IndyCar Monterey Grand Prix
The IndyCar Monterey Grand Prix or known as "Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey" due to sponsorship reason. Is an IndyCar Series race held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California; the event dates back to 1960, became an American open wheel race beginning in 1983. The race was part of the CART/Champ Car series from 1983 through 2004. After a fifteen-year hiatus, the event will return in 2019 as part of the IndyCar Series, replacing Sonoma. Since its inception as an Indy car race in 1983, for nearly it entire existence, it has been held at or near the end of the season. From 1989 to 1996, it served as the CART season finale; when the race returns as part of the IndyCar Series in 2019, it will again be scheduled as the season finale. Due to its placement near the end of the season, the race has been pivotal to the points championship. Several drivers have clinched the Indy car title at Laguna Seca. In addition, Laguna Seca was the site of the final Indy car race for legend Mario Andretti, who retired at the end of the 1994 season.
Laguna Seca is best-remembered as the site of one of the most legendary moments in the history of CART. On the final lap of the 1996 Monterey Grand Prix, Alex Zanardi executed a daring, diving pass inside of Bryan Herta through the difficult "Corkscrew" turns. Zanardi bounced wildly through the dirt and over the curbing, sliding across the track, narrowly missing a collision, astonishingly made the pass stick for the win; the spectacular overtaking maneuver by Zanardi became known in racing circles as "The Pass". The driver with the most wins is Bobby Rahal, who won the CART series race four years in a row from 1984–1987, three additional times as an owner. Rahal won the race in 1979 when it was a Can-Am series event; the event dates back to 1960, has traditionally been held in the fall. The event was first held as a USAC Road Racing Championship race, following the success of the SCCA's Pebble Beach Road Races. After USAC's road racing series disbanded in 1962, the race became a non-championship sports car race for three years.
The race joined the Can-Am schedule for 1966–1973. After the demise of Can-Am in 1974, the event shifted to Formula 5000 for two years to IMSA for two more years, it should be noted that this race encompasses a separate history from another event at Laguna Seca, the sports car race traditionally held in the spring. The revived Cam-Am returned from 1978 -- 1982; the CART race was held every year from 1983 to 2004. The race continued to be held in the fall with the exception of 2002–2003 when it was moved to June; the final CART/Champ Car race was held in 2004. Its spot on the calendar was shifted to San Jose. In 1989 and 1991, the Marlboro Challenge all-star exhibition race was part of the CART race weekend. In 1991, Michael Andretti swept the weekend, winning both the Challenge on Saturday and Grand Prix on Sunday. After a hiatus from 2005–2007, the race was set to return as part of the Champ Car World Series in 2008. However, after the 2008 open wheel unification, the race went back on hiatus. With the top-level Indy cars absent, now competing instead at Sonoma, the Atlantic Championship headlined at the track from 2008–2009.
In 2015–2016, the track hosted the Mazda Road to Indy championship weekend. All three lower tiers of INDYCAR - Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, U. S. F2000 participated in a standalone event. However, the top-level IndyCar Series still stayed away, continued to race at Sonoma. In 2018, a renewed effort to return Indy car racing to Laguna Seca was spearheaded by Monterey County and track officials. In their favor, the IndyCar races at Sonoma were said to be money-losers. Sonoma, located in the Northern California region, is only about 150 miles north of Monterey by car. Sonoma held a "geographical exclusion" clause which precluded IndyCar races from being held at both venues. In July 2018, it was announced that Sonoma would be removed from the IndyCar schedule after the 2018 season, Laguna Seca would added for 2019; the track signed an initial three-year deal and would take over the spot as the IndyCar season finale. In 1999, driver Gonzalo Rodríguez was fatally injured in a practice crash. Five different drivers have won the Indy car race consecutively, including Bobby Rahal who won four years in a row from 1984–1987.
