"The Le Mans 24-hour Race"

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

The Le Mans 24-hour Race,” by David Hodges. 140 pp. 7 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (Temple Press Books Ltd., 42, Russell Square London, W.C.1. 18s.)

Here at last, after some feeble former attempts, is a decent history of the great Le Mans race, from the first of the series in 1923, to last year’s Ferrari-dominated race. Each year’s race is dealt with separately, the text a summary rather than a tedious account of every crash and retirement. But the results are given in full, down to the 30th and last place even for the 1923 contest, and retirements and the fastest-lap holders are listed, so that these tabulated results alone are invaluable to serious motor-race historians.

But this compact book goes much further. All manner of absorbingly interesting photographs will he found therein, not sensationally, but entirely adequately, reproduced. For the first Le Mans race, Hodges uses pictures of the Excelsiors leading the Lorraine-Dietrich, Chenard-Walckers and lone Bentley at the start, Duff’s Bentley at the primitive pits, and the winning Chenard et Walcker rounding the pavé-surfaced Pontlieue hairpin. Other years are covered pictorially even more generously, and I was fascinated to find pictures of S.A.R.A., Aries, Overland; Tracta, Chrysler 72, Caban, Stutz, etc., as well as those of the expected makes. Not all are 100% sharp, many are akin to postage-stamps in size, but to include them is a praiseworthy feat for an organisation thought to have scrapped all its negatives when war broke out. Georges Roesch should buy this book, if only for the picture of one of his Talbots chasing an Alfa Romeo in the 1930 race.

Add to the informative pictures and text, graphs and maps of the historic circuit of Le Mans, much-changed down the years, an explanation of the complicated Le Mans rules, an appendix on the prizes, and detailel analyses of all the cars, from Abarth to d’Yrsan, with a breakdown of their placing and performances – a remarkable achievement, this, which shows that Jaguar has the highest percentage of starters to finishers, 47.9%, against Bentley’s 46.7%, another table telling us that in all 1,364 have started at Le Mans, not, counting the Rover-B.R.M., French cars, followed by British, predominating, 541 to 436 – and even an index of the drivers, with nationality and years they drove at Le Mans, from C. M. Abate to M. de Zuniga. Formidable!

This is how motor-racing history should be written and illustrated, although more diverse races such as the French G.P., deserve fuller coverage. But for the Le Mans race the wordage is about right. I commend it highly. I see that the book is sub-titled “Classic Motor Races,” which suggests that Temple Press have further books of this sort in mind, thus perpetuating an idea I think I probably pioneered with the Grenville book about the J.C.C. 200-Mile Race. The foreword to David Hodges’ book is by M. Jean M. Lelievre, President de l’Automobile-Club de l’Ouest. – W. B.