24h Le Mans
04/08/2018 - 12:01

Six snapshots from the 24 Hours of Le Mans through the years (2)

For this summer series, let's take a look a closer look at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and some extraordinary stories at different moments in its history. The focus of this second installment is 1953.
Six snapshots from the 24 Hours of Le Mans through the years (2)

A bridge through time - These two photos, taken 65 years apart, offer a spectator's view at the legendary race. The one from 1953 was snapped from the top of the Dunlop grandstand, and the photo taken this year depicts the current 24 Hours Village between the main entrance to the circuit and the stairway leading down to the paddock. On the big screen, you can see one of the two ORECAs fielded by Jackie Chan DC Racing, the first Chinese team to claim an overall podium finish at Le Mans (2017).

The 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans - At the 21st running of the 24 Hours, Jaguar won its second victory thanks to Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton. The British duo took the start as teammates six times between 1950 and 1955, and the marque placed two other cars in the top 5 with Stirling Moss-Peter Walker (second) and Peter Whitehead-Ian Stewart (fourth). For the first time in history, the winners surpassed the 4,000-kilometer mark despite a very remarkable occurrence: Duncan Hamilton hit a bird as he was driving more than 200 km/h! An interesting technological innovation proved its merit when the Jaguar Type C became the first car equipped with disc brakes to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Motorsport in 1953 - In Formula 1, Alberto Ascari won his second consecutive world title, and to date remains the last Italian driver to do so as well as the only one to win the title at the wheel of a Ferrari. Ferrari also won its sixth consecutive victory at the Mille Miglia road race thanks to Giannino Marzotto and Marco Crosara. The other big road race in 1950s - the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico - was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Gino Bronzoni (Lancia).

In other news that year - On the international political scene, 1953 was the year Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower was elected President of the United States after serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces during World War II. Joseph Stalin died on 5 March, and on 27 July the armistice of Panmunjeom ended the Korean War that had begun in 1950. 

Click on the Associated News link below for the first installment in this series.