ Ferrari went on the following weekend to win the Spa 24-Hours race, driven by Chinetti and Simon.[17]

Official results

Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe 1932-1967
Le Mans in 1949

Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[24]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Score
1 S
22 United Kingdom Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon
(private entrant)
United States Luigi Chinetti
United Kingdom Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon
Ferrari 166 MM Ferrari 2.0L V12 235
2 S
15 France Henri Louveau
(private entrant)
France Henri Louveau
Spain Juan Jover
Delage D6S-3L Delage 3.0L i6 234
3 S
26 United Kingdom Mrs. P. Trevelyan
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Harold John Aldington
United Kingdom Norman Culpan
Frazer Nash High Speed Le Mans Replica Bristol 2.0L I6 224
4 S
14 United Kingdom W.S. Watney
(private entrant)
France Louis Gérard
Spain Francisco Godia-Sales
Delage D6S-3L Delage 3.0L I6 212
5 S
11 France Pierre Meyrat
(private entrant)
France Pierre Meyrat
France Robert Brunet
Delahaye 135CS Delahaye 4.0L I6 210
6 S
6 United Kingdom H.S.F. Hay
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Jack "Zoltan" Hay
United Kingdom Tommy Wisdom
Embiricos Bentley Paulin Bentley 4.3L I6 210
7 S
27 United Kingdom Arthur Jones
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Arthur Jones
United Kingdom Nick Haines
Aston Martin DB2 Aston Martin 2.0L I4 207
8 S
35 United Kingdom Ecurie Lapin Blanc
United Kingdom HRG Engineering
United Kingdom Eric Thompson
United Kingdom Jack Fairman
HRG 1500 Lightweight Le Mans Singer 1.5L I4 202
9 S
12 France René Bouchard
(private entrant)
France René Bouchard
France Pierre Larrue
Delahaye 135MS Delahaye 3.6L I6 200
N/C* S
9 France Henry Leblanc
(private entrant)
France Henry Leblanc
France Jean Brault
Delahaye 135CS Delahaye 3.6L I6 194
10 S
29 United Kingdom Robert Lawrie
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Robert Lawrie
United Kingdom Richard W. Parker
Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports (DB1) Aston Martin 2.0L I4 193
11 S
44 France Monopole-Poissy France Jean de Montrémy
France Eugène Dussous
Monopole Sport Simca 1.1L I4 185
N/C* S
20 United Kingdom Jack Bartlett
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Jack Bartlett
United Kingdom Nigel Mann
Healey Elliott Riley 2.4L I4 180
12 S
47 France N.J. Mahé / R. Crovetto
(private entrant)
France Norbert Jean Mahé
France Roger Crovetto
Simca Huit Gordini 1.1L I4 178
13 S
58 Czechoslovakia Let-Aviation Czechoslovakia František Sutnar
Czechoslovakia Otto Krattner
Aero Minor Sport 750 Aero 0.7L Flat-2
14 S
41 France Auguste Lachaize
(private entrant)
France Auguste Lachaize
France Albert Debille
DB Tank Citroën 1.5L I4 176
N/C* S
52 France André Guillard
(private entrant)
France André Guillard
France Théodore Martin
Simca Huit Gordini 1.1L I4 156
15 S
60 France Ecurie Verte France Emmanuel Baboin
France Pierre Gay
Simca Six Simca 0.6L I4 156
16 S
59 France Jacques Poch
(private entrant)
Czechoslovakia Ivan Hodač
France Jacques Poch
Aero Minor Sport 750 Aero 0.7L Flat-2
  • Note *: Not Classified as car failed to achieve its allotted distance