Rahal's mark ties a CART series record for most consecutive wins at an individual circuit. The 2003 race was scheduled for 87 laps or a 2-hour, 10 minute time limit; the 2004 race was scheduled for a 1-hour, 45 minute time limit. Races since 2019 are scheduled for 98 laps. 1983: In front of a crowd of 50,000 spectators, the CART series visited Laguna Seca for the first time in 1983. It was the second-to-last race of the season; the focus of attention going into the race was the championship battle between Al Unser and rookie Teo Fabi. Unser led Fabi by 35 points, could wrap up the title with a 5th-place finish or better. Fabi qualified for the pole position, proceeded to dominate the weekend. Fabi led 95 of the 98 laps, only giving up the lead for a few hundred feet after a restart on lap 29, during a sequence of pit stops on lap 63-65. Fabi beat second place Mario Andretti by 22-seconds at the finish line. Meanwhile, points leader Al Unser broke a halfshaft with 11 laps to go and dropped to 11th place at the finish.
Fabi narrowed the points lead. Fabi clinched the 1983 CART rookie of the year award. Two controversies flared up during qualifying on Saturday. Johnny Rutherford's qualifying speed was thrown out after officials found a
6 Hours of Watkins Glen
The Six Hours of Watkins Glen is a sports car endurance race held annually at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. The race dates from 1948, has been a part of the SCCA National Sports Car Championship, United States Road Racing Championship, World Sportscar Championship, IMSA GT Championship, Rolex Sports Car Series and the United SportsCar Championship; the first Watkins Glen Grand Prix was held in 1948 on a 6.6-mile course around Watkins Glen State Park and the village of Watkins Glen. Cameron Argetsinger, a Cornell law student and SCCA member, organized the event along with the local Chamber of Commerce; the 8-lap, 52.8-mile race was won by Frank Griswold in a pre-war Alfa Romeo 8C. In 1950, three spectators were injured during a support race, driver Sam Collier was killed during the Grand Prix; the 1951 event became a part of the new SCCA National Sports Car Championship series. In 1952, twelve spectators were injured and one killed when a car left the circuit in the village.
This led organizers to move the course to a hillside southwest of Watkins Glen for 1953. Drivers complained of poor visibility and run-off, prompting the construction of a permanent circuit, today called Watkins Glen International, in 1956. In 1963, the race switched to the United States Road Racing Championship. In 1968, the race was expanded to six hours, joined the World Sportscar Championship. Along with the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, the Six Hours of Watkins Glen served as an American round of the WSC from 1968 until 1981, traditionally held during the summer. With the track's bankruptcy and the FIA's decision not to return the World Championship to the United States in 1982, the event was not held again until 1984, it returned as an event for the IMSA Camel GT Championship. Under the control of IMSA, the event was radically shortened. In the 1984 running, a break was held after three hours before the race began again and completed the next three hours; this event became known as the Camel Continental.
A second event in the year was held lasting for just three hours or 500 kilometers, was known as the New York 500. The Continental was modified once more in 1985, this time running sports prototypes in one three-hour event, grand tourer cars in a second three-hour event. By 1986, the event was shortened altogether, became a single 500 mile race shortened once more in 1987 to just 500 km. For several years IMSA kept the Continental as a 500 km race for prototypes in the summer, the 500 km New York 500 for grand tourers in autumn. IMSA chose to drop the New York 500 in 1992, retaining the Continental as an event just for prototypes until 1995. In 1996, IMSA restored the Watkins Glen event to its historic format, combining prototypes and grand tourers once again. By 1998, Watkins Glen chose to schedule the Six Hours as part of the new United States Road Racing Championship; this championship change was short lived, as the USSRC folded during the 1999 season prior to their second running at Watkins Glen, leaving an FIA GT Championship event as the year's sportscar headliner.
In the wake of USRRC's collapse, the Grand American Road Racing Championship took control of the event, retained the Six Hours since 2000 as part of the Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2014 after the merger of Grand-AM and the ALMS sports car series, IMSA regained control of the event under the United SportsCar Championship; the format of the face remains the same. † Not completed.
