24 Heures du Mans:
History



The first Le Mans 24 Hour was staged in 1923. At the time there was no official winner because officials had decided the event would triennial event, with finishes invited back for next two years to race to decided the winner. That idea was eventually abandoned with the fastest finisher from the first race, Andre Lagache and Rene Leonard acknowledged as the winner.

The race is now acknowledged as one of the three premier motorsport events in the world, joining the Monte Carlo Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 as the events that racers throughout the world dream of winning.

Le Mans used to be renowned for its amazing top speeds on the 3km long Mulsanne Straight. However, motorsportıs world controlling body, the FIA, decreed in 1990 that no straight in world motorsport should be more than 1km long. The Mulsanne Straight now features two chicanes to slow the cars. Prior to the installation of the chicanes, the WM Peugeot topped the speed charts eclipsing 405km/h (251.65mph) on the Mulsanne Straight with Roger Dorchy at the wheel. Powered by a V6 turbo engine, the car had little downforce and was entered with the sole goal of breaking the 250mph mark.

Le Mans was also made famous by the "Le Mans Start" where drivers would line up on the opposite side of the track and run to climb aboard their cars on the dropping of the green flag. This format was abandoned in 1970 on safety grounds.

The Le Mans 24 Hour is a huge carnival event with up to 250,000 spectators enthralled in a huge party atmosphere including fireworks, sideshows, ferris wheel, camping, restaurants and festivals.

In 1999 at the Le Mans 24 Hour some 2628 reporters representing 825 titles from 36 countries covered the race. 160 countries around the world broadcast the race, and Eurosport covered 12 hours live and broadcast a total of 20 hours of the race in 37 countries.