This was an important period in the Le Mans story. Ferrari and Jaguar raced to stake claims as the top manufacturers of high-performance cars. Mercedes-Benz came back from war-ravaged Germany and again set the standards in engineering. Aston Martin finally won at its 20th attempt. Enormous crowds – approaching half a million people – saw the first mid-engined sports-racing cars and the first diesels to compete at Le Mans, and top speeds on the Mulsanne straight rose from 135mph to over 180mph.