Formula 5000 was an open wheel, single seater auto-racing formula that ran in different series in various regions around the world from 1968 to 1982. It was intended as a low-cost series aimed at open-wheel racing cars that no longer fit into any particular formula. The'5000' denomination comes from the maximum 5.0 litre engine capacity allowed in the cars, although many cars ran with smaller engines. Manufacturers included McLaren, March, Lotus, Elfin and Chevron. In its declining years in North America Formula 5000 was modified into a closed wheel, but still single-seat sports car racing category. Formula 5000 was introduced in 1968 as a class within SCCA Formula A races, a series where single seaters from different origins were allowed to compete, but which came to be dominated by the cars equipped with production-based American V8s; the engines used were 5 litre, fuel injected Chevrolet engines with about 500 horsepower at 8000 rpm, although other makes were used. The concept was inspired by the success of the Can-Am Series, which featured unlimited formula sports cars fitted with powerful engines derived from American V8s.
F5000 enjoyed popularity in the early 1970s in the U. S. and featured drivers such as Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, James Hunt, Jody Scheckter, Brian Redman, David Hobbs, Tony Adamowicz, Sam Posey, Ian Ashley, John Cannon and Eppie Wietzes. Increasing costs and Lola domination meant the formula lost its appeal after 1975. Older cars continued to be used in the SCCA national races, but the most competitive teams reconverted their cars with sports car bodyworks, in the resurrected Can-Am championship, starting in 1977; the formula worked with a number of European drivers crossing the Atlantic to attend the SCCA-run championship, but when IMSA introduced the new GTP prototype regulations for the IMSA GT Championship in 1981, the old F5000 were now clumsy and slow compared to the new cars. In the UK, the arrival of the Cosworth DFV engine meant that many teams could now afford to build their own chassis around a good engine/transmission package, so Cooper and Brabham stopped the production of customer Formula 1 cars.
Smaller privateer teams and drivers that entered Britain's non-championship F1 events were left behind, the RAC adopted the American F5000 regulations. A European championship was first run in 1969 as the Guards Formula 5000 Championship; this was renamed to Guards European Formula 5000 Championship in 1970, to Rothmans European Formula 5000 Championship in 1971 and to ShellSport European Formula 5000 Championship in 1975. Unlike the American series, the European championship didn't attract many star names from Formula 1 and sports cars, was dominated by drivers that were seen in Formula 2 or at the back of F1's World Championship grids. Peter Gethin managed to launch his F1 career thanks to his F5000 championship titles. While it was based in the United Kingdom, the series managed to spread across Europe, with races held at many international circuits, including Monza and Zandvoort, attracted a significant number of continental drivers; the weak pound and the increasing cost of importing Chevrolet V8 engines caused some concern and engine regulations for European F5000 were revised to permit engines other than the 5.0 litre pushrod V8s - the DOHC Cosworth GA V6 (based on a unit used in Group 2 Capris was permitted to race at a capacity of 3500cc.
March 75A and Chevron B30 cars were successful with the V6, the March in particular being little more than a 751 Formula One car with minor modifications for the new engine. However, the same problem that befell US F5000 happened in Europe, in 1976 the European F5000 Championship evolved into the Shellsport Group 8 Championship; this was a British-based series for Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 5000 and Formula Atlantic cars, forming the basis of what would become the Aurora F1 Championship in 1978. The F1 Championship was open to Formula 1 and Formula 2 cars only, with Formula 5000 cars no longer eligible. Older F5000 cars continued to be used in the British Sprint Championship and were common in Formula Libre races well into the 1980s. In Australia and New Zealand, the Tasman Formula, defining cars eligible for the annual Tasman Series, was extended in 1970 to include Formula 5000 cars as well as the existing 2.5 litre cars. The Tasman Series ran during the Formula One off season in the European winter, in the 1960s it had attracted the attention of the greatest names in Grand Prix racing, from locals Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, to foreigners like Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Phil Hill, Piers Courage and Jochen Rindt.
