A short guide to the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Race
In 1969, Jackie Ickx donned his leather driving gloves and crossed the track to his race car, while the other drivers did the traditional “run and jump” outing. He did this in protest, encouraging other drivers to run with their seat belts fastened. Jackie Ickx would win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ford GT 40. He won this event six times. The traditional exit where drivers raced down the track to their cars was last used in 1969.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans are steeped in history and prestige. It is the best known race in the world. If you are “anyone”, you race at Le Mans … if you win, you are “everyone”.
At Le Mans, the race cars are at 85% full throttle for most of the long straights and top speeds of 200mph are reached until the knuckles turn white under the leather driving gloves as the grip on the steering wheel resembles rubber grip on the road. as the braking system is tested, lowering the car to 50mph, from the Mulsanne straight into the fearsome Porsche corners.
The result of each curve determined the fate of the next.
“Flying Scotsman” Jim Clark refused to race at Le Mans. He considered it too dangerous.
The Detroit News said on June 17, 1966: “This racetrack is a runway in a cornfield in the jet age. It was built 50 years ago for cars going 65 mph. Tomorrow 55 cars of race, some of them capable of 225 mph in a straight line. and all of them over the 130 mph class – will start at 10 am (Detroit time) and it will be a miracle if no one dies. No one is intrepid. Some of these drivers they are very scared. “
In the days when driving gloves were put on leather helmets and goggles, an endurance race had a totally different meaning. When Duncan Hamilton won Le Mans in 1953 in a Jaguar C-Type, he was so drunk that when the team offered him coffee during the pit stops, he refused, saying his arms were shaking, accepting only brandy!
These days, Le Mans is a 24-hour sprint through thousands of gear changes, millions of crankshaft revolutions, and constant forces on every component, you drive every lap as classified. This makes the 24 Hours of Le Mans the most purist challenge in motorsports.
Corvette Racing topped the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday 13-14 June 2015 when Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor wrote the final chapter of a storybook comeback that ended with the team winning the GTE Pro category in their No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The trio in their No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R completed 337 laps for 2,864.50 miles in a frantic battle that ultimately saw the Corvette win in its class by five laps. Sunday’s victory goes hand-in-hand with Corvette Racing victories earlier this year in the 24 Hours of Daytona and Mobil 1 of Sebring in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.