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Instead of focusing on the ability of a car company to build the fastest machines, the 24 Hours of Le Mans would instead concentrate on the ability of manufacturers to build sporty yet reliable cars.
This encouraged innovation in producing reliable and fuel-efficient vehicles , because endurance racing requires cars that last and spend as little time in the pits as possible.
At the same time, the layout of the track necessitated cars with better aerodynamics and stability at high speeds.
While this was shared with Grand Prix racing, few tracks in Europe had straights of a length comparable to the Mulsanne.
Additionally, because the road is public and thus not as meticulously maintained as permanent racing circuits, racing puts more strain on the parts, increasing the importance of reliability.
The oil crisis in the early s led organizers to adopt a fuel economy formula known as Group C that limited the amount of fuel each car was allowed. Although it was later abandoned, fuel economy remains important as new fuel sources reduce time spent during pit stops.
Such technological innovations have had a trickle-down effect and can be incorporated into consumer cars. This has also led to faster and more exotic supercars as manufacturers seek to develop faster road cars in order to develop them into even faster GT cars.
Additionally, in recent years hybrid systems flywheel, super-capacitor, battery coupled with both gasoline and diesel have been championed in the LMP category as rules have been changed to their benefit and to further push efficiency.
The race is held in June, leading at times to very hot conditions for drivers, particularly in closed vehicles with poor ventilation; rain is commonly seen.
The race begins in mid-afternoon and finishes the following day at the same hour the race started the previous day. It also tests endurance, with drivers frequently racing for over two hours before a relief driver can take over during a pit stop while they eat and rest.
Current regulations mandate that three drivers share each competing vehicle. Competing teams race in groups called "classes", or cars of similar specification, while also competing simultaneously for outright placing amongst all classes.
Originally, the race showcased cars as they were sold to the general public, then called "Sports Cars", in contrast with the specialised racing cars used in Grand Prix motor racing.
Over time, the competing vehicles evolved away from their publicly available road car roots, and today the race is made of two overall classes: These are further broken down into 2 sub-classes each, constructors' prototypes, privateer prototypes and 2 subclasses of GT cars.
Competing teams have had a wide variety of organization, ranging from competition departments of road car manufacturers eager to prove the supremacy of their products to professional motor racing teams representing their commercial backers, some of which are also car manufacturers who want to win without paying for their own teams to amateur teams racing as much to compete in the famous race as to claim victory for their commercial partners.
The race is also known as a leg of the informal Triple Crown of Motorsport which links Formula One , IndyCar , and sports car racing to represent a career achievement for drivers.
Additionally, it is seen as a leg of the Triple Crown of endurance racing , which links the three largest sports car races together, with 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona forming the other legs.
The race has approximately 60 competitors. Each car was required to have at least two seats, but recently cars only need the ability to accommodate a second seat in the cockpit rather than the seat itself.
No more than two doors are allowed; open cockpit cars do not require doors. Since , all cars in the premier LMP1 category must have a roof due to safety concerns, with open-cockpit cars only permitted in the slightly slower LMP2 category.
Although all cars compete at the same time, there are separate classes. A prize is awarded to the winner of each class, and to the overall winner.
The number of classes has varied over the years, but there are now four. Although the top class is the most likely to be the overall winner, lower classes have won on occasion due to better reliability.
Originally, there were no rules on the number of drivers of a car, or how long they could drive. Although almost all teams used two drivers in the early decades, some Le Mans drivers such as Pierre Levegh and Eddie Hall attempted to run the race solo, hoping to save time by not having to change drivers.
This practice was later banned. Until the s, there were teams in which only two drivers competed, but by the end of the decade, the rules were changed to stipulate that at least three drivers must drive each car.
By the s, due to the speeds of the cars and the strain it puts on drivers, additional rules to reduce driver fatigue mandated that drivers could not drive for over minutes over a 6-hour period, and that no one driver could run for over 14 hours total.
