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The race is held nonstop from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon on the third weekend of June ([[FridgeBrilliance the 24th weekend of the year]]) (Except 2020, when it has been pushed back to the third weekend of September due to the UsefulNotes/COVID19Pandemic). As in other multi-class endurance races, cars from all classes are on the track simultaneously. While blue flags are shown to slower cars to warn them of faster cars approaching, unlike in other series the slower cars are ''not'' required to move out of the way - the onus is on the faster car to get past quickly and safely. This can lead to situations where a prototype is held up behind two or more [=GT=] cars battling for position who don't want to let the prototype past in case they lose time to each other, and navigating slower traffic (or being navigated by faster traffic in slower classes) without losing too much time is a key aspect of doing well in the race. It is almost guaranteed for a car to encounter problems, either due to mechanical failures or driver mistakes. As long as the car isn't totaled or immobile (and doesn't present an immediate danger to other entrants), the driver is allowed to bring the car to the pits so the pit crew can attempt to repair it and get it back out as soon as possible. With so much time spent in the pits (both for regular pit stops and to make repairs), Le Mans can be won or lost as much in the pit lane as it can be on track, so efficient pit crew and an astute [[MissionControl engineering crew]] are just as important as good drivers and a fast, reliable car. At the end of the 24th hour, the lap the leading car is on becomes the final lap of the race, and every car that has completed 70% of the class leader's distance and completes a lap at the same time as the leader's last lap is classified as having finished the race.

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The race is held nonstop from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon on the third weekend of June ([[FridgeBrilliance the 24th weekend of the year]]) (Except 2020, when it has been pushed back to the third weekend of September due to the UsefulNotes/COVID19Pandemic).UsefulNotes/CoronavirusDisease2019Pandemic). As in other multi-class endurance races, cars from all classes are on the track simultaneously. While blue flags are shown to slower cars to warn them of faster cars approaching, unlike in other series the slower cars are ''not'' required to move out of the way - the onus is on the faster car to get past quickly and safely. This can lead to situations where a prototype is held up behind two or more [=GT=] cars battling for position who don't want to let the prototype past in case they lose time to each other, and navigating slower traffic (or being navigated by faster traffic in slower classes) without losing too much time is a key aspect of doing well in the race. It is almost guaranteed for a car to encounter problems, either due to mechanical failures or driver mistakes. As long as the car isn't totaled or immobile (and doesn't present an immediate danger to other entrants), the driver is allowed to bring the car to the pits so the pit crew can attempt to repair it and get it back out as soon as possible. With so much time spent in the pits (both for regular pit stops and to make repairs), Le Mans can be won or lost as much in the pit lane as it can be on track, so efficient pit crew and an astute [[MissionControl engineering crew]] are just as important as good drivers and a fast, reliable car. At the end of the 24th hour, the lap the leading car is on becomes the final lap of the race, and every car that has completed 70% of the class leader's distance and completes a lap at the same time as the leader's last lap is classified as having finished the race.


* The 2019 film ''Film/FordvFerrari'' ([[MarkedBasedTitle titled ''Le Mans '66'' in several other territories]]) focuses on how American engineer Carroll Shelby and British-born driver Ken Miles developed the Ford [=GT40=] to compete and win against Ferrari in 1966.

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* The 2019 film ''Film/FordvFerrari'' ([[MarkedBasedTitle ([[MarketBasedTitle titled ''Le Mans '66'' in several other territories]]) focuses on how American engineer Carroll Shelby and British-born driver Ken Miles developed the Ford [=GT40=] to compete and win against Ferrari in 1966.


The Circuit de la Sarthe is very old, having been [[OlderThanTelevision opened in 1923]]. It is also very long by modern standards, at 13.629KM or 8.469 miles. Notable features include large sections held on closed-off public roads and the 6 kilometre long Ligne Droite des Hunaudières, which is the straight with the two chicanes. The chicanes are a relatively recent addition, to stop the cars from flipping over or worse from the sheer speed.

The layout divides up generally into several sections, each of which has changed in different ways since the circuit's inception. The Start/Finish area, Dunlop curve (marked by the famous Dunlop pedestrian bridge, styled to look like a giant tyre), Esses and Tetre Rouge corners are the main spectator areas at the start of the lap. This section also contains the shorter Bugatti Circuit used all year round for domestic racing series and motorbike events (and a solo French Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1967) - this bypasses from the esses back behind the paddock to the Ford Chicane at the end of the Sarthe circuit. Originally in the 1920s the race course ran straight on instead of turning right at Dunlop corner and ran much more into the city to a sharp hairpin. This section was bypassed after a few races, and would be totally unusable now as it is covered by tram lines and cut off by an autoroute flyover. Until 1986 the Dunlop corner was a flat-out right hander with zero runoff. A year later a chicane was added for safety and the barriers have been progressively pushed back over the years. In 2002 the straight down to the left-right esses was replaced by another, wider left and right complex of corners, ostensibly to make the Bugatti circuit more flowing.

The 3.7-mile/6 km Mulsanne straight is the most famous feature of the course, though since 1990 it has been interrupted by two chicanes, and gradually enclosed by more barriers and fencing. A cafe early on the straight used to be a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcj9DVAM6eY prime spot to watch the cars pass at speed]] but is now much more cut off by barriers when the track is live and the Mulsanne is now out of bounds for spectators. Though being a public road this section can be driven by any motorist during non-racing sessions but these days the road is interrupted by several roundabouts (that the racetrack bypasses) as the areas surrounding the track have become more urbanised.

At the end of the straight the circuit turns sharp right through another fast public road leg through the forest, reaching the fast right hand Indianapolis corner (named for its similarity to the corners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and turning another sharp right at Arnage (in reality a crossroads hence the sharp 90 degree turn). The largest spectator area away from the pits is at this corner, though to reach it spectators have to use the exit roads that run under the track much further around the course. These sections are the least changed of the circuit since its beginning, the course staying the same with only increases in runoff areas being added for safety.

The final section of the track runs through a section of custom built racetrack - the Porsche Curves - a sequence of fast swerves built in 1972 to replace the very narrow and dangerous "Maison Blanche" (White House) section, the original public road section that ran back to the pits through a very quick chicane around an old cottage. This part of the old course is also still used as a public road and provides access to the circuit car parks. Being now quite an old piece of circuit in its own right the Porsche Curves are quite narrow and lacking in run-off by modern standards and are considered a very challenging section.

The last feature of the track is the Ford Chicane, first introduced in the late 1960s to reduce the cars' speed past the pitlane complex. Curiously the French organisors named two features of the track after Ford and Porsche but there are no similar honours for Ferrari, Matra, Audi, Jaguar or Bentley. The area opposite the end of the pits is notorious as where the terrible disaster of the 1955 race happened when one of the Mercedes team cars was launched into the crowd, and this disaster spurred the first great renovation of the circuit when the old pit buildings were demolished and the whole section of track widened. The 1950s pits lasted until 1991 when the current, much larger, pit lane was constructed. Originally the organisers in the 1970s had planned to replace all the public road sections with parallel race track, but this plan never came to pass, and one of the main continuing appeals of Le Mans is the amount of circuit that remains public highway.

Amazingly given all the changes to the track the fastest laps in modern times are comparable to when the circuit was almost all flat out blasts with only a few braking areas. For comparison the pole position lap of 2017, 3:14.791 is only slightly slower than the all time pole record from 1971, 3:13.90, on a layout that is 0.16 kilometres longer with about thirteen more corners or chicanes in it.

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The Circuit de la Sarthe is very old, having been [[OlderThanTelevision opened in 1923]]. It is also very long by modern standards, at 13.629KM 629 kilometers or 8.469 miles. Notable features include large sections held on closed-off public roads and the 6 kilometre long Ligne Droite des Hunaudières, which is the straight with the two chicanes. The chicanes are a relatively recent addition, addition (added in 1990), to stop the cars from flipping over or worse from the sheer speed.

The layout divides up generally into several sections, each of which has changed in different ways since the circuit's inception. The Start/Finish area, Dunlop curve (marked by the famous Dunlop pedestrian bridge, styled to look like a giant tyre), tire), Esses and Tetre Tertre Rouge corners are the main spectator areas at the start of the lap. This section also contains the shorter Bugatti Circuit used all year round for domestic racing series and motorbike events (and a solo French Formula 1 UsefulNotes/FormulaOne Grand Prix in 1967) - this bypasses from the esses back behind the paddock to the Ford Chicane at the end of the Sarthe circuit. Originally in the 1920s 1920s, the race course ran straight on instead of turning a right kink at the Dunlop corner and ran much more further into the city to a sharp hairpin. This section was bypassed after a few races, and would be totally unusable now as it is covered by tram lines and cut off by an autoroute flyover. Until 1986 1986, the Dunlop corner was a flat-out right hander with zero runoff. A year later later, a chicane was added for safety and the barriers have been progressively pushed back over the years. In 2002 2002, the straight down to the left-right esses was replaced by another, wider left and right complex of corners, ostensibly to make the Bugatti circuit more flowing.

The 3.7-mile/6 km 7 mile/6 kilometer Mulsanne straight is the most famous feature of the course, though since 1990 however it has been interrupted split by two chicanes, chicanes starting in 1990, and gradually enclosed by more barriers and fencing. A cafe early on the straight used to be a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcj9DVAM6eY prime spot to watch the cars pass at speed]] but is now much more cut off by barriers when the track is live being used and the Mulsanne is now out of bounds for spectators. Though being a public road this section can be driven by any motorist during non-racing sessions sessions, but these days the road is interrupted by several roundabouts (that the racetrack track bypasses) as the areas surrounding the track have become more urbanised.

urbanized.

At the end of the straight straight, the circuit turns makes a sharp 90 degree right through another fast public road leg through the forest, reaching the fast right hand Indianapolis corner (named for its similarity to the corners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and turning another sharp right at Arnage (in reality a crossroads hence the sharp 90 degree turn). The largest spectator area away from the pits is at this corner, though to reach it spectators have to use the exit roads that run under the track much further around the course. These sections are have undergone the least changed changing of the circuit since its beginning, foundation, the course staying the same with only increases in runoff areas area sizes being added for safety.

The final section of the track runs through a section of custom built racetrack - the Porsche Curves - a sequence of fast swerves built in 1972 to replace the very narrow and dangerous "Maison Blanche" (White House) section, the original public road section that ran back to the pits start/finish through a very quick chicane around an old cottage. This part of the old course is also still used as a public road and provides access to the circuit car parks. parking lots. Being now quite an old piece part of the circuit in its own right right, the Porsche Curves are quite narrow and lacking in run-off by modern standards and are considered a very challenging section.

The last feature of the track is the Ford Chicane, Chicanes, first introduced in the late 1960s to reduce the cars' speed past the pitlane complex. Curiously Curiously, the French organisors Automobile Club de l'Ouest named two features of the track after Ford and Porsche Porsche, but there are no similar honours honors for Ferrari, Matra, Audi, Jaguar or Bentley. The area opposite the end of the pits is notorious as it is where the terrible disaster of the 1955 race happened when occurred; one of the Mercedes team cars was launched into the crowd, killing the driver and this 83 spectators. This disaster spurred the first great renovation of the circuit circuit, when the old pit buildings were demolished and the whole section of track was widened. The mid-late 1950s pits lasted until 1991 1991, when the current, much larger, larger pit lane was constructed. Originally the organisers ACO in the 1970s had planned to replace all the public road sections with parallel race track, but this plan never came to pass, fruition, and one of the main continuing appeals features of Le Mans is the amount of circuit that remains public highway.

Amazingly
highway when not being raced on.

Amazingly,
given all the changes to the track over the last nearly 100 years, the fastest laps in modern times are comparable to when the circuit was almost all flat out blasts with only a few braking areas. For comparison comparison, the pole position lap of 2017, 3:14.791 (set by Kamui Kobayashi in the Toyota #7 TS050) is only slightly slower than the all time pole record from 1971, 3:13.90, 90 (set by Pedro Rodriguez in the #18 Porsche 917L), on a layout that is 0.16 kilometres longer with about thirteen more corners or chicanes in it.



Le Mans is a race for "sports" cars, a definition that has varied over the years with many different classes and rules coming and going. Generally speaking the sports car aspect means the cars are usually thought of as cars with room for at least two seats (or at least theoretically anyway), wheels enclosed by bodywork (unlike the 'Open Wheelers' in F1 and Indycar), and the ability to race for 24 hours without major changes of components. In fact in the 2000s [[ObviousRulePatch rules were tightened]] around changing components as some manufacturers were coming up with [[LoopholeAbuse large interchangeable sections]] to slot into a broken car in the garage.

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Le Mans is a race for "sports" cars, a definition that has varied over the years with many different classes and rules coming and going. Generally speaking speaking, the sports car aspect means the cars are usually thought of as cars with room for at least two seats (or at least theoretically anyway), wheels enclosed by bodywork (unlike the 'Open Wheelers' in F1 and Indycar), and the ability to race for 24 hours without major changes of components. In fact in the 2000s 2000s, [[ObviousRulePatch rules were tightened]] around changing components as some manufacturers were coming up with [[LoopholeAbuse large interchangeable sections]] to slot into a broken car in the garage.



* The two [=GT=] Endurance ([=GTE=]) classes, which use modified production supercars, ranging from the Porsche 997 over the Ferrari F458 to the Chevrolet Corvette. While the [=GTs=] are not in contention for overall victories, they still provide a good show at Le Mans.
** [=GTE=]-Pro cars are raced by teams of [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin all-professional drivers.]] As with [=LMP1=] this is the class where the factory teams compete, with their quickest and most reliable drivers showcasing the latest developments in [=GT=] racing.
** [=GTE=]-Am cars are supposed to be identical to their Pro counterparts even though they are fielded by privateers, although in practice the factory cars are faster because they get the latest parts. As with [=LMP2=] there are measures to prevent spending getting out of hand.

The [=GTs=] not being in overall contention wasn't always the way. Until the early 1960s ''all'' the cars on the grid were (mostly) road legal cars, and even the most exotic front runners could still be shaken down [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpRFagIbcPE on the open roads]] before the race. Then in the mid-1960s great leaps forward in performance meant that the leading cars became the purpose built prototypes that have mostly dominated since. However the collapse of the World Sportscar Championship in the early 1990s (when rules were changed pricing out the majority of the privateer entries and driving out many manufacturers led to a dearth of entries and a revival of GT classes.

[=GTs=] won 3 times in the 1990s, though only one was really a true road car in spirit. In 1994 the overall honours went to a Dauer Porsche 962, entered through a loophole in the [=GT=] class, as the 962 design had been turned into a very limited edition road car at the time, an impressive feat for what was effectively a 12 year old car, though not quite what the rule makers had in mind. The year after, 1995, 1st place went to a [=McLaren=] F1, the only victory for a true [=GT=] car, while 1998 saw a Porsche [=GT1=] take victory, but by then things had gotten a bit silly in [=GT1=], with manufactures exploiting loopholes such as building one road car after the race and other peculiar practices which resulted in the [=GT1=] class being full of over performing freak machines.

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* The two [=GT=] Endurance ([=GTE=]) classes, which use modified production supercars, ranging from the Porsche 911 997 over and the Ferrari F458 488 to the Chevrolet Corvette.Corvette C8. While the [=GTs=] are not in contention for overall victories, they still provide a good show at Le Mans.
** [=GTE=]-Pro cars are raced by teams of [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin all-professional drivers.]] As with [=LMP1=] [=LMP1=], this is the class where the factory teams compete, with their quickest and most reliable drivers showcasing the latest developments in [=GT=] racing.
** [=GTE=]-Am cars are supposed to be identical to their Pro counterparts even though they are fielded by privateers, although in practice privateers; only chassis that were used the factory cars previous competition year (or older) are faster because they get the latest parts.allowed entry. As with [=LMP2=] there are measures to prevent spending getting out of hand.

The [=GTs=] not being in overall contention for the overall win wasn't always the way. case. Until the early 1960s ''all'' the cars on the grid were (mostly) road legal cars, and even the most exotic front runners frontrunners could still be shaken down [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpRFagIbcPE on the open roads]] before the race. Then in the mid-1960s great leaps forward large increases in performance meant that the leading cars became the purpose built prototypes that have mostly dominated since. However However, the collapse of the World Sportscar Championship in the early 1990s (when rules were changed pricing out the majority of the privateer entries and driving out many manufacturers led to a dearth of entries and a revival of GT classes.

[=GTs=] won 3 times in the 1990s, though only one was really a true road car in spirit. In 1994 the overall honours went to a Dauer Porsche 962, entered through a loophole in the [=GT=] class, as the 962 design had been turned into a very limited edition road car at the time, an impressive feat for what was effectively a 12 year old car, though not quite what the rule makers had in mind. The year after, 1995, 1st place went to a [=McLaren=] F1, the only victory for a true [=GT=] car, while 1998 saw a Porsche [=GT1=] take victory, but by then things had gotten a bit silly outrageous in [=GT1=], with manufactures exploiting loopholes such as building only one road car after the race and other peculiar practices which resulted in the [=GT1=] class being full of over performing overperforming freak machines.



* Alfa Romeo 8C: A low slung two-seater that won four straight races in the early 1930, setting a new benchmark for high speed sportscars of the time.
* Jaguar [=C-Type=], the first racing car to make good use of disc brakes to stop much more smartly than the opposition. Won twice in the early 1950s and then followed by the Jaguar [=D-Type=], which won the late 1950s Le Mans in four consecutive years, one of them was driven by Mike Hawthorn in 1955, when Le Mans Disaster occurred.
** Jaguar XJR-9: the V12 car that famously broke the domination of Porsche and humiliated its turbocharged competition by winning the 1988 edition of the race.
* The Ford [=GT40=], which the modern Ford GT is based on. Designed by Carroll Shelby, better known for the Shelby brand of performance muscle cars, to compete with the Ferrari P cars (see below). Two one-two victories. [[{{Zeerust}} The Mk1 still looks pretty futuristic for a 1960s car, even for today,]] while the other three versions look more generic.
* Ferrari P cars: The cars which the [=GT40=] was developed to compete against. The 1967 Ferrari P3/4 is often named as the prettiest racing car ever built, though it did not win the race and neither did its successors. Ferrari's last overall win still stands as the 1965 race.
* Porsche 917/936/935/956/962: The cars that dominated the period between the Ford/Ferrari rivalry and the first half of the Group C era, winning 12 races from 1970-1987. The 917 was the ShortLivedBigImpact car, being the first car to break 240 mph on the Mulsanne straight and winning the race twice (though neither time for the "factory" team entry) before rule changes outlawed it and its Ferrari 512 rival. The 936 was an open-top successor based around the 917 design and won the race twice. The concurrent 935 - whose most famous incarnation, the 935/78, is famously called "Moby Dick" - was a highly pumped-up variant of the 911 road car designed more for silhouette GT racing but it won overall in 1979. The Group C 956/962 won six straight (1982-1987), helped by a huge number of privateer entries racing the official Porsche team meaning the car dominated the starting grid.
** To demonstrate the strength in depth that Porsche had, [[http://i.imgur.com/z5cKgYU.jpg this is an advert that ran after the 1983 race.]]

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* Alfa Romeo 8C: A low slung two-seater that won four straight races in the early 1930, 1930s, setting a new benchmark for high speed sportscars of the time.
* Jaguar [=C-Type=], the first racing car to make good use of disc brakes (instead of the more common drum brakes) to stop much more smartly effectively (and produce less heat while doing so) than the opposition. Won twice in the early 1950s and then followed by the Jaguar [=D-Type=], which won the late 1950s Le Mans in four consecutive years, years; one of them was driven by Mike Hawthorn Hawthorne in 1955, when Le Mans Disaster the aforementioned disaster occurred.
** Jaguar XJR-9: the V12 car that famously broke ended the domination winning streak of Porsche and humiliated its turbocharged competition by winning the 1988 edition of the race.
in 198&.
* The Ford [=GT40=], which the modern Ford GT is based on.[=GT40=]. Designed by Carroll Shelby, better known for the Shelby brand of performance muscle cars, to compete with the Ferrari P cars (see below). Two Achieved two one-two victories.victories in 1966 and 1969. [[{{Zeerust}} The Mk1 still looks pretty futuristic for a 1960s car, even for today,]] while the other three versions look more generic.
* Ferrari P cars: The cars which the [=GT40=] was developed to compete against. The 1967 Ferrari P3/4 is often named as the prettiest racing car ever built, though it did not failed to achieve the overall win the race and neither did its successors. in all entered races. Ferrari's last overall win still stands as the 1965 race.
1965.
* Porsche 917/936/935/956/962: 917/935/936/956/962: The cars that dominated the period between the Ford/Ferrari rivalry and the first half of the Group C era, winning 12 races from 1970-1987. The 917 was the ShortLivedBigImpact car, being the first car to break 240 mph on the Mulsanne straight and winning the race twice (though neither time for the "factory" team entry) (both being privateer teams) before rule changes outlawed it and its Ferrari 512 rival. The 936 was an open-top successor based around the 917 design and won the race twice. The concurrent 935 - whose most famous incarnation, the 935/78, is famously called "Moby Dick" - was a highly pumped-up variant of the 911 road car designed more for silhouette GT racing racing, but it won overall in 1979. The Group C 956/962 won six straight consecutive times (1982-1987), helped by a huge number of privateer entries racing the official Porsche team meaning the car dominated the starting grid.
** To demonstrate the strength in depth that Porsche had, [[http://i.imgur.com/z5cKgYU.jpg this is an advert ad that ran after the 1983 race.]]