However, by the 1970s Formula One had become more commercial and the Grand Prix stars no longer took part. The Tasman Series had become a competitive Australian/New Zealand local championship leaving the field to be dominated by the cream of "Down Under" drivers such as Frank Matich, Frank Gardner, Kevin Bartlett, Vern Schuppan, Graeme McRae, Graeme Lawrence, Warwick Brown, Johnnie Walker, John McCormack, Alan Jones, John Goss, Larry Perkins, John Bowe and Garrie Cooper racing against European and American drivers such as David Hobbs, Teddy Pilette, Mike Hailwood, Sam Posey, Richard Attwood and Peter Gethin; the four Australian Formula 5000 Tasman races continued as the Rothmans International Series from 1976 until 1979. Formula 5000 was the main component of Australian Formula 1 from 1971 to 1981 and this formula was the primary category contesting the Australian Drivers' Championship during those years a
Kurtis Kraft was an American designer and builder of race cars. The company built midget cars, sports cars, sprint cars, Bonneville cars, USAC Championship cars, it was founded by Frank Kurtis. Kurtis built some low fiberglass bodied two-seaters sports cars under his own name in Glendale, California between 1949 and 1955. Ford running gear was used. About 36 cars had been made when the licence was sold to Earl "Madman" Muntz who built the Muntz Jet. In 1954 and 1955, road versions of their Indianapolis racers were offered. Kurtis Kraft created over 550 ready-to-run midget cars, 600 kits; the Kurtis Kraft chassis midget car featured a smaller version of the Offenhauser motor. The National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame describes the combination as "virtually unbeatable for over twenty years." Kurtis Kraft created 120 Indianapolis 500 cars, including five winners. Kurtis sold the midget car portion of the business to Johnny Pawl in the late 1950s, the quarter midget business to Ralph Potter in 1962.
Frank Kurtis was the first non-driver inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Zeke Justice and Ed Justice of the Justice Brothers both worked at Kurtis-Kraft after World War II. Zeke Justice was the first employee at Kurtis-Kraft; the FIA World Drivers' Championship included the Indianapolis 500 between 1950 and 1960, so many Kurtis Kraft cars are credited with competing in that championship. One Kurtis midget car was entered in the 1959 Formula One United States Grand Prix driven by Rodger Ward, it was not designed for European-style road racing and with an undersized engine it circulated at the back of the field for 20 laps before retiring with clutch problems. From 1950 to 1960, the Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA World Championship
Beverly Regional Airport
Beverly Regional Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport located three nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Beverly, a city in Essex County, United States. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a reliever airport, which means it is available to relieve Logan International Airport of small general aviation type aircraft during Logan's peak traffic times. Beverly Regional Airport was built in 1928 through the efforts of the Beverly Aero Club and the Beverly Chamber of Commerce; the U. S. Navy operated the airport during World War II under a joint-use agreement as Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Beverly, it existed as an auxiliary air facility of Naval Air Station Squantum. It was commissioned on 15 May, 1943 and the airfield was upgraded with a new asphalt runway; the Navy built a control tower, a barracks, other structures and consisted of four officers and sixty enlisted men. The field provided touch and go practice for students at Naval Air Station Squantum as well as Fleet Air Arm student pilots.
Planes from Coast Guard Air Station Salem used the facility for maritime patrol, as well as a detachment from VS-31, which flew anti-submarine patrols with Douglas SBD-5 aircraft. It was decommissioned as a military facility on August 1, 1945. Ownership of the airport was transferred back to the City of Beverly in 1950. Beverly Regional Airport covers an area of 470 acres at an elevation of 107 feet above mean sea level, it has two runways with asphalt surfaces: 9/27 is 4,755 by 100 feet and 16/34 is 5,001 by 100 feet. For the 12-month period ending October 1, 2011, the airport had 66,900 aircraft operations, an average of 183 per day: 99% general aviation, 1% air taxi, <1% military. At that time 103 aircraft were based at this airport: 84% single-engine, 11% multi-engine, 3% helicopter, 2% jet. Civil Air Patrol Squadron MA-019, Beverly Composite Squadron, is headquartered at Beverly Regional Airport in the old airport control tower. Something Different Cafe is located on the east side of the airport.
