1972 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1972 24 Hours of Le Mans
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Index: Races | Winners

The 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 40th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 10 and 11 June 1972. It was the ninth round of the 1972 World Championship for Makes.

This year’s marked the start of a new era with revised Sports-Prototype regulations putting a 3-litre limit on engine size. There was also a significant change to the track with the construction of the new technical section subsequently named the Porsche Curves bypassing the dangerous Maison Blanche corner, which had been the site of many serious accidents in the past.

Having already won the Manufacturers’ Championship Ferrari chose not to contest the race. Matra were strong favourites for the outright win after not running the other races to focus on its Le Mans preparation. Once the challenge from Alfa Romeo and Lola had dissipated overnight, Matra were able to ease off to secure a popular 1-2 victory for the home country – France’s first since 1950. Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill were the winners, with a healthy 11-lap margin over team-mates François Cevert and Howden Ganley.

However the victory was tarnished by the death of veteran Formula One racer Jo Bonnier who died when his Lola prototype collided with a Ferrari GT and flew over the barriers into the trees on the Sunday morning..

Le Mans in 1972

Regulations[edit]

Once again, the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale - the FIA’s regulations body) overhauled its FIA Appendix J, redefining its motorsport categories. The former Group 6 Prototypes and Group 5 Sports categories were combined into a new, third-generation, Group 5 Sports-Prototype class with a 3-litre engine limit (or 2142cc if turbo-powered, using the x1.4 equivalency).[1] with a minimum weight of 650kg.[2] There was also no minimal production required.[2] The FIA’s idea was to encourage manufacturers to build, develop and use engines based around the current Formula One 3.0-litre standard.

Recognising the growing interest in touring car racing, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) opened the entry list to Group 2 Special Touring Cars, alongside the Group 4 Special GTs and the new Group 5. Entries for the Group 2 and 4 categories had a 2-litre minimum but no upper limit on engine size.[3][4] They also revamped the minimum distance and speed requirements. No longer a set lap-time to qualify, all cars had to be within 140% of an average of the three best practice laps put up. Also the sliding scale of target distances was discarded.[4] Now cars had to achieve at least 70% of its class winner to be classified.[5] Therefore the Index of Performance, now redundant, was discontinued.[1][6] Also, the Index of Thermal Efficiency now only applied to Group 2 and 4.[7][4]

But the biggest change was to the track layout, with a new series of curves being built between Arnage and the Ford chicane bypassing the dangerously fast Maison Blanche section. Financed by Porsche, it therefore became known as the “Porsche curves”. The Ford chicane was also redesigned with a second chicane added just up the track to allow a dedicated pit-lane entrance lane to be built. This allowed cars to decelerate off the racing line and off the main track, greatly increasing safety. Although the modifications only added 71 metres to the overall track length, there was a noticeable change in lap times and average speed slowing the prototypes' speeds by 30 km/h (18 mph). The circuit still had cars using full throttle for over 65% of the lap however.[1]

Prizemoney this year included FF80000 (£6400) for outright victory, and half that to the respective winners of the GT category and Index of Thermal Efficiency.[8]

Entries[edit]

With the new regulations there were 91 applications, and this led to a solid 66 arriving for practice and for the first time for a few years a full grid of 55 cars took the start.

Category Sports-Prototype
Group 5
Special GT
Groups 4
Special Touring
Group 2
Total
Entries
Large-engines
>2.5L classes
13 (+8 reserves) 13 (+6 reserves) 3 (+2 reserves) 29 (+16 reserves)
Medium-engines
< 2.5L classes
4 (+2 reserves) 9 (+3 reserves) 0 13 (+5 reserves)
Total Cars 17 (+11 reserves) 22 (+9 reserves) 3 (+2 reserves) 42 (+22 reserves)

In a major surprise, after winning every round in the Championship to date, and dominating the timing in the Test Weekend in March, Ferrari withdrew its works team less than a fortnight before the race.[9] Having just secured the World Championship title, it claimed the engines on the Group 5 312 PB were only good for the 1000km races, and not 24 hours. This did not sound convincing however, since they had achieved a 1-2 victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Alfa Romeo had voiced the same concern about their engines’ durability but still showed up to Le Mans.[10][11] John Wyer also chose not to bring his team’s Gulf-Mirages because their Weslake V12 engines were not ready and under-prepared.[11]

Although everyone had been outclassed by the Porsche 917s in 1971, Alfa Romeo had proven the most competitive, even getting three wins that season. For 1972 they had developed the latest iteration of the Tipo 33, the open-top T33/3. Designer Carlo Chiti used a tubular chassis rather than a full monocoque making the narrower and 50kg lighter. The 3-litre V8 developed 445 bhp. The team picked up a number of ex-Porsche drivers for the three cars entered: Vic Elford/Helmut Marko, Rolf Stommelen/”Nanni” Galli and Nino Vaccarella/Andrea de Adamich.[12]

