This year’s lineup has something for just about everyone - Ferrari, Ford, Porsche, Audi, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan, Aston Martin and Alpine. Alpine? That’s not the CD changer in your E34 BMW. This is the French auto manufacturer. What race are we talking about?
France is the focus of the automotive world this week. Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, Maine, France. It’s time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest active automotive endurance race.
For Americans, there's one supremely popular Le Mans story. Back in the 60’s, 2 manufacturers split the decade’s championships. Ferrari registered six consecutive wins from ’60 to ’65. Ford entered Le Mans in ’64. After losing to Ferrari in the World Sports Car Championship that year, Carroll Shelby stated, “Next year, Ferrari’s ass is mine.” He’d have to wait another year but Carroll and Ford followed with four consecutive wins from ’66 to ’69.
50 years after Ford’s first Le Mans victory, they return with the all-new Ford GT. Since Ford and Ferrari will be facing off in the GTE Pro class, there won’t be an overall victory – which is reserved for the top Le Mans Prototypes (LMP1) – but the memories of the 60’s will be rekindled. Toss in the Corvette C7.R (with 8 wins in 16 races), Porsche 911 RSR and the Aston Martin Vantage into the GTE Pro mix and you’ll be treated to very competitive action.
Since 2000, Audi has dominated the overall podium via the LMP1 series - with all of its 13 wins coming since 2000. Audi has been hot but Porsche has won the overall race 17 times…including last year’s race. For many years, Porsche and Audi have been racing in different classifications. Since 2014, it has been head-to-head. The score is 1-1.
This year’s race starts on Saturday at 9 AM. You can find it online and on TV on Fox Sports. Last year, the winning Porsche team completed 395 laps and 3345.13 miles in 24 hours. Since its Father’s Day weekend, I hope you’re doing something must less exhausting! To you and yours, enjoy the weekend. See you down the road!