The ultimate test for man and machine, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is genuinely an epitome of endurance racing
Started in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest active motorsport tournament in the world, which is annually held in the town of Le Mans, France. If you have watched the movie Ford vs. Ferrari, you are probably informed of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Over the decades, the prestigious endurance tournament has given birth to various tales and incidents. Hardcore fans may know many facts about the Le Mans, but nobody can know everything about the tourney. In this piece, we’ve compiled some facts which much may not be aware of.
- Driving over 300 kmph at night in poor weather and track conditions, the drivers often cannot read the roadside markers which inform them about the approaching corners. To hit the brakes without failure, the drivers count in their heads and calculate at what time they need to apply the brakes.
- The biggest margin between the first team and the runner-up team is 349.808 kilometres, a record which is intact till date. The winner team in a Bentley crossed the line almost 350 kilometres ahead of the runner-up team in a Salmson.
- The highest driving speed recorded at the Le Mans is 400 kmph. In 1988, French driver Roger Dorchy drove at 400 kmph in the 5.8 kilometres long Hunaudières stretch.
- Racer Kamui Kobayashi has set the fastest lap at the Le Mans in a Toyota TS050 HYBRID. In 2017, he completed a lap of the Le Mans in 3:14.791.
- The champagne shower celebration that we witness today in various sports was born in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1966, a champagne bottle’s cock was accidentally shot out, and it was sprayed all over the podium. After winning the Le Mans in 1967, Dan Gurney purposely did it and since then; the champagne shower celebration has been adopted by almost all the major sports in the world.
- Since the inception of the tournament, Mazda is the only Japanese manufacturer to win the Le Mans in 1991.
- The last two-man crew to win the tournament included racers Klaus Ludwig and Henri Pescarolo. In 1984, they won the race in a Porsche.
· The most successful team in the Le Mans is Porsche with 17 wins followed by Audi with 13 wins.