When Is The Next Round Of World Cup Qualifiers A Brief Guide to the History of the 24 Hrs of Le Mans Race

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A Brief Guide to the History of the 24 Hrs of Le Mans Race

In 1969, Jackie Ickx pulled on his leather driving gloves and walked across the track to his race car, while the other drivers began the traditional “run and jump”. He did this in protest, encouraging the other drivers to race with their seat belts fastened. Jackie Ickx would go on to win the 24 hours of Le Mans in a Ford GT 40. He won this event six times. The traditional start where drivers run across the track to their cars was last used in 1969.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is steeped in history and prestige. It is the best known race in the world. If you’re “anyone”, you race at Le Mans… if you win, you’re “everyone”.

At Le Mans, racing cars are at 85% full throttle for most of the long straights and top speeds of 200 mph are reached until knuckles turn white under leather driving gloves as the grip on the steering wheel like rubber grips the road, as the braking system is put to the test, bringing the car down to 50 mph, from the Mulsanne straight to the terrifying curves of a Porsche.

The outcome of each curve determined the fate of the next.

“The Flying Scot” Jim Clark refused to race at Le Mans. He considered it too dangerous.

The Detroit News said on June 17 1966:- “This race track is a cornfield airport in the jet age. It was built 50 years ago for cars traveling at 65 mph. Tomorrow 55 racing cars – some of them capable of 225 mph on the straight. and all of them over the 130 mph class – come off at 10am (Detroit time) and it will be a miracle if no one gets killed. No one is scared. Some of these drivers are scared stiff”.

Back in the days when glove driving involved leather helmets and goggles, an endurance race had a completely different meaning. When Duncan Hamilton won Le Mans in 1953 in a Jaguar C-Type, he was so drunk that when the team offered him coffee during the pit-stops, he refused, saying it had caused his arms to change, accepting brandy instead alone!

Nowadays Le Mans is a 24-hour sprint through thousands of gear shifts, millions of crankshaft revolutions and constant forces on every component, you drive every lap as a qualifier. This makes the 24 hours of Le Mans the purist challenge in motor racing.

Corvette Racing topped the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday June 13-14 2015 as Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor wrote the final chapter of a storybook comeback which ended with the team winning the category GTE Pro in their No. .64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The trio in their number 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R completed 337 laps for 2,864.50 miles in a wild battle that eventually saw the Corvette win the class by five laps. Sunday’s victory matches Corvette Racing’s victories earlier this year in the 24 Hours of Sebring at Daytona and Mobil 1 in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

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