JUN 25th 2015

FoS Top 10: Le Mans racers


Here’s a run-down of our Top 10 Le Mans racers that will appear at this year’s Festival of Speed. As with our Top Five touring cars, we haven’t necessarily selected the most successful or the ‘best’, but the ones we don’t want to miss. Do you agree with our Top 10?  Let us know in the comments.


10) Aston Martin DBR2
The Aston Martin DBR2 retired from the 1957 Le Mans 24-hour with a carburettor fault, leaving the Daily Express Trophy at Silverstone its only significant success of the year. So does it deserve to be in our Top 10? Of course it does – just look at it!


9) Audi R18 e-tron
OK, so the R18 e-tron didn’t claim overall honours at this year’s race – but the modern Le Mans era belongs to Audi and the marque’s place in our Top 10 is utterly deserved.


8) Porsche 956
The first of several Porsches in our Top 10, and the first of several Le Mans-winning designs. Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx drove the 956 to victory in 1982.


7) Jaguar D-type Long Nose
This isn’t the actual Le Mans winning Jaguar D-type from 1956 – that honour went to the Ecurie Ecosse car. But who can detract from the D-type’s success in the 24-hour event?


6) Ford GT40
The story has been told a thousand times – when the deal for Ford to buy Ferrari turned sour, they decided to set the record straight at Le Mans. The Ford GT40 had the podium to itself in 1966.


5) Porsche 917K
What Le Mans racer run-down would be complete without the iconic Porsche 917? Will Le Mans prototypes ever look this good again?


4) Bentley 41/2-litre Supercharged
A Bentley Speed Six may have won the 1929 Le Mans, but 41/2 Litre models took the next three places. Despite the fact that Bentley didn’t return to Le Mans until 2003 (when it won again), the Bentley Boys spirit continues to endure decades later.


3) McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’
The McLaren F1 GTR was the last true road-car-turned-racer to win at Le Mans – and did so at its debut in 1995. Two years later, the ‘Longtail’ version was developed to keep it competitive. Steve Soper will be driving this one at FoS.


2) Mazda 787B
Japan’s only Le Mans-winning car, the rotary engined Mazda 787B is remembered as much for its shrill engine sound as it is its victory in the 24-hour race. You’ll be able to feel the noise when this one goes up the Goodwood hill.


1) Porsche 919 Hybrid
Porsche is the most successful manufacturer to take on the gruelling 24-hour race at Le Mans – and that’s why there are so many of them in our Top 10. The very car that came first in the 2015 endurance will be driven up the hill by works driver Brendon Hartley. 



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