The decision to include prototypes in sports-car racing was one of the greatest sanctioning moves in history. Purpose-built prototypes gave us some of our most awesome racing moments. What's the coolest Le Mans prototype ever?

Sports prototype racing began, at least in the form we know it, in 1953 at the founding of the F.I.A.'s World Sports Car Championship. Development was a combination of grass roots and factory backing at first, though now the best prototypes have the full weight of an automaker behind it. Perhaps to head off a fight among prototype fans, I'm going with the prototype that started the whole airfoil thing — Michael May's Porsche Type 550. Sure, there are better looking prototypes, but none more important in the history of controlling lift. Not that it always worked.

(Photo via Spyder Club

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