* Matra [[=MS670=]]: OvershadowedByAwesome: The small French marque won three Le Mans in the early 1970s but these were in the years after the ultra-quick [[Film/LeMans movie star]] Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 speedsters had been made obsolete by rule changes, and the smaller, slower Matra cars could not hope to be as impressive.
* Sauber Mercedes C9: The most successful of a series of cars comprising advanced Sauber chassis/aerodynamics and powerful Mercedes engines. While its predecessors [[FragileSpeedster weren't exactly reliable]], the C9 combined speed and reliability to win the 1989 race, the last with the full uninterrupted Mulsanne Straight. Although 400+km/h speeds had been reached previously,[[note]]in the 1988 race a WM-Peugeot entered just to set a new top speed reached 407km/h before retiring due to cooling issues[[/note]] it was the C9 consistently reaching these speeds that finally forced the organizers to introduce chicanes on the Hunaudières to slow the cars down.
** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven its pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''third'' time it had back flipped on its own during the event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the [=CLRs=] (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.
* Mazda [=787B=]: The first Japanese and so far only rotary-engined car to win the race. Instantly recognizable with its green-orange livery and its ear-piercingly loud engine noise, it is seen as an object of national sport pride in Japan. It held its distinction of being the only Japanese winner for 27 years until Toyota finally broke their duck in 2018.
* Peugeot 905/908: The upholder of French pride in the 1990s and 2000s, the Peugeot team have three wins, two with the bulletproof 905 under the eye of future Ferrari F1 boss Jean Todt, and one with the much [[FragileSpeedster more temperamental]] 908 in the 2000s, a car which brought some needed competition to Audi, but kept breaking down along the way before finally lasting in 2009.
* [=McLaren F1=] GTR: the racing variant of what was at the time the fastest road car in the world, it famously won the 1995 edition of the race [[DavidVersusGoliath defeating actual purpose-built prototypes]]. It also gave [=McLaren=] the distinction of having won Le Mans, Indianapolis and the F1 World Championship as car constructor, putting them alongside Mercedes in that regard. [[note]] Though Mercedes's only Indy 500 win as a brand (rather than engine supplier) came all the way back in 1915.
* Audi "R" series: The {{Invincible Hero}}, Audi won 13 races from 2000-2015, with only Bentley,[[note]]a sister company of Audi[[/note]] Peugeot and Porsche[[note]]a more recent sister company of Audi, after Volkswagen officially took over[[/note]] interrupting the streak in 2003, 2009 and 2015-16 respectively. Audi are also notable for being the first [=LMP1=] manufacturer to use BoringButPractical diesel engines. However, each car does have its own claim to fame:
** Audi R8: Although it was not [[OlderThanTheyThink the first car to feature quick-change sub-assemblies]], the way it was applied through the design coupled with great pace meant it won 5 Le Mans in 6 years, from 2000-2005.

to:

* Matra [[=MS670=]]: OvershadowedByAwesome: The small French marque won three Le Mans years in the early 1970s but these were in the years after the ultra-quick [[Film/LeMans movie star]] Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 speedsters had been made obsolete outlawed by rule changes, and the smaller, slower Matra cars could not hope to be as impressive.
impressive after larger engines were re-introduced in the late 1970s.
* Sauber Mercedes C9: The most successful of a series of cars comprising advanced Sauber chassis/aerodynamics and powerful Mercedes engines. While its predecessors [[FragileSpeedster weren't exactly reliable]], the C9 combined speed and reliability to win the 1989 race, the last with the full uninterrupted full-length Mulsanne Straight. Although 400+km/h speeds had been reached previously,[[note]]in the 1988 race a WM-Peugeot entered just to set a new top speed reached 407km/h before retiring due to cooling issues[[/note]] it was the C9 consistently reaching these speeds that finally forced the organizers to introduce chicanes on the Hunaudières to slow the cars down.
** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have has a star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven its pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. aforementioned disastrous crash. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully fatally flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} TheAllegedCar of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off left the ground of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side outside of the trees, track, fortunately in an area where with no one was standing, spectators, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''third'' time it had back flipped backflipped on its own during the event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the [=CLRs=] (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.
* Mazda [=787B=]: The first Japanese and so far only rotary-engined car to win the race.race (in 1991). Instantly recognizable with its green-orange livery and its ear-piercingly loud engine noise, it is seen as an object of national sport pride in Japan. It held its distinction of being the only Japanese winner for 27 years until Toyota finally broke their duck streak of poor luck in 2018.
* Peugeot 905/908: The upholder of French pride in the 1990s and 2000s, the Peugeot team have has three wins, two with the bulletproof 905 under the eye of future Ferrari F1 boss Jean Todt, and one with the much [[FragileSpeedster more temperamental]] 908 in the 2000s, a car which brought some needed competition to Audi, but kept breaking down along the way before finally lasting outdoing them in 2009.
* [=McLaren F1=] GTR: the racing variant of what was at the time the fastest road car in the world, it famously won the in 1995 edition of the race [[DavidVersusGoliath defeating actual purpose-built prototypes]]. It also gave [=McLaren=] the distinction of having won Le Mans, Indianapolis and the F1 World Championship as car constructor, a manufacturer, putting them alongside Mercedes in that regard. [[note]] Though Mercedes's only Indy 500 win as a brand (rather than engine supplier) came all the way back in 1915.
* Audi "R" series: The {{Invincible Hero}}, Audi won 13 races from 2000-2015, with only Bentley,[[note]]a sister company of Audi[[/note]] Peugeot and Porsche[[note]]a more recent sister company of Audi, after Volkswagen officially took over[[/note]] interrupting the streak in 2003, 2009 and 2015-16 respectively. Audi are is also notable for being the first [=LMP1=] manufacturer to use BoringButPractical diesel engines. However, each car does have its own claim to fame:
** Audi R8: Although it was not [[OlderThanTheyThink the first car to feature quick-change sub-assemblies]], the way it was applied through the design coupled with great pace meant it won 5 Le Mans races in 6 years, from 2000-2005.



* Toyota [=TS030/TS040/TS050=]: The only other LMP who's been able to remotely match Audi in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the last few years. The latter stripped the World Endurance Championship title away from the German team in 2014!
** They are a SpiritualSuccessor to the Toyota GT-One ([=TS020=]), whom [[Series/BestMotoring Keiichi]] [[Manga/InitialD Tsuchiya]] and his teammates got the second place in the 1999 season. The [=TS020=] was itself a SpiritualSuccessor to the [=TS010=] which also [[HistoryRepeats came second in the 1992 race.]]
** The second-place streak was tragically continued in 2016, with the [=TS050=] leading the race comfortably with three minutes to go, only [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH4GbYI0vZI to slow down and ultimately stop on the penultimate lap]] with a turbo failure, allowing Porsche to take the lead and the win. 2 years later, however, they dominated the race, hook, line and sinker, to take home a memorable 1-2 finish despite the lack of competing hybrids, [[ThrowTheDogABone and finally take the win over 30 years after their debut attempt in the 1980s.]]

to:

* Toyota [=TS030/TS040/TS050=]: The only other LMP who's been able to remotely match Audi in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the last few years. The latter stripped the World Endurance Championship title away from the German team in 2014!
2014.
** They are a SpiritualSuccessor to the Toyota GT-One ([=TS020=]), whom [[Series/BestMotoring Keiichi]] [[Manga/InitialD Tsuchiya]] and his teammates got the second place in the 1999 season.1999. The [=TS020=] was itself a SpiritualSuccessor to the [=TS010=] which also [[HistoryRepeats came second in the 1992 race.]]
** The second-place streak was tragically continued in 2016, with the [=TS050=] leading the race comfortably with three minutes to go, remaining, only [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH4GbYI0vZI to slow down and ultimately stop on the penultimate lap]] with a turbo turbocharger failure, allowing Porsche to take the lead and the win. 2 Two years later, however, they dominated the race, hook, line and sinker, to take home a memorable 1-2 finish despite the lack of competing hybrids, [[ThrowTheDogABone and finally take the win over 30 years after their debut attempt in the 1980s.]]



