The time has come once again: the motorsport world turns its attention to the small French town on the Sarthe. And Le Mans is ready. Arguably the most prestigious 24-hour race in the world will take place over the weekend of 21 and 22 August. But what is the "Le Mans Legend" all about? And why does this race give every motorsport fan goosebumps? Let's get to the bottom of the fascination around Le Mans.
Five facts about Le Mans. Everything you need to know about the 24-hour race.
1. The first time Porsche raced at Le Mans.
For Porsche, the 1951 race was the starting gun for a long success story. This is how we like to remember the first time: as a young sports car manufacturer, Ferry Porsche sent two Porsche 356/4 SL Coupé cars to the epicentre of endurance motorsport in June 1951. Only the #46 could take part in the race, as the sister car suffered an accident in training. But for the two French drivers of the #46, Auguste Veuillet and Edmond Mouche, things could not have gone any better: 20th place overall and, at the same time, class victory for sports cars with 1.1-litre displacement.
2. Always on the starting grid.
A short jump to the present day. Porsche is setting another milestone by participating in Le Mans 2021: this year we are celebrating our 70th attendance. Porsche has been on the starting grid at every edition of the 24-hour race since the first race in 1951. Sometimes as a works team, sometimes as a customer team – so it's not without reason why Porsche holds a few records on the 13.626km race track that is prepared for the 2021 edition.
3. On the roads of the greats.
With its current 13.626 kilometres, Le Mans is certainly one of the longest tracks in the world. But when the motorsport elite are not meeting for the 24-hour classic in Le Mans, a large part of the route – over 9 kilometres – is part of the public road network. This means that anyone can cruise down the Mulsanne Straight – just within the speed limit of 90km/h. For comparison: in the 80s, before the two chicanes were added, Group C race cars reached speeds of over 400km/h on the straight.
4. Record after record.
19 overall victories, countless class victories and records that will last for eternity: Porsche has earned a permanent place in the Le Mans history books. In addition to numerous victories, Porsche also holds many records. For example, the record of the most overall victories in a row. From 1981–1987, no competitor was able to defeat the racing team from Stuttgart. The legendary race result in 1983 will also be remembered forever: there were nine Porsche race cars in the top 10 overall – a BMW Sauber came in ninth.
5. Of race cars and chronographs.
Porsche and TAG Heuer – two global brands with a shared love of motorsport. The 24-hour race is no exception – but the highlight. Why else would the oscillating weight of the TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer 02 be modelled on the legendary Porsche steering wheel? And the column wheel design is also strongly reminiscent of the Porsche wheel design. The two brands are now more connected than ever and will continue to strengthen their partnership in motorsport in the years to come.