Matra, like Jaguar in the 1950s, chose to concentrate its efforts for the prestige of a Le Mans victory. The latest version of the 660, the MS660C had been over a second slower than Ickx’s Ferrari at the test weekend. But a new model, the MS670 was entered for the race. The 3-litre V12 was detuned for the race down to 450 bhp, pushing it to 310 kp/h (195 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight. With the French media stirring up a patriotic fervour, team director Gérard Ducarouge took no chances and bought 4 cars and 60 crew. Aerodynamic long-tail versions were prepared for Jean-Pierre Beltoise/Chris Amon and François Cevert/Howden Ganley while Henri Pescarolo/Graham Hill (back at Le Mans for the first time since 1966) had a short-tail version. The fourth car was the reliable 660C, given to Jean-Pierre Jabouille/ David Hobbs.[9][13]

Porsche was now focussing its efforts on its 917 Can-Am project. However, Reinhold Joest got considerable factory assistance with his 908 LH entry, and sponsored by ATE. The three-year old car had been owned by Jo Siffert who had been killed less than a year ago, and was loaned from the Schlumpf Collection who held it in tribute to their countryman. It was refitted by Porsche with a new 3-litre engine capable of 360 bhp.[14] Other customer teams brought Porsche Group 5 cars: the Spanish Escuderia Montjuich had a 908/03, André Wicky’s Swiss team had one of several 908/02s as well as an older 907.[15]

Jo Bonnier, Lola’s European agent, convinced Eric Broadley to develop a 3-litre version of its successful T210. Designed by Patrick Head and John Barnard, the new T280 used the Cosworth DFV engine. It was very fast and had easily won the four-hour race at the Test Weekend. With works-support, Bonnier entered two cars: one for himself and 1971 winner Gijs van Lennep (released from Mirage for the race)[16] and the other for Gérard Larrousse/Hughes de Fierlandt.[17] Sponsored by Swiss cheese, they were this year’s art-cars painted up with gruyere cheese-holes.[11][18] There were also a pair of privateer entries.

After a positive first run at Le Mans the previous year, Brit Alain de Cadenet decided to build his own car to race. He employed Brabham designer Gordon Murray to build a car around the Cosworth DFV (developing 390 bhp) and Brabham BT33 suspension.[11][19] The lightest of the 3-litre prototypes, De Cadenet got sponsorship from Duckhams Oil and the car was just ready in time for the race.[20] Guy Ligier, keen to progress his JS-2 GT racecar, approached Citroën about getting a Maserati engine – whom they had bought out three years previously. They obliged and three 3-litre V6 JS-2s were present.[20] Because insufficient numbers had been produced it had to run in the Group 5 category.[11]


Ferrari had not released its Group 5 car to its customer teams yet, but had been able to homologate the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” as a GT car, and nine of those cars were entered by the Ferrari agents of six different countries. These comprised Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART), Jacques SwatersEcurie Francorchamps, Georges Filipinetti’s Swiss team, Colonel Ronnie Hoare’s Maranello Concessionaires from London and Charles Pozzi’s Paris-based team.[21]

Chevrolet had five entries this year to take on the Ferrari challenge. The French teams of Henri Greder (once again with Marie-Claude Beaumont as his co-driver) and the Ecurie Léopard returned. American John Greenwood also brought a pair of specially lightened Corvettes that proved to be very fast, reaching 330 kp/h (210 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight.[22] They ran on standard BF Goodrich radial road-tyres.[13][19] Their competitor, Goodyear tyres, had run successfully with the Florida-based English Racing Team winning the GT division at Daytona and Sebring. They asked NART if they could use an entry to get to Le Mans, who agreed as long as the car displayed the Ferrari motif on the side of the car.[23]

A new manufacturer for Le Mans was the Italian De Tomaso company. The newly homologated Pantera had a Ford 5.3-litre V8, pushing out 330 bhp was less powerful than the Ferrari and Chevrolet competition. Four cars were entered and the Spanish Escuderia Montjuich ones had strong works support.[24]


In the smaller GT-category, there were seven Porsche 911s from privateer teams.[25] This year NART ran a Dino 246 on behalf of Ferrari to contest the 2.5-litre class. Once again, NART offered its junior car to winners of the Trofeo Chinetti - a competition for young drivers.[24]

The European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) was proving popular with manufacturers and spectators. When the ACO opened the entry list to Group 2 cars, the Ford-Germany works team calculated that their pace in winning the Spa 24 Hours could get them into the top-10 overall at Le Mans. Three cars were prepared: the Capri RS2600 was refitted with a 2.9-litre V6 that could put out almost 300 bhp. Its drivers were all Le Mans debutants: current ETCC champion Dieter Glemser with Alex Soler-Roig, Jochen Mass/Hans-Joachim Stuck and Birrell/Bourgoignie.[26] Their opposition in the ETCC was the Schnitzer Motorsport team running a BMW 2800 CS. Although BMW had recently head-hunted Jochen Neerpasch from Ford-Germany to set up BMW Motorsport, this was essentially a privateer effort for the company’s first post-war entry. Despite the BMW’s 3-litre engine putting out 340 bhp, the car was 250kg heavier.[26] The other entry was a British entry of an ex-rally Datsun 240Z.[11]