With careful management of driver stints, this makes it possible to complete the race with only two drivers as Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil did in , although the vast majority of teams still continue to use three drivers.
Although it has been a part of the World Sportscar Championship for most of its existence, the race has had different regulations for safety and competition reasons partly due to its length.
For many decades, cars were required to run at least an hour into the race before they were allowed to refill fluids for the car, such as oil or coolant, with the exception of fuel.
This was an attempt by the ACO to help increase efficiency and reliability. Cars which could not last the first hour without having to replace lost fluids were disqualified.
Another rule unique to Le Mans is that cars must be switched off while they are refuelled in the pits. Not only is this safer and less of a fire hazard, but it is also another test of reliability, as cars with the guaranteed ability to restart many times under race conditions are harder to make.
Another element of this rule is that mechanics are not allowed to work on the car while it is being refuelled other than helping a driver in or out of the car , which has led teams to adapt innovative ways in which to decrease the time of these lengthy pit stops.
Drivers are allowed to get out of the car and be replaced by another driver during refuelling. There are various long-standing traditions at Le Mans, including the waving of the French tricolor to start the race.
This is usually followed by a fly-over featuring jets trailing blue, white and red smoke. A similar flag tradition is the waving of safety flags during the final lap of the race by track marshals, congratulating the winners and other finishers.
Le Mans was the venue for the first televised instance of a winning driver celebrating by spraying champagne instead of drinking it.
Foyt , the two drivers mounted the victory podium and Gurney was handed a magnum of champagne. Gurney shook the bottle and sprayed everyone nearby.
Gurney autographed and gave the bottle of champagne to Life photographer Flip Schulke, who used it as a lamp for years before returning it to Gurney.
The first race was held on 26 and 27 May and has since been run annually in June with exceptions in , when the race was held in July, and , when it was held in September due to nationwide political turmoil in May.
The race has been cancelled ten times—in a labour strike during the Great Depression and between and World War II.
The race usually takes place on the second weekend of June, with qualifying and practice taking place on the Wednesday and Thursday before the race, following a car inspection on Monday and Tuesday.
Currently, these sessions are held in the evening, with two separate two-hour sessions held each night. Friday serves as a day of rest and a parade of all the drivers through Le Mans is held.
Test days held at the end of April or beginning of May served as a pre-qualification weeding out the slowest cars. However, in the exorbitant cost of transporting cars to and from Le Mans led organizers to move the test day to the first weekend of June.
In fact pre-qualification was eliminated in , meaning that all competitors invited to the test would be allowed into the race.
Since the Le Mans Legend races have also been part of the schedule, usually running exhibition races during qualifying days, a few hours prior to the sessions for the Le Mans entrants.
Until , the race started at In and , the start time was moved ahead to In , the ACO scheduled a Since , when the race took place from 13—14 June, it starts at Originally, the car that covered the greatest distance from its starting position was the winner.
This is known to have caught out the Ford team in With a dominant 1—2 lead, the two cars slowed to allow for a photo opportunity at the finish line, with Ken Miles slightly ahead of Bruce McLaren.
However, since McLaren's car had actually started much farther back on the grid than Miles's, McLaren's car had actually covered the greatest distance over the 24 hours.
With the margin of victory determined to be eight metres, McLaren and his co-driver, Chris Amon , were declared the winners.
The decision cost Miles and Denny Hulme a victory. Miles had already won the other two endurance races at Sebring and Daytona. With a win at Le Mans, he would have become not only the first man to win all three, but the first to win them all in the same year.
When two cars finish the same number of laps, their finishing order is determined by the faster overall completion time.
This rule was used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to determine the race winner, when the top two finishers both completed laps, with only 13 seconds difference between them.
Although "greatest distance run" determines the provisional order of finishers, additional requirements must be met for a car to be classified.
All classification requirements hold except in exceptional circumstances, as determined by the race stewards.
The race traditionally began with what became known as the Le Mans start , in which cars were lined up along the length of the pits.
Until , cars were lined up in order of engine capacity, but beginning in qualifying times determined the lineup. The starting drivers stood on the opposite side of the front stretch.
When the French flag dropped to signify the start, the drivers ran across the track, entered and started their cars without assistance, and drove away.
This became a safety issue in the late s when some drivers ignored their safety harnesses, then a recent invention. This led to drivers running the first few laps either improperly harnessed due to attempting to do it while driving or sometimes not even harnessed at all, leading to several deaths when cars were involved in accidents due to the bunched field at the start.
This starting method inspired Porsche to locate the ignition key switch to the left of the steering wheel. In a left-hand drive car, this allowed the driver to use his left hand to start the engine, and his right hand to put the transmission into gear, which in turn shaves off a few tenths of a second.
Another method for speeding up the start was developed by Stirling Moss. His car was waiting with first gear already engaged.
When he jumped in, he switched the starter on without depressing the clutch. The car was immediately jerked forward by the starter motor, but the engine did not start due to low RPM.
After a few seconds of motion, he then pushed the clutch down, allowing the engine to speed up and start while the car was moving.
Feeling this type of start was unsafe, in the race, Jacky Ickx opposed it by walking across the track while his competitors ran.
Although he was nearly hit by a faster competitor's car while walking, Ickx took the time to fasten his safety belts before pulling away.
Privateer John Woolfe died in an accident on the first lap of that race; Ickx won. The traditional Le Mans start was changed for Cars were still lined up along the pit wall, but the drivers were already inside and strapped in.
At the dropping of the French tricolor, the drivers started their engines and drove away. Since , when that method was done away with, a rolling start sometimes known as an Indianapolis start begins the race.
It consists of both permanent track and public roads that are temporarily closed for the race. Since , the track has been extensively modified, mostly for safety reasons, and now is Although it initially entered the town of Le Mans, the track was cut short in order to better protect spectators.
This led to the creation of the Dunlop Curve and Tertre Rouge corners before rejoining the old circuit on the Mulsanne.
To comply with this, two chicanes were added to the 6 km long straight. The public sections of the track differ from the permanent circuit, especially in comparison with the Bugatti Circuit which is inside the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Due to heavy traffic in the area, the public roads are not as smooth or well kept. They also offer less grip because of the lack of soft-tyre rubber laid down from racing cars, though this only affects the first few laps of the race.
The roads are closed only within a few hours of the practice sessions and the race, before being opened again almost as soon as the race is finished.
Workers have to assemble and dismantle safety barriers every year for the public sections. Originally planned to be a three-year event awarded the Rudge-Whitworth Triennial Cup, with a winner being declared by the car which could go the farthest distance over three consecutive hour races, this idea was abandoned in and overall winners were declared for each single year depending on who covered the farthest distance by the time 24 hours were up.
The early races were dominated by French, British, and Italian drivers, teams, and cars, with Bugatti , Bentley , and Alfa Romeo being the top brands.
Innovations in car design began appearing at the track in the late s, with Bugatti and Alfa Romeo running highly aerodynamic bodywork in order to run down the Mulsanne Straight at faster speeds.
The New York Times. Archived PDF from the original on Toyota sets pace and beats pole". Retrieved 23 September Free Practice, Porsche Fastest First".
Jani steals top spot from Toyota in Le Mans practice". Kobayashi takes provisional pole for Toyota". Qualifying 1, Toyota On Provisional Pole".
Archived PDF from the original on 15 July Retrieved 15 June Archived from the original on 8 August France Info in French.
Retrieved 16 June Toyota locks out front row in final qualifying". Retrieved 24 September Qualifying 3, Toyota Pole Confirmed". Archived PDF from the original on 19 September Archived from the original on 10 September Retrieved 18 June Retrieved 13 November Porsche take third successive victory".
Retrieved 19 June Archived from the original PDF on 21 October Retrieved 20 June Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.
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The incident led to the widespread introduction of safety measures, not only at the circuit, but elsewhere in the motorsport world. Following the accident, the entire pit complex was razed and rebuilt further back allowing the pit straight to be widened, although there was still no barrier between the track and the pit lane.
Ford entered the picture with the GT40 , finally ending Ferrari's dominance with four straight wins before the s ended and the cars, and the race, changed substantially.
For the new decade, the race took a turn towards more extreme speeds and automotive designs. These extreme speeds led to the replacement of the typical standing Le Mans start with a rolling Indianapolis start.
Although production-based cars still raced, they were now in the lower classes while purpose-built sportscars became the norm. The Porsche , , and were dominant throughout the decade, but a resurgence by French manufacturers Matra - Simca and Renault saw the first victories for the nation since the race.
This decade is also remembered for strong performances from many privateer constructors, with two scoring the only victories for a privateer, in the decade.
John Wyer 's Mirage won in , while Jean Rondeau 's self-titled chassis took The rest of the s was known for the dominance by Porsche under the new Group C race car formula that encouraged fuel efficiency.
Originally running the effective , it was later replaced by the Both chassis were affordable enough for privateers to purchase them en masse, leading to the two model types winning six years in a row.
Mercedes-Benz won in , with what was seen as the latest incarnation of the elegant " Silver Arrows ", the Sauber C9 , while an influx of Japanese manufacturer interest saw prototypes from Nissan and Toyota.
In too, a W. In and , Peugeot dominated the race with its Peugeot as the Group C formula and World Sportscar Championship were fading in participation.
Following the demise of the World Sportscar Championship , Le Mans saw a resurgence of production-based grand tourer cars. Thanks to a loophole in the rules, Porsche succeeded in convincing the ACO that a Dauer Le Mans supercar was a production car, allowing Porsche to race their Porsche for one final time, dominating the field.
Although the ACO attempted to close the loop hole for , newcomer McLaren would win the race in their supercar's first appearance thanks to the reliability of the BMW V12 powered F1 GTR, beating faster yet more trouble-prone prototypes.
The trend would continue through the s as more exotic supercars were built in order to skirt the ACO's rules regarding production-based race cars, leading to Porsche , Mercedes-Benz , Toyota, Nissan, Panoz , and Lotus entering the GT categories.
BMW would survive with the victory, their first and only overall Le Mans win to date, while Mercedes left sportscar racing indefinitely following two catastrophic though non-fatal crashes stemming from severe aerodynamic flaws with their CLR.
Many major automobile manufacturers withdrew from sports car racing after due to the high cost. Only Cadillac and Audi remained, and Audi easily dominated with the R8.
Cadillac pulled out three years later, and attempts by Panoz, Chrysler , and MG to beat Audi all fell short. After three victories in a row, Audi provided engine, team staff, and drivers to Bentley , a corporate partner, which had returned in , and in the factory Bentley Speed 8s beat privateer Audis.
At the end of , after five overall victories for the R8, and six to its V8 turbo engine, Audi took on a new challenge by introducing a diesel engined prototype known as the R10 TDI.
Although not the first diesel to race, it was the first to win at Le Mans. This era saw other alternative fuel sources being used, including bio-ethanol , while Peugeot decided to follow Audi's lead and also pursue a diesel entry in with their HDi FAP.
The running reaffirmed the race as a test of endurance and reliability. In adjusting their cars and engines to adhere to the regulations, Peugeot chose overall speed while Audi chose reliability.
At the end of the race, all four Peugeots had retired, three due to engine failure, while Audi finished The and races were marred by a series of accidents.
In , in the first hour, the Audi driven by Allan McNish crashed heavily, barrel rolling into a tire wall shortly after the Dunlop Bridge. At night, the defending race-winning Audi driven by Mike Rockenfeller crashed in similar fashion between the Mulsanne and Indianapolis corners.
Neither driver was injured, nor were any spectators. The race saw two factory Toyotas replace Peugeot, which had withdrawn earlier, but one of them flipped at Mulsanne Corner.
Driver Anthony Davidson suffered two broken vertebrae but was able to exit the car himself. The other Toyota retired with mechanical difficulties shortly after sunset, giving Audi another victory.
In , the race became the premier round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup , an attempt to make a world championship for endurance racing again. The event was the first time the race was won by a hybrid electric vehicle , which was the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
After Audi's dominance of the event in the early s, Toyota has fielded competitive cars since , Porsche returned to Le Mans in with a new factory LMP1 program, and Nissan returned to run an LMP1 program in Audi withdrew from racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in and Nissan only after one attempt in Porsche won the race in , and with its hybrid , and remains the most successful manufacturer at Le Mans, with 19 overall victories, including a seven straight from to Le Mans has seen many innovations in automotive design to counteract the circuit's difficulties.
These have either been dictated by rules or have been attempts by manufacturers to outwit the competition. Some innovations were incorporated into the common automobile.
One of the keys to Le Mans is top speed, caused by the long straights that dominate the circuit. This has meant cars have attempted to achieve the maximum speeds possible instead of relying on downforce for the turns.
While early competitors' cars were street cars with their bodywork removed to reduce weight, innovators like Bugatti developed cars which saw the beginnings of aerodynamics.
Nicknamed tanks due to their similarity to military tanks in World War I, these cars used simple curves to cover all the mechanical elements of the car and increase top speed.
Once Le Mans returned after World War II, most manufacturers would adopt closed bodies which were streamlined for better aerodynamics. A notable example in the changes brought about by aerodynamics are the entries by Briggs Cunningham.
Cunningham entered two Cadillac Coupe de Villes , one nearly stock and the other completely rebodied in a streamlined aluminum shape developed by Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation that looked so unusual that it was nicknamed "Le Monstre" by the French press.
The smoothing of body shapes and fairing-in of various parts of the machine brought about by the continual search for reduction of aerodynamic drag led to a separation from Grand Prix cars, which rarely had large bodywork.
As the years went on, bodywork became all enveloping, while at the same time lighter. The larger bodywork with spoilers were able to provide more downforce for the turns without increasing the drag , allowing cars to maintain high speeds.
Extended bodywork would usually concentrate on the rear of the car, usually being termed long tail. The bodywork also began to cover the cockpit for less drag, although open cockpits would come and go over the years as rules varied.
Aerodynamics reached its peak in , before the Mulsanne Straight was modified. During the race, the crew of a Peugeot powered W.
A wide variety of engines have competed at Le Mans, in attempts to not only achieve greater speed but also to have better fuel economy , and spend less time in the pits.
Supercharging was an early innovation for increasing output, first being raced in , while turbocharging would not appear until The first car to enter without an engine run by pistons would be in , when Rover partnered with British Racing Motors to run a gas turbine with mixed success, repeating again in The American Howmet Corporation would attempt to run a turbine again in with even less success.
Although the engines offered great power, they were hot and fuel-inefficient. Another non-piston engine that would appear would be a Wankel engine , otherwise known as the rotary engine.
Run entirely by Mazda since its introduction in , the compact engine would also suffer from fuel economy problems like the turbine had, yet would see the success that the turbine lacked.
After many years of development, Mazda finally succeeded in being the only winner of the race to not have a piston-powered engine, taking the event with the B.
Rotary engines were banned by the ACO following Mazda's win. Alternative fuel sources would also play a part in more normal engine designs, with the first non-gasoline car appearing in The Delettrez Special would be powered by a diesel engine , while a second diesel would appear in the form of the M.
Although diesel would appear at other times over the race existence, it would not be until when a major manufacturer, Audi, would invest in diesels and finally succeed, with the R10 TDI.
Ethanol fuel appeared in in a modified Porsche , leading to a class win. But only electrical i. Since , they were able to compete for points and the championship.
In the same year, Toyota also started with a hybrid car, the TS , which used KERS to power its rear wheels, meaning its usage was not restricted.
