As the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) competitors started off the 2015 season with the official tests at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, Marie Laurent, who participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1974, passed away.
For the first time in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans which began in 1923, a 100% female driver line-up won a class victory, in 1974, thanks to the Chevron B23 powered by Ford entered for French driver Marie Laurent and Belgian drivers Christine Beckers and Yvette Fontaine. The three women knew how to keep their Chevron going all the way to the checkered flag and 17th place overall, while their rivals in the S 2.0 (2-liter) class were all forced to retire.
The following year, Christine Dacremont, Michèle Mouton and Marianne Hoepfner also won in their class, a performance as yet to-date unrepeated. It was with Hoepfner that Marie Laurent competed in the Tour de France in an Alpine in 1974, both winning the Coupe des Dames (13th overall).
They were both members of the famous Team Aseptogyl created in the 1970s by Robert "Bob" Neyret who had the unique trait of only hiring female drivers. Marie Laurent particularly distinguished herself at the wheel of super powerful Plymouth Hemicuda, a Barracuda powered by Hemi, between 1971 and 1974.
The ACO extends its sincerest condolences to her husband, former driver Jean-Pierre Gabreau, and to her family and loved ones.
Cécile Bonardel / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, 15 & 16 JUNE 1974, COPYRIGHT ACO. From left to right, Christine Beckers, Marie Laurent and Yvette Fontaine with their Chevron.