Practice[edit]

Ferrari was fastest in the test weekend in March with a 3:40.4, but they were a no-show for race-week. On the damp first night of practice on Wednesday, it was Stommelen in the Alfa Romeo and Larrousse in the Bonnier-Lola who set the pace. The session was cut short though by a serious accident when an advertising hoarding blew onto the track. The Thompson/Heinz Corvette was damaged but the next lap the 2-litre GRAC sports-prototype crashed and burst into flames.[27][10] Driver Lionel Noghès (grandson of Antony Noghès, founder of the Monaco GP), received serious burns to his face.[4] Matra went all out on Thursday and salvaged French pride with a 1-2-3 qualification for Cevert (3:42.2), Pescarolo and Beltoise. Stommelen (3:47.9) and Bonnier were next then Elford’s and Vaccarella’s Alfas in sixth and seventh. The fourth Matra of Jabouille headed Larrousse with the Joest Porsche (4:03.3) and de Cadenet’s Duckhams performing impressively for the cars’ age and youth respectively.

Fastest GT was Migault in his Ferrari in 20th (4:21.7), and the best Touring Car was the Capri of Mass/Stuck in 30th (4:25.9). As if to prove a point, the Capris were right among the Daytonas, faster than most of the Corvettes, Panteras and Porsche 911s.[13] Three of the Panteras blew their engines, traced to a faulty batch of pistons from the US.[11][13] Fastest in the small GT class was the Kremer 911 which did manage an identical time to the Capri (despite reserve driver Bolanos rolling the car in practice[27]). Last on the grid were the young NART drivers in the Ferrari Dino (4:53.9), getting in when several faster cars were withdrawn.[28]

Race[edit]

Start[edit]

For the first time a French President was the honorary starter. In front of Georges Pompidou and a large partisan crowd, Matra started with all four of their French drivers.[29] Pescarolo took the lead from Cevert on the first lap but things started going wrong straight away. On the second lap, Beltoise’s engine expired on the front straight[9] and then Bonnier cut through to take the lead on the third lap. During a short rain-shower, Bonnier’s team-mate de Fierlandt put in some quick laps to take the lead. But the Lolas’ smaller fuel-tanks meant they had to pit earlier, and more often, than the other prototypes.[27] After that, it was the Alfa Romeos’ chance to take up the challenge as first Elford, then Stommelen moved up the order. In the GT class, Migault’s French Ferrari had the lead until a jammed gearbox sidelined it,[21] whereupon the sister car of Ballot-Léna/Andruet took over. Three of the Panteras had already retired due to the dodgy pistons – the remaining one of Claude Dubois being the only one that had not used a new American engine.[27][8]

At 6.20pm, the Jabouille/Hobbs Matra 660 ran out of fuel within reach of the pits. Someone had accidentally flicked it across to the reserve tank, which dropped them down to 12th and 5 laps down.[30][27] After four hours, the two Matra 670s were being pursued by Larrousse in the Lola. Stommelen had been delayed by a fuel-pump change but the Alfas still ran fourth, fifth and seventh split by Joest’s Porsche. Weigel’s 908/02 was eighth followed by the Duckhams and the charging Matra 660. The Pozzi Ferrari led GT in 12th and the Glemser/Soler-Roig Capri was 15th.[27]

Another short shower wet the track and de Fierlandt put his car in the sandbank at the Mulsanne corner.[17] He then burnt out an already weakened clutch trying to extricate himself.[27] The Bonnier/van Lennep Lola had also been delayed by gear selection issues and when Bonnier had a tyre blowout at the Mulsanne kink at 320 kp/h (200 mph).[17]

Night[edit]

As night fell and the track dried, Bonnier and van Lennep were putting in quick times to catch up and set the fastest lap of the race with a 3:46.9. At quarter-distance still had the two Matras swapping the lead (89 laps) with a comfortable 3-lap margin over the three Alfa Romeos. Sixth was Joest (84 laps) The Ferraris had a strong hold on GT as the Corvette engines failed; Pozzi leading NART (both 77 laps) while the three Capris were running like clockwork (76 laps).[31]

