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24 Hours of Le Mans (An Earlier World Cup of Football)

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The 24 Hours of Le Mans (French: 24 Heures du Mans) is the world's oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. It is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world and is often called the "Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency".

History

The first 24 Hours of Le Mans happened on the 26-27 May which went through the public roads. It was originally planned to be a three-year event which would be awarded the Rudge-Whitworth Triennial Cup, with a winner being declared over the three consecutive events which had the frthest distance over three races. André Lagache and René Léonard would take the overall win from the three events with them finishing 279 laps over the three events.

After seven years without an edition and the drivers wanting another 24 Hours event to add to the Spa 24 Hours that was the only endurance event. The circuit was shortened to 13.5 kilometres as a permanent race track to stay away from the suburb of Le Mans. In the first event back from a hiatus, it was Raymond Sommer and Luigi Chinetti who would take it a record distance, before they became the first pair to do it back to back after winning the 1933 edition. Despite the 1936 event running without any of the main factory-backed squads, French and Italian drivers and teams dominated the event until 1939 where the Second World War brought an end to all sport in Europe.

Winners

Year Drivers Team Car Tyre Laps Distance
1923 Flag of France André Lagache
Flag of France René Léonard
Flag of France Chenard & Walcker SA Chenard & Walcker Sport 3-Litre M 128 2209.536 km
1924 Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957 Capt. John F. Duff
Flag of the United Kingdom Frank Clement
Flag of the United Kingdom Duff & Aldington Bentley 3 Litre Sport D 120 2077.341 km
1925 Flag of France Gérard de Courcelles
Flag of France André Rossignol
Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6 D 129 2233.982 km
1932 Flag of France Raymond Sommer
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned Luigi Chinetti
Flag of France Raymond Sommer Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 E 217 2940.538 km
1933 Flag of France Raymond Sommer
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned Luigi Chinetti
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned Soc. Anon. Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 8C 2300MM E 233 3144.038 km
1934 Flag of France Philippe Étancelin
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned Tazio Nuvolari
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned Soc. Anon. Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 E 213 2886.938 km
1935 Flag of France Pierre Louis-Dreyfus
Flag of France Henri Stoffel
Flag of France Pierre Louis-Dreyfus Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 E 223 3020.351 km
1936 Flag of France Jean Sébilleau
Flag of France Jean Desvignes
Flag of France Jean Desvignes Bugatti Type 44 E 205 2777.137 km
1937 Flag of France Jean-Pierre Wimille
Flag of France Robert Benoist
Flag of France Roger Labric Bugatti Type 57G Tank D 243 3287.938 km
1938 Flag of France Jean Prenant
Flag of France André Morel
Flag of France Jean Prenant Talbot T150SS Coupe D 235 3180.94 km
1939 Flag of France Jean-Pierre Wimille
Flag of France Pierre Veyron
Flag of France Jean-Pierre Wimille Bugatti Type 57C Tank D 248 3354.76 km

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