1968 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 36th 24 -hour Le Mans race, the Grand Prix d' Endurance les 36e 24 Heures du Mans, was held from September 28 to 29 in 1968 at the Circuit des 24 Heures.

New Regulations in the World Sportscar Championship

Alarmed by the record distance of the winning Ford GT40 MK IV at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 and the case stalled 24 - hour average of 218.038 km / h, the CSI a drastic change of the regulations announced for 1968. This - the most radical part was the reduction in cubic capacity - caused a retreat of the factory teams from Ford and Ferrari World Championship sports cars.

Thus, in addition to the 7 -liter Ford racing cars could no longer be used as the Ferrari 330P4. Ferrari was far from it, to build the required 40 pieces of P4, and the rapid prototype wandered into the museum. The Chaparral F2, with their powerful rear wing and powered by a 7-liter Chevrolet engine, disappeared from the race tracks.

Postponement and new part of the track

As a result of the Paris student protests (see May 1968), there was in France to a wave of strikes. An implementation of the race in June was thus made ​​impossible. Ever - 1936 - had to be canceled the race after a general strike. Also this year there was a cancellation in space, but by giving- Charles de Gaulle, the situation in France in the late summer calmed down.

The event took place in late September and thus only the second time since 1923 - as it was driven in May - not in June.

Also, the person in charge of the Automobile Club de l' Ouest made ​​the record attempt from the previous year headache. In particular, the fast passage of Maison Blanche to the Esses caused criticism. From the coming Maison Blanche, drove the fastest race car with nearly 300 km / h the pit facilities over which were separated only by a white line on the road from the track. To einzubremsen the car, a chicane was installed just ahead of the boxes, which reduced the pace dramatically. In recognition of the power of the victorious Ford from the previous year and because Ford took over a portion of the construction costs, the chicane was named the American automobile brand.

The race

After the end of the great prototypes, there was no clear favorite in 1968 in Le Mans. John Wyer Ford GT40 had evolved and came with a three- car team in the Sarthe. The most experienced duo formed Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi, both of which were many times at Le Mans at the start. The second GT40 shared Paul Hawkins and David Hobbs, the third sitting of the Australian Brian Muir and Briton Jackie Oliver.

In the absence of an adequate racing car, the Ferrari team attacked - led by the North American Racing Team - the only three years old 250LM back.

At Porsche, we saw for the first time to achieve victory in the overall standings the chance. The work team brought four new Porsche 908 Le Mans. Hazards were the 3- liter car of Jochen Neerpasch, Rolf Stommelen, Gerhard Mitter, Vic Elford, Joe Buzzetta, Scooter Patrick, Joseph Siffert and Hans Herrmann.

Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 was with a comeback at Le Mans and Alpine had with the A220 for the first time a 3 -liter car built.

The Porsche 908 was the fastest car on the track, and after an hour were all four factory cars in the lead. Then got the Porsche problems with the generator: the isolations were too big and dissolved by the centrifugal forces of the wires, which had shorts result. When, after seven hours of Rodríguez / Bianchi - Ford took the lead three works cars were already failed and dropped the Neerpasch / Stommelen cars at the 15th position.

The Matra MS630 Johnny Servoz - Gavin and Henri Pescarolo was long at the second place of the overall standings, before a puncture forcing the team to the task. The night had a serious accident in the Tertre Rouge Mauro Bianchi Alpine A220. The car caught fire, and Bianchi suffered severe burn injuries.

When on Sunday morning, the positions were covered, the race lost its tension. Rodriguez and Bianchi drove a lonely race at the top and provided with a lead of five laps on the Porsche 907 by Dieter Spoerry and Rico Steinemann for the third Ford consecutive victory. The comeback of Neerpasch and Stommelen was rewarded with third place in the overall standings. Three Alfa came to the finish and took places four to six.


Pilot after Nations

Final ranking

1 accident 2 disqualification in training, illegal wheels 3 not qualified 4 5 Not Qualified Reserve 6 Reserve

Only in the message list

Here are the teams, drivers and vehicles that were originally registered for the competition, but it did not participate for various reasons.

Class winner

Race data

  • Reported: 104
  • Started: 54
  • Weather during the race weekend: warm, rain at night and on Sunday
  • Distance: 13.469 km
  • Honorary starter of the race: Giovanni Agnelli, CEO of Fiat
  • Distance of the winning team: 4452.880 km
  • Winners section: 185.536 km / h
  • Pole Position: Jo Siffert - Porsche 908 (# 31) - 3.35.400 = 225.108 km / h
  • Fastest race lap: Rolf Stommelen - Porsche 908 (# 2) - 3.38.100 = 222.231 km / h
  • Racing Series: Round 10 of the World Sportscar Championship