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The 1923 ranking, revised and corrected
 
 

90 years after

It all started with an email from Mr. Armand de La Rochefoucauld Duke of Doudeauville which we mention a mistake on his uncle in the first edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1923 :

"According to my records, he ran on a Bugatti Brescia, with the number 29 and not 28."

To try to decrypt the riddle, a team passionate about the history of this fabulous race mobilizes. Old newspapers, books and journals are peeled or shelled and photos are dissected. The careful research will not veins and will bear fruit far beyond our expectations.

BUGATTI Brescia 16S : Max de Pourtales and Sosthène de la Rochefoucauld

Below is an extract from the official result of the 24 hours of Le Mans 1923 :

Pos
Car
Engine / Plate
Drivers
Trs : Distance
01
9
CHENARD & WALCKER Sport 2978 S4 (Plaq.: 61720E5) André Lagache (F) René Léonard (F)
128 trs (2209,536 km)
02
10
CHENARD & WALCKER Sport 2978 S4 (Plaq.: 6?4I2) Raoul Bachmann (F) Christian Dauvergne (F)
124 trs (2140,488 km)
03
23
BIGNAN 11 HP Desmo 1979 S4 Raymond de Tornaco (B) Victor Gros (F)
120 trs (2071,440 km)
04
8
BENTLEY Sport 2996 S4 (Plaq.: XM6761) John Duff (GB-CAN) Frank Clement (GB)
112 trs (1933,344 km)
05
24
BIGNAN 11 HP Commercial 1979 S4 Philippe de Marne (F) Jean Martin (F)
112 trs (1933,344 km)
06
1
EXCELSIOR ALBERT 1er 5343 S6 (Plaq.: 6051I2) André Dills (B) Nicolas Caerels (B)
112 trs (1933,344 km)
07
11
CHENARD & WALCKER 15 HP Tourisme 2978 S4 (Plaq.: 7902I2) Fernand Bachmann (F) Raymond Glaszmann (F)
110 trs (1898,82 km)
08
7
LORRAINE-DIETRICH B3-6 3445 S6 (Plaq.: 2848WI) Gérard de Courcelles (F) André Rossignol (F)
108 trs (1864,296 km)
09
2
EXCELSIOR ALBERT 1er 5343 S6 (Plaq.: 29?) Gonzague Lecureul (F) Flaud (F)
106 trs (1829,772 km)
10
28
BUGATTI Brescia 16S 1496 S4 (Plaq.: 4104WI) Max de Pourtales (F) Sosthène de la Rochefoucauld (F)
104 trs (1795,248 km)
11
17
BRASIER TC4 2092 S4 (Plaq.: ?5) Migeot (F) Eugène Verpault (F)
99 trs (1708,938 km)
12
34
SALMSON AL 1086 S4 (Plaq.: 9551I9) Lucien Desvaux (F) Georges Casse (F)
98 trs (1691,676 km)
13
16
DELAGE DE 11HP 2116 S4 (Plaq.: ?I3) Belbeu (F) Paul Torchy (F)
98 trs (1691,676 km)
14
19
MONTIER Special (Ford Model T) 2008 S4 (Plaq.: 2230W1) Charles Montier (B) Albert Ouriou (F)
97 trs (1674,414 km)
15
21
GEORGES IRAT 4A/3 1996 S4 M Cappé (F) Jean Dourianou (F)
93 trs (1605,366 km)
16
33
SALMSON AL 1086 S4 Maurice Benoist (F) Luis Ramon Bueno (F)
93 trs (1605,366 km)
17
14
ROLLAND PILAIN R 2297 S4 (Plaq.: ?8B8) Jean de Marguenat (F) Gaston Delalande (F)
92 trs (1588,104 km)
18
35
AMILCAR CV 1003 S4 Maurice Boutmy (F) Jérôme Marcandanti (F)
89 trs (1536,318 km)
19
5
LORRAINE-DIETRICH B3-6 3445 S6 (Plaq.: 2142I2) Robert Bloch (F) Stalter (F)
88 trs (1519,056 km)
20
12
BERLIET VH 12 HP 2617 S4 (Plaq.: 5456C4) Edouard Probst (CH) Redon (F)
88 trs (1519,056 km)
21
15
ROLLAND PILAIN R 2224 S4 (Plaq.: ?88) Louis Sire (F) Georges Guignard (F)
84 trs (1450,008 km)
22
29
BUGATTI Brescia 16S 1496 S4 (Plaq.: 422WI) Louis Pichard (F) René Marie (F)
82 trs (1415,484 km)
23
25
ROLLAND PILAIN RP 1925 S4 Jean Pouzet (F) Edmond Pichon (F)
79 trs (1363,698 km)
24
26
ROLLAND PILAIN RP 1925 S4 (Plaq.: 1671B8) Jude Robin (F) Gérard Marinier (F)
79 trs (1363,698 km)
25
30
CORRE LA LICORNE EV 12 CV 1393 S4 Louis Balart (F) Charles Drouin (F)
79 trs (1363,698 km)
26
27
VINOT DEGUINGAND BP 10 HP 1847 S4 (Plaq.: 024I3) Léon Molon (F) Lucien Molon (F)
77 trs (1329,174 km)
27
18
BRASIER TB4 2092 S4 (Plaq.: ?813) Maillon (F) Léopold Jouguet (F)
76 trs (1311,912 km)
28
20
CORRE LA LICORNE EV 12 CV 2001 S4 (Plaq.: ?5) Albert Colomb (F) Waldemar Lestienne (F)
74 trs (1277,388 km)
29
22
GEORGES IRAT 4A/3 1990 S4 Milhaud (F) Pierre Malleveau (F)
73 trs (1260,126 km)
30
32
S.A.R.A. ATS 1098 S4 (Plaq.: 2269I2) Lucien Erb (F) Robert Battagliola (F)
57 trs (983,934 km)
Ab
6
LORRAINE-DIETRICH B3-6 3445 S6 (Plaq.: 4380Z3) Henri Stoffel (F) René Labouchère (F)
49 trs (845,838 km)
Ab
13
BERLIET VH 12 HP 2617 S4 (Plaq.: 5455C4) Roland Jacquot (F) Georges Ribail (F)
43 trs (742,266 km)
Ab
31
S.A.R.A. ATS 1098 S4 (Plaq.: 1107G5) François Piazzoli (F) André Marandet (F)
13 trs (224,406 km)