Because of the length of Le Mans, drivers are put in 3-man teams, with some classes ([=LMP2=] and [=GTE-Am=]) requiring at least one Silver or Bronze driver who also has to spend a certain amount of time in the car. This extra demand results in drivers being drafted in from other series just for Le Mans to compliment the drivers who regularly take part in endurance races. Regardless of which ranking a driver is given or whether they are regular endurance racers or not, to do even remotely well at Le Mans, they have to be very badass. While all drivers have to take mandated breaks (you're only allowed to be in the car for four hours every six and 14 hours total due to concerns about driver fatigue), there is still the fact that it won't be long before they have to get back out on track. Amongst the amateur drivers some celebrities have appeared, including Creator/PatrickDempsey, Nick Mason from Music/PinkFloyd, and Creator/PaulNewman, who finished 2nd overall in 1979. Stars from other sports have also taken part, recently including soccer star Fabian Barthez, Olympic track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, and French skiier Luc Alphand. Contrary to popular belief, and despite his name being synonymous with the race (see below) Creator/SteveMcQueenActor never officially raced in the event for real. (Though unconfirmed rumour has it that he may have surreptitiously driven stints in 1970 while filming his movie)

Among the professional ranks of drivers the record for most victories stands to Denmark's Tom Kristensen with nine overall wins, including an incredible run of six straight from 2000 to 2005 (five for Audi and one for Bentley in 2003) This record might be nearly impossible to beat - not only does a driver's car have to be quick enough to win and hold together for so many races but he had to rely on none of his co-drivers stuffing it in a barrier even once. Next up with six is the long time record holder Jacky Ickx from Belgium, who shared [[ThoseTwoActors three of his wins]] with 5-time winner Derek Bell. The other two 5-timers; Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, like Kristensen also owe their stats to the invincible Audi juggernaut of the 2000s as all their wins came in the silver cars.

Notable in the list of winners is the absence of many stars of other disciplines of racing, showing how much the race became a specialised event with little of the crossover with Formula One and American racing as it had until the 1960s. With the exception of Jacky Ickx many of the top Le Mans winners are drivers who saw little success in F1 or never even had an opportunity to race. The aforementioned "Triple Crown" of Le Mans, Monaco and Indy 500 has (as of 2018) only been one by one driver - Graham Hill. Hill is also the only driver to win another triple - with the F1 World Championship instead of Monaco. The other world champions to win Le Mans are Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, Jochen Rindt, and Fernando Alonso. Alonso is the only active current driver able to win the triple with the F1 championship and Monaco GP already on his record. Juan Pablo Montoya can currently win the triple including Monaco.

to:

Because of the length of Le Mans, drivers are put in 3-man teams, with some classes ([=LMP2=] and [=GTE-Am=]) requiring at least one Silver or Bronze driver who also has to spend a certain amount of time in the car. This extra demand results in drivers being drafted in from other series just for Le Mans to compliment the drivers who regularly take part in endurance races. Regardless of which ranking a driver is given or whether they are regular endurance racers or not, to do even remotely well at Le Mans, they have to be very badass. While all drivers have to take mandated breaks (you're only allowed to be in the car for four hours every six and 14 hours total due to concerns about driver fatigue), there is still the fact that it won't be long before they have to get back out on track. Amongst the amateur drivers drivers, some celebrities have appeared, including Creator/PatrickDempsey, Nick Mason from Music/PinkFloyd, and Creator/PaulNewman, who finished 2nd overall in 1979. Stars from other sports have also taken part, recently including soccer star Fabian Barthez, Olympic track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, and French skiier Luc Alphand. Contrary to popular belief, and despite his name being synonymous with the race (see below) Creator/SteveMcQueenActor never officially raced in the event for real. (Though unconfirmed rumour rumor has it that he may have surreptitiously driven stints in 1970 while filming his movie)

Among the professional ranks of drivers the record for most victories stands to Denmark's Tom Kristensen with nine overall wins, including an incredible run of six straight from 2000 to 2005 (five for Audi and one for Bentley in 2003) This record might be nearly impossible to beat - not only does a driver's car have to be quick enough to win and hold together for so many races but he had has to rely on none of his co-drivers stuffing it in a barrier crashing even once. Next up with six is the long time record holder Jacky Ickx from Belgium, who shared [[ThoseTwoActors three of his wins]] with 5-time winner Derek Bell. The other two 5-timers; Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, like Kristensen also owe their stats to the invincible Audi juggernaut of the 2000s as all their wins came in the silver cars.

Notable in the list of winners is the absence of many stars of other disciplines of racing, showing how much the race became a specialised specialized event with little of the crossover with Formula One and American racing as it had until the 1960s. With the exception of Jacky Ickx Ickx, many of the top Le Mans winners are drivers who saw little success in F1 or never even had an opportunity to race. The aforementioned "Triple Crown" of Le Mans, Monaco and the Indy 500 has (as of 2018) 2020) only been one achieved by one driver - Graham Hill. Hill is also the only driver to win another triple - with the F1 World Championship instead of Monaco. The other world champions to win Le Mans are Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, Jochen Rindt, and Fernando Alonso. Alonso is the only active current driver able to win the triple with the F1 championship and Monaco GP already on his record. Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya, who is currently active and driving for Penske in the [UsefulNotes/UnitedSportsCarChampionship IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship]] can currently win the triple including Monaco.



The race is held non-stop from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon on the third weekend of June ([[FridgeBrilliance the 24th weekend of the year]]). As in other multi-class endurance races, cars from all four classes are on the track simultaneously. While blue flags are shown to slower cars to warn them of faster cars approaching, unlike in other series the slower cars are ''not'' required to move out of the way - the onus is on the faster car to get past quickly and safely. This can lead to situations where a prototype is held up behind two or more [=GT=] cars battling for position who don't want to let the prototype past in case they lose time to each other, and navigating slower traffic without losing too much time is a key aspect of doing well in the race. During the race it is almost expected for a car to encounter problems, either due to mechanical failure or driver error. As long as the car isn't totally wrecked or immobile (and doesn't present an immediate danger to other entrants), the driver is allowed to bring the car to the pits so the pit crew can attempt to fix it and get the car back out as soon as possible. With so much time spent in the pits (both for regular pit stops and to make repairs), Le Mans can be won or lost as much in the pit lane as it can be on track, so efficient pit crew and an astute [[MissionControl engineering crew]] are just as important as good drivers and a fast, reliable car. At the end of the 24th hour, the lap the leading car is on becomes the last lap of the race, and every car that has completed 70% of the class leader's distance and completes a lap at the same time as the leader's last lap is classified as having finished the race.

to:

The race is held non-stop nonstop from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon on the third weekend of June ([[FridgeBrilliance the 24th weekend of the year]]). year]]) (Except 2020, when it has been pushed back to the third weekend of September due to the UsefulNotes/COVID19Pandemic). As in other multi-class endurance races, cars from all four classes are on the track simultaneously. While blue flags are shown to slower cars to warn them of faster cars approaching, unlike in other series the slower cars are ''not'' required to move out of the way - the onus is on the faster car to get past quickly and safely. This can lead to situations where a prototype is held up behind two or more [=GT=] cars battling for position who don't want to let the prototype past in case they lose time to each other, and navigating slower traffic (or being navigated by faster traffic in slower classes) without losing too much time is a key aspect of doing well in the race. During the race it It is almost expected guaranteed for a car to encounter problems, either due to mechanical failure failures or driver error. mistakes. As long as the car isn't totally wrecked totaled or immobile (and doesn't present an immediate danger to other entrants), the driver is allowed to bring the car to the pits so the pit crew can attempt to fix repair it and get the car it back out as soon as possible. With so much time spent in the pits (both for regular pit stops and to make repairs), Le Mans can be won or lost as much in the pit lane as it can be on track, so efficient pit crew and an astute [[MissionControl engineering crew]] are just as important as good drivers and a fast, reliable car. At the end of the 24th hour, the lap the leading car is on becomes the last final lap of the race, and every car that has completed 70% of the class leader's distance and completes a lap at the same time as the leader's last lap is classified as having finished the race.



