Racing At leMans - Amazing Machines They Are
I started to do some research on a blog about the Porsche 917, one of the most successful and dominant race cars in history. As I was going thru my photos, I came upon quite a few examples of successful leMans racers and have decided to pursue that storyline.
leMans, one of the toughest races on the planet. 24 hours of straight up racing on a mix of public and racing circuit roads. Participants have to balance fuel, brakes, mechanical durabilty, tires as well as fatigue. In 2010 the winning Audi covered 3,360 miles on the Circuit de la Sarthe.
We are talking 6 times longer than the Indy 500 and 18 times longer that a Formula One Grand Prix race. Heck, from New York to LA its 2,792 miles! Can you imaging running at top speed on the Mulsanne Straight at 3 am, checking your mirrors for a prototype approaching at 200 plus MPH, flashing its lights? And I thought the DC Beltway was stressful during a Friday night rush hour...
To make matters even more tense, the race takes place in June with soaring temperatures and the ever present threat of rain. Race cars don’t use air conditioning so the interior temperatures can get excruciating, This is why you see roadsters competing, like our 59 Aston Martin DBR1 from the Simeone Museum. Let's take a look.
This spectacularly shaped 58 Aston Martin DBR1 has been lovingly maintained by the esteemed Dr Fred Simeone, an avid and astute collector of amazing historic competitive automobiles. His collection is housed in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum near the Philadelphia airport.
Aston Martin won the World Championship and a win at leMans with a small team of 4 DBR1 race cars. Caroll Shelby helped win at leMans in 59, turning out to be one of his last outings as a race car driver due to a heart condition.