It features breakfast and lunch menus. On July 16, 1936, bandleader Orville Knapp, brother of actress Evalyn Knapp, died in a plane crash here after he misjudged a landing maneuver and stalled in mid-air. SCCA auto races were held at Beverly Airport in 1955 and 1956; the inaugural races were held on July 4, 1955. Phil Hill was the 1955 overall champion; the 1956 champion was Carroll Shelby. On May 9, 1989 Alfred James Hunter III, a postal worker who had shot and killed his ex-wife earlier that evening, stole an airplane at gunpoint from flight instructor. During the flight, which stretched from Danvers to Duxbury, Hunter fired his gun at the ground below, buzzed the South Postal Annex in Boston several times, touched down at Logan Airport before taking off again, he landed at Logan more than three hours and was arrested after a minor struggle with police. A scene in the 2000 film The Perfect Storm, was shot at Beverly Airport. In May 2008, a scene for the movie The Proposal was filmed at Beverly Airport.
On August 27, 2010, Michael Costales, age 30, a flight instructor at Beverly Regional Airport, was struck and killed by an aircraft moving propeller. Costales had taxied his aircraft out to the run-up area of the active runway, 34 at Beverly Regional Airport. At about 12:30 PM, Costales got out of his Piper PA 28 Cherokee aircraft to assist another flight instructor and his student with fastening the canopy of their PiperSport aircraft; as Costales got out of his aircraft and walked toward the other aircraft, he was struck by his aircraft's propeller. The student pilot in the PiperSport aircraft declared an emergency with the Control Tower who called 911 but Costales was killed instantly; the airport was shut down for a couple of hours as investigators tried to figure out what caused this event. Official website FAA Airport Diagram, effective March 28, 2019 FAA Terminal Procedures for BVY, effective March 28, 2019 Resources for this airport: FAA airport information for BVY AirNav airport information for KBVY ASN accident history for BVY FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker NOAA/NWS latest weather observations SkyVector aeronautical chart, Terminal Procedures AC-U-KWIK information for KBVY
The Surtees Racing Organisation was a race team that spent nine seasons as a constructor in Formula One, Formula 2, Formula 5000. The team was formed by John Surtees, a four-time 500cc motorcycle champion and the 1964 Formula One champion. Surtees formed the team in 1966 for the newly formed CanAm series, winning the championship as an owner/driver in its first year, he fielded an entry in another newly formed series in 1969, becoming part of Formula 5000 after taking over the failed Leda F5000 project, his team constructed its own cars for the first time. His team was successful, winning five races, during a twelve race season; this inspired Surtees to expand to Formula One, after having had a difficult season with BRM in 1969, he decided to become an owner/driver again. The team ran the full 1970 season, but John Surtees was forced to run the first four races in an old McLaren due to a delay in the construction of his in-house F1 car; the new BP-sponsored car earned its first points that year in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Surtees added a second full-time car in 1971 for German driver Rolf Stommelen, ran a third car for various drivers in a number of races. Three drivers, Surtees and motorcycling champion Mike Hailwood earned three points each for the marque that year. After the 1971 season, Surtees retired from full-time competition, the team ended up with three new full-time drivers in 1972. Hailwood returned to Surtees for a full year. Hailwood produced Surtees' first podium finish that year in the Italian Grand Prix, finishing second to Emerson Fittipaldi. All three drivers scored points for the team, Surtees finished fifth in the Constructors' Championship. Schenken was replaced in 1973 by Brazilian Carlos Pace, the team only ran two full-time cars after de Adamich left following the season opener. Pace finished third in Austria and fourth in Germany, but it was the only points finishes the team had all season, as Hailwood was left scoreless. Hailwood departed for McLaren after the year, being replaced by Jochen Mass in 1974.