But during the night first Vaccarella then Elford had clutch problems and each lost half an hour as new ones were fitted.[12] So, by half time, at 4am, the Matras were running 1-2-3. The 670s still exchanging the lead at pit stops (178 laps) and the 660 recovering well, having just overtaken the Alfas (running Stommelen, Elford then Vaccarella - all 171 laps). Seventh was Joest’s longtail Porsche (167) with the hard-charging Lola back up to eighth, 15 laps behind the leaders. With Weigel’s Porsche ninth (161) and the Duckhams tenth (155 laps) the field was now very strung out. Things were still the same in GT – Pozzi and NART Ferraris on 154 laps, while Mass and Stuck (151) had stolen a 3-lap lead over the team cars in Group 2.[31]

Morning[edit]

Right through the night the two leading Matras stayed on the same lap, exchanging places based on pit strategy. A misty dawn broke up the routine, as the Alfa Romeos fell away with their engine issues. The Lola lost over an hour with brake problems and Weigel’s Porsche also had clutch problems.[31] Although the BMW had retired with a broken engine there were also cracks in the Capri team too – Mass/Stuck stopped on the Mulsanne Straight with a broken conrod and Glemser’s car needed a differential change.[26][31]

In the early morning, Bonnier (after being again delayed) was running very fast and had got his Lola back up to eighth. Then at 8.25am, he came up to the Filipinetti Ferrari GTB4 of Florian Vetsch approaching Indianapolis curve. The Ferrari kept its line and, deciding to force an overtake before the curve, his Lola hit the Ferrari at speed and flew 100 metres over the barriers into the trees.[17] Critically injured, Jo Bonnier died soon afterward. He was a veteran of 13 Le Mans and chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.[16][32] Vic Elford, coming upon Vetsch’s car on fire, immediately stopped to rescue the driver who had already escaped with burned hands. By coincidence it was right beside a braodcasting television camera.[17][30] Shaken by the accident, Elford then pulled into the pits to be substituted by Marko, only for them to retire soon after when the replacement clutch packed up.[12][4][13] Ninety minutes later the Alfa of Stommelen/Galli also retired with a broken differential, leaving the last Alfa Romeo running in fourth.[12]

It started raining again at 10.30am. The Weigel 907 hit the barrier at the Dunlop Curve while running 7th.[31] Cevert and Ganley lost time in the pits fixing wet electrics.[9] Then just before noon, as the rain got heavier, Ganley was going slowly down the Mulsanne Straight when he was hit from behind by the Corvette of Marie-Claude Beaumont. He made it to the pits to get the rear-end repaired (taking nine minutes), but the Corvette was too badly damaged to continue.[30][31][13] This allowed the Pescarolo/Hill to build a secure lead over Cevert/Ganley and Jabouille/Hobbs, with the Joest Porsche well back in fourth. De Cadenet’s Duckhams was doing very well in fifth until a slow brakepad change and bodywork repair dropped behind it the remaining Alfa Romeo.[20][31]

Finish and post-race[edit]

The rain returned with two hours to go and created havoc. Cevert, de Adamich and Craft were on slick tyres and all aquaplaned off the track approaching the waterlogged Esses.[8][12] The Duckhams had the heaviest damage and fell to 12th before getting back on the track for the final lap.[31] As a final twist, the third-placed Jabouille/Hobbs Matra 660 was stopped by gearbox problems with less than 90 minutes remaining, and the Spanish Porsche running 8th was stopped by a wheel-bearing failure in the final minutes.[15][31]

In the end, the Matra 670 of Pescarolo and Hill took the chequered flag with a comfortable margin of eleven laps over their team-mates Cevert and Ganley. This was the first victory of a French car since the Rosier’s Talbot-Lago victory in 1950. It also made Graham Hill the first and, to date, only driver to win the Triple Crown of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One World Championship. Although aware of the bad accident, Hill was only told of Bonnier’s death after the race and was deeply affected. They were former teammates, close friends and had been the “senior statesmen” of the Formula One grid in the early 1970s.[9]

Nine laps further back in third was the unheralded Porsche 908LH driven by Reinhold Joest, Mario Casoni and Michel Weber. It was then a close flurry for the minor places: The sole remaining Alfa Romeo, or Vaccarella and de Adamich just a lap ahead of the French Ferrari of Ballot-Léna/Andruet. Charles Pozzi’s car was first GT home and also won the Index of Thermal Efficiency doing about 6.75 mpg.[8] A late-race spin for the NART Ferrari cost it time to repair, finishing two laps further back. In a strong performance, five of the nine Ferraris finished, with Mike Parkes’ Filipinetti car just overhauling the Belgian car in the last hour. All the other GT manufacturers had bad races with a number of engine problems. Chevrolet, De Tomaso and Porsche only had a single finisher each. Three months after the race, Porsche unveiled its new 911 customer model: the 2.7-litre Carrera RS to even up the competition in Group 4.[25]

The Kodak Lola T290, driven by Ligonnet/Smith that finished 14th winning the S(2.0) class

The advent of the Group 2 Touring Cars was successful, with two of the Ford Capris finishing, in 10th and 11th. René Ligonnet’s private entry Lola T290, coming home in 14th became the first Lola to finish at Le Mans.


