The 2014 Le Mans Classic was held 4-6 July at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Staged by Peter Auto in association with Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the seventh running of the biennial event battled on the same 13.629 kilometer Le Mans circuit run in the modern 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Plateau Six race — the most modern grid at Le Mans Classic 2014 — was held for race cars that left their mark on the 1972 to 1979 era of Le Mans. A notable entrant was the Alpine A442B that scored outright victory in the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours with Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud at the wheel – Renault’s only overall success in the Sarthe. It was driven this year by Jean Ragnotti (4th in the same race in the A442A) and Alain Serpaggi (5 outings at Le Mans between 1968 and 1989, winner of the 1.5 prototype category in 1969 in an Alpine A210 that raced in grid 4).
Another French car that shone in the Sarthe Classic was the Matra 670C, which saw the flag in second place in 1972 driven by François Cevert and Howden Ganley, behind its sister-car of Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill. The Inaltera GT, first in the line of racers built by Jean Rondeau in 1976 was back at Le Mans — the Rondeau M378, which holds the record for the highest number of starts at Le Mans at 10, and the Rondeau M379, which won the 1980 race with Rondeau himself and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. The BMW 3.0 CSL that won the 1973 Spa 24 Hours with the duo Toine Hezemans-Dieter Quester was also part of the grid without forgetting some of the old NASCAR cars, a Chevrolet Monza, Porsche’s great rival in IMSA, a Ford Gran Torino and a Dodge Charger.
Another point of interest was a Mirage GR7, one of which came home 4th in 1974 with Derek Bell and Mike Hailwood, as well as the 1972 Duckhams driven by its owner (driver and owner of the OAK Racing team) Jacques Nicolet. Rounding off this rich field was the Tecma 755, the home-built design by Philippe Mettetal entered in the 1975 24 Hours for Jean Ragnotti and Pierre-François Rousselot. Among other well-known drivers in this grid were Eric Hélary (Chevrolet Corvette C3), Gérard Larrousse victorious in 1973 and 1974, and Jürgen Barth who teamed up in a Porsche 911 RSR Turbo.
The Grid Six race at this year’s Le Mans Class saw the 1973 Gulf Mirage of Chris MacAllister take the top prize, the same result as 2012. The first heat was given the green light during a lull in the bad weather, but it was quickly neutralised because of a shower. The safety conditions were too perilous to allow the cars to race, so they continued behind the safety car. The first real battle took place around dawn on Sunday morning on an almost dry track. Carlos Barbot came out on top in his 1972 Lola T280 beating the Ferrer-Collinot Ferrari 512 BB LM by a second. Chris MacAllister won the third heat in his open Gulf Mirage by only 10 seconds from Barbot to take the overall win. Two Porsche 935s followed less than a minute behind, while the Titford-Reeves Ford Capri 2600 RS won the Index of Performance.
Similar to 2010 and 2012, Senior Photographer Tim Scott also documented Le Mans Classic 2014 with the following images that expertly capture the Grid / Plateau Six race for 1972 to 1979 Le Mans entrants. We split up Tim’s 144 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 – 1972 to 1979 Race Featured Photo Gallery
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