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The 24 hours of Le Mans race is an endurance race that not only tests the driver’s capabilities but also the capabilities of the car. Unlike traditional races where the winner is determined by time, in Le Mans the distance covered in 24 hours determines Le Mans winner. Of the 60 cars that qualified for the 2018 only 41 cars ran the full duration.

Over time Le Mans influenced races have formed all over the world, in locations such as Nurburgring, Daytona and Silverstone. Sister races have also been formed such as Le Mans Classic and Le Mans Bike. The races are usually held in June and July due to the lack of rain during these months. Modern competitors usually cover over 5000km. Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs Van Lennep holds the record in 2010 for a total distance of 5,410km (3,360 mi).  This race not only tests speed but endurance. The drivers usually drive for around two hours before a relief driver takes over. This gives the driver time to eat and rest. Current regulations state that three drivers must share each competing vehicle.

With the Le Mans race running at night, organizers needed a way of being able to see the cars numbers at night. Electroluminescent Panels were used to attach to the side of the car in a way of lighting up the teams number. In time these panels have become more advanced and much safer. There are many problems with these panels such as the start up of the car over powering the invertor. This then causes the panel to melt and possibly catch fire.  Advances in invertors and the panels themselves have come on so quickly they are now mandatory to have them.

The first 24 Hours of Le Mans race was held in May 26th and 27th 1923 and has run annually since then. However there were a couple of exceptions of the race being cancelled once in 1936 due to a labor strike and the race was not held during World War II.  Due to the popularity of the race similar races began such as 24 hours of Daytona and Spa-Francorchamps.

2018 World Endurance Championship. Le Mans, France 11th - 17th June 2018 Photo: Drew Gibson
Photo: Drew Gibson

The 24 hour race is becoming much more popular due to the high skill required. Great deals of Formula One drivers are moving towards endurance races after competing in the Grand Prix because of their love of racing and their experience. Le Mans is a worldwide known race and becoming more and more popular every year. If you want to find out more on the Le Mans race visit; https://www.lemans.org/en/24-hours-of-le-mans