Official results[edit]

Finishers[edit]

Results taken from Quentin Spurring's book, officially licensed by the ACO[33] Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos Class No. Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Laps
1 S
3.0
15 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Henri Pescarolo
United Kingdom Graham Hill
Matra-Simca MS670 Matra 3.0L V12 G 344
2 S
3.0
14 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France François Cevert
New Zealand Howden Ganley
Matra-Simca MS670 Matra 3.0L V12 G 333
3 S
3.0
60
(reserve)
Germany Siffert ATE Racing Germany Reinhold Joest
Germany Michel Weber
Italy Mario Casoni
Porsche 908LH Coupé Porsche 3.0L F8 D 325
4 S
3.0
18 Italy Autodelta SpA Italy Nino Vaccarella
Italy Andrea de Adamich
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 G 307
5 GTS
5.0
39 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France Claude Ballot-Léna
France Jean-Claude Andruet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 306
6 GTS
5.0
74
(reserve)
United States North American Racing Team United States Sam Posey
United States Tony Adamowicz
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 G 304
7 GTS
5.0
34 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti United Kingdom Mike Parkes
France Jean-Louis Lafosse
Switzerland Jean-Jacques Cochet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 302
8 GTS
5.0
36 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps United Kingdom Derek Bell
Belgium Teddy Pilette
United Kingdom Richard Bond
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 301
9 GTS
5.0
38 United States North American Racing Team France Jean-Pierre Jarier
France Claude Buchet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 G 297
10 TS
3.0
54 Germany Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland United Kingdom Gerry Birrell
Belgium Claude Bourgoignie
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 D 292
11 TS
3.0
52 Germany Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland Germany Dieter Glemser
Spain Alex Soler-Roig
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 D 289
12 S
3.0
68
(reserve)
United Kingdom Duckham's Oil Motor Racing
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet
United Kingdom Chris Craft
Duckhams LM72 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 D 288
13 GTS
2.5
41 France L. Meznarie
(private entrant)
Switzerland Sylvain Garant
Germany Jürgen Barth
United States Michael Keyser
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 F 285
14 S
2.0
27 France R. Ligonnet
(private entrant)
France René Ligonnet
United Kingdom Barrie Smith
Lola T290 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 F 284
15 GTS
+5.0
4 United States North American Racing Team United States Bob Johnson
United States Dave Heinz
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 G 284
16 GTS
+5.0
32 Belgium C. Dubois
(private entrant)
France Jean-Marie Jacquemin
Belgium Yves Deprez
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 G 282
17 GTS
3.0
46 United States North American Racing Team France Jean-Pierre Laffeach
France Gilles Doncieux
Ferrari Dino 246GT Ferrari 2418cc V6 G 265
18 S
2.0
24 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Peter Mattli
Switzerland Hervé Bayard
Switzerland Walter Brun
Porsche 907 Porsche 1997cc F6 F 252
19 * S
3.0
67
(reserve)
France C. Poirot
(private entrant)
France Christian Poirot
France Philippe Farjon
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 D 206
  • 'Note *: Not Classified because insufficient distance covered.

