There are many famous motorsport events held throughout the year, but none of them have the special allure that the 24 Hour of Le Mans brings with it. It is the world’s most iconic endurance race where the Circuit de la Sarthe circuit has seen some of the most memorable moments – the Mercedes Benz CLR going airborne or Mazda beating the odds and becoming the first Japanese brand to clinch the title at the time – the list goes on.
The 90th edition will take place on 11 – 12 June 2022 that will see a total of 62 cars do battle in four different classes – five in the Hypercar class, 27 in LMP2, seven in LMGTE Pro and 23 in LMGTE Am. There will also be a total of six women competing – Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy, Lilou Wadoux, Sophia Floersch and Katherine Legge make up the female contingent.
For those fortunate enough to be attending, a full week general admission with access to the grandstand costs about R3 500. Those with deeper pockets and the Gold Experience package gets full access but with a price tag of R100 000.
Even though the likes of Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Porsche have dominated the event in the past, notching up 54 wins among themselves between 1924 and 2017, Toyota Gazoo Racing currently holds the title in the famed Hypercar class. The Japanese automaker also won the previous four editions – the first of which came in 2018 – with all signs pointing to yet another victory in 2022.
Toyota moved on and learnt from their heartbreak in 2016 when the #5 Toyota at the time, piloted by Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, came to a complete stop just as it was approaching its final lap, having led since the 17th hour of the race. In heartbreaking fashion, just like their social media post read thereafter, this paved the way for the #2 Porsche to cross the line in first place and add yet another title – an agonising blow and reducing many to tears.
Even though Audi and Porsche are preparing to make their respective comebacks to the 24 Hour of Le Mans in 2023, Toyota is currently the team to beat.
Are you a big Le Mans fan? Here are five fun facts about the endurance race you might (or might not have) know:
- During the night and at speeds of over 300km/h, sometimes in wet weather, visibility inside the cockpit can be poor, so some drivers count in their heads along the straights in order to know when a corner is approaching.
- The biggest gap between the winner and the runner-up was back in 1927 when the winners streaked ahead in a Bentley and left the runners-up 349.808 km behind in a Salmson.
- In 1988, Frenchman Roger Dorchy, was recorded driving at speeds of over 400km/h. The fastest ever lap of Le Mans was set more recently in 2017, when Kamui Kobayashi took his Toyota TS050 HYBRID around the track in a time of 3:14.791.
- American driver Dan Gurney, winner of the 1967 Le Mans, is the man responsible for starting the now famous podium champagne shower tradition.
- Normally there is only one safety car at a World Endurance Race but, for Le Mans, three safety cars are needed to cover the full 13.62km length of the circuit.
There’s a saying that Le Mans chooses its own winners because there’s just no telling what might happen on race day/night – such is the intrigue and excitement that attracts petrolheads from all over the world.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.