Le Mans legends: How Aston Martin claimed victory in 1959
Every day before this year's event, Motorsport.com invites you to rediscover a milestone edition of the greatest endurance race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Today, it’s the turn of 1959.
Aston Martin had to wait until then before clinching its first Le Mans victory despite being present at La Sarthe since 1931. But the British manufacturer went into the race as favourite despite the rise of Porsche, the recent success of Ferrari and the presence of the Jaguar D-Type.
The three new Ferrari 250 TR/59s proved the most powerful, but lacked reliability, and none of them made the finish. The works-entered Porsche 718 RSKs and Ecurie Ecosse's Jaguar and Tojeiro entries were also forced to retire.
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All that attrition left the door wide open for Aston Martin, which ran the only top-class cars to go the distance. The DBR1/300s finished first and second, with Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby winning by a lap over the sister car of Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere.
The third-placed GT-class Ferrari 250 GT finished 26 laps behind the winner. To date, it is Aston Martin's sole overall Le Mans victory.
The complete version of this race, and all the archives – including official films and Allan McNish's personal selections of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – are available on Motorsport.tv.
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