24h Le Mans
25/07/2019 - 09:01

Bugatti at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2) – Three outstanding moments between 1923 and 1994

This year marks a dual celebration for Bugatti: the French constructor's 110th anniversary and the 80th anniversary of its second and final win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The second installment in this series highlights several remarkable stories, the most recent of which dates back a quarter of a century.
Bugatti at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2) – Three outstanding moments between 1923 and 1994

1923 - Bugatti took the start in the very first running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with both Brescia 16 Ss making it to the chequered flag. The French constructor figured in the top 10 thanks to Max de Pourtalès and Sosthènes de la Rochefoucauld (10th). The second Brescia 16 S shared by Louis Pichard and René Marie finished in 22nd place.

PHOTO ABOVE (Copyright - ACO/ARCHIVES): LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY 26 & SUNDAY 27 MAY 1923. The two Bugatti Brescias fielded in the 1923 24 Hours of Le Mans each had a 1,500 cm3 inline-four engine.

1930 - At the wheel of a Bugatti Type 40, Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse finished seventh, which is still today the best overall result for an all-female driver line-up at the 24 Hours. Two years later, Siko finished fourth with Alfa Romeo along with Louis Charavel, securing the best result achieved by a female driver.

PHOTO ABOVE (Copyright - ACO/ARCHIVES): LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY 21 & SUNDAY 22 JUNE 1930. Four participations gave Odette Siko (at right) her place in the history of the race as a member of the most successful all-female driver line-up along with Marguerite Mareuse (at left).

1994 - Fifty years after its last appearance and second win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Bugatti returned with the EB110. Presented on 15 September 1991, the GT was powered by 3.5-liter V12 turbocompressed engine and named in honour of the 110th birthday of the constructor's founder, Ettore Bugatti, born on 15 September 1881. The Bugatti EB 110S was fielded in the race in 1994 at the initiative of French press magnate Michel Hommell. The car arrived by road driven by Eric Hélary for Scrutineering in the grand tradition of the 24 Hours! Hélary had won the 1993 edition with Christophe Bouchut and Geoff Brabham at the wheel of a Peugeot 905, but in 1994 joined forces with fellow countrymen Jean-Christophe Boullion and Alain Cudini. Qualified in 17th position, during the night the trio climbed to sixth place overall before experiencing turbocompressor troubles and being forced to retire after an incident only 45 minutes from the chequered flag. Among the constructors present at that year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, Bugatti was the only one to have taken the start in the first edition on 26 May 1923.

PHOTO ABOVE (Copyright - ACO/ARCHIVES): LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), PLACE DES JACOBINS, SCRUTINEERING AT THE 1994 24 HOURS OF LE MANS. In this photo is visible the license plate that allowed the Bugatti EB 110S to reach Le Mans by road.