Did Not Finish

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps Reason
1 France André Chambas / Écurie Verte France André Chambas
France André Morel
Talbot-Lago Grand Sport Coupé Talbot-Lago 4.5L I6 222 Engine (headgasket) (24hr)
18 France Auguste Veuillet
(private entrant)
France Auguste Veuillet
France Edmond Mouche
Delage D6-3L Delage 3.0L I6 208 Engine / fire (23hr)
28 United Kingdom Mrs. R.P. Hichens
(private entrant)
France Pierre Marechal
United Kingdom Donald Mathieson
Aston Martin DB2 Aston Martin 2.0L i4 192 Accident (23hr)
4 France Ecurie Charles Pozzi France André Simon
France Pierre Flahaut
Delahaye 175S Delahaye 4.5L I6 179 Engine (19hr)
42 France René Bonnet
France Automobiles DB
France René Bonnet
France Charles Deutsch
DB 5 Citroën 1.5L I4 175 Engine (19hr)
43 United Kingdom G.E. Phillips
(private entrant)
United Kingdom George Phillips
United Kingdom R.M. Dryden
MG TC Special Body MG 1.3L I4 134 Outside assistance (18hr)
8 France Louis Villeneuve
(private entrant)
France Marius Chanal
France Yves Giraud-Cabantous
Delahaye 135CS Delahaye 3.6L I6 128 Engine / fire (18hr)
10 United Kingdom R.R.C. Walker Racing Team United Kingdom Tony Rolt
United Kingdom Guy Jason-Henry
Delahaye 135CS Delahaye 3.6L I6 126 Engine (21hr)
5 France Etablissements Delettrez France Jean Delettrez
France Jacques Delettrez
Delettrez Diesel Delettrez 4.4L I6
123 Out of fuel (20hr)
45 France Monopole-Poissy France Jean Hémard
France Raymond Leinard
Monopole Simca 1.1L I4 120 Engine (17hr)
48 France Just-Emile Vernet
(private entrant)
France Just-Emile Vernet
France Claude Batault
Simca Huit Simca 1.1L I4 118 Accident (16hr)
56 France Jacques Savoye
(private entrant)
France Jacques Savoye
France Marcel Renault
Singer 9 Singer 1.0L I4 97 Transmission (14hr)
2 France Écurie France
France Talbot-Lago
France Paul Vallée
France Guy Mairesse
Talbot-Lago Monoplace Décalée Talbot-Lago 4.5L I6 95 Engine (10hr)
54 France Mme Vivianne Elder
(private entrant)
France Vivianne Elder
France René Camerano
Simca Huit Simca 1.1L I4 95 Engine (13hr)
46 France Robert Redge
(private entrant)
France Félix Lecerf
France Robert Redge
Simca Dého Simca 1.1L I4 89 Engine (13hr)
50 France Amédée Gordini
France Automobiles Gordini
France Pierre Veyron
France José Scaron
Simca-Gordini T8 Simca 1.1L I4 88 Transmission (10hr)
34 United Kingdom Ecurie Lapin Blanche
United Kingdom HRG Engineering
United Kingdom Jack Scott-Douglas
United Kingdom Neville Gee
HRG 1500 Lightweight Le Mans Singer 1.5L I4 83 Engine (13hr)
16 France Marc Versini
(private entrant)
France Marc Versini
France Gaston Serraud
Delage D6-3L Delage 3.0L I6 58 Engine (7hr)
23 France J.A. Plisson
(private entrant)
France Jean Lucas
France Pierre Louis-Dreyfus ("Ferret")
Ferrari 166 MM Ferrari 2.0L V12 53 Accident (6hr)
3 France Ecurie Charles Pozzi France Eugène Chaboud
France Charles Pozzi
Delahaye 175S Delahaye 4.5L I6 52 Electrics / fire (6hr)
30 United Kingdom Peter Monkhouse
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Peter Monkhouse
United Kingdom Ernest Stapleton
Aston Martin Speed Model Aston Martin 2.0L I4 45 Cooling (7hr)
51 France Robert Tocheport
(private entrant)
France Robert Tocheport
Switzerland Roget Carron
Simca Huit Simca 1.1L I4 45 Radiator (6hr)
36 France Just-Emile Vernet
(private entrant)
France Georges Trouis
France Roger Eckerlein
Riley RMA Riley 1.5L I4 40 Electrics (11hr)
31 United Kingdom Dudley C. Folland
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Anthony Heal
United Kingdom Dudley Folland
Aston Martin Speed Model Aston Martin 2.0L I4 26 Engine (4hr)
7 France Ecurie Rosier France Louis Rosier
France Jean-Louis Rosier
Talbot-Lago Spéciale Talbot-Lago 4.1L I6 21 Fanbelt (3hr)
57 France Camille Hardy
(private entrant)
France Camille Hardy
France Maurice Roger
Renault 4CV Renault 0.8L I4 21 Engine (7hr)
33 United Kingdom Ecurie Lapin Blanche
United Kingdom HRG Engineering
United Kingdom Peter Clark
United Kingdom Mortimer Morris-Goodall
HRG 1500 Lightweight Le Mans Singer 1.5L I4 11 Water-hose (3hr)
19 United Kingdom Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. United Kingdom Leslie Johnson
United Kingdom Charles Brackenbury
Aston Martin DB2 Lagonda 2.6L I6 6 Water pump (1hr)
32 Belgium Louis Eggen
(private entrant)
Belgium Louis Eggen
Belgium Egon Kraft de la Saulx
Alvis TA 14 Alvis 1.9L I4 6 Engine (1hr)
49 France Amédée Gordini
France Automobiles Gordini
France Jean Trévoux
France Marcel Lesurque
Simca-Gordini TMM Simca 1.1L I4 5 Transmission (1hr)

15th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup (1939/1949)

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 S
22 United Kingdom Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon United States Luigi Chinetti
United Kingdom Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon
Ferrari 166 MM 1.272
2 S
26 United Kingdom Mrs. P. Trevelyan United Kingdom Harold John Aldington
United Kingdom Norman Culpan
Frazer Nash High Speed Le Mans Replica 1.216
3 S
27 United Kingdom Arthur Jones United Kingdom Arthur Jones
United Kingdom Nick Haines
Aston Martin DB2 1.123
4 S
14 United Kingdom W.S. Watney France Louis Gérard
Spain Francisco Godia-Sales
Delage D6S-3L 1.085


  • Fastest Lap in practice – Louis Rosier, #7 Talbot-Lago T150C Spéciale – 5:02
  • Fastest Lap – André Simon, #4 Delahaye 175S – 5:12.5
  • Distance – 3178.299 km (1975.00 miles)
  • Average Speed – 132.420 km/h
  • Attendance – 83000.[13] or 183000[25][4]

Trophy Winners

  • 15th Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup – #22 Luigi Chinetti / Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon
  • Index of Performance – #22 Luigi Chinetti / Peter Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Selsdon


  1. ^ Spurring 2011, p.7.
  2. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.18.
  3. ^ a b Clausager 1982, p.74.
  4. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.17
  5. ^ Clausager 1982, p.20.
  6. ^ Spurring 2011, p.8
  7. ^ Laban 2001, p.100.
  8. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.38.
  9. ^ Spurring 2011, p.41.
  10. ^ "Ultimate Car Page". Website. Retrieved 17 Jul 2016.
  11. ^ a b Clausager 1982, p.78.
  12. ^ Spurring 2011, p.45.
  13. ^ a b c Moity 1974, p.39.
  14. ^ Spurring 2011, p.25.
  15. ^ Moity 1974, p.38.
  16. ^ a b Laban 2001, p.101.
  17. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.21.
  18. ^ Spurring 2011, p.19.
  19. ^ Clarke 1997, p.14.
  20. ^ Spurring 2011, p.28.
  21. ^ Spurring 2011, p.27.
  22. ^ Spurring 2011, p.24.
  23. ^ Spurring 2011, p.43.
  24. ^ Spurring 2011, p.2
  25. ^ Clarke 1997, p.13.


  • Spurring, Quentin (2011) Le Mans 1949-59 Sherborne, Dorset: Evro Publishing ISBN 978-1-84425-537-5
  • Clarke, R.M. - editor (1997) Le Mans 'The Jaguar Years 1949-1957' Cobham, Surrey: Brooklands Books ISBN 1-85520-357X
  • 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

External links

  • Racing Sports Cars – Le Mans 24 Hours 1949 entries, results, technical detail. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  • Le Mans History – Le Mans History, hour-by-hour (incl. pictures, YouTube links). Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  • Formula 2 – Le Mans 1949 results & reserve entries. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  • Ultimate Car Page – The Bentley Embiricos special. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
Aston Martin DB2

The Aston Martin DB2 is a sports car that was sold by Aston Martin from May 1950 through to April 1953. The successor to the 2-Litre Sports model, it had a comparatively advanced dual overhead cam 2.6 L straight-6 engine in place of the previous pushrod straight-4. It was available as a closed, 2-door, 2-seater coupé which Aston Martin called a sports saloon, and later also as a drophead coupé, which accounted for a quarter of the model's total sales. The closed version had some success in racing.


Barchetta (Italian pronunciation: [barˈketta]), which translates as "little boat" in Italian, is a term used by Italian car manufacturers for two-seat sports cars with either an open top or convertible roof.

The term was originally used for lightweight open-top racing cars of the late 1940s through the 1950s. Since the 1950s, the name barchetta has been revived on several occasions, mostly for cars with convertible roofs that are not specifically intended for racing.

Baron Selsdon

Baron Selsdon, of Croydon in the County of Surrey, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1932 for the Conservative politician Sir William Mitchell-Thomson, 2nd Baronet. His son, the second Baron, was a successful racing driver, winning the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans in the first Ferrari (although his codriver, Luigi Chinetti, actually drove for all but one half-hour). As of 2009 the titles are held by the second Baron's only son, the third Baron, who succeeded in 1963. He is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords after the House of Lords Act of 1999. Lord Selsdon sits on the Conservative benches. The Mitchell-Thomson Baronetcy, of Polmood in the County of Peebles, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom in 1900 for the first Baron's father, Sir Mitchell Mitchell-Thomson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1897 to 1900.

