Le Mans is considered to be one of the toughest and fastest races in the world. After all, racers spend a ton of time on the circuit, with the overall time of the race being 24 hours. The first race was held in 1923, and it witnessed the significant development of the technology, speed, and abilities of the cars. Let´s have a look at the history and evolution of the cars from the prehistoric era to modern technological wonders.
Chenard & Walcker “Sport"
The car that won the first race in 1923 was a legendary French Sport, which was able to run as fast as 93 mph. André Lagache and René Léonard are the names connected with the historic first victory.
Bentley Speed Six
The Speed Six car was originally the big luxurious car for rich people, but its racing version became very successful and won 1929 and 1930 races. The new racing engine with 600 bhp twin-turbo V8 could make about 84 horsepower. The car also contributed to the infamous legend of Bentley boys.
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 LM
The 1931 Le Mans race is notable for the fact that only 6 of 26 cars finished the 24 hours. Alfa 8C was among them and won the race driven by Lord Howe and Sir Henry Birkin. The car was able to go as fast as 124 mph and Alfa climbed to the top spots in years 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934 as well.
Ferrari 166 MM
As the rumor of Ferrari´s return to the Le Mans circuit became closer and closer to the truth, there is a history in which the brand should continue. Ferrari 166 MM had V12 2.0 engine and won the first Le Mans race after World War Two in 1949.
The 1950s are connected with the three-year domination of the Jaguar D-Type car which won the races between 1955 and 1957. Its 250 bhp engine make the car able to go about 162 mph. Speed like that was something unbelievable at the time.
Ferrari 250 TR
Here's another example of cars from Maranello that experienced successful years in 1958, 1960 and 1961, as it was able to break the dominance of Jaguar. Paul Frère and Phil Hill are signed under the success.
Ford GT 40 MK II
The era of the new look arrived at the end of 1960 as the cars started to resemble modern shapes. The American car with massive 7.0 - liter V8 was very fast and pretty successful as it was able to clinch the top spot in years 1966 - 1969 and end the dominance of Ferrari.
Porsche 917 K
The first victory for the German manufacturer came in 1970 with 917 K model. The car was considered to be horrible to drive by its driver Richard Attwood. However, the German constructures learned from their mistakes and created the winner.
Le Mans is the place where stories are written, and this is one of them. Jean Rondeau entered the race with the car which bore his name and won. His masterpiece featured a 450hp, F-1 sourced engine and with it, he won the 1980 race.
Mazda entered the circuit with its 787B model which, above anything else, possessed unique sound of the engine. Mazda is still the only Japanese manufacturer to win Le Mans race in 1991.
The absolute champion of the new century, which allowed its opposition only three victories of 16. R8 was powered by a 3,600cc twin-turbo V8 engine which could reach about 610 bhp. Audi has been dominating the scene ever since.
Image credit: Carmagazine.co.uk