It is a right decision to congratulate the 24h of Le Mans with the title of the most famous car race of the world. For this French circuit (which route is a common road in the rest of the year) passed the most fabulous bolides conducted by the best pilots -- some of them found there the death. At this racetrack happened the most courageous and exciting duels, the most improbable records and the rashest technical progresses. Le Mans deserves its mythical status.
Every year, on June -- when the race happens -- the roads are closed to the common transit and turned into a racecourse. Its ample track, since its first edition, at the remote year of 1923, have been suffering several changes as the time goes by, because of the evolution of the rules and the security orders. However, it is recognizable some of the initial characteristics, and the long straight line of Hunaudières , which comes before the hook curve of Mulsane.
A photographic report made in 1953 by Frank Schersche to the LIFE magazine registered images which are in our collective imagination and helped to compound the myth. They are images of an epoch when the cars were more beautiful than never and looked like those ones that were used to be seen on the roads. At that time, racing was an amateur act just for the sport, even if the danger was huge. The start was fantastic (the pilots ran to their cars crossing the racetrack), the activity at the boxes were frantic and it was not so different of a common factory. The night race was exciting and defined the winners often, laying down the great hopes and operating unexpected turning points.
A little time later, in 1955, a terrific accident killed dozens of people and the race suffered deep alterations since then. Nowadays, everything is apparently more safety and maybe the emotion has decreased, but Le Mans still has some of the ingredients that made its success. Who will be the winner of this year? As you can bet for it, let's see these magnificent images...
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