12 Jun Facts About Le Mans 24 Hour Race
Le Mans 24 Hour race is fast approaching with teams and spectators alike eagerly awaiting the main event. To get ready, Control have put together our favourite facts about the world’s oldest active endurance race:
1. The original circuit was 10.726 miles long but was shortened in 1929, and again 3 years after this – it’s now 8.451 miles.
2. Germany has the highest number of constructor wins by nation, having won 34 times, while the UK has the highest number of winning drivers totalling 30.
3. The Porsche 917/20 “Pink Pig” was first run in 1971 at Le Mans – painted pink and with labelled body parts according to butcher-style cuts, it caused a real sensation. Although it was the fastest car during the pre-race qualification, it unfortunately dropped out of the main race due to an accident. For the 2018 race, Porsche will field two special 911 RSR, one of which sports the “Pink Pig” livery to celebrate 70 Years of Porsche Sports Cars – read more by following the link to the original Porsche press release.
4. Tom Kristensen has the highest number of driver wins, securing 9 in total – 6 of which were consecutive between 2000 and 2005.
5. The youngest driver to take part in the Le Mans 24 Hour race was Matt McMurry in 2014 – he was 16 years 202 days when he started, and 16 years 203 days when he finished. At the other end of the scale, Jack Gerber set the record as the oldest driver in 2013 – he was 68 years 110 days when he started, and 68 years 111 days when he finished.
6. As well as have the most podiums (totalling 54 as of 2017’s race), Porsche also have the most wins by constructor having won 19 times. The chassis manufacturer also enjoys the highest number of consecutive wins, having won the race 7 times in a row between 1981 and 1987.
7. The longest distance covered in Le Mans 24 Hour race is 397 laps – 3,362.061 miles. This was achieved in 2010 by an Audi R15+ TDI.
8. The smallest winning margin was just 20 meters, with the largest being 349.808 kilometers.
9. The last 6 races (2012-2017) have been won by hybrid cars.
10. Although it has been running since 1923, 2018 will only be the 86th Le Mans 24 Hour race. This is due to the race being cancelled in 1936 due to a strike by French workers during the Great Depression, and the Sarthe valley circuit being out of action between 1940 and 1948 due to World War II and its aftermath.
11. The top speed reached in the Le Mans 24 Hour race was 253mph / 407kmh.
12. The first time a motorsport driver sprayed champagne on the podium was at Le Mans in 1967 – Dan Gurney for Ford started this now customary celebration.
13. The most finishers in a single race were 48 in 2017, and the fewest were just 6 in 1931.
14. The “Le Mans start” whereby drivers would run across the track to their waiting cars hasn’t happened since 1969.
15. The three-driver team for each car was only introduced in the 1980s, before which contestants usually drove in pairs. In the early 1950s, some contestants even tried to complete the full 24 hours alone.
Control are proud to be providing cellular motorsport telemetry services to over half of the Le Mans 24 Hour race grid in 2018, supporting 9 chassis manufacturers across the event. If you want to find out how cellular telemetry could provide better coverage for your team, please contact us here.