The 24 heures du Mans is coming up this weekend, at the same time as Grand Prix du Canada. Talk about over-stimulation!
The 24 Heures du Mans race is the world’s oldest sports car race, with the first race being held in 1923.
The race is organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and it is run on the Circuit de Sarthe, about 2.5 hours south-west of Paris.
On the world stage, the race equals in stature to the Grand Prix de Monaco in the Formula 1, and the Indianapolis 500 in Indy car.
There have been cycles of consecutive winners starting with Bentley in the late 1920’s, followed by Alfa Romeo through the 1930’s, and two Bugatti wins late in the decade.
The war years stopped the race until 1949, with the advent of Ferrari’s first win there. There was mostly Jaguar dominance through the mid-1950’s. Ferrari came back with a vengeance, winning six years in a row, 1960 through to 1965.
At this point, we were well into the Ford/Ferrari war, with Ford taking the next four years. Please read A. J. Baimes’ great book “Go like Hell” to get fabulous insight on the battles.
1970 heralded the Porsche years at Le Mans, with sixteen wins until 1998. These were interspersed with wins by Jaguar, Mercedes, Mazda, Peugeot, Dauer, McLaren, and BMW.
Since 2000, we have been in the Audi years, with the exception of Bentley (2003) and Peugeot (2009).
Aston Martin has returned “en force”, so this year is looking like a three-way battle between them, Audi and Peugeot.
Le Mans has never been so exciting!