* Sega made an arcade game based on the race for the arcades, featuring six top Le Mans racers, dubbed ''[[VideoGame/LeMans24 Le Mans 24]]''. Konami previously made another video game based on the race, ''WEC Le Mans 24''.
* Both the ''VideoGame/GranTurismo'' and ''[[VideoGame/{{Forza}} Forza Motorsport]]'' games contain [=LMP=] and [=GT=] cars, with the former being the fastest cars in the games (barring formula cars and high-end concepts like the Red Bull [=X2010=]). The Circuit de la Sarthe features in later installments of both series.
* ''VideoGame/GRiD'' allows you to race the Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of every season. If you feel like it you can also set up an actual 24 hour race on the Circuit de La Sarthe.
* ''VideoGame/ProjectCARS'' features LMP 2 and LMP 1 both with real cars and {{Original Character}}s designed by the WMD Community underneath the fictional monikers of RWD and Marek. There is also a Prototype 1 and 2 class featuring cars such as such as the Radical SR-3/SR-8 or the Caterham SP/300.R, there are also historic classes such as the LMP 900 that features cars such as the Bentley Speed 8 or the GR.C class that features the Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz as mentioned above. There is an actual UsefulNotes/TwentyFourHoursOfLeMans you can get invited to in the career but even at 1% time progression, it will take you upwards of ''two hours''. The game suggests streaming if you plan on a whole twenty four hour race.
* The 2019 film ''Film/FordvFerrari'' (titled ''Le Mans '66'' in several other territories) focuses on how American engineer Carroll Shelby and British-born driver Ken Miles developed the Ford [=GT40=] to compete and win against Ferrari at the 1966 edition of the race.

to:

* Sega made an arcade game based on the race for the arcades, featuring six top Le Mans racers, dubbed ''[[VideoGame/LeMans24 Le Mans 24]]''. Konami previously made another video game based on the race, ''WEC Le Mans 24''.
* Both the ''VideoGame/GranTurismo'' and ''[[VideoGame/{{Forza}} Forza Motorsport]]'' games series contain [=LMP=] and [=GT=] cars, with the former being the fastest cars in the games (barring formula cars Formula 1cars and high-end concepts like the Red Bull [=X2010=]). The Circuit de la Sarthe features in later installments of both series.
series (debuting in ''4'' and ''Motorsport 3'' respectively).
* ''VideoGame/GRiD'' allows you to race the Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of every season. If you feel like it it, you can also set up an actual 24 hour race on the Circuit de La Sarthe.
* ''VideoGame/ProjectCARS'' features LMP 2 and LMP 1 both LMP classes with real cars and {{Original Character}}s designed by the WMD Community underneath the fictional monikers of RWD and Marek. There is also a Prototype 1 and 2 class featuring track cars such as such as the Radical SR-3/SR-8 or the Caterham SP/300.R, there are also as well as historic classes such as the LMP 900 that LMP900, which features cars such as like the Bentley Speed 8 or 8, and the GR.C class that features the Sauber Sauber-Mercedes C9 Mercedes-Benz as mentioned above. There is an actual UsefulNotes/TwentyFourHoursOfLeMans Le Mans you can get invited to in the career but even at 1% time progression, it will take you upwards of ''two hours''. The game suggests streaming if you plan on a whole twenty four hour race.
* The 2019 film ''Film/FordvFerrari'' (titled ([[MarkedBasedTitle titled ''Le Mans '66'' in several other territories) territories]]) focuses on how American engineer Carroll Shelby and British-born driver Ken Miles developed the Ford [=GT40=] to compete and win against Ferrari at the 1966 edition of the race.in 1966.


At the end of the straight the circuit turns sharp right through another fast public road leg through the forest, reaching the fast right hand Indianapolis corner (named for it's similarity to the corners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and turning another sharp right at Arnage (in reality a crossroads hence the sharp 90 degree turn). The largest spectator area away from the pits is at this corner, though to reach it spectators have to use the exit roads that run under the track much further around the course. These sections are the least changed of the circuit since it's beginning, the course staying the same with only increases in runoff areas being added for safety.

The final section of the track runs through a section of custom built racetrack - the Porsche Curves - a sequence of fast swerves built in 1972 to replace the very narrow and dangerous "Maison Blanche" (White House) section, the original public road section that ran back to the pits through a very quick chicane around an old cottage. This part of the old course is also still used as a public road and provides access to the circuit car parks. Being now quite an old piece of circuit in it's own right the Porsche Curves are quite narrow and lacking in run-off by modern standards and are considered a very challenging section.

to:

At the end of the straight the circuit turns sharp right through another fast public road leg through the forest, reaching the fast right hand Indianapolis corner (named for it's its similarity to the corners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and turning another sharp right at Arnage (in reality a crossroads hence the sharp 90 degree turn). The largest spectator area away from the pits is at this corner, though to reach it spectators have to use the exit roads that run under the track much further around the course. These sections are the least changed of the circuit since it's its beginning, the course staying the same with only increases in runoff areas being added for safety.

The final section of the track runs through a section of custom built racetrack - the Porsche Curves - a sequence of fast swerves built in 1972 to replace the very narrow and dangerous "Maison Blanche" (White House) section, the original public road section that ran back to the pits through a very quick chicane around an old cottage. This part of the old course is also still used as a public road and provides access to the circuit car parks. Being now quite an old piece of circuit in it's its own right the Porsche Curves are quite narrow and lacking in run-off by modern standards and are considered a very challenging section.



