Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Le Mans Racer?

Well, the 2010 24 Heures du Mans is in the books, and in a blow to the efforts of all others, Audi managed a 1-2-3 sweep, once again securing their dominance of the French circuit. This ninth victory for the Germans ties them with Ferrari, and proves the old tortoise and hare maxim that slow and steady wins the race. That was the strategy that Wolfgang Ullrich, director of the Audi team, explained to Eurosport before the race- “We were confident that the cars would be reliable and last the 24 hours,” he said. “We knew we were not as fast as the Peugeots, and I told the drivers to drive fast, but without taking risks.” Despite Audi’s dominance in recent years, the Le Mans circuit is rich in history of different makes and nationalities taking the chequered flag. In fact, since 1923 the 13.65-km track has played host to the most venerated names in racing history, across multiple classes. And one of those may have stood out in your mind as a favorite. Prior to a 10-year break so the Allies and Axis could hash things out in another contest called World War II, the race was dominated by the likes of Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Bentley. Post war, Ferrari, Aston Martin Mercedes Benz and Jaguar all prowled the track, although Pierre Levegh’s horrific crash in 300SLR, in which 80 spectators were killed, put an end to Mercedes’ involvement in the sport. The Americans have had notable victories in the past as well, both drivers and teams. Ford, having failed at the purchase of Ferrari, then flexed its substantial financial muscle to beat the Italians at any cost. That goal was realized at in 1966 when Ford also swept the top three spots. Having achieved their goal, the company’s interest in the event began to fade shortly thereafter. The Maserati Birdcage, 300SLR, Ford GT40, Audi R10, Porsche 906 & 917, Salmson GS; the history of the circuit reads like a who’s-who of automobiledom’s great cars. It may be hard to choose one over another from such a venerated group, as well from one decade to another, as both track and cars have changed so dramatically. But if there is one, perhaps driven by one legendary  story, or mythical performance, that stands out, which one would that be? News source: NY Times Image sources: [ausmotive.comnewcarwallpaper.com, carswallpapers.netclaw.com.auvjphotography via Flickrf1fanatic.co.ukthetubesareclogged, progcovers.com]

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