Le Mans 511

Le Mans

The Le Mans 24 Hours vies with the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 as the world’s most famous automobile race.

Country
France
Location
Le Mans, Pays de la Loire
Latest Race
First Race

The Le Mans 24 Hours vies with the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 as the world’s most famous automobile race. Le Mans is also one of the last remaining old-fashioned road courses, using public roads that are normally open to general traffic. The area around the town has been instrumental in the growth of the sport for the first Grand Prix was held in 1906 on roads to the east of the town. What is now the Mulsanne Straight formed part of the 33.75-mile course that held the 1913 GP de France. The current circuit was first used for the 1921 French GP, and the original unpaved roads were soon laid with tarmac. A 24-hour race was added two years later but the 1955 edition was marred by the worst disaster in motor racing history. The Mercedes-Benz of "Pierre Levegh" (real name: Pierre Bouillon) crashed into the crowd opposite the pits, killing the driver and over 80 spectators. The recriminations were felt throughout the world, with racing suspended in France and banned permanently by Swiss authorities. In the 1990s, safety concerns and ongoing machinations with the FIA resulted in the 3-mile Mulsanne Straight being interrupted by two chicanes. The lure of Le Mans remains as strong as ever to drivers, spectators, and manufacturers alike as it enters its tenth decade.

Circuit

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.469 (Miles)

Description

Tertre Rouge re-profiled and sections repaved

Fastest Race Lap

Andre Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro), 3m17.475, 154.391 mph, Sports Cars, 2015

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota TS050 Hybrid), 3m14.791, 156.519 mph, Sports Cars, 2017

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.481 (Miles)

Description

Section between Dunlop Chicane and Esses modified

Fastest Race Lap

Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI Power), 3m31.211, 144.555 mph, Sports Cars, 2006

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Rinaldo Capello (Audi R8), 3m29.905, 145.454 mph, Sports Cars, 2002

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.453 (Miles)

Description

Arnage and Indianapolis modified, some corners re-profiled. Mulsanne crest eased in 2001

Fastest Race Lap

Masanori Sekiya (Toyota TS010), 3m27.47, 146.676 mph, Sports Cars, 1993

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Philippe Alliot (Peugeot 905B), 3m21.209, 151.240 mph, Sports Cars, 1992

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.45 (Miles)

Description

Two chicanes built on the Mulsanne straight

Fastest Race Lap

Steve Millen (Nissan R90CK), 3m40.03, 138.254 mph, Sports Cars, 1990

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Mark Blundell (Nissan R90CK), 3m27.02, 146.942 mph, Sports Cars, 1990

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.41 (Miles)

Description

Chicane built at Dunlop Corner

Fastest Race Lap

Alain Ferte (Jaguar XJR-9LM), 3m21.27, 150.425 mph, Sports Cars, 1989

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Jean-Louis Schlesser (Sauber C9/88-Mercedes-Benz), 3m15.04, 155.230 mph, Sports Cars, 1989

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.406 (Miles)

Description

A new Mulsanne Corner built to avoid newly built roundabout

Fastest Race Lap

Klaus Ludwig (Porsche 956B), 3m23.3, 148.852 mph, Sports Cars, 1986

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Jochen Mass (Porsche 962), 3m15.99, 154.404 mph, Sports Cars, 1986

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.467 (Miles)

Description

Tertre Rouge tightened to accommodate new ring road built around the town

Fastest Race Lap

Jochen Mass (Porsche 962), 3m25.10, 148.616 mph, Sports Cars, 1985

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Hans-Joachim Stuck (Porsche 962), 3m14.80, 156.474 mph, Sports Cars, 1985

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.476 (Miles)

Description

Old Maison Blanche bypassed with a new section from Arnage to the Ford chicane

Fastest Race Lap

Jean-Pierre Jabouille (Alpine A442A-Renault), 3m34.2, 142.454 mph, Sports Cars, 1978

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Jacky Ickx (Porsche 936), 3m27.6, 146.983 mph, Sports Cars, 1978

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.369 (Miles)

Description

Ford chicane built before the start-line

Fastest Race Lap

Jackie Oliver (Porsche 917L), 3m18.4, 151.857 mph, Sports Cars, 1971

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Pedro Rodriguez (Porsche 917L), 3m13.9, 155.381 mph, Sports Cars, 1971

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.365 (Miles)

Description

Following the 1955 disaster, the pits straight was widened and the Dunlop Corner eased

Fastest Race Lap

Denny Hulme and Mario Andretti (both Ford GT40 Mk4), 3m23.6, 147.908 mph, Sports Cars, 1967

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Bruce McLaren (Ford GT40 Mk4), 3m24.4, 147.329 mph, Sports Cars, 1967

Type

Temporary road course

Length

8.378 (Miles)

Description

Section from the pits straight to Tertre Rouge built. The Dunlop Bridge installed after the first corner

Fastest Race Lap

Mike Hawthorn (Jaguar D-type), 4m06.6, 122.307 mph, Sports Cars, 1955

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Eugenio Castellotti (Ferrari 121LM), 4m14.1, 118.697 mph, Sports Cars, 1955

Type

Temporary road course

Length

10.153 (Miles)

Description

Western end of circuit shortened with the "Rue du Circuit" link road for safety reasons

Fastest Race Lap

Tim Birkin (Bentley 4.4 sc), 6m48, 89.585 mph, Sports Cars, 1930

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Philippe Alliot (Peugeot 905B), 3m21.209, 151.240 mph, Sports Cars, 1992

Type

Temporary road course

Length

10.726 (Miles)

Description

Original circuit with western hairpin at Pontlieue

Fastest Race Lap

Jimmy Murphy (Duesenberg), 7m43, 83.399 mph, GP, 1921

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Rinaldo Capello (Audi R8), 3m29.905, 145.454 mph, Sports Cars, 2002

Type

Temporary road course

Length

33.75 (Miles)

Description

Le Mans-Ecommoy-Parigne l'Eveque-Le Mans

Fastest Race Lap

Paul Bablot (Delage Y), 24m24, 82.992 mph, GP, 1913

Fastest Qualifying Lap

Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota TS050 Hybrid), 3m14.791, 156.519 mph, Sports Cars, 2017

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