The world's greatest endurance race will be 100 years old in 2023 and from 10-11 June 2023 will celebrate this special centenary anniversary.
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest is the founder and organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an event which first took place in May 1923 and has been held mainly in June ever since then, with a few exceptions when it had to be moved, and when it was cancelled in 1936 due to a labour strike and a further 9 times from 1940-1948 as a result of World War II.
The 2023 race, round 4 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, will see the winning team awarded a special one-off trophy that has been created by Monnaie de Paris, France's oldest institution. The bronze trophy is more than one-and-a-half metres tall and is currently being used to promote the race at prestigious and high-profile events around the world.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest endurance sports car race and is held near the town of Le Mans in France. The winner is determined by the car that covers the greatest distance in the 24-hour time limit so both speed and endurance are, therefore, of great importance around the circuit of closed public roads and sections of the actual racing track.
The event regularly draws crowds of over 250,000 and represents one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, with the other events being the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.
The race is held in June when it is usually very hot but rain is also common, starting in mid-afternoon and finishing 24 hours later. Teams race in different classes based on their specification but also compete for an outright winner amongst all classes. Most teams have 3 drivers who share responsibilities over the 24-hour duration, with various rules in place determining how long a driver can be at the wheel at any one time.
One of the most famous races took place in 1966 and was made into a Hollywood movie entitled "Ford v Ferrari", highlighting the intense battle and rivalry between the newly built Ford GT40 and the perennially dominant Ferrari racing team. The first race in 1923 was won by a Chenard & Walcker Sport 3-Litre.
There have been many notable winners over the years, some dominating for long periods, including names such as Bugatti, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche, and Peugeot. In more recent years, names such as McLaren, Audi and Toyota have been victorious.
The 2023 event, being dubbed the race of the century, will see several major manufacturers making a return to the Hypercar class. Ferrari, Porsche, Cadillac, Peugeot and Glickenhaus will attempt to take the crown away from the recently dominant Toyota. Will one of them succeed? We will find out in June 2023.
Tickets are on sale for this eagerly awaited event with the "Early Bird" price for a 4-Day Race Week admission ticket being €94. This price applies until 28 February 2023 after which it will rise to €102. Race Weekend tickets cost €83 at the early bird rate, and €91 thereafter. Other packages are available, including grandstand seats and premium access.
For ticket details go to: ticket.24h-lemans.com
It promises to be a centenary event not to be missed.
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