It’s all about speed and endurance at the Le Mans sports car race that has its origins in France, tracing back to 1923 near the French town it’s named after, Le Mans. Drivers compete for 24 hours around a circuit comprising both closed public roads and a specialist racing track known as the Circuit de la Sarthe, often racing for up to two hours before switching with a relief driver at a pit stop where they rest and eat. Regulations stipulate that each competing car must be driven by at least three drivers for not more than 4 hours consecutively and 14 hours in total, to address the issue of driver fatigue.

The Le Mans auto race makes for an electrifying pursuit particularly due to its delicate “balancing act” nature. Drivers have to be deft in maintaining competitive speed while managing the cars’ resources, primarily fuel, tyres and braking materials to avoid extended periods in the pits addressing mechanical damage in the form of engine knocks, and worn tyres and brake pads.

The sports race cars are also a major attraction as manufacturers such as multiple-time champions Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, Jaguar, Bentley and Ford among others attempt to outwit their competitors. Spectators relish watching the various auto chassis built with such panache for the purposes of reducing aerodynamic drag and go wild at the humming of a turbocharged engine.

The Le Mans endurance race has a set of long standing traditions including the wave of the French Tricolor flag to start off the race in place of the customary black and white checkered flag. Dan Gurney, the 1967 Le Mans champ is the first known winner to have celebrated by spraying champagne instead of drinking it, a well-known and worldwide popular style of celebration today.

This year’s race will take place on 13th-15th June and will be a motor sporting event to look out for.