Le Mans Legend: 1949 to 1965
On 13th June 2009, a few hours before the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours, a huge grid of historic Le Mans cars will take to the circuit for the Le Mans Legend race. This is the ninth historic support race that UK-based Motor Racing Legends has run at the world-famous endurance event – each time visiting a different era of motorsport. In 2009, the Le Mans Legend will welcome cars which ran at Le Mans between 1949 and 1965.
Says Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends, “It is the exhilarating sight of historic cars in full-on combat, combined with the Le Mans pedigree of the cars taking part, which makes the Le Mans Legend so popular with the 230,000 spectators at the 24 Hours race weekend. We want to ensure that the battle for overall victory – and in each class – is as closely fought as possible and, to this end, GT40s will not be invited this year, as their success lay after this era.”
The 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours was the first time for 10 years that the race had been held and it welcomed such entries as Aston Martin DB2, the Embiricos Bentley and the eventual winner, Ferrari 166MM. Moving on in time through the post-War years, Le Mans started to see the road-going sports cars replaced by purpose-built racers and, by the end of the chosen era, Le Mans had been the battleground for Ferrari 250LM and 330LMB, Aston Martin DBR1 and Jaguar C-type and D-type, along with AC Cobra and Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, Austin-Healey 100S, MGA Le Mans and many others.
“Since cars from the Fifties and Sixties are so widely recognised and admired, we think this period will prove extremely popular with spectators,” concludes Duncan Wiltshire.
The race will pay further tribute to the heritage of this great event by starting with the traditional ‘ear of corn’ formation, while scrutineering will take place – true to history – in the city centre on the Thursday of Le Mans week.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Motor Racing Legends
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