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1973 24 Hours of Le Mans

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1973 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 41st Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 9 and 10 June 1973. It was the eighth round of the 1973 World Championship of Makes.

Contents

Pre-race

In 1973, Matra competed against Ferrari for the World Champion title, and Ferrari came to Le Mans, as the race could be decisive for the title. The beginning of the championship had showed that the Matra 670s had better handling, but the Ferraris showed better reliability.

The Matras 670s were updated to the 670B specification consisting mainly of larger spoilers. The main weakness of the 1972 670 was the ZF gearbox (the gearbox used in the stock GT40 Mk1 and the De Tomaso Pantera). By the end of the 1972 race, it had showed so much wear that it was obvious that it could not finish a 24-hour race with serious opposition. New Porsche "Type 1983" gearboxes especially built for Matra by Porsche were fitted in the 670B.

For Le Mans, the Ferrari 312PB had a previously unseen longtail bodywork. John Wyer was back with two Cosworth-powered Gulf Mirage M6 roadsters. In 1000 km races the M6s had proven they were serious competitors, and the Matras and Ferraris were only slightly ahead. Alfa Romeo was more affected than Ferrari by strikes and social troubles in Italy. Alfa racing subsidiary Autodelta did not enter the new flat-12 powered cars, and the marque was represented only by a V8 powered private car entered by Scuderia Brescia Corse. A Sigma powered by a Mazda Wankel engine was entered; this was the first Japanese car to qualify for Le Mans, as well as the first Wankel-powered car to race.

Race

Ferrari sent the Arturo Merzario/Carlos Pace 312PB out first as a hare.

Matra raced to their plan and let the Ferrari go. While the Matras were all running at the same speed, the Ferraris had a variety of strategies. Carlos Reutemann and Tim Schenken were running among the Matra. Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman were running with the slowest 3L cars, the Lolas and the private Alfa Romeo.

Ferrari swapped the lead with Matra through the next four hours, but Henri Pescarolo would repeat as winner, with GĂ©rard Larrousse as co-driver.

Statistics

  • Pole Position - #16 SpA Ferrari SEFAC - 3:37.50
  • Fastest Lap - #10 Equipe Matra-Simca Shell - 3:39.60
  • Distance - 4853.945 km
  • Average Speed - 202.247 km/h
  • Trophy Winners

  • Index of Thermal Efficiency - #45 Porsche Kremer Racing Team
  • References

    1973 24 Hours of Le Mans Wikipedia


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