It was a difficult year for Surtees, as Pace left the team in mid-season, replacement Derek Bell struggled to qualify for races, capped by Austrian driver Helmut Koinigg's fatal crash at the 1974 United States Grand Prix. A fourth place by Pace at his home track were the only points Surtees managed to get, they failed to finish in the top ten in the Constructors' Championship. Low on money for 1975, the team pared back to a single car for John Watson; the season was a tremendous struggle for Surtees, with no points scored, the team missed three of the final four races. 1976 was much better, however, as Surtees landed an otherwise controversial sponsorship deal with Durex condoms, Australian Alan Jones joined the team. Jones finished fifth in Belgium and at Brands Hatch, fourth in Japan. A second car, with Chesterfield sponsorship, was entered for American Brett Lunger, while a customer car was raced by Frenchman Henri Pescarolo during the second half of the season. With seven points, Surtees placed tenth in the Constructors' Championship.
Jones's success resulted in him leaving the team for the emerging Shadow team, money problems forced Surtees to run one car again in 1977, this time for Vittorio Brambilla. Brambilla's season was effective finishing in the points three times. Still, his good results did not prevent Surtees from further monetary troubles. In 1978, the team added a second car for pay driver, Briton Rupert Keegan, but the money problems continued. A lack of decent results caused further problems. Unable to get sufficient money, the team left F1 after the 1978 season, despite having a car built for 1979. After racing the car in the British Aurora championship that year, Surtees Racing Organization was closed for good. TS5 1969-1970 F5000/Formula A. Based on the abandoned Leda prototype. Runner up in the 1969 Guards F5000 championship. Intended as a customer car, but there were no takers. TS7 1970 Formula One. Designed by Surtees, Shahab Ahmed, Peter Connew. DFV/Hewland "kit car" followed on TS5 layout. Surtees won the Oulton Park International Gold Cup non-Championship race in this car.
TS8 1971-1972 F5000. Runner up in Rothmans Championship in 1971. TS9 1971-1972 Formula One. A derivative of the TS7 with a longer wheelbase and wider track. Surtees repeated his Oulton Park win in 1971. TS10 1972 Formula 2. Powered by a Cosworth BDA engine Mike Hailwood convincingly won the 1972 European F2 Championship in this car. Two independent teams were not contenders in the series. TS11 1972-1973 F5000. Based on the TS9 with a Chevrolet engine. Gijs van Lennep won the 1972 Rothmans European Formula 5000 Championship driving the TS11 and a McLaren M18. A TS11 chassis with TS8 bodywork was prepared to run the 1972 Tasman Series after the TS8 intended for the series was wrecked beyond repair. Hailwood finished second in the series in this car. TS14 1972-1973 Formula One; this car marked the beginning of the end for Surtees. Firestone was anticipating leaving Formula One and had little interest in working with Surtees to cure the TS14's habit of devouring tires, it was the first car in F1 to comply with crumple-zone legislation, incorporating these into its side pods within which the radiators were mounted, laying down the floorplan for the vast majority of subsequent F1 designs.
It was a quick car at its introduction but a series of accidents and lack of development support did not help it reach its potential. John Surtees drove his last F1
1954 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans was a race for Sports Cars, took place on 12 and 13 June 1954, at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France. It was the fourth race of the 1954 World Sportscar Championship; the race was won by José Froilán Maurice Trintignant driving a Ferrari 375 Plus. People viewed this race as a battle between brute science. In the high technology corner, with its sleek, aerodynamic bodywork was the new 3.4-litre Jaguar D-Type, in the other corner was Ferrari’s formidable 4.9-litre V12 375 Plus. Ranged in between was everyone else; the race was affected by poor weather throughout and was a thriller right to the end and produced the closest finish for the race since 1933: less than 5km. The ACO again extended the replenishment window of fuel and water from 28 to 30 laps although brake fluid was now exempted from this restriction for safety reasons; the equivalence multiplier for forced-induction engines was reduced from x2.0 to x1.4. On the track, the stretch from the corners at Mulsanne to Arnage was widened to 8 metres and the Indianapolis corner was given a banked camber.
