Le Mans History

The Le Mans 24 Race has a proud history as one of the two oldest circuit races in history and 2016 promises to add new levels of excitement to this classic endurance race as it is run for the 84th time.

The first time this test of technology and driver determination was run in 1923 it was called the Grand Prix of Speed and Endurance and even today that original name is at the foundation of what makes this race one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world.

Originally the marques participating had to retain some of the flavour of their road going versions by using some of the standard equipment that was available to the buying public.
In the early days of the 1920’s and 1930’s famous sporting marques like Bentley, Bugatti and Alfa Romeo staked their claim to being amongst the greatest sports cars ever made. Names like Graham Hill, who won the 1972 Le Mans meet making him the only driver having won in Le Mans, in Indianapolis and being F1 world champion, as well as Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen make this a race of both superstars and champions.

Today the cars have changed to feature prototypes, GT racers and even hybrid technologies which have been heavily modified for competition but the ultimate aim remains true to the historical origins of the race – for drivers and marques to take their place on the podium after 24 hours and more than 4,500 kilometres of the race at La Sarthe.