André Héchard

André Héchard

6/9/1912 - 8/12/2007

André Héchard was born in Pontlevoy, near Le Mans. He served an apprenticeship as a mechanic in the early 1950s and always harboured the dream of racing in the 24 hour race at Le Mans.

He started racing with a supercharged Bugatti T35B at Monthléry. He also raced at Orleans, Bressuire and Caen.

In 1954 he raced in the Les Coupes d'Automne finishing 6th in class and at the Coupe du Salon de l'Auto, both races at Montlhéry. He also tried his hand at single seater racing with a Deutsch et Bonnet in 500cc Formula 3 and taking a win at Montlhéry on 17th April.

He had another good result in April 1955 in the F3 race at Montlhéry, finishing 2nd. He also nearly got his chance at Le Mans in 1955 driving a Vernet

Pairard Renault 155R but were only a reserve entry and did not get to make the start. He did compete in at 24 hour race that year, the 24 Heures Gran Prix de Paris, otherwise known at the Bol d'Or at Montlhéry. Driving with Jean-Marie Dumazer they finished 4th in class driving the Vernet Pairard Renault 155R.

For 1956 he earned a works drive with Deutsch et Bonnet and in June took a class win driving a D.B. HBR Panhard (574BC41) with Gérard Laureau in the 1000 km de Paris at Montlhéry. In early July in the Grand Prix de Rouen at Rouen-les-Essarts he finished 4th in class and then on the 29th he finally realised his dream driving at Le Mans driving the D.B. HBR Panhard with his friend Roger Masson, from Chateaudun. They finished a respectable 12th overall and third in class.

His performance attracted the attention of Colin Chapman and for 1957 he was provided with a works supported MkII Lotus Eleven Climax (320, Reg YAR527). Driving once again with Roger Masson they finished 4th in class. Graham Hill was listed as a driver but did not compete.

In 1958 he drove a 'Jabby' Crombac entered Lotus Eleven Climax (324) with Roger Masson at Le Mans. In the 4th hour in wet conditions he was involved in an accident between the Maurice Charles/John Young Jaguar D-type (XKD 502) and the Jacques Poch/Guy Dunand-Saultier Panhard Monopole X86. Both the Lotus and the Jaguar retired however the Panhard managed to continue and finished 17th. It was his last appearance at the Sarthe. He entered a DB Panhard HBR5 in 1959 but his entry was not accepted.

He was one of the people responsible for organising races and other events in the region around Blois and ran an engineering company that specialised in diesel engines and braking.

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