The Pre-War race at Le Mans Classic 2014 was held July 4-6 at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The seventh running of the biennial event saw one of the strongest fields in classic motorsports battle on the full 13.629 kilometer Le Mans circuit run in the modern 24 Hours of Le Mans. Staged by Peter Auto in association with Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the overall field of 450 entrants were selected to provide variety and historic consistency among the six grids of cars that follow one another on the track for the 24 hours.
The famous cars that made their name in the pre-war period in the Le Mans 24 Hours were back on the playing fields of their former exploits — Alfa Romeo 8Cs, 2-litre Speed Aston Martins, 4.5-litre Bentleys, BMW 328s, Bugatti 35s, 37s and 51s, Invicta Ss, LG45 and V12 Le Mans Lagondas, Lorraine Dietrich B3/6 Sports, Works Talbot 105s embodying their makes’ successful outings at Le Mans were all down to run. Among the cars present was an Aston Martin Ulster that came eighth in the 1935 24 Hours, the Citroen C4 Roadster from 1932, the renowned French manufacturer’s only entry for Le Mans, the Delage D6-70 Special, 4th overall and 1st in its category in 1937, the Delahaye 135 S, 2nd overall in 1937, an offset single-seater Talbot Lago that raced in the Indianapolis 500 Miles in 1941, 1946 and 1947, after which it saw the flag in 2nd place in the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Over the years this grid has also attracted a number of less auspicious, but nonetheless interesting cars from an historical point of view like the MG Magnette K3s, Morgan 4/4s, Salmsons, Le Mans Singers, HRG 1500s plus one of the Peugeot 402 Darl’mat. Overall, this grid was full of an outstanding variety of makes and models making it an original retrospective of this period.
The French Talbots dominated the three rounds reserved for cars built between 1923 to 1939. At the end of the first heat the winner of the 2012 event, the Talbot-Lago Ex-Monoplace of Christian Traber, laid down a marker for outright victory by finishing over a minute in front his nearest pursuer. The Talbot 105 ‘GO 52’ of Michael Birch and Gareth Burnett stopped on the circuit during the first race, losing a lot of precious time. They drove marvelously in the races run at night and Sunday morning to make up time, ultimately taking the overall lead from Traber in a last-gasp sprint at the finish. Albert Otten in his BMW 328 rounded out the top three, while Ralf Emmerling clinched the Index of Performance in his Brooklands Riley.
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 1 field of pre-war entrants at Circuit de la Sarthe. We split up Tim’s 185 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 – Pre-War Race Featured Photo Gallery
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