With increased speeds around the track, brakes become a key issue for teams attempting to safely bring their cars down to a slow enough speed to make the Mulsanne Corner turn.
In the Mercedes-Benz SLR introduced the air brake using a large opening hood on the rear of the car. In the s, anti-lock braking systems became standard on most Group C cars as a safety measure, making it less likely that cars lose control at high speeds.
By the late s, reinforced carbon-carbon brakes were adapted for better stopping power. Over the years, many manufacturers have managed to take the overall win, while even more have taken class wins.
The most successful marque in the history of the race is Porsche , which has taken nineteen overall victories, including seven in a row from to Audi is next with thirteen wins,   and Ferrari follows with nine, also including six in a row from to Since Audi has dominated the event, winning 13 times in 15 years of participation.
Jaguar has seven wins, while Bentley , Alfa Romeo , and Ford all won four races in a row, with Bentley recording two additional victories in other years.
In , Toyota became only the second Japanese marque to win, following Mazda in Mazda is also the only company to win with a rotary engine.
Three drivers stand apart for their number of victories. Initially Jacky Ickx held the record at six, scoring victories between and , earning him an honorary citizenship to the town of Le Mans.
His frequent racing-partner, Derek Bell , trailing by a single win, with five. However, Dane Tom Kristensen has beaten this record with nine wins between and , including six in a row.
Three-time winner Woolf Barnato to and American racing legend A. Foyt are the only drivers to have won every Le Mans in which they participated.
Henri Pescarolo won the race four times, and holds the record for the most Le Mans appearances at Japan's Yojiro Terada was active as a driver until , and holds the record for the most Le Mans starts without an overall win.
Le Mans has seen a number of fatal accidents. The largest one was in , when more than 80 spectators and driver Pierre Levegh were killed.
In the wake of the disaster, many races were cancelled, including the Grand Prix races in Germany , Spain , and Switzerland the latter as a part of a blanket ban on motorsport round-track races that was maintained until Almost all decades in which Le Mans has been run have seen their fair share of horrific accidents, such as in when Swede Joakim Bonnier was catapulted into a forest surrounding the circuit after hitting a privately entered Ferrari near the Indianapolis section; Bonnier was killed instantly.
The s was a decade where some of the race's worst-ever accidents occurred. Although there were now Armco barriers along the straight, there were still no chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight — the place where almost all of the worst accidents took place during that time.
In , Belgian Thierry Boutsen crashed horrifically on the Mulsanne Straight in his WM-Peugeot, killing a marshal, and in the same race Frenchman Jean-Louis Lafosse was killed also on the Mulsanne Straight when his Rondeau suffered suspension failure and steered very suddenly to the right and slammed into the Armco barrier on the driver's side at extreme speeds.
The resulting explosion was so violent that the woods next to the track caught fire. Although Sheldon survived with severe burns, a track marshal was killed; two others were also severely injured.
Sheldon's own teammate, American Drake Olson in the second Nimrod-Aston Martin who was following him down the straight, crashed heavily after running over Sheldon's bodywork; he went into severe shock but survived with minor injuries.
The field was under the safety car for over an hour while the crash site was cleared and the destroyed Armco barriers were replaced. In a similar accident befell Briton Dudley Wood in a Porsche during practice.
Wood survived without injury. The car landed on its roof and was destroyed, but Nielsen escaped without injury.
In , Jo Gartner drove a Porsche C into the Mulsanne barriers and was killed instantly after the car rolled multiple times, vaulted some Armco barriers, and knocked down a telegraph pole.
The fuel tank exploded and the car burned to the ground but Cobb escaped without injury. Gartner's fatal accident remained the most recent death in the race until Allan Simonsen's crash in However, there was one fatality during a practice session in Sebastien Enjolras.
After initially happening at the Le Mans test day, Mercedes claimed to have solved the problem, only to have it occur again at warmup.