Did Not Finish[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Laps Reason
DNF S
3.0
16 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
United Kingdom David Hobbs
Matra-Simca MS660C Matra 3.0L V12 G 278[34][35] or
313[36][37]
Transmission
(24hr)
DNF S
3.0
5 Spain Escuderia Montjuïch Spain Juan Fernandez
Spain Francesco Torredemer
Spain Eugenio Baturone
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L F8 G 278 Accident
(24hr)
DNF S
3.0
19 Italy Autodelta SpA Germany Rolf Stommelen
Italy Giovanni ‘Nanni’ Galli
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 G 263 Transmission
(19hr)
DNF S
3.0
6 Germany H.-D. Weigel
(private entrant)
Germany Hans-Dieter Weigel
Germany Helmuth Krause
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 F 244 Accident
(20hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
29 France Greder Racing France Henri Greder
France Marie-Claude Beaumont
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 M 235 Accident
(21hr)
DNF S
3.0
17 Italy Autodelta SpA United Kingdom Vic Elford
Austria Dr. Helmut Marko
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 G 232 Transmission
(19hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
57
(reserve)
United States North American Racing Team United States Masten Gregory
United States Luigi Chinetti Jr
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 G 226 Engine
(20hr)
DNF S
3.0
8 Switzerland Ecurie Bonnier Sweden Jo Bonnier
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Lola T280 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 G 213 Fatal Accident
(18hr)
DNF GTS
2.5
42 Switzerland C. Haldi
(private entrant)
Switzerland Claude Haldi
Switzerland Paul Keller
France "Gédéhem" (Gérard Dantan-Merlin)
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 D 208 Engine
(18hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
35 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti Switzerland Bernard Cheneviére
Switzerland Florian Vetsch
Switzerland Gérard Pillon
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 204 Accident
(18hr)
DNF S
3.0
22 France Automobiles Ligier France Jacques Laffite
France Pierre Maublanc
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 M 195 Engine
(24hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
71
(reserve)
France Écurie Léopard France Jean-Claude Aubriet
France "Depnic” (Jean-Claude Depince)
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 M 188 Engine
(19hr)
DNF S
3.0
65
(reserve)
France "Novestille"
(private entrant)
France Louis Cosson
France Jean-Louis Ravenel
Porsche 910 Porsche 2379cc F6 D 188 Wheel bearing
(16hr)
DNF S
3.0
56
(reserve)
France C. Laurent
(private entrant)
France Claude Laurent
France Martial Delalande
France Jacques Marché
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 M 186 Engine
(19hr)
DNF GTS
2.5
45 France R. Touroul
(private entrant)
Greece "Lee Banner" (Fernand Saropoulos)
France Dominique Bardini
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 D 183 Engine
(16hr)
DNF TS
3.0
53 Germany Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland Germany Jochen Mass
Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 D 152 Oil pump
(14hr)
DNF S
3.0
7 Switzerland Ecurie Bonnier Belgium Baron Hughes de Fierlandt
France Gérard Larrousse
Lola T280 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 G 86[34]or
28[38]or
26[39][40]
Transmission
(7hr)
DNF S
3.0
76
(reserve)
France J. Egreteaud
(private entrant)
France Jean-Claude Lagniez
France Raymond Touroul
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 D 83 Out of fuel
(8hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
72
(reserve)
United States John Greenwood Racing France Alain Cudini
France Bernard Darniche
United States John Greenwood
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 BF 82 Engine
(9hr)
DNF S
2.0
23 United Kingdom G.Edwards
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Brian Robinson
France Jean Rondeau
Chevron B21 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 F 76 Engine
(10hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
37 United Kingdom Maranello Concessionaires United Kingdom Peter Westbury
United Kingdom John Hine
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 72 Engine
(9hr)
DNF TS
3.0
49 Germany Team Schnitzer-Motul Germany Hans Heyer
Switzerland René Herzog
BMW 2800 CS BMW 3.0L S6 D 70 Engine
(7hr)
DNF GTS
2.5
44 France J. Sage
(private entrant)
Germany Gelo Racing Team
France Jean Sage
Germany Georg Loos
Germany Franz Pesch
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 D 64 Engine
(8hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
28 United States John Greenwood Racing United States John Greenwood
United States Dick Smothers
Chevrolet Corvette C3 Chevrolet 7.0L V8 BF 53 Engine
(10hr)
DNF GTS
2.5
80
(reserve)
Germany Porsche-Kremer Racing Team Germany Erwin Kremer
United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 D 39 Engine
(5hr)
DNF GTS
2.5
79
(reserve)
Belgium J.-P. Gaban
(private entrant)
Belgium Hermes Delbar
Belgium Roger van der Schrick
Porsche 911S Porsche 2450cc F6 D 36 Transmission
(4hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
30 Spain Escuderia Montjuïch Spain José Juncadella
Spain Fernando de Baviera
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 G 36 Engine
(9hr)
DNF GTS
+5.0
31 Spain Escuderia Montjuïch Switzerland Herbert Müller
Switzerland Cox Kocher
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 G 36[34][41]or
31[42][43]
Engine
(10hr)
DNF S
2.0
69
(reserve)
Switzerland M. Dupont
(private entrant)
Switzerland Michel Dupont
France Jean-Paul Bodin
Switzerland Paul Blancpain
Chevron B19/21 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 F 29 Transmission
(5hr)
DNF GTS
2.5
40 France R. Mazzia
(private entrant)
France Pierre Mauroy
France Marcel Mignot
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 D 27 Engine
(4hr)
DNF TS
3.0
84
(reserve)
France Shark Team
(private entrant)
France Jean-Claude Guérie
France Jean-Pierre Rouget
France Cyril Grandet
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 D 26 Engine
(4hr)
DNF GTS
5.0
75
(reserve)
France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France François Migault
France Daniel Rouveyran
France Jean-Claude Andruet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 M 22 Transmission
(9hr)
DNF S
3.0
58
(reserve)
Austria Bosch Racing Team Austria Walter Roser
Austria Otto Stuppacher
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 F[44]/
D[45]
11 Accident
(2hr)
DNF S
3.0
21 France Automobiles Ligier France Guy Ligier
France Jean-François Piot
Ligier JS2 Maserati 3.0L V6 M 7 Engine
(3hr)
DNF S
+3.0
33 France Société Franco-Brittanic France Guy Chasseuil
France Jean Vinatier
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 G 3 Engine
(2hr)
DNF S
3.0
12 France Equipe Matra-Simca Shell France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
New Zealand Chris Amon
Matra-Simca MS670 Matra 3.0L V12 G 1 Engine
(2hr)
Sources: [44][34][46][47][48]

