24h Le Mans
22/02/2017 - 12:03

Bugatti at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1) - Key dates

Eighty years ago, Bugatti won the first of its two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was an achievement a long time in the making for this ultra-luxury French car during the period between the two world wars - it had been participating in the 24 Hours as early as 1933.
Bugatti at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1) - Key dates

In conjunction with the marque's consistent presence at the 24 Hours between 1923 and 1939, during that era Ettore Bugatti (1881-1947) released his most famous car: the Type 41 called "Royale." A victim of the economic crash of 1929, it was not as successful as anticipated: of the seven cars built between 1927 and 1933, only three were sold and six are still in circulation today.

1923 - Bugatti crossed the finish line at the first edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 10th place for Max de Pourtales and Sosthène de la Rochefoucauld.

1930 - Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse's entirely female driver line-up finished seventh at the wheel of a Type 40. Two years later, Odette Siko achieved the best overall result by a woman driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a fourth place finish.

1931 - Of the six Bugattis at the start, three were entered directly by Ettore Bugatti himself, but none made it to the checkered flag. The female duo Siko-Mareuse was once again at the start but was disqualified after 45 laps for a premature refuelling though they were in a promising ninth position.

1932 - Bugatti made it back into the top 10 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a sixth place finish for Georges Delaroche and Jean Sebilleau.

1937 - After a ninth place finish in 1934 and 14th in 1935, Bugatti finally reached the top step on the podium in 1937 in a veritable sweep by French constructors. At the wheel of the 57 G, Jean-Pierre Wimille and Robert Benoist came in ahead of two Delahayes and a Delage.

1939 - Absent in 1938, Bugatti made a triumphant return in 1939. Jean-Pierre Wimille won his second victory at Le Mans, along with Pierre Veyron that year. It was the last edition before the nine-year hiatus caused by World War II.

1994 - After a few economic downturns and a bounce-back in 1987 by Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli, Bugatti returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But the EB110 driven by Eric Helary, Jean-Christophe Boullion and Alain Cudini was forced to retire.

Photo: In 1930, one of the greatest chapters in the history of women's motorsports was written at the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit with a seventh place finish for the Bugatti driven by Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse.