The most famous endurance race in the world, marked by sportsmanship, quest for innovations and performance, has told, since 1923, a heroic chapter of automobile history. Bentley, Alfa Romeo and Bugatti before the war, Ferrari, Jaguar, Ford, Porsche, Matra, Peugeot and Audi since WWII – and now Toyota: the greatest car manufacturers have entered their name on the winners’ prize list on several occasions spending without counting to ensure periods of domination. Thus, they have forged the incredible reputation of the Le Mans 24 Hours, an event that has paid them back in full by enhancing their renown.
Everybody knows the 24 Hours of Le Mans and each person has his/her own image of the race – a very close finish, the top speed of a prototype roaring down the Mulsanne straight, the beauty of aerodynamic bodywork that owes nothing to stylists, etc. Since 1923, except during WWII, for 24 hours per year the best drivers in the best cars, often designed expressly for the race, come to take on their rivals in spectacular battles, and above all, to take up the challenge of what is undoubtedly the most demanding endurance race in the world.
- 1923: First edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours
- 1930: Bentley wins for the 5th time; this is the saga of the “Bentley Boys”
- 1949: Luigi Chinetti wins the event with Ferrari
- 1955: A dreadful accident in the first hours of the race caused the death of 80 people
- 1967: The “Race of the Century”, 300,000 spectators’ throng to attend the fight of the Ford-Ferrari duel… Breaking through of the 5,000 km mark!
- 1970: First victory for Porsche and making of the film Le Mans with Steve McQueen
- 1971: First Flying start. Standing start is over now
- 1972: Matra, Pescarolo and Graham Hill win. Hill is the only driver having won in Le Mans, in Indianapolis and being F1 world champion
- 1980: Rondeau becomes the first driver who wins in Le Mans driving his own car
- 1988: Speed record of 405 km/h by the WM prototype with a Peugeot engine
- 1991: Victory of Mazda, first Japanese manufacturer having won the event
- 2006: First victory of a diesel engine in Le Mans
- 2012: A hybrid car puts its name on the winners’ list: the Audi R18 e-tron quattro
- 2013: Tom Kristensen wins for the 9th time the event with Audi
- 2017: 19th victory of Porsche. A record!
- 2020: In-camera 24 Hours, COVID obliges: Toyota 3rd victory in a row, without any audience!
- 2022: Double victory for Toyota which breaks the distance record by covering 380 laps (5,177,88km.)
They have won “Le Mans”: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Matra, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Toyota… And legendary drivers: Tazio Nuvolari, Juan-Manuel Fangio, Graham Hill, Henri Pescarolo, Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Tom Kristensen, Fernando Alonso…