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 fourth installment is 1959.
A bridge through time - The checkered flag on high and the hat tipped: a twofold salute given by race director Jacques Loste to Carroll Shelby in 1959 as the motorsport icon crossed the finish line in first place. Fifty-nine years later, the same respect was paid to Toyota for its long-awaited first overall victory at the 24 Hours. Interestingly, the winning constructor scored a one-two in both 1959 and 2018.
The 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans - The American Carroll Shelby and the Brit Roy Salvadori gave Aston Martin what is its only overall victory at Le Mans to date. The winner in 1954 and future winner in 1960 respectively, Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frère secured a one-two for the DBR1. After holding the lead for nine hours, the Ferrari shared by Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill (the winners in 1958) was forced to retire early in the morning on Sunday with an overheating problem.
Motorsport in 1959 - Jack Brabham won in F1 at the wheel of a rear-engine single-seater, a remarkable achievement that would go on to revolutionize the world of Formula 1. This was also the birth year - on 1 June at King's Lynn in the U.K. - of one Martin Brundle, winner at the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans with Jaguar (along with American driver Price Cobb and Danish driver John Nielsen) and pole-sitter at the 1999 edition at the wheel of a Toyota GT-One.
In other news that year - On 29 October, the comic book world saw the first appearance of the character Astérix in the first edition of the new French magazine "Pilote." A huge Ferrari fan - and moreover of Italian ancestry - its designer, Albert Uderzo, bought his first Ferrari GT (a 365 GT/4 BB) in 1975 and even served as president of Club Ferrari France.