Bugatti

Advertising Bugatti 1923 - World Record in the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Scoreboard at the 18th hour

During this first Grand Prix endurance the Comte de Pourtales and the Vicomte de la Rochefoucauld beat the world record of 24 hours in class 1.5 liter to 76 km / h average over 1835 km. The Bugatti factory is not insensitive to this exploit and disseminate an advertising document where you find the Bugatti Brescia bearing the number 29 and its crew.

In this paper, Mr. de la Rochefoucauld formally identified his uncle as passenger car of Molsheim.

The Bugatti No. 29 would have done better in the race than his sister with the number 28 ?

The following document is quite explicit and should definitely convince you.

In 1923 it is not expected to make a ranking at the end of the race, cars has complied with a minimum of kilometers in 24 hours, which mileage will vary depending on the engine size, have qualified for the second act (1924) of a cut that wants Triennial. The winner of the triennial section being designated at the end of the race in 1925.

The Bugatti No. 28 and No. 29 with their 1.495cc engine must achieve a minimum of 63 laps to qualify for the event in 1924.

The picture shows that the Bugatti against No. 29 and completed 78 laps with 14 laps ahead of the Bugatti No. 28 who has realized 64. The difference between these two cars is justified by several newspapers of the time :

"René Marie was the victim of a leak in the tank forcing pilot flew 10 km walk to pick up a new tank to stand and gasoline."

To put the photo in time, we see that Chenard 8 made 96 laps on the 128 it will reach at the end of 24 hours, so we're at about the 18th hour of the race. (An average of about 5.33 revolutions per hour, against 4.33 t to 29 and 3.55 t for No. 28).

Yet the official ranking says the Bugatti No. 28 was 1795.248 km (or 104 rounds of 17.262 km). The # 28 would have done 40 laps in 6 hours or the 115 km / h in medium containing at passage 8 laps in the lead car! It is simply impossible because the lap record for the year 1923 was directed by Bentley Duff and Clement average of 96 km / h.

the Rolland Pilain

Looking more closely at this picture of the scoreboard in 1923, another anomaly as we called out according to the rules, the cars are numbered according to the decreasing capacity.

On the bulletin board, you can actually see the laps to decrease except four exceptions, cars 14, 15, 25 and 26 : The four Rolland Pilain.

Logically, the number of laps of cars No. 14 and No. 15 should be between 71 and 76 and not 69.
The number of laps of No. 25 and 26 should be between 68 and 70 and not 72 and 73.

The newspaper "Le Matin du 26 May 1923" published kilometers to achieve to qualify for the 1924 edition.

