Stirling Moss in Jaguar C-Type #17 leads the C-Type of Rolt and Hamilton in the early stages of the 1953 24-Hours of Le Mans. Moss and codriver Peter Walker eventually finished second to Rolt and Hamilton after stopping for a choked fuel filter.
I was really surprised when I learned that there was going to be an historic race on the same circuit and on the same day as the 24-Hours. This was amazing in itself, and then the organisers agreed to have some reserves which they normally wouldn’t do at Le Mans. This was beneficial for the historic race because it meant there would be a good field by the time the race actually happened, and there were nearly 65 cars present for the race.
This was the first time I had been to the circuit in the way that it is set out now, and there certainly are some corners which are quite difficult. I think the Porsche Curves are the most exhilarating and demanding and if I were younger, I would go through them faster than I did. You come into them and just ease the throttle back a bit and then progressively come back on the throttle. This is a series of curves which are almost flat but not quite. You just need to ease off enough to balance the car. The Dunlop Chicane at the top of the hill past the pits is now a boring corner and has ruined the corner before it, which was really fast. You put in a chicane and it doesn’t do much except slow the cars down. I can understand the modern reasoning behind this but it has emasculated the circuit. Tertre Rouge is still very good, and you go down the straight until you come to more chicanes. I didn’t mind these very much because I was amazed by how good the brakes were in the C-Type Jag I was in. It’s an old car, and the first one with disc brakes, but they are remarkably good. Chicanes aren’t my idea of great corners but the Jag could handle them well.
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