The Ten Greatest Moments In Le Mans History

This weekend is the 83rd time since 1923 that the French town of Le Mans shuts down some of its public roads and turns them into the legendary circuit known as Circuit de la Sarthe. Here are the best moments from the previous 82 races.

10.) Cars turning into planes in 1999

Flying race cars are hardly laughing matter, but seeing Mercedes-Benz and Porsche learn about the importance of downforce at the front the hard way was memorable, to say the least.


Suggested By: 2cvhoonage

9.) Vipers winning for three years in a row (1998, 1999 and 2000)

Le Mans is so packed with European cars that it’s really refreshing to see American or Japanese machinery on the podium as well.

Sure, the Viper’s V10 was durable by design, but lasting for 24 hours and taking home three class wins in a row was just as huge as the displacement of its cylinders.


Suggested By: The Crazie Kanuck, Photo Credit: Oreca

8.) The Deltawing repair attempt in 2012

Satoshi Motoyama wasn’t ready to give it up just yet after hitting the wall with his unusual racing car. The true spirit of Le Mans.


Suggested By: For Sweden

7.) Peugeot’s 1988 speed record


Roger Dorchy in a Welter/Meunier WM P88 Peugeot in 1988 at the original Mulsanne Straight doing 405 km/h (251.6 mph).

Peugeot had many great moment at Le Mans, and this was the fastest by far. We miss them dearly, so keep buying those PSA cars!


Suggested By: Jayhova, Photo Credit: Peugeot

6.) Edward Ramsden Hall going solo in 1950


Edward Ramsden Hall was a British racing driver (seen here driving an MG Magnette in 1933 at the Ulster TT) who entered a 4¼-liter Bentley into the Le Mans 24 in 1936, but since that race got cancelled because of the economic depression, he only managed to go back to Circuit de la Sarthe with his streamlined Bentley after the war in 1950.

He became the first man to complete the race solo, despite having a co-driver ready in the pits. When famous motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson asked him what the toilet arrangements were if he never left the cockpit for 24 hours, Mr. Hall replied “Green overalls, old boy!”


Those were the days.

Suggested By: Captain Pedantic, AWAY!, Photo Credit: AP/Len Putnam

5.) Audi in 2011

It might be boring to see Audi win Le Mans year after year, but they’ve been through a lot since entering endurance racing in 1999 and still want to win so much that the team behind those prototypes deserve all the respect in the world.


Also, their cars are just as badass now as they’ve ever been.

Suggested By: fredzy and DCV

4.) The birth of the Porsche 917 in 1969


Porsche still has more Le Mans wins than Audi, or any other manufacturer. That’s mostly due to what started with the 917, a car that wasn’t quite ready when the inspectors came, but went racing anyway thanks to the creative usage of some beer crates.

The Dauer 962 was quite a ride as well...

Suggested By: Bluecold, Photo Credit: AP

3.) Rondeau winning with a self-built car in 1980


Racing against factory Porsches? LOL!


Suggested By: Wheelerguy, Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

2.) Everything about the Ford GT40s between 1966-69


Yeah, so Ford tuned up a Lola properly with Holman-Moody and Carroll Shelby, then kicked Ferrari’s ass for good in 1966. Awesome stuff.

What’s even more impressive is what happened in 1969...


Suggested By: RazoE, Photo Credit: Ford

1.) The McLaren F1 winning in 1995


It was a detuned road car sponsored by a penis clinic for crying out loud!

Suggested By: t_s, Photo Credit: McLaren

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy! Top Photo Credit: McLaren


Contact the author at

Share This Story