The June 2023 Centenary of the Le Mans 24-hour Race
The flagship race of the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is one of the world’s oldest motor races and is followed around the globe. The first 24-hour race was held in 1923, 100 years ago.
1929 Bentley line-up – Le Sport Universel Illustre
If you ask anyone who’s mildly interested in car racing, they’ll have heard of Le Mans. The more informed will know about Bentley’s early dominance; the awful 1955 crash that killed one driver and 83 spectators; and the famous Ford vs Ferrari battles of the 1960s.
The 1955 disaster was the worst-ever motor racing accident – FlyAkwa
The 24 Hours of Le Mans was created by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, a motoring organisation founded in 1906. The first race was held on 26-27 May, 1923 on a circuit near Le Mans.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit has sections that are made up of public roads. It is now 13.6km long but has been modified several times over the years to maximise safety for competitors. From Pit Straight to the Dunlop Chicane, the Forest Esses, Mulsanne and the Ford Chicane, the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit is designed for speed and spectacular racing action.
The French endurance classic is part of the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship and is split into four classes.
The special Le Mans-style start lasted until 1970. The drivers were lined up on the left of the track, one behind the other, opposite their cars which were parked on the right. When the French flag was lowered, they ran to their cars, started their engines and set off around the track. For safety reasons, the starting procedure was eventually changed and now, after a formation lap, there is a rolling start.
Check out this video of previous winners: