1924 French Grand Prix

The 1924 French Grand Prix, officially named the XVIII Grand Prix de l'A.C.F., was a Grand Prix motor race held at Lyon on 3 August 1924 [1] and the designated European Grand Prix of the 1924 season.[2] The race took place over 35 laps of a shortened (now 23.15 km) version of the circuit used in 1914 French Grand Prix for a total distance of 810.0 9km.

1924 French Grand Prix
Race details
Date 3 August 1924
Official name XVIII Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France
Location Lyon, France
Course Public roads
Course length 23.15 km (14.38 mi)
Distance 35 laps, 810.09 km (503.37 mi)
Pole position
Driver Sunbeam
Grid positions set by ballot
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Henry Segrave Sunbeam
Time 11:19.0
Podium
First Alfa Romeo
Second Delage
Third Delage

EntriesEdit

The 1924 race attracted one of the largest entries of all the French Grands Prix of the 1920s with 22 entries. Sunbeam entered three cars to defend their 1923 win, these being improved versions of the 1923 cars now with superchargers as well as modified bodywork and new four-speed gearboxes. They were to be driven by an all British team consisting of 1923 winner Henry Segrave, Kenelm Lee Guinness and newcomer to the team Dario Resta. Fiat also returned with similar cars to 1923, however with revised superchargers, the team with four cars being lead by Felice Nazzaro.[3]

Alfa Romeo made their French Grand Prix debut with their new Alfa Romeo P2s, with four entries to be driven by Antonio Ascari, Giuseppe Campari and Louis Wagner, while Enzo Ferrari did not start as he fell ill. The Alfa Romeos, like the Sunbeams and Fiats, were fitted with Roots-type superchargers.[3]

Three Delages were entered, development from the 1923 cars having continued. Although they were tested with superchargers these were not used due to reliability concerns. Bugatti entered six cars in what was the debut of the highly successful Bugatti T35, however they were uncompetitive in 1924 due to their underpowered, naturally aspirated engines. Two cars based on the 1923 Rolland-Pilains were entered, now rebuilt as Schmids. Giulio Foresti crashed in practice leaving Jules Goux as the only starter for the team. Finally an American Miller was entered by Louis Zborowski, the first private entry ever to be accepted for the French Grand Prix.[3]

RaceEdit

At the rolling start Segrave took the lead from the front row which he shared with Albert Divo's Delage, while Ascari immediately came through from the second row into second place. At the end of the first lap Segrave had a small lead over Ascari, Guinness, Campari and Pietro Bordino (in a Fiat). They were then followed by Divo, Resta, Cesare Pastore (Fiat), Robert Benoist (Delage) and René Thomas (Delage).[3]

On the second lap, Bordino was able to overtake Campari, Guinness and Ascari to move into second place, and near the end of his third lap was able to take first place with Segrave making a pitstop for new plugs dropping him from second to 17th place. For the next few laps Ascari was able to keep up with Bordino, while Guinness had to defend his third place from Campari. Wagner had moved up to fifth place with the rest of the field struggling behind. On lap nine Bordino overshot a corner due to fading brakes, giving the lead to Ascari. Although Bordino retook the lead on the next lap he was forced to pit a few laps later to repair his brakes, putting him out of the race, eventually retiring after 17 laps.[3]

Ascari made a scheduled pitstop for fuel and tyres on lap 16, allowing Guinness into a small lead over Campari. On the next lap, however, Guinness blew a tyre forcing a wheel change dropping him to second. Segrave, who was a lap down, had to stop for a new riding mechanic as his had been hit by the tread of Guinness' blown tyre. The order after 17 laps was Campari with nearly a minute over Guinness and Divo, Ascari another two minutes behind in fourth, followed by Benoist, Wagner and Segrave in seventh and just over a lap behind Campari, the rest of the field now some way behind. Ascari quickly moved back up through the field and into first place on lap 20. On the following lap Guinness retired with engine failure giving Alfa Romeo first, second and fifth places, with the Delages in third, fourth and sixth. Over the next few laps the two leading Alfa Romeos stayed close together with Campari taking the lead during lap 27 only for Ascari to retake before the lap was over. Divo in the best placed Delage, was pushing, making up some time but not enough to worry the Italians. Segrave was the fastest driver on the track, moving up to sixth place and on the 29th lap setting the fastest lap of the race, 11 minutes 19 seconds.[3]

On the 32nd lap Ascari began to slow, being passed first by Campari, then a lap later by Divo. Finally with just one lap to go Ascari pulled into the pits. Ascari and his mechanic tried desperately to make the engine restart but the damage was terminal. Mechanic Ramponi attempted to push the car over the line but collapsed, so the Alfa Romeo was a non-finisher. Campari won the race by just over a minute from Divo with Benoist another ten minutes behind in third.[3]

ClassificationEdit

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired
1 10   Giuseppe Campari Alfa Romeo P2 8C/2000 35 7h05m34.8
2 2   Albert Divo Delage 2LCV 35 7h06m40.2
3 9   Robert Benoist Delage 2LCV 35 7h17m00.8
4 16   Louis Wagner Alfa Romeo P2 8C/2000 35 7h25m10.8
5 1   Henry Segrave Sunbeam 35 7h28m56.0
6 15   René Thomas Delage 2LCV 35 7h37m27.4
7 7   Jean Chassagne Bugatti T35 35 7h46m26.6
8 13   Ernest Friderich Bugatti T35 35 7h51m45.6
9 3   Antonio Ascari Alfa Romeo P2 8C/2000 34 Engine
10 14   Dario Resta Sunbeam 33 Flagged off
11 21   Leonico Garnier Bugatti T35 33 Flagged off
Ret 5   Felice Nazzaro Fiat 805 22 Brakes
Ret 8   Kenelm Lee Guinness Sunbeam 20 Engine
Ret 11   Jules Goux Rolland-Pilain-Schmid 19 Radiator
Ret 17   Onesimo Marchisio Fiat 805 17 Engine
Ret 12   Pietro Bordino Fiat 805 17 Brakes
Ret 6   Louis Zborowski Miller 122 16 Front axle
Ret 22   Meo Costantini Bugatti T35 16 Steering
Ret 18   Pierre De Vizcaya Bugatti T35 11 Crash
Ret 20   Cesare Pastore Fiat 805 11 Crash
DNS 4   Giulio Foresti Rolland-Pilain-Schmid Crash
DNS 19   Enzo Ferrari Alfa Romeo P2 8C/2000 Driver ill

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1924 Grands Prix, The GEL Motorsport Information Page
  2. ^ 1924 Grand Prix results (Hans Etzrodt)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hodges, David (1967). The French Grand Prix. Temple Press Books. p. 71-77.


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