CHERNARD & WALCKER SPORT: THE DAWN OF ENDURANCE
It was 1922, three people came up with a revolutionary idea. They wanted to organize a long-term car race, in order to give to builders a chance to show the robustness of the cars produced.
The architects and promoters of the initiative were Charles Faroux, George Duran and Emile Coquille.
Faroux was a journalist, Durant the Secretary General of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and Coquille the one who donated the Rudge-Whitworth Cup, intended for the winners of the competition.
For the race, scheduled on May 26 1923, on the Circuit of the Sarthe of Le Mans, 35 registrations were collected within eighteen different car companies.
The regulation issued by the Automobile was quite simple, as were the basics required standards to partecipate.
Among the registered teams there was the Chenard & Walcker, which deployed two Sport model cars for the occasion. These were roadsters equipped with a 4-cylinder 3.0 engine capable of delivering the power of 100 hp. Drivers of the cars were André Lagache and René Léonard for number 9 and Raoul Bachmann and Christian d'Auvergne for number 10.
The race, started at 4 PM, was held under a violent hailstorm that turned into rain before dying. The Chenard & Walcker consistently maintained the race head despite the serious problems of the track that was filled with holes due to heavy rainfall.
The two French cars did not however stop at all and they both conquered the first two places at the end of the 24 Hours.
The winning Chenard & Walcker Sport together with the Tourisme classified seventh ( Photo Credits : www.autocar.co.uk )
It was the only edition won by the French company, but the result was still impressive all the same. After all it was the first team to win what later became the epic 24 Hours of Le Mans, The Endurance race.
Thanks to Valentina Zanola for the cooperation