2020 is going to be a vintage year for all enthusiasts of historic car racing as it’s a Le Mans Classic year! In 2018, over 195 000 spectators flocked to this event that has become a not-to-be-missed rendezvous on the calendar of global meetings. But which cars will be the stars of the 10th running between 2nd and 5th July 2020? Collector cars, obviously! Discover the list of the first cars selected to do battle out on the track and help all those present relive the greatest moments of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Grid 1 (1923-1939)
1939 – Talbot Lago T26 ex-monoplace décalée
At the end of the 1930s, the German Silver Arrows dominated the racing scene. The offset single-seater Talbot Lago T26 was designed to knock them off their perch. Unfortunately, its straight-six engine was no match for the V12s that powered the Mercedes-Benz W154s. Despite this, it had a good racing career with victory in the Comminges Grand Prix and second place in the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Grid 2 (1949-1956)
1953 – Cunningham C4R
Briggs S. Cunningham Jr was one of the best-know American racing drivers of his era. With his eponymous make he put the United States in the limelight and above all in the battle for victory. Out of the 36 Cunninghams produced only nine were racing cars. Among them was the C4R, which clinched the most successes including, in particular, John Fitch’s victory in the Elkhart Lake race in 1952 and Sebring in 1953. The statistics are eloquent: the three C4Rs built won 74% and finished 84% of the races in which they took part.
Grid 3 (1957-1961)
1955 – Jaguar Type D
After winning Le Mans in 1951 and 1953 the C-Type Jaguar was showing its age and its replacement had to be as quick to maintain English domination. The D-Type fulfilled all its promise and won the famous Le Mans race in 1955 driven by Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb.
Grid 4 (1962-1965)
1964 – Ferrari 250 LM
The Ferrari Berlinetta Le Mans’ aim was to succeed the legendary 250 GTO. Thirty-two were built, not enough to obtain homologation in the GT category. Even so it achieved a glorious result at Le Mans by clinching first place in 1965 thanks to the N.A.R.T entry followed in second place by the Ecurie Francorchamps yellow 250 LM.
Grid 5 (1966-1971)
1970 – Porsche 917
The Porsche 917 has become an icon for all motor racing enthusiasts. The specialised press designated it the standout racing car of its century. This out-and-out racer was the undoubted queen of endurance in the 1970s. It was specially designed to achieve victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and it guaranteed the on-track spectacle, especially on the Mulsanne straight!
Grid 6 (1972-1981)
1976 – Inaltera
At the time Inaltera was known as a wallpaper brand presided over by Charles James. But it all changed very quickly! Jean Rondeau from Le Mans was looking for financial backing to build a car for the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans and James provided him with the necessary cash. He also gave his company’s name to the car in question. Two Inalteras took the start. Henri Pescarolo and Jean-Pierre Beltoise drove no. 1 and in no. 2 were Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Rondeau himself and a woman driver, Christine Beckers. No. 1 finished eighth.
Group C Racing (1982-1993)
1983 – Porsche 956
The Porsche 956 is among the rarer racing cars. This Group C Porsche is the symbol of the Stuttgart make’s domination in the 1980s. Its chassis was a trail-blazer for the era as an aluminium monocoque replaced the traditional tubular layout. This innovation was crowned with success as thanks to its lightness and its flat-6 engine the Porsche 956 scored several victories in the most prestigious races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Endurance Racing Legends
1997 – Panoz Esperante GTR-1 (1994-2010)
At the end of the 1990s and at the beginning of the noughties the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 was the first symbol of the original approach and the passion of its creator, Don Panoz, who played a major role in the renaissance of endurance racing. It competed in the 1997 FIA GT Championship and its best results were two ninth places at Spa-Francorchamps and Donington. The car shown here (chassis 003) also raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997 and 2004 under the colours of David Price Racing and Larbre Compétition (retired on both occasions).ENTRY LIST