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Le Mans 24 HoursBack

LeMansThe 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours race is about to begin and this year, following the official practice run, we can confirm the cars are indeed faster than ever – but there is no clear winner yet.

The world’s greatest endurance race is set to run this weekend on June 13-14 and will not only feature the standard badges Audi, Porsche and Toyota, but also a new Nissan GTL-LM Nismo hybrid.

As we look forward to this iconic annual race, Trusted Dealers takes a look at one of the world’s most famous car racing events.

Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans 24 Hours is the world’s oldest and active sports car race which involves endurance racing. The race has been held annually since 1923 in the town on Le Mans in France. It is one of the most prestigious car races in the world, often referred to as the ‘Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency.’

The race

Each car that enters faces the challenge of balancing speed with endurance – cars are expected to race for 24 hours without sustaining any mechanical damage, as well as maintaining consumables such as fuel levels, tyres and braking materials. The race begins mid-afternoon and finishes the next day, at the same hour the race started with competitors often covering distances of more than 5,000 km (3,110 miles).

LeMans3The drivers

The endurance is as much for the drivers as it is for the car, with most drivers racing for around 2 hours or more at any given time, before a relief driver will then take over. Only 3 drivers can share any competing vehicle.

The location

The race is held on the Circuit de la Sarthe which consists of a mixtire of closed public roads and specialist racing circuit to test the car’s speed and endurance.

The cars

Originally, the race was held to showcase cars sold to the general public known as ‘sports cars’ as opposed to the specialised cars we see used in the Grand Prix. But over time, competing vehicles have evolved into two classes – enclosed-bodywork-two-seat prototypes and Grand Touring sports cars. This year, Le Mans will feature a Nissan Nismo hybrid with a top-side of 1,000bhp, a front engine and predominantly front wheel drive, predicted to give the existing group of large and small capacity diesel, petrol, battery, flywheel, supercapacitor and small capacity exhaust-energy-retrieval hybrid systems with four-wheels, a good run for their money!

LeMans2The teams

There are a wide variety of teams taking part from road car manufacturers who are keen to prove the supremacy of their cars, to professional motor racing teams representing commercial backers, as well as amateur teams, happy to reap the benefits of taking part in such a famous race.

An inspiration

Over the years Le Mans 24 Hours has inspired a number of imitation races across the globe such as 24 Hours of Daytona and other well-known 24 hour races such as Nuburgring, Spa-Francorchamps and Bathurst. There is also the Le Mans Classic, a biannual race for classic cars from the ages held at the same Circuit de la Sarthe in July.

LeMans1What can we expect from Le Mans 24 Hours 2015?

Last year saw Audi once again claim first and second place, with Toyota in third. Porsche were in the lead during the 22nd hour until the remaining car was retired. Perhaps this could give us some indication of what is to come in this weekend’s race, but at Le Mans, anything is possible. It was hoped that the Le Mans test on May 31st would have given us a hint of what was to come, but sadly due to heavy rain only a mandatory safety-car/slow-zone practice was undertaken. But if previous years are anything to go by, Audi may triumph once again, having cut consumption by a staggering 38 per cent in 2014. One thing’s for sure, this year’s race could be the fastest one yet.

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 12/06/2015