* Ferrari P cars: The cars which the [=GT40=] was developed to compete against. The 1967 Ferrari P3/4 is often named as the prettiest racing car ever built, though it did not win the race and neither did it's successors. Ferrari's last overall win still stands as the 1965 race.
* Porsche 917/936/935/956/962: The cars that dominated the period between the Ford/Ferrari rivalry and the first half of the Group C era, winning 12 races from 1970-1987. The 917 was the ShortLivedBigImpact car, being the first car to break 240 mph on the Mulsanne straight and winning the race twice (though neither time for the "factory" team entry) before rule changes outlawed it and it's Ferrari 512 rival. The 936 was an open-top successor based around the 917 design and won the race twice. The concurrent 935 - whose most famous incarnation, the 935/78, is famously called "Moby Dick" - was a highly pumped-up variant of the 911 road car designed more for silhouette GT racing but it won overall in 1979. The Group C 956/962 won six straight (1982-1987), helped by a huge number of privateer entries racing the official Porsche team meaning the car dominated the starting grid.

to:

* Ferrari P cars: The cars which the [=GT40=] was developed to compete against. The 1967 Ferrari P3/4 is often named as the prettiest racing car ever built, though it did not win the race and neither did it's its successors. Ferrari's last overall win still stands as the 1965 race.
* Porsche 917/936/935/956/962: The cars that dominated the period between the Ford/Ferrari rivalry and the first half of the Group C era, winning 12 races from 1970-1987. The 917 was the ShortLivedBigImpact car, being the first car to break 240 mph on the Mulsanne straight and winning the race twice (though neither time for the "factory" team entry) before rule changes outlawed it and it's its Ferrari 512 rival. The 936 was an open-top successor based around the 917 design and won the race twice. The concurrent 935 - whose most famous incarnation, the 935/78, is famously called "Moby Dick" - was a highly pumped-up variant of the 911 road car designed more for silhouette GT racing but it won overall in 1979. The Group C 956/962 won six straight (1982-1987), helped by a huge number of privateer entries racing the official Porsche team meaning the car dominated the starting grid.



* Sauber Mercedes C9: The most successful of a series of cars comprised of advanced Sauber chassis/aerodynamics and powerful Mercedes engines. While it's predecessors [[FragileSpeedster weren't exactly reliable]], the C9 combined speed and reliability to win the 1989 race, the last with the full uninterrupted Mulsanne Straight. Although 400+km/h speeds had been reached previously,[[note]]in the 1988 race a WM-Peugeot entered just to set a new top speed reached 407km/h before retiring due to cooling issues[[/note]] it was the C9 consistently reaching these speeds that finally forced the organizers to introduce chicanes on the Hunaudières to slow the cars down.
** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven it's pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''third'' time it had back flipped on it's own during the event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the [=CLRs=] (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.

to:

* Sauber Mercedes C9: The most successful of a series of cars comprised of comprising advanced Sauber chassis/aerodynamics and powerful Mercedes engines. While it's its predecessors [[FragileSpeedster weren't exactly reliable]], the C9 combined speed and reliability to win the 1989 race, the last with the full uninterrupted Mulsanne Straight. Although 400+km/h speeds had been reached previously,[[note]]in the 1988 race a WM-Peugeot entered just to set a new top speed reached 407km/h before retiring due to cooling issues[[/note]] it was the C9 consistently reaching these speeds that finally forced the organizers to introduce chicanes on the Hunaudières to slow the cars down.
** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven it's its pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''third'' time it had back flipped on it's its own during the event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the [=CLRs=] (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.


** The second-place streak was tragically continued in 2016, with the [=TS050=] leading the race comfortably with three minutes to go, only [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH4GbYI0vZI to slow down and ultimately stop on the penultimate lap]] with a turbo failure, allowing Porsche to take the lead and the win. 2 years later, however, they dominated the race, hook, line and sinker, to take home a memorable 1-2 finish despite the lack of competing hybrids, and finally take the win over 30 years after their debut attempt in the 1980s.

to:

** The second-place streak was tragically continued in 2016, with the [=TS050=] leading the race comfortably with three minutes to go, only [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH4GbYI0vZI to slow down and ultimately stop on the penultimate lap]] with a turbo failure, allowing Porsche to take the lead and the win. 2 years later, however, they dominated the race, hook, line and sinker, to take home a memorable 1-2 finish despite the lack of competing hybrids, [[ThrowTheDogABone and finally take the win over 30 years after their debut attempt in the 1980s.
1980s.]]


* Audi "R" series: The {{Boring Invincible Hero}}, Audi won 13 races from 2000-2015, with only Bentley,[[note]]a sister company of Audi[[/note]] Peugeot and Porsche[[note]]a more recent sister company of Audi, after Volkswagen officially took over[[/note]] interrupting the streak in 2003, 2009 and 2015-16 respectively. Audi are also notable for being the first [=LMP1=] manufacturer to use BoringButPractical diesel engines. However, each car does have its own claim to fame:

to:

* Audi "R" series: The {{Boring Invincible {{Invincible Hero}}, Audi won 13 races from 2000-2015, with only Bentley,[[note]]a sister company of Audi[[/note]] Peugeot and Porsche[[note]]a more recent sister company of Audi, after Volkswagen officially took over[[/note]] interrupting the streak in 2003, 2009 and 2015-16 respectively. Audi are also notable for being the first [=LMP1=] manufacturer to use BoringButPractical diesel engines. However, each car does have its own claim to fame:


** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven it's pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''third'' time it had back flipped on it's own during the event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the CLRs (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.

to:

** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven it's pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''third'' time it had back flipped on it's own during the event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the CLRs [=CLRs=] (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.


** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven it's pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''second'' time it had back flipped on it's own during the event, a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it.

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** Aside from the Sauber, Mercedes have star-crossed history in the race. They won in 1952 - the first ever closed coupe car to do so. Then in 1955 they brought their fearsome 300 SL (a car that had recently proven it's pace by winning the epic Mille Miglia road race in Italy) to race the Jaguar D-Type, only to see a multiple crash launch one of the team cars into the grandstand, with terrible loss of life. The Le Mans Disaster put off Mercedes from motorsports for many decades, then in the late 1990s history nearly repeated itself with the Mercedes CLR. Though [[SoBeautifulItsACurse beautiful, it was fatefully flawed]] and is known as {{The Alleged Car}} of recent Le Mans history. During the race, in front of a worldwide television audience, it [[http://youtu.be/KqGq9OnHLHs?t=2m49s took off of its own accord]] on a high speed kink in the track before flipping through the air multiple times and crash landing on the other side of the trees, fortunately in an area where no one was standing, and with the driver unhurt. And this was the ''second'' ''third'' time it had back flipped on it's own during the event, event; a smaller flip in practice was only overlooked slightly because the TV cameras didn't see it.it, and an earlier flip in the race left one of the CLRs (and Mercedes' lead driver) upside down on the track.


The 24 Hours of Le Mans (French: 24 Heures du Mans) is a twenty-four-hour [[MarathonLevel endurance race]] held at the Circuit de la Sarthe, better known as Le Mans. Held since 1923, with only a break for World War 2, it is easily the most famous and prestigious sports car race in the world, and the race that has made the sporting reputation of many famous car brands. Currently part of the FIA World Endurance Championship, it is informally known as one part of the "Triple Crown of Motorsport" which includes the race as well as the UsefulNotes/FormulaOne Monaco Grand Prix and the [[UsefulNotes/IndyCar Indianapolis 500]].

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The 24 Hours of Le Mans (French: 24 Heures du Mans) is a twenty-four-hour [[MarathonLevel endurance race]] held at the Circuit de la Sarthe, better known as Le Mans. Held since 1923, with only a break for World War 2, UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, it is easily the most famous and prestigious sports car race in the world, and the race that has made the sporting reputation of many famous car brands. Currently part of the FIA World Endurance Championship, it is informally known as one part of the "Triple Crown of Motorsport" which includes the race as well as the UsefulNotes/FormulaOne Monaco Grand Prix and the [[UsefulNotes/IndyCar Indianapolis 500]].


* Mazda [=787B=]: The first Japanese and so far only rotary-engined car to win the race. Instantly recognizable with its green-orange livery and its ear-piercingly loud engine noise, it is seen as an object of national sport pride in Japan. It held it's distinction of being the only Japanese winner for 27 years until Toyota finally broke their duck in 2018.