1244 km for No. 14 - 1242 km for the No. 15-1185 km No. 25 and 26

This is incoherent with the scoreboard and all indications are that there has been a reversal during technical controls like the Bugatti but it is not immediately reflected in the newspapers.

In considering the part 'turns to' the Scoreboard, we can deduce that Rolland Pilain 14 and 15 had a 1925cc, the No. 25 a 2224cc and a 2297cc No. 26 :
. The No. 14 on the list of 2297cc registration became No. 26 2297cc racing
. The No. 15 on the list of 2224cc registration became No. 25 2224cc racing
. Nos. 25 and 26 on the registration list became 14 and 15 (or 15 and 14) in the race

This inference is supported by the newspaper 'La Sarthe' which in its issue of May 27, 1923, so the next day technical controls, amends the list of competitors. This document also confirms M. de la Rochefoucauld as the Bugatti driver No. 29.

At this stage of the investigation, we can deduce the following result for Rolland Pilain
. 17th Rolland Pilain No. 26 2297cc - Delalande From Marquenat.
. 21st Rolland Pilain No. 25 2224cc - Sire Guignard.
. 23rd Rolland Pilain No. 14 (or 15) 1925cc - Pouzet Pichon.
. 24th Rolland Pilain NO. 15 (or 14) 1925cc - Robin Mariner.

The logic would be respected, large motors before. For skeptics, know that the Robin pilot has been an article in the newspaper 'Maine' in 1997, as a former mayor of Teloché, where you can see posing next to the Car No. 15.

newspaper Le Matin of May 26, 1923

newspaper La Sarthe of May 27, 1923

The Excelsior



Scoreboard at the 17th hour




Scoreboard at the 23rd hour

The list of the newspaper 'La Sarthe' also reveals an anomaly in the composition of the crews of Excelsior. Different pictures of Scoreboard confirm that Excelsior No. 1 made more laps than the # 2.

On the last photo, Chenard 9 completed 123 laps of a circuit which measures 17,262 km. A rate of 10 minutes per round, we are about an hour of arrival.

At this stage of the competition, the positions of the cars are the following:
. 102 laps for No. 1
. 108 for No. 2,
. 76 for No. 14 and 15,
. 80 for No. 25,
. 88 for No. 26,
. 77 for No.28
. and 99 for No. 29.

The official result at the finish yet says :
. 112 laps for No. 1
. 106 for No.2,
. 92 for No. 14,
. 84 for No. 15,
. 79 for No. 25,
. 79 for No. 26,
. 104 for No. 28,
. 82 for No. 29.

Excelsior No. 2 would have made 10 laps of 17.262km between taking the photo and the arrival ... 172.62 km / h while the Excelsior No. 1 fell by 2 laps!!!
Bugatti Brescia No. 28 with its 1485cc would beat the Audi R18 achieving 27 laps, or 466 km / h on a muddy track. There was certainly no baffles at the time but you have to admit that the figures are fanciful There was certainly no baffles at the time but you have to admit that the numbers are fantastic.

You're not entirely convinced ?

According to Article 13 of the Regulation, the competitors could make requests or commitments to the ACO, or by the newspaper Auto. The reporters of this newspaper were therefore directly to the source of information.

The ranking of the 24 Hours of Le Mans newspaper published by the Auto 28 May 1923.
This document has the particularity to show crew after the race in an order that corresponds to the numbers of cars and number of laps.

The Excelsior in 'L'auto' :
Lécureuil et Flaud appear on the Excelsior No. 1 in perfect harmony with the newspaper 'La Sarthe May 27'.
With 106 laps (1,829.820 km), they complete six laps behind the Excelsior No. 2 Dills and Caerels (1933.344 km). Between the photo of the scoreboard and the arrival, the two Excelsior therefore made 4 laps each while Chenard (first and and second) were doing five laps, it is quite logical. The classification of these two cars is consistent with the bulletin board and the newspaper 'La Sarthe' and confirm that No. 2 has completed more laps than the No. 1.

The Rolland Pilain in 'L'auto' :
. No. 26, with 92 laps, finished 17th.
. No. 25, with 84 laps, finished 21th.
. No. 14, with 79 laps, finished 23rd.
. No. 15, with 79 laps, finished 23rd.

Between the display and the classification table, the cars have completed four laps to the No. 25 and No. 26, 3 rounds for No. 14 and No. 15. These figures are quite consistent with those of other competitors and confirms previous findings.