This was the first year the race would be televised, getting it a far bigger potential audience. After the previous year’s intense interest from manufacturers for the new Championship, this year the variety of works teams was reduced: Mercedes had decided to stay focused on F1, Alfa Romeo had closed its racing division, Lancia scratched their team and Austin-Healey boycotted the event because of the ongoing presence of the sports-car prototypes, but there were still 85 cars registered for this event, of which a full field of 58 arrived for practice as the remaining manufacturers increased their presence. As before, Jaguar’s sole racing focus for the year was Le Mans and after their 1953 success, they arrived with three of the fantastic new Jaguar D-Type - purpose-built for the smooth tarmac of La Sarthe. A beautiful design, it had been tested in a wind-tunnel and featured the now-famous vertical fin to provide high-speed stability. Low and sleek, it was fast: the 3.4-litre straight-6 engine was redesigned and tilted at 8 degrees and developed 250 bhp with a top speed over 270 km/h.
The cars were so new that they had not been painted when they got to Le Mans. The driver line-up was kept pretty much the same from 1953 with winners Tony Rolt / Duncan Hamilton, 2nd place Stirling Moss / Peter Walker; this year Peter Whitehead was paired with F1 driver Ken Wharton. An ex-works C-Type was provided for the Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps team when their original car was crashed on the way to the circuit by a Jaguar mechanic; the major Italian works teams, Scuderia Ferrari, Officine Alfieri Maserati and Automobili Osca all brought new cars for this race: Ferrari's answer to the D-type was the new Tipo 375 Plus: styled by Pininfarina, it had a bored-out version of the Lampredi-designed V12 engine, now up to 4,954cc and putting out some 345 bhp, a top speed approaching 260 km/h. Not as fast as the Jaguar, but its excellent acceleration was a suitable equaliser on a power-circuit such as Le Mans, with its long straights. With three of his best drivers now unavailable – Alberto Ascari was with Lancia, Giuseppe Farina had been injured in the Mille Miglia and Mike Hawthorn’s father had just died – Ferrari could still field a top team of drivers: three of them - Umberto Maglioli, José Froilán González and Maurice Trintignant were in the current Ferrari F1 works team.
With them were Paolo Marzotto, ex-Gordini driver Robert Manzon and Louis Rosier, 1952 race winner with Talbot. They were backed up three other Ferraris entered by Briggs Cunningham’s and Luigi Chinetti’s American teams. Glamour came with Chinetti's team with film star Zsa Zsa Gabor accompanying her rich playboy-boyfriend, Dominican Porfirio Rubirosa. Maserati was taking over the Formula 1 world in 1954 with its outstanding 250F, they had developed an uprated version of their A6GCS sportscar, replacing the 2.0-litre engine with the 2.5L version from the 250F. A standard 2.0-litre version was privately entered, with factory support, for the Marquis de Portago. OSCA had started the year sensationally when a 1500cc MT-4 entered by Briggs Cunningham and driven by Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd won the Sebring 12-hours against far more powerful opposition. Three such cars arrived at Le Mans. Always looking to be competitive, as well as running the Ferrari 375 MM, Briggs Cunningham had tried to secure the new Dunlop disc brakes for his cars.
However Jaguar used its contract-right to veto the deal. He arrived with a pair of the older Cunningham C4-R roadsters for his regular driver complement– the sole entrants in the Over-5 litre class, it was a big entry for Lagonda-Aston Martin with two private entries. One of the two DB3S spyders had a supercharged 2.9L engine that developed 235 bhp driven by British F1 drivers Reg Parnell and Roy Salvadori, the other was run by Carroll Shelby. Alongside them were a pair of aerodynamic coupés & the long-running, expensive Lagonda sports car with a 4.5L V12 Gordini arrived with four cars, competing in three classes. The lead car, a T24S driven by Behra and Simon, had a 3.0L engine developing 230 bhp and new Messier disc brakes was capable of over 230 km/h