24 Hours of Le Mans

As I sit down to write today, I am being distracted by 24 hours of Le Mans, an endurance-focused sports car race held annually near the town of Le Mans, France. It is the world's oldest active endurance racing event, and the race is won by the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours.

The purpose of the Le Mans race is not to focus on building the fastest cars but focus on building sporty yet reliable cars. Recent winners of the 24 hours of Lemans have included the Audi 2012 R18 e-tron Quattro, a diesel-electric car and the first Le Mans winner to rely on kinetic energy recovery, the Porsche 919 hybrid, powered with a two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine, and the Peugeot diesel 908 HDi FAP. In addition, the LMP1 cars racing at Le Mans have helped accelerate the research into maximizing power and efficiency from alternative fuels and helped develop battery technology.

The winner will cover more than 5,000 kilometres over 24 hours, eighteen times longer than a Formula One Grand Prix. Only two Australians have won at Le Mans. Bernard Rubin won in 1928, driving a Bentley. In 1983, Vern Schuppan became only the second Australian to win the French classic, driving a Porsche 956.

The two Toyota's from Gazoo Racing are currently leading with 4 hours to go. With a four-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain and 3.5litre V6 twin-turbo engine, it looks set for a fourth victory at the famous race.

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