The Bugatti in 'L'auto' :
Apart from the fact that M. de la Rochefoucauld 'Junior' has identified his uncle on the Bugatti No. 29, the newspapers 'L'Auto', 'La Sarthe' and Bugatti advertising are also agreed on the composition of the crew.
. Bugatti No. 28 : Marie - Pichard
. Bugatti No. 29 : de Pourtalès – de la Rochefoucauld
The number of laps is also consistent with the scoreboard. Both Bugatti have 5 laps between the photo and the finish.

The newspaper 'l'Auto' and ACO agree on the number of rounds. The differences are the numbers of the cars above.

Georges Fraichard in his book 'The ruthless round - The 24 Hours of Le Mans' in 1953 published a ranking of 1923 with the names of the drivers, cars and displacements without mentioning the numbers. This classification is the same as the newspaper 'L'Auto' except it replaced laps by the mileage and the hourly average. Table competing with the numbers of cars on page 23 is the same as against the COA .... so wrong.

We can find the real numbers only cars combining ranking Georges Fraichard with the photo of the scoreboard in the 23rd hour.

The results of the newspaper 'L'Auto' are confirmed by 'La Vie Automobile' Charles Faroux who is also the race director in 1923. The consistency of these papers with the scoreboard is complete.

Journal L'Auto du 28 Mai 1923

La Ronde Infernale de Georges Fraichard La Ronde Infernale de Georges Fraichard

La Vie Automobile du 10 juin 1923 de Charles Faroux page 1 La Vie Automobile du 10 juin 1923 de Charles Faroux page 2

Where does the inversion numbers ?

Reading the newspaper 'La Sarthe' shows that changes have occurred at the time of the technical controls. The end result was perhaps not accompanied by an updated list of competitors for the Excelsior, Rolland Pilain and Bugatti cars. 'La Ronde impitoyable' with a ranking (without number) right with a list of false competitors is a perfect illustration.

The journalists who gathered information (list of entries before technical controls) on the same scoreboard so presumably fallen into error.

The error is then propagated from book to book, Roger Labric 1949 to Wikipedia, in the speed of the copy / paste.
Is there an official document stamped ACO 1923 with results indicating the numbers of the cars ? Otherwise we can consider documents 'L'Auto' (co-organizer) and 'La Vie Automobile' (review of the Race Director) as the official results.

Outside the correct classification, it should be noted that the point of law No. 7 was not respected:

7) The start will be given simultaneously to all competitors, cars are arranged in descending order of cars.

This is not true because the cars were arranged in order of numbers including Rolland-Pilain Nos. 14, 15, 25 and 26 and we have demonstrated that they were not numbered in descending order their displacement.

No matter the race itself, but if this difference occurred in 1923, it is not excluded that the anomaly can be repeated in subsequent editions.

The results of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1923 rectified :

