Le Mans 24 Hrs & Classic – Circuit de Sarthe

Le Mans 24 Hrs

However you choose to say it…The Le Mans 24 Hrs, 24 Hours of le Mans, 24 Heures du Mans, is probably the most iconic motorsport event in history.  First held in 1923 & is still the ultimate test of driver & racing machinery. When the flag drops at 3:00pm (15:00hrs) on the Saturday ahead lies 24 hours of motor racing endurance & efficiency.

Le Mans 24 Hrs isn’t just about the racing. The thousands of spectators from all over the world create a crazy atmosphere around the circuit & campsites. Some arrive in large vans with generators, fridges, widescreen TVs & elaborate viewing platforms constructed on top of their vans!! Clearly honed & fine tune adjustments made each year on year. Many intend to watch the race right through the night…not all manage it! Maybe the party atmosphere beer pyramids could have something to do with that!!

Le Mans Classic

Held bi-annually, The Le Mans Classic is different from the modern race, instead of a 24 hour race, we have 24 hours of racing! 6 grids are made up of cars in class & year categories. Each car & driver will compete in daylight & nighttime races across the 24 hours. Some are single driver races, some races involve the cars coming into the Pits to swap drivers. The spirit of the early Le Mans 24 Hrs is very much felt throughout the event….especially as darkness falls across the Circuit de Sarthe.

The Le Mans Pit Lane in the middle of the night is a magical place. Bright lights of every colour are punctuated by the blaze of headlights heading to their garage. It is very easy to imagine the same scene in the 1920s & 30s as these beautiful Bentleys came in for fuel & swap drivers. The incredible noise of the 1960 Ford GT40s & Ferraris blasting back on to the track makes the hairs on your neck tingle today just as it did then.

I hope you enjoy looking through this collection of some of my favourite photos from these very special events.

All photos in my Motorsport Photography Galleries are available for sale.