Sixty-two entries for last Le Mans to star hybrid LMP1 prototypes
Le Mans organiser ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) has listed the 62 entries that have been invited to take part in the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 13-14. ...
Initially scheduled for the weekend of June 13-14, this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours has been postponed until mid-September due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 1968 race was also held in September and saw Michelin provide new radial tyres for its partner Alpine.
The severity of coronavirus epidemic has forced the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) to postpone the last round of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship until September 19-20. In a precedent, the 1968 Le Mans 24 Hours was held the same month owing to the wave of protests that rocked France in May that year.
The race produced a third straight win for the Ford GT40 (Rodriguez/Bianchi) which, for the first time, was sporting the iconic colours of Gulf. Having competed at Le Mans since 1951, Porsche was rewarded with its first-ever pole position in La Sarthe thanks to Jo Siffert (Porsche 908). The German make ended up second and third with the 907 of Steinemann/Spoerry and Neerpash/Stommelen’s 908.
One of the most prominently reported stories that year was the feat of Henri Pescarolo who stayed at the wheel of his Matra during the night despite suffering a windscreen-wiper failure in pouring rain.
Meanwhile, Michelin arrived at Le Mans with a brand new range of radial tyres for the four Alpine A220s entered by Société des Automobiles Alpine and Ecurie Savin-Calberson. The hastily-completed cars were powered by a new Gordini-tuned three-litre V8.
Three of them failed to reach the finish following the retirements of Grandsire/Larrousse (Lap 59), Guichet/Jabouille (Lap 185) and Bianchi/Depailler (fire, Lap 257). However, the Alpine A220/Michelin of André de Cortanze/Jean Vinatier took the chequered flag in eighth place overall and third in the P3.0 class after covering 4,000 kilometres (297 laps).
The French car’s top-10 result was a fitting reward for the staff at Michelin Compétition who had put significant effort into developing its new radial slicks in time. The department’s resolve and innovative instincts paid further dividends a decade later when the company’s radial technology famously triumphed at Le Mans with Alpine in 1978!