The 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 43rd Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 14 and 15 June 1975.
Without surprise, the two Gulfs took the lead of the race. Vern Schuppan and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud had an alternator failure and went six laps down to teammates Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. Near midnight the brand-new de Cadenet Lola was where it was expected to be, in third position, but the car lost its entire rear bodywork on the straight. François Migault hit it at full stride with his Ligier. After nearly an hour’s repairs attempts, the Ligier coupé retired. The Lola carried on; by luck the engine cover had missed the rear wing completely.
Not long after 2:30 p.m. Ickx pitted to repair a broken exhaust pipe, the repairs were completed as the remaining Ligier entered the lead lap. During the race the V8 powered Ligiers were also plagued by broken exhaust pipes due to DFV’s destructive vibrations to a worse extent that the Gulf but with the experience gained in other races and a design of the exhaust system allowing quicker parts exchange, they lost less time in the pits than the Gulfs.
The Gulf GR-8 driven by Ickx and Bell won the race. The other Gulf had mechanical problems and finished third, leaving second position to a Ligier piloted by Guy Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil. The gap between the winning Gulf and the Ligier was only one lap.
De Cadenet’s Lola was 14th, finishing the race with a bodywork stuck together with a lot of adhesive tape. De Cadenet came back in 1976 with the same chassis updated with major bodywork modifications finishing third for what remains the best result of de Cadenet at Le Mans, and the best result of a Lola chassis.
Reinhold Joest, Jürgen Barth, and Mario Casoni were fourth in their aged Porsche 908/3.
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