Diesel automobile racing

Diesel automobile racing can refer to any use of diesel as a fuel for racing cars. The diesel-fueled vehicle may be used in direct competition with other vehicles, in a separate Diesel class in the same racing event, or in a diesel-only event.

Diesel is not normally preferred for speed racing, due to the generally higher weight compared to a petrol-driven vehicle. However, diesel vehicles may in some events be classed independently of other competitors. In motorsports such as off-road trials or truck racing, diesel may be more predominant. In endurance racing, the broad power band, high torque and fuel economy can prove advantageous.

Driver deaths in motorsport

Due to the inherently dangerous nature of auto racing, many individuals, including drivers, crew members, officials and spectators, have been killed in crashes related to the sport, in races, in qualifying, in practice or in private testing sessions. Deaths among racers and spectators were numerous in the early years of racing. However advances in safety technology, and specifications designed by sanctioning bodies to limit speeds, have reduced deaths in recent years. Spectacular accidents have often spurred increased safety measures and even rules changes. Widely considered to be the worst accident amongst them is the 1955 crash at Le Mans that killed driver Pierre Levegh and approximately 80 spectators with over 100 being injured in total.

This is a list alphabetically sorted, and structured after the kind of competition, of the more notable drivers, excluding motorcycle riders. In addition, several famous racing drivers have been killed in public road crashes; see List of people who died in road accidents.

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (Italian: [ˈɛntso anˈsɛlmo ferˈraːri]; 20 February 1898 – 14 August 1988) was an Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque. He was widely known as "il Commendatore" or "il Drake". In his final years he was often referred to as "l'Ingegnere" (the Engineer) or "il Grande Vecchio (the Great Old Man)".

Henri Louveau

Henri Louveau (January 25, 1910 – January 7, 1991) was a racing driver from France. He participated in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on September 3, 1950. He scored no championship points.

Louveau came 2nd in the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Juan Jover

Juan Jover Sañes (23 November 1903 – 28 June 1960) was a Spanish racing driver, born in Barcelona. With Paco Godia, Jover was the first Spanish driver to compete in Formula One.Jover raced for Scuderia Milano-Maserati in the 1947 Bari Grand Prix, where he finished sixth, and in the 1948 Albi Grand Prix, where he came seventh. He then finished second in the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans with Henri Louveau.In 1951 he participated in the Formula One 1951 Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying 18th, but he did not start the race after blowing his engine.Jover then switched to hillclimbing, and also endurance racing with Scuderia Pegaso. He suffered serious injuries to his left leg when he crashed his Pegaso Z-102 during trials for the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans, but returned to hillclimbing in June 1954. In 1957, he won the Gran Premio de Barajas in a Maserati 200S, and the following year he won the La Rabassada hillclimb, driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SL.Jover died in a road accident in 1960, when his convertible left the road and fell off a cliff near Sitges in Catalonia.

Luigi Chinetti

Luigi Chinetti (July 17, 1901 – August 17, 1994) was an Italian-born racecar driver, who emigrated to the United States during World War II and became an American citizen. He was a driver in 12 consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans races, winning 3 times, and also won the Spa 24 Hours race twice. He was the long-time American importer of Ferrari automobiles to the United States.

Peter Mitchell-Thomson, 2nd Baron Selsdon

Peter Mitchell-Thomson, 2nd Baron Selsdon (28 May 1913 – 7 February 1963) won the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans together with Luigi Chinetti in a Ferrari 166MM.

He was the son of William Lowson Mitchell-Thomson, 1st Baron Selsdon (1877–1938), and the father of Malcolm McEacharn Mitchell-Thomson, 3rd Baron Selsdon (b. 1937)

Taso Mathieson

Thomas Alastair Sutherland Ogilvy ('Taso') Mathieson (25 July 1908, Glasgow – 12 October 1991, Vichy) was a British racing driver. Between 1930 and 1955, he entered more than 30 races, including multiple times the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Tommy Wisdom

Thomas Henry ("Tommy") Wisdom (16 February 1906 – 12 November 1972) was a British motoring correspondent for the Daily Herald. He was also a racing driver who took part in numerous races and rallies.Wisdom was born in Brighton. His wife Elsie was also a racing driver, and their daughter Ann Wisdom competed in rallies, most notably as Pat Moss's co-driver. Tommy Wisdom, died in Birmingham, aged 66.

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