By on June 16, 2016


This weekend is the 84th 24 Hours of Le Mans. There are many storylines to follow this year, not the least of which is the return of the Ford GT, marking the 50th anniversary of beating Ferrari and placing 1-2-3 in 1966.

A couple of weeks ago, Audi landed atop of the timesheet during Test Day, when Lucas di Grassi blistered the track with a time of 3:21.375s aboard the #8 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro.

The history of Le Mans is fascinating. At its inception in 1923, a winner was to be declared following three years (yes, years) of competition. The Rudge-Whitworth Cup would be given to the driver combination completing the farthest distance total over those three years. For reasons that should be abundantly clear, the idea was abandoned in 1925 after the end of the first three year segment. Here’s footage of a pit stop purported to be from that era.

In the hairy-chested ’70s, Le Mans was the subject of a movie featuring Steve McQueen. With little plot and acting, the film entertains primarily by the sight and sound of Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512s, fantastic racing cars with great visual and audio appeal.

This year’s race kicks off this Saturday at 3 pm local time, which translates into 9 am on the East Coast and an eye-flattening 6 am on the Pacific Coast. Drivers such as Mark Webber and André Lotterer will lead the field in an event that’ll feature daytime racing, nighttime bravery, and, often, general chaos.

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13 Comments on “Real Racing: 24 Heures du Mans...”

  • avatar

    “Next year, Ferrari’s [email protected]@ is mine”

    -Carroll Shelby (1964)

  • avatar


    Lets do those exact same tracks with regular production cars.

    Not purpose-built race cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I actually agree with you. They should also bring back the LeMans start. It hasn’t really been the same without it.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not disagreeing with you in saying that the 24hrs isnt boring. By definition hitting a track for 24hrs will be boring.

      However your sort of comment shows a distinct lack of any understanding of this kind of motorsport but that would be typical of someone who doesnt seem to have any understanding of corners.

      Le mans is a circuit that is fundamentally not suited to anything but prototypes and GTLM type cars. Its the reason I have a partial dislike of this kind of circuit. Its pretty much a 2 2/3rd mile European oval punctuated by a few bends.

      What kind of spectacle is there watching production cars (say Group N) hit vmax on the Le Mans straights? its boring for the driver, its boring to watch.

      Le mans is a power circuit suited to the fastest closed wheel racecars there is.

      Also the world has moved away from production car racing.

      Certainly there is no hope of any production car race that attracts a truly worldwide audience.

      The biggest N class production car race is what? the Nurburgring 12hr? Bathurst 12hr? No one watches that.

    • 0 avatar

      Disagree. We have some great production car series like the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the FIA GT3s, but the Le Mans track would swallow them up. Its 8 miles long with alot of long straights. The Le Man’s prototypes are very technically sophisticated, on-par or above F1, and very very fast. The GT cars are very similar to production cars, but without some allowances would not be fast enough.

      I myself love productions sports car racing, but they are much better suited to typical road courses like COTA, Sebring, Brands Hatch, etc.

  • avatar

    Thank you, TTAC, for posting the LeMans movie and reminding an old man of the salad days. I have a question. Early in the movie they show unmounted tires on top of a red transporter and they are very mis-shapen. I cannot recall ever seeing racing rubber in the raw so I am wondering if they were made with weak carcass to facilitate handling in the days of bias-ply and treaded racing tires? I red-lined my memory trying to remember seeing any racing tires without wheels. I was a volunteer for many races and recall the tire companies as being the one place off-limits to almost everybody. I imagine the rubber wars were probably as competitive as the rest. Does anyone have an answer?

  • avatar

    I like auto racing, but having a family and it being summer – I find it tough to sit in front of a TV/table for much time on a nice weekend. Maybe there’s a way to catch the highlights during each day?

    • 0 avatar

      Typically each hour on the broadcast they do a race highlights review. So regardless of when you can join, you can get caught up with highlights. Recording the race is also a great way to catch up when you have other activities to do.

  • avatar

    Go Toyota! Win one for Japan!

  • avatar

    Ford did a 123 in basically English designed and built Sports Prototypes. They cannot do that this year as they are in not the outright class

  • avatar

    one of the things I miss about having cable. Oh well, will be at wok all weekend. Hopefully will be slow and I will be able to watch some

    • 0 avatar

      Ford and Porsche will have onboard streams.

  • avatar

    My favorite race of the year, and one I hope to attend at some point. I also bought the FIAWEC access for the second year. Even got to see a great safety car recovery:

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