26.05.

1923: The 24 Hours of Le Mans Held for the First Time

1923: The 24 Hours of Le Mans Held for the First Time
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 26 May 1923
  • The 24 Hours of Le Mans was held for the first time in 1923, and the racetrack was 17,262 meters long. The race winners made 128 laps around the racetrack, which means they crossed about 2,209 kilometers.

The mentioned race has been held since 1923. It is the world’s oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually near the French city of Le Mans, which is located approximately between Paris and the famous Loire Valley.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. Racing teams have to balance speed with the cars’ ability to run for 24 hours (full throttle driving – 85% of the time).

Today, the contestants drive more than 5,000 kilometers over 24 hours, which is 18 times more than Formula 1. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, drivers achieve speeds of more than 300 km/h.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans was held for the first time in 1923, and the racetrack was 17,262 meters long (later, the racetrack was shortened to 13,629 meters, and it doesn’t enter deep into the populated area of the city of Le Mans).

André Lagache and René Léonard, both French, won the first race. Their car was a Chenard et Walcker Sport. The mentioned car had a 3-liter engine.

It is interesting to note that the Chenard et Walcker company was once the fourth largest vehicle manufacturer in France.

The race winners made 128 laps around the racetrack, which means they crossed about 2,209 kilometers. They were driving at an average speed of about 92 km/h, which was a “significant speed” in in 1923.

Today, the average speed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is over 225 km/h (the maximum speeds achieved in the 1980s exceeded even 400 km/h).

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