Did Not Start[edit]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Tyre Reason
DNS S
2.0
26 France Veglia GRAC Racing Monaco Lionel Noghès
France “Cyprien” (Christian Mons)
France Alain Finkelstein
GRAC MT16 Cosworth FVC 1825cc S4 F Practice Accident
DNS GTS
2.5
43 France J. Mesange
(private entrant)
France Jean Mesange
Switzerland Paul Keller
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 D Did not start
DNS S
3.0
61
(reserve)
Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland André Wicky
Switzerland Walter Brun
Morocco Max Cohen-Olivar
Porsche 908/02K Porsche 3.0L F8 Mechanical
issues
DNS GTS
2.5
78
(reserve)
France Gelo Racing Team France Jean Sage
Germany Georg Loos
Switzerland Pierre Greub
Porsche 911S Porsche 2492cc F6 Did not start
DNQ TS
3.0
47 France Motor Racing Facilities
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Robert Grant
Republic of Ireland Martin Birrane
Belgium Serge Trosch
Datsun 240Z Datsun 2394cc F6 D Did not qualify
DNQ GTS
2.5
51 Switzerland Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Jean-Pierre Aeschlimann
Spain Juan Diez
Porsche 911S Porsche 2480cc F6 F Did not qualify
DNQ TS
2.5
55 France AGACI France Guy Verrier
France Gérard Foucault
France François Monath
Citroën SM Maserati 2.9L V6 M Did not qualify
DNQ S
3.0
64
(reserve)
Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti Switzerland Dominique Martin
Switzerland Jean-Jacques Cochet
Switzerland Gérard Pillon
Lola T280 Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8 Did not qualify
DNQ GTS
+5.0
73
(reserve)
Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Gianpiero Moretti
Italy Enrico Pasolini
Italy “Pooky” (Vincenzo Cazzago)
De Tomaso Pantera Ford 5.8L V8 G Did not qualify
DNQ TS
3.0
82
(reserve)
France C. Buchet
(private entrant)
France Claude Buchet
France Joël Bonnemaison
Ford Capri 2600RS Ford 2.9L V6 Did not qualify
DNQ S
2.0
85
(reserve)
France Societé Darnval France Jean-Daniel Jakubowski
Switzerland Peter Schweitzer
Taydec Mk3 Cosworth FVC 1790cc S4 F Did not qualify

Class Winners[edit]

Class Sports
Winners
Class Special GT
Winners
Class Special Touring
Winners
Sports GTS
>5000
#4 Chevrolet Corvette C3 Johnson / Heinz * TS
Sports
3000
#15 Matra-Simca MS670 Pescarolo / Hill * GTS
5000
#39 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ballot-Léna / Andruet * Special
Touring
#54 Ford Capri 2600RS Birrell / Bourgoignie *
Sports
2000
#27 Lola T290 Ligonnet / Smith * GTS
2500
#41 Porsche 911 S Garant / Barth / Keyser * TS
  • Note: setting a new class distance record.

Index of Thermal Efficiency[edit]

For Group 2 and Group 4 cars.[7][4][49][50]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Score
1 GTS
5.0
39 France Automobiles Charles Pozzi France Claude Ballot-Léna
France Jean-Claude Andruet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 1.05
2 GTS
5.0
36 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps United Kingdom Derek Bell
Belgium Teddy Pilette
United Kingdom Richard Bond
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 0.95
3 GTS
5.0
74
(reserve)
United States North American Racing Team United States Sam Posey
United States Tony Adamowicz
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 0.93
4 GTS
5.0
34 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti United Kingdom Mike Parkes
France Jean-Louis Lafosse
Switzerland Jean-Jacques Cochet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 0.91
5 GTS
5.0
38 United States North American Racing Team France Jean-Pierre Jarier
France Claude Buchet
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 0.89
6 GTS
2.5
41 France L. Meznarie
(private entrant)
Switzerland Sylvain Garant
Germany Jürgen Barth
United States Michael Keyser
Porsche 911S 0.85
7 GTS
3.0
46 United States North American Racing Team France Jean-Pierre Laffeach
France Gilles Doncieux
Ferrari Dino 246GT 0.84
8 TS
3.0
54 Germany Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland United Kingdom Gerry Birrell
Belgium Claude Bourgoignie
Ford Capri 2600RS 0.81
9= GTS
+5.0
32 Belgium C. Dubois
(private entrant)
France Jean-Marie Jacquemin
Belgium Yves Deprez
De Tomaso Pantera 0.78
9= TS
3.0
52 Germany Ford Motorenwerke Deutschland Germany Dieter Glemser
Spain Alex Soler-Roig
Ford Capri 2600RS 0.78
9= GTS
+5.0
4 United States North American Racing Team United States Bob Johnson
United States Dave Heinz
Chevrolet Corvette C3 0.78

Statistics[edit]

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

  • Fastest Lap in practice –F.Cevert, #14 Matra-Simca MS670 – 3:42.2secs; 220.99 km/h (137.32 mph)
  • Fastest Lap – G. van Lennep, #8 Lola T280 – 3:46.9secs; 216.41 km/h (134.47 mph)
  • Winning Distance – 4,691.34 km (2,915.06 mi)
  • Winner’s Average Speed – 195.46 km/h (121.45 mph)
  • Attendance – ?

