1927 Le Mans 24 Hours

  • Saturday, June 18, 1927
  • 24 heures du Mans

The victory in the le Mans 24-hour race by a 3-litre Bentley is one of which all concerned may feel pretty proud. In England we are able to have no road races at all, and there is nowhere in the country where a race can be held for 24 hours. In spite of this, an English car can go abroad and beat all corners in a race under conditions which our more fortunate continental friends can be much more intimately acquainted with. In the le Mans race, the team of Bentleys, in spite of racing far from home and under conditions which can never be imitated in this country, proved themselves easily the best cars on the course, and but for one of the most amazing and regrettable crashes en masse in the history of motor racing, the result might well have been a Bentley grand slam. While however, we wish heartily to congratulate the Bentley people, we do not feel that other English firms deserve to share their glory. If we can build cars in this country capable of winning by far the most difficult and important contest for standard productions in the whole season, it is to say the least of it, regrettable that more firms do not show the world what their productions are capable of. It seems likely that this year the Bentley will be the only British competitor in the great continental races (apart from more or less privately built cars), and British manufacturers, therefore, have only themselves to blame if the world comes to think that the Bentley is the only British car worth mentioning.

The original twenty-seven starters were reduced to twenty-two on the day of the race by reason of several last minute withdrawals. The 3-litre Steyr did not put in an appearance, while the manufacturers announced that the three 2-litre Rolland-Pilains could not be ready for the race. As one of their engineers had been killed in practice, the two O.M. cars had to be withdrawn, and as a result of a crash in a touring car in which several of the drivers were injured, one of the front-wheel driven Tractas had to be scratched. As it was Gregoire drove the remaining car with his head bandaged up.

The only competitor to the Bentleys therefore in the big class was the 3-litre Aries driven by Laly and Chassagne. When the start was given, the drivers had to get to their cars, erect the hoods and start the engines with the electric starter. The Bentleys were first away, and at the end of the first lap Clement held the lead on the 4i-1itre car, with Benjafield and d’Erlanger on the two 3-litre cars second and third. At the end of a hundred miles, Clement was still first with d’Erlanger second, Benj afield third and Laly (Aries) fourth. Behind them came the three 1100 c.c. Salmsons, which proved themselves faster than the 2-litre Fastos and the 1500 c.c. 6-cylinder S.A.R.A. and E.H.P. On the eighteenth round, Clement broke the? lap record at 73.39 m.p.h., and at the end of two hours had covered 140.8 miles, or 9 more than last year. It looked as if the Lorraine-Dietrich record of 1926 was going to be broken.

Race Results


Circuit - Le Mans




Le Mans, Pays de la Loire


Temporary road course


10.726 (Miles)


Jimmy Murphy (Duesenberg), 7m43, 83.399 mph, GP, 1921