Get Up To Speed With Le Mans 2019
Last weekend, the world witnessed the most prestigious race of all time. Find out all you need to know here!
Jun 18, 2019
A motorsport race designed to test the longevity of a vehicle within a highly intensified 24-hour period. Part of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Begins: Saturday 15th June 2019, 14:00 GMT
Ends: Sunday 16th June 2019, 14:00 GMT
Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France
In its 87th year, 24 Hours of Le Mans remains one of the most anticipated races of the year. Taking place on the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France, the brutal 24-hour race is a test of strength and endurance for both driver and machine. This year’s starting grid was made up of the world’s best super performance race cars all chasing one thing.
Excitement is turned up a notch as the line-up of Le Mans 2019 was expanded to 62 cars this year. Originally the durability race comprised of 56 cars, but in 2016 it was announced by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) that 4 Chip Ganassi Racing Fords would be joining the grid in celebration of 50 years since Ford’s triumphant victory in 1966 which notably saw the iconic brand steal 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Pictured: Stunning the crowd, Ford GT40 takes the whole podium with 1-2-3 win, Le Mans 1966.
Three years later, Pierre Fillon, ACO President, declared “In February, the selection committee faced a harder task than it has in many years. There were 75 applications, all of a high standard, and it was particularly difficult to choose 60… We quickly came to the conclusion that we had to find a way of accepting additional competitors and our crews confirmed the feasibility of adding two garages to pit lane.”
Defending their crown are Toyota Gazoo Racing who reign champions of Le Mans two years in a row! The race was won by the same No.8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid race car and driven by the same team: Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Before that it was the Porsche 919 Hybrid from 2015-2017 and the Audi R18 e-tron quattro from 2012-2014. It must be noted here that since winning for the first time in 2000 with the Audi R8, Audi have stolen the show a further 13 times with models including Audi R10 TDI, Audi R15 TDI plus and the Audi R18 TDI.
Pictured: Le Mans 2018 winning machine – Toyota Gazoo Racing No.8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
Highlighting on something we mentioned earlier - a personal favourite of ours is Le Mans 1966. Why? Because this was the year Ford made its debut on the track with the notorious Ford GT40. One of the most controversially speculated races of all time, Ford overwhelmed headlines of the world when it promised to beat Ferrari following a personal dispute between Henry Ford II and Ezno Ferrari. It’s safe to say Ford’s passion to take over Ferrari fuelled a life-changing achievement for the brand with the birth of the GT40 prototype. Constantly evolving, the GT40 went on to win the next four Le Mans titles placing Ford well and truly on the map of motorsport.
Last weekend, Sandicliffe representatives, made their way across the channel in one of our stunning Ford GT models, ready to cheer on the brand from the roaring side-lines!
As the rest of us spectated Le Mans’ 43 professional racing teams zoom twice around the clock in a sport where speed and form alone count for very less, it was gratifying to witness technical performance, ground-breaking team strategy and pulse-racing driving skills.
The countdown for Le Mans 2020 begins…