Mark Webber was the unlucky driver whose car flipped on both occasions. The final and most damaging accident occurred during the race itself when Peter Dumbreck 's CLR became airborne, flying over the safety fencing and landing in the woods several metres away.
No drivers were badly hurt in any of the three accidents, but Mercedes-Benz withdrew its remaining entry and ended its entire sportscar programme. In , two horrific accidents occurred to two of the three factory Audis in the LMP1 class.
Near the end of the first hour, the No. In the eleventh hour of the race, another accident occurred, this time to the No.
Only the main cockpit safety cell of the car remained along with major damage being done to the barriers that needed to be repaired before the race was resumed.
Audi had switched to a closed-cockpit car starting in , a decision credited for the fact that neither driver was injured. The regulations required all cars to be closed-cockpit as a direct result of the accident.
The Ferrari also ended up in the barrier, flipping and coming to a halt on its roof. Davidson suffered broken vertebrae.
The event plays a critical part in the Academy Award —winning Un Homme et Une Femme , in which the wife of the driver hero commits suicide when she mistakenly thinks that he is killed in an accident.
The event, known for its close finish, was portrayed in a short film called La Ronde Infernale. This was given a limited cinema release, but is now available on DVD.
The race became the center of a major motion picture in when Steve McQueen released his simply titled Le Mans , starring McQueen as Michael Delaney, a driver in the event for the Gulf Porsche team.
Likened to other motorsports films such as Grand Prix for Formula One racing and Winning for the Indianapolis , Le Mans is the best known film to center on sports car racing.
It was filmed during the race using modified racing cars carrying cameras, as well as purchased Porsche s , Ferrari s and Lola T70s for action shots made after the race.
The Porsche which served as a camera car in the race actually finished, yet was so far behind the winners due to lengthy reel changes during pit stops that it was not classified in the results.
Michel Valliant was a French movie about a French comic book motorsports hero that featured events from the race although it was not explicitly about Le Mans.
Again using two camera cars to tape action during the race, the French film was not as widely accepted as Le Mans had been. A documentary film called Truth in 24 narrated by Jason Statham was about the Audi team's effort to win a fifth straight title in in which Le Mans was prominently featured.
A sequel film about the Audi team's victory in the race, Truth in 24 II , was released four years later in , also narrated by Statham.
The race has also been used for several video games over the years, some of which have allowed players to compete for the full 24 hours.
Motors TV covered the Le Mans 24 Hours in its entirety in and , including coverage of the scrutineering, qualifying, driver parade, warmup, and race.
That deal ended after the season. In , Eurosport secured a multi-year deal to show the entire race, including the qualifying and the motorcycle race.
Every hour of the race was broadcast in segments on the main channel and on Eurosport 2 , but in recent years, a couple of hours were missed due to scheduling clashes with other sporting events.
Since , however, Eurosport and Eurosport 2 have covered all the action, and beginning in , Eurosport gained United States broadcast rights for the World Endurance Championship for the race only on Velocity , a channel also owned by Eurosport's parent company.
Qualifying and practices aired on a direct-to-consumer streaming platform from Motor Trend magazine. In Australia in , Ten Sport showed the race live and in full online.
The race is also broadcast in English on radio by Radio Le Mans. Broadcast from the circuit for the full 24 hours, it allows fans to listen to radio commentary.
These exhibition races involve classic cars that had previously run at Le Mans or are similar to ones that had. Each year, a particular era of cars may participate, with the featured era changing from year to year.
Though most drivers in this event are amateurs, some noted professional drivers have appeared to race cars they had previously run, such as Stirling Moss and Derek Bell.
A team typically consists of a car in each class, and the team with the most points accumulated over five or six classes is declared the overall winner.
The classes are based on the era in which the cars would have competed. The exact class requirements are re-evaluated for every event, since for each event, the age for the youngest entries is shifted by two years.
In the first event, five classes ran more short races; later events have featured six classes running fewer but longer races. This event also includes a large Concours d'Elegance and auction.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the sports car race. For the motorcycle race, see 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle race.
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