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* Mazda [=787B=]: The first Japanese and so far only rotary-engined car to win the race. Instantly recognizable with its green-orange livery and its ear-piercingly loud engine noise, it is seen as an object of national sport pride in Japan. It held it's its distinction of being the only Japanese winner for 27 years until Toyota finally broke their duck in 2018.



* [=McLaren F1=] GTR: the racing variant of what was at the time the fastest road car in the world, it famously won the 1995 edition of the race [[DavidVersusGoliath defeating actual purpose-built prototypes]]. It also gave [[=McLaren=] the distinction of having won Le Mans, Indianapolis and the F1 World Championship as car constructor, putting them alongside Mercedes in that regard. [[note]] Though Mercedes's only Indy 500 win as a brand (rather than engine supplier) came all the way back in 1915.

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* [=McLaren F1=] GTR: the racing variant of what was at the time the fastest road car in the world, it famously won the 1995 edition of the race [[DavidVersusGoliath defeating actual purpose-built prototypes]]. It also gave [[=McLaren=] [=McLaren=] the distinction of having won Le Mans, Indianapolis and the F1 World Championship as car constructor, putting them alongside Mercedes in that regard. [[note]] Though Mercedes's only Indy 500 win as a brand (rather than engine supplier) came all the way back in 1915.



* VideoGame/GRiD allows you to race the Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of every season. If you feel like it you can also set up an actual 24 hour race on the Circuit de La Sarthe.
* ''VideoGame/ProjectCARS'' features LMP 2 and LMP 1 both with real cars and {{OriginalCharacter}}s designed by the WMD Community underneath the fictional monikers of RWD and Marek. There is also a Prototype 1 and 2 class featuring cars such as such as the Radical SR-3/SR-8 or the Caterham SP/300.R, there are also historic classes such as the LMP 900 that features cars such as the Bentley Speed 8 or the GR.C class that features the Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz as mentioned above. There is an actual UsefulNotes/TwentyFourHoursOfLeMans you can get invited to in the career but even at 1% time progression, it will take you upwards of ''two hours''. The game suggests streaming if you plan on a whole twenty four hour race.

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* VideoGame/GRiD ''VideoGame/GRiD'' allows you to race the Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of every season. If you feel like it you can also set up an actual 24 hour race on the Circuit de La Sarthe.
* ''VideoGame/ProjectCARS'' features LMP 2 and LMP 1 both with real cars and {{OriginalCharacter}}s {{Original Character}}s designed by the WMD Community underneath the fictional monikers of RWD and Marek. There is also a Prototype 1 and 2 class featuring cars such as such as the Radical SR-3/SR-8 or the Caterham SP/300.R, there are also historic classes such as the LMP 900 that features cars such as the Bentley Speed 8 or the GR.C class that features the Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz as mentioned above. There is an actual UsefulNotes/TwentyFourHoursOfLeMans you can get invited to in the career but even at 1% time progression, it will take you upwards of ''two hours''. The game suggests streaming if you plan on a whole twenty four hour race.
* The 2019 film ''Film/FordvFerrari'' (titled ''Le Mans '66'' in several other territories) focuses on how American engineer Carroll Shelby and British-born driver Ken Miles developed the Ford [=GT40=] to compete and win against Ferrari at the 1966 edition of the
race.


** Toyota ''finally'' got their much awaited victory when the two [=TS050s=] driven by the team finished the race with a double victory in 2018, becoming the second Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans. Granted, both Audi and Porsche weren't racing in [=LMP-1=] series that year due to them shifting their focus towards the Formula E series, so its not like there was much competition for Toyota.

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** Toyota ''finally'' got their much awaited victory when the two [=TS050s=] driven by the team finished the race with a double victory in 2018, becoming the second Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans. Granted, both Audi and Porsche weren't racing in [=LMP-1=] series that year due to them shifting their focus towards the Formula E series, so its not like there was much competition for Toyota.


** Toyota ''finally'' got their much awaited victory when the two [=TS050s=] driven by the team finished the race with a double victory in 2018, becoming the second Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans.

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** Toyota ''finally'' got their much awaited victory when the two [=TS050s=] driven by the team finished the race with a double victory in 2018, becoming the second Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans. \n Granted, both Audi and Porsche weren't racing in [=LMP-1=] series that year due to them shifting their focus towards the Formula E series, so its not like there was much competition for Toyota.



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** Toyota ''finally'' got their much awaited victory when the two [=TS050s=] driven by the team finished the race with a double victory in 2018, becoming the second Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans.


* Porsche 917/936/935/956/962: The cars that dominated the period between the Ford/Ferrari rivalry and the first half of the Group C era, winning 12 races from 1970-1987. The 917 was the ShortLivedBigImpact car, being the first car to break 240 mph on the Mulsanne straight and winning the race twice (though neither time for the "factory" team entry) before rule changes outlawed it and it's Ferrari 512 rival. The 936 was an open-top successor based around the 917 design and won the race twice. The concurrent 935 was a highly pumped-up variant of the 911 road car designed more for silhouette GT racing but it won overall in 1979. The Group C 956/962 won six straight (1982-1987), helped by a huge number of privateer entries racing the official Porsche team meaning the car dominated the starting grid.

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* Porsche 917/936/935/956/962: The cars that dominated the period between the Ford/Ferrari rivalry and the first half of the Group C era, winning 12 races from 1970-1987. The 917 was the ShortLivedBigImpact car, being the first car to break 240 mph on the Mulsanne straight and winning the race twice (though neither time for the "factory" team entry) before rule changes outlawed it and it's Ferrari 512 rival. The 936 was an open-top successor based around the 917 design and won the race twice. The concurrent 935 - whose most famous incarnation, the 935/78, is famously called "Moby Dick" - was a highly pumped-up variant of the 911 road car designed more for silhouette GT racing but it won overall in 1979. The Group C 956/962 won six straight (1982-1987), helped by a huge number of privateer entries racing the official Porsche team meaning the car dominated the starting grid.


* Matra [[+MS670=]]: OvershadowedByAwesome: The small French marque won three Le Mans in the early 1970s but these were in the years after the ultra-quick [[Film/LeMans movie star]] Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 speedsters had been made obsolete by rule changes, and the smaller, slower Matra cars could not hope to be as impressive.

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* Matra [[+MS670=]]: [[=MS670=]]: OvershadowedByAwesome: The small French marque won three Le Mans in the early 1970s but these were in the years after the ultra-quick [[Film/LeMans movie star]] Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 speedsters had been made obsolete by rule changes, and the smaller, slower Matra cars could not hope to be as impressive.



* [=McLaren F1=] GTR: the racing variant of what was at the time the fastest road car in the world, it famously won the 1995 edition of the race [[DavidVersusGoliath defeating actual purpose-built prototypes]]. It also gave [[=McLaren=] the unique distinction of having won Le Mans, Indianapolis and the F1 World Championship as car constructor.

to:

* [=McLaren F1=] GTR: the racing variant of what was at the time the fastest road car in the world, it famously won the 1995 edition of the race [[DavidVersusGoliath defeating actual purpose-built prototypes]]. It also gave [[=McLaren=] the unique distinction of having won Le Mans, Indianapolis and the F1 World Championship as car constructor. constructor, putting them alongside Mercedes in that regard. [[note]] Though Mercedes's only Indy 500 win as a brand (rather than engine supplier) came all the way back in 1915.

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