The 24 Hours of LeMans Starts Today!
Get out the popcorn or if you are feeling very French, have a day’s worth of crepes on hand and watch every minute of the action. Le Mans is always special, this year particularly so. It is 90 years since the first running of the 24 Hours in 1923. This will be the 81st running, interrupted only by French industrial unrest in 1936 then the Second World War. Three French enthusiasts – one industrialist who promised the prize money and the first trophies, one automobile club official, and one influential journalist who shared the vision and contributed enormous publicity, conceived the 1923 race. It would be open strictly to “production” touring cars and run over 24 consecutive hours on a 10.8-mile closed-public-road course just south of Le Mans.
For Americans, the 1966 race was probably our favorite. This was the year Henry Ford vanquished Enzo Ferrari thereby settling the score between the two giant personalities. Well it was settled in Henry’s mind at least. Ford won the race but not only did the GT40s finish 1st, they finished 2nd and 3rd in a carefully choreographed finish. Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon drove the winning GT40. Ken Miles and Denny Hulme were declared 2nd.
Today’s race has none of the highly publicized grudge matches but the Audi team and the Toyota team both have high aspirations. When you watch the race, don’t expect to see some race prepared A6 Quattro or a Toyota Avalon on steroids. The leading contenders are prototypes. It starts a 8:30 am Eastern time on Speed.
Read more about the 1966 race here.