The 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 42nd Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 15 and 16 June 1974. It was the fifth round of the 1974 World Championship for Makes.
In 1974, Ferrari retired from endurance racing. Matra had developed the Matra 670 into a more aerodynamic version, the 680. Three 670s and one 680 were entered. In addition, John Wyer entered two Gulf-GR7s.
Henri Pescarolo and Gérard Larrousse's Matra 670 was leading at dawn. Around 10:00 a.m. the Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera running in second place lost its fifth gear, causing the car to lose around 40 seconds per lap to the leading Matra.
But just before 11:00 a.m., Pescarolo had a gearbox failure. The Porsche-designed Matra gearbox problem was easy to repair, but when Pescarolo returned to the race, he had lost 45 minutes. The Porsche 911 Turbo was now in the same lap, which was a surprising achievement for a road-car derivative car against the prototypes.
Rain began to fall during the final hour. Pescarolo managed to build a six-lap lead over the Porsche by the end. It was Matra's and Pescarolo's third consecutive Le Mans victory. At the end of the season Matra announced its retirement from racing.
Failed to cover 70% of winner's laps (235 laps)