Pos
Car
Engine / Plate
Drivers
Laps : Distance
01
9
CHENARD & WALCKER Sport 2978 S4 (Plaq.: 61720E5) André Lagache (F) René Léonard (F)
128 trs (2209,536 km)
02
10
CHENARD & WALCKER Sport 2978 S4 (Plaq.: 6?4I2) Raoul Bachmann (F) Christian Dauvergne (F)
124 trs (2140,488 km)
03
23
BIGNAN 11 HP Desmo 1979 S4 Raymond de Tornaco (B) Victor Gros (F)
120 trs (2071,440 km)
06
2
EXCELSIOR ALBERT 1er 5343 S6 (Plaq.: 29?) André Dills (B) Nicolas Caerels (B)
112 trs (1933,344 km)
04Bis
8
BENTLEY Sport 2996 S4 (Plaq.: XM6761) John Duff (GB-CAN) Frank Clement (GB)
112 trs (1933,344 km)
04Ter
24
BIGNAN 11 HP Commercial 1979 S4 Philippe de Marne (F) Jean Martin (F)
112 trs (1933,344 km)
07
11
CHENARD & WALCKER 15 HP Tourisme 2978 S4 (Plaq.: 7902I2) Fernand Bachmann (F) Raymond Glaszmann (F)
110 trs (1898,82 km)
08
7
LORRAINE-DIETRICH B3-6 3445 S6 (Plaq.: 2848WI) Gérard de Courcelles (F) André Rossignol (F)
108 trs (1864,296 km)
09
1
EXCELSIOR ALBERT 1er 5343 S6 (Plaq.: 6051I2) Gonzague Lecureul (F) Flaud (F)
106 trs (1829,772 km)
10
29
BUGATTI Brescia 16S 1496 S4 (Plaq.: 422WI) Max de Pourtales (F) Sosthène de la Rochefoucauld (F)
104 trs (1795,248 km)
11
17
BRASIER TC4 2092 S4 (Plaq.: ?5) Migeot (F) Eugène Verpault (F)
99 trs (1708,938 km)
12
16
DELAGE DE 11HP 2116 S4 (Plaq.: ?I3) Belbeu (F) Paul Torchy (F)
98 trs (1691,676 km)
12Bis
34
SALMSON AL 1086 S4 (Plaq.: 9551I9) Lucien Desvaux (F) Georges Casse (F)
98 trs (1691,676 km)
14
19
MONTIER Special (Ford Model T) 2008 S4 (Plaq.: 2230W1) Charles Montier (B) Albert Ouriou (F)
97 trs (1674,414 km)
15
21
GEORGES IRAT 4A/3 1996 S4 M Cappé (F) Jean Dourianou (F)
93 trs (1605,366 km)
15Bis
33
SALMSON AL 1086 S4 Maurice Benoist (F) Luis Ramon Bueno (F)
93 trs (1605,366 km)
17
26
ROLLAND PILAIN R 2300 S4 (Plaq.: ?71B8) Jean de Marguenat (F) Gaston Delalande (F)
92 trs (1588,104 km)
18
35
AMILCAR CV 1003 S4 Maurice Boutmy (F) Jérôme Marcandanti (F)
89 trs (1536,318 km)
19
5
LORRAINE-DIETRICH B3-6 3445 S6 (Plaq.: 2142I2) Robert Bloch (F) Stalter (F)
88 trs (1519,056 km)
19Bis
12
BERLIET VH 12 HP 2617 S4 (Plaq.: 5456C4) Edouard Probst (CH) Redon (F)
88 trs (1519,056 km)
21
25
ROLLAND PILAIN R 2224 S4 (Plaq.: ?88) Louis Sire (F) Georges Guignard (F)
84 trs (1450,008 km)
22
28
BUGATTI Brescia 16S 1496 S4 (Plaq.: 4104WI) Louis Pichard (F) René Marie (F)
82 trs (1415,484 km)
11:30
23
30
CORRE LA LICORNE EV 12 CV 1393 S4 Louis Balart (F) Charles Drouin (F)
79 trs (1363,698 km)
23Bis
15
ROLLAND PILAIN RP 1925 S4 (Plaq.: 1671B8) Jean Pouzet (F) Edmond Pichon (F)
79 trs (1363,698 km)
23Ter
14
ROLLAND PILAIN RP 1925 S4 (Plaq.: ?78-B8) Jude Robin (F) Gérard Marinier (F)
79 trs (1363,698 km)
26
27
VINOT DEGUINGAND BP 10 HP 1847 S4 (Plaq.: 024I3) Léon Molon (F) Lucien Molon (F)
77 trs (1329,174 km)
27
18
BRASIER TB4 2092 S4 (Plaq.: ?813) Maillon (F) Léopold Jouguet (F)
76 trs (1311,912 km)
28
20
CORRE LA LICORNE EV 12 CV 2001 S4 (Plaq.: ?5) Albert Colomb (F) Waldemar Lestienne (F)
74 trs (1277,388 km)
29
22
GEORGES IRAT 4A/3 1990 S4 Milhaud (F) Pierre Malleveau (F)
73 trs (1260,126 km)
30
32
S.A.R.A. ATS 1098 S4 (Plaq.: 2269I2) Lucien Erb (F) Robert Battagliola (F)
57 trs (983,934 km)
Ab
6
LORRAINE-DIETRICH B3-6 3445 S6 (Plaq.: 4380Z3) Henri Stoffel (F) René Labouchère (F)
49 trs (845,838 km)
Ab
13
BERLIET VH 12 HP 2617 S4 (Plaq.: 5455C4) Roland Jacquot (F) Georges Ribail (F)
43 trs (742,266 km)
Ab
31
S.A.R.A. ATS 1098 S4 (Plaq.: 1107G5) François Piazzoli (F) André Marandet (F)
13 trs (224,406 km)

Remerciements :

This investigation was conducted with the utmost care and the utmost seriousness by :
René Bozec, Jean-Luc Bremont, 'Camerat', Thierry Chargé, Jean-Charles Colombier, Laurent Dangeard, Gérard Hubert, Philippe Hubert et 'Papiyv'


A big thank you to Mr. Armand De La Rochefoucauld duc de Doudeauville for its decisive action.

The full conduct of the investigation is visible on the forum de Motorlegend.

If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact us, we will try to enlighten you. Your doubts, comments, notes, photos and documents are welcome.

 
 
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