International Championship for Makes Standings[edit]

As calculated after Le Mans, Round 9 of 11[51]

Pos Manufacturer Points
1 Italy Ferrari 160 (168)*
2 Italy Alfa Romeo 85
3 West Germany Porsche 58 (60)*
4 United Kingdom Lola 44
5 United Kingdom Chevron 37
6= United Kingdom Mirage 20
6= France Matra 20
8 United States Chevrolet 13
9 Italy De Tomaso 12
10 Italy Abarth 4
  • Note: Only the best 8 of 11 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.84
  2. ^ a b Automobile Year 1972, p.144
  3. ^ Clausager 1982, p.164-5
  4. ^ a b c d e f Moity 1974, p.134
  5. ^ Clausager 1982, p.21
  6. ^ Clausager 1982, p.22
  7. ^ a b Clausager 1982, p.164-5
  8. ^ a b c d Clarke 1997, p.137: Motor Jun24 1972
  9. ^ a b c d e Spurring 2011, p.86-7
  10. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.83
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Clarke 1997, p.128: Autosport Jun8 1972
  12. ^ a b c d e Spurring 2011, p.94
  13. ^ a b c d e f Clarke 1997, p.129-131: Road & Track Oct 1972
  14. ^ Spurring 2011, p.91
  15. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.93
  16. ^ a b Clarke 1997, p.132-3: Motor Jun17 1972
  17. ^ a b c d e Spurring 2011, p.88-9
  18. ^ Laban 2001, p.172
  19. ^ a b Automobile Year 1972, p.171
  20. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.96
  21. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.90
  22. ^ Spurring 2011, p.98
  23. ^ Spurring 2011, p.99
  24. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.105
  25. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.102
  26. ^ a b c Spurring 2011, p.101
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Clarke 1997, p.134-5: Motor Jun17 1972
  28. ^ Spurring 2011, p.107
  29. ^ Spurring 2011, p.85
  30. ^ a b c Automobile Year 1972, p.172
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clarke 1997, p.136: Motor Jun17 1972
  32. ^ Clarke 1997, p.139-40: Modern Motor Aug 1972
  33. ^ Spurring 2011, p.2
  34. ^ a b c d Spurring 2011, p.108
  35. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 – Le Mans History". www.lemans-history.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  36. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 - World Sports Racing Prototypes". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  37. ^ "1972 Le Mans 24 Hrs". www.teamdan.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  38. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 – Le Mans History". www.lemans-history.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  39. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 - World Sports Racing Prototypes". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  40. ^ "1972 Le Mans 24 Hrs". www.teamdan.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  41. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 – Le Mans History". www.lemans-history.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  42. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 - World Sports Racing Prototypes". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  43. ^ "1972 Le Mans 24 Hrs". www.teamdan.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  44. ^ a b Spurring 2011, p.82
  45. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 – Le Mans History". www.lemans-history.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  46. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 - World Sports Racing Prototypes". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  47. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 - Racing Sports Cars". www.racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  48. ^ "1972 Le Mans 24 Hrs". www.teamdan.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  49. ^ Spurring 2011, p.109
  50. ^ Moity 1974, p.188
  51. ^ "International Championship for Makes". World Sports Racing Prototypes.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 

References[edit]

  • Armstrong, Douglas – English editor (1972) Automobile Year #20 1972-73 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

External links[edit]

  • Racing Sports Cars – Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 entries, results, technical detail. Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • Le Mans History – Le Mans History, hour-by-hour (incl. pictures, quotes, YouTube links). Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • World Sports Racing Prototypes – results, reserve entries & chassis numbers. Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • Team Dan – results & reserve entries, explaining driver listings. Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • Unique Cars & Parts – results & reserve entries. Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • Formula 2 – Le Mans results & reserve entries. Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • Motorsport Memorial – details of the year’s fatal accidents. Retrieved 13 Jun 2018
  • YouTube – Colour footage of Matra’s race (9mins). Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • YouTube – Colour footage of Porsche’s race with German commentary (20mins). Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • YouTube – Colour amateur footage (no sound), in two parts (20mins). Retrieved 25 Jun 2018
  • YouTube – Vic Elford talks about Bonnier’s fatal crash (2mins). Retrieved 25 Jun 2018