The 2014 Le Mans Classic was held 4-6 July at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The Plateau Two race for sports racing cars that competed at Le Mans from 1949 to 1956 saw a strong field of 75 entrants, including several from Jaguar, Aston Martin, Maserati, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, among others.
The post-war period was a turning point in motor car technology as improved engine development and the science of aerodynamics began to play an increasingly important role. The result was quicker cars designed and entered by increasingly professional works teams. Henceforth, the on-track battles were much more closely-fought between the entrants. This was the scenario that the drivers in this Le Mans Classic 2014 grid at the wheel of different models of the Aston Martin DB series, the C and D-Type Jaguars, Maserati A6 GCSs and 300s, Austin Healey 100 Ms, Lancia Aurelias, Lotus IX, XIs, Porsche 356s and Triumph TR2s were determined to replay.
Among them was an Aston Martin DB2/4 driven by Hernando Da Silva Ramos, 60 years after his outing at Le Mans in a similar model. The Frenchman of Brazilian origin (elected to the Le Mans 24 Hours Hall of Fame in 2013) drove in Formula 1 in the mid-50s for Gordini followed by a Cooper and a Maserati 250F. In 1959, he won the Touring Car category in the Tour de France Automobile with a Jaguar Mk I. Also entered were two Type-C Jaguars like the cars that won in 1951 and 1953 plus an ex-Jim Clark D-Type, one of the Coventry cats that scored a hat trick in 1955, 1956 and 1957. A very rare 1100 cc Kieft Climax from 1954 delighted the specialists. Finally, the Boucherons again shared the 1950 Fiat 1500 Spéciale, the ideal embodiment of the family racing spirit.
The 1953 Jaguar C-Type of Finburgh and Newall took the overall win in Group Two, a race of attrition that saw many top entrants fail to finish. Alex Buncombe at the wheel of his Jaguar C-Type delighted the crowd with a festival of slides and daring overtaking moves in the traffic. The 2011 GT4 Cup champion was as much at home at nighttime as in daytime and he made mincemeat of his rivals in the first two heats. Maybe he got carried away as after a first near miss at the pit entry when he avoided an out-of-control car by a miracle, the English driver hit a rival at Arnage.
Several favourites like Gavin Pickering (winner in 2012) and Carlos Monteverde, both in Jaguar D-Types, and the duo Mulder-Simon in their Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe, suffered mechanical issues. The Finburgh-Newall team took advantage of race incidents and emerged victorious in their Jaguar in front of a 1957 Lotus Eleven and a pair of Austin-Healeys. The Aga Khan-Prill-Clark Porsche 356 Pre-A Coupe won the Index of Performance.
Similar to 2010 and 2012, Senior Photographer Tim Scott also documented the 2014 Le Mans Classic with the following images that expertly capture the Grid / Plateau Two race for 1949 to 1956 Le Mans entrants. We split up Tim’s 228 pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view of Sports Car Digest, while the second gallery and race results can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs. To see more from Tim, visit fluidimages.co.uk.
Le Mans Classic 2014 – 1949 to 1956 Race Featured Photo Gallery
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