Interesting facts about the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The longest distance covered during the 24-hour race is 5410.713 kilometers or 397 laps, driven by the Audi crew on the prototype R15 + TDI in 2010.
The highest speed ever reached at Le Mans was 406 km / h, a record set by Roger Dorchy in 1988 on the Mulsanne Straight in a Peugeot-powered WM P on the track, consisting of a certain part of Circuit de la Sarthe and city streets. Back then, the Le Mans track included Route Nationale 138, the famous 6-kilometer straight. However, soon the FIA banned straight sections of more than 2 km and some turns appeared there.

From 2019 (new track layout) record belongs to SMP Racing team driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who set speed 350.1 km/h during Free practice session.
A unique start of the race has been a special feature of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Drivers, standing on the opposite side of the track with lined up cars, right after a wave of French tricolor ran to their cars. Such a start was the cause of interesting technical solutions: for example, Porsche put the ignition switch to the left side so that a driver could start the car with his left hand and switch the gear with the right one.

But trying to be quickest on the grid, drivers often did not have time to fasten their seat belts. This issue later became one of the reasons for changing the start procedure. Nowadays, only a part with a wave of the national flag has left of the tradition.

In a race that lasts 24 hours, it is inevitable to make pit stops for refueling and driver changes. But a tactic with the least number of stops does not secure a victory. In 2013, the Audi crew, which won the Le Mans race, made 34 pit stops in 24 hours, and the closest pursuers from Toyota drove to the pitlane only 30 times.
There are three drivers in each crew. But in the history of the marathon there was an attempt to drive a race alone. In 1952, the Frenchman Pierre Levegh (real name Pierre Bouillin) spent 23 hours behind the wheel, but due to fatigue, he lost concentration and, having mixed up the transmission, ditched the engine of his car.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been an automaker's testing site. In 1963, an experimental Rover with a gas turbine engine was tested during the race, in 1970 Mazda debuted with a rotary engine. The diesel engine Delettrez car was first introduced at Le Mans in 1949. Since 2009, hybrid cars with energy recovery systems are allowed to participate in the race. In 2012, for the first time, the hybrid Audi R18 e-tron won the race. In the 2018/2019 season, the classes LMP1H and LMP1 combined and private teams has been competing alongside manufactures.
Every driver dreams to stand on the podium after the 24-hour race. Some people have managed to win more than once. Tom Kristensen, a Danish racing driver, has won the legendary race 9 times, six times in a row during 2000-2005. He claimed his first Le Mans victory in his first race, when the Joest team invited him to urgently replace the injured driver to race on TWR Porsche WSC-95. Tom got the nickname Mr. Le Mans for his outstanding achievements. Jacques Bernard "Jacky" Ickx, who has won the 24-hour marathon 6 times, was awarded the title of honorary citizen of Le Mans.
In marathon races, such as multi-day rally raids or endurance races, the distance between the winner and the second-place winner can be significant, but sometimes it can be very small. The battle always attracts fans. How is it possible to be very close to each other during the 24-hour race?

The smallest gap from the winner in Le Mans was recorded in 1966: two Ford GT40s were only 20 meters apart at the finish line! But the opposite happens as well. In 1927, the winner, driving Bentley, was 350 kilometers ahead of the nearest pursuer!
The important thing is not to win but to take part – this Olympic principle perfectly applies to the Le Mans marathon. Crossing the finish line is the greatest achievement as not everyone manages to pass this endurance test. In 2017, the record number of 48 crews finished the race, while in 1931 only 16 cars crossed the finish line.