Few racing events have such prestige as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s not only the world’s most famous endurance race, but it’s been held nearly every year since 1923 and racing drivers hold it in high regard. The Le Mans race is part of the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport,’ alongside two other iconic races: Monaco’s Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. These are the races that every driver wants to win.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans doesn’t just turn the winning drivers into celebrated heroes; the gruelling event puts technology and engineering skills to the test. The names of the winning cars are written into the pages of racing history. And naturally, of course, the pursuit to win this iconic event has led car makers to produce some incredible cars.
The first post-WWII 24 Hours of Le Mans was organised in 1949, and Ferrari won the event with its beautiful 166 MM (for Mille Miglia), which was powered by a compact V12 engine. And who could forget the Aston Martin D-Type, which was designed specifically with the 24 Hours race in mind? The car debuted in 1954 and finished second. But it went on to win the next three years, and its 1-2-3-4-6 finish in 1957 was the ultimate triumph.
We would be remiss not to highlight the Ford GT40, which ended Ferrari’s dominance when it won the event from 1966 to 1969. But when talking about Le Mans, it’s impossible not to mention the Porsche 956 and the long-wheelbase twin 962. In the famous Mulsanne Straight of the Le Mans circuit, the 962 hit a speed of 235 mph – in the rain! Driver Derek Bell, later said that if you haven’t gone over 200 mph, “you haven’t been into another world.” And that’s exactly where the Porsche 962 took him in Le Mans.
In recognition of this iconic race, we give you every winning car since the race began. Do you have a favourite?
From thrilling battles for the win to desperation when the car breaks down while leading the race, 24 Hours of Le Mans has given us a bit of everything over the decades. This poster, which illustrates the winning cars, is our tribute to a race that is truly one of a kind.
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Every winning car of 24 hours of Le Mans (1923 to 2018), courtesy of Budget Direct
Britannica. (2018) Automobile Racing. britannica.com
Maldonado, B. (2017) GALERÍA: todos los ganadores de Le Mans desde 1980. lat.motorsport.com
Les 24 herures. (2018) Palmares des vainqueurs aux 24 heures du Mans. les24heures.fr
Racing Car Draws. (2018) Hall of Fame 24 Hours of Le Mans. racingcardraws.com
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