To honor historic significance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to kick-off the year-long celebration of the event’s 100th anniversary in 2023, a unique Le Mans Legends Heritage Display presented by Motul, has been curated exclusively for the Auugust 17-20 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The display will feature overall winners, class winners and interesting or significant cars that have raced in. The French Classic over the century—milestone cars from museums and private collections that forever etched their place in history. While these cars are no longer raced, owners have been invited to take exhibition laps each day so they may enjoy their cars at a safe speed and to share the sights and sounds of these historic machines with everyone visiting.
Ninety-nine years ago, a handful of employees at the French automobile company Chenard & Walcker, a major supplier of taxis in Paris, had a hope. A hope of racing their Type U3 15CV Sport in the inaugural marathon race called the 24 Hours Grand Prix of Endurance. In May, , the French team finished 1-2, besting 32 others from the likes of Bentley, Bugatti and Delage.
Through the years after the race’s humble beginning on a rain-soaked, muddy and rutted course on public roads, the Vingt-quatre Heures du Mans evolved into a magnificent sports car spectacle equally respected and feared by competitors. Every year, this endurance race is a unique balance of skill, luck, endurance, and an unwavering desire to excel for drivers, automakers and suppliers alike—the ultimate high-speed technology testbed.
Together with the cars racing in the four Le Mans-specific run groups at this year’s Rolex Reunion, the Le Mans Heritage Display will be arguably the largest such gathering of authentic Le Mans cars ever assembled in America.
Among the highlights will be:
* 1929 Bentley Speed Six: Driven by the original “Bentley Boys” to consecutive overall wins in 1929 and 1930
* 1951 Porsche 356/2 063: The very first Porsche entered in the 24 Hours and a class winner
* 1952 Mercedes 300SL W194: The first German car to achieve an overall victory at Le Mans and, to this day, the only Mercedes factory-built car to win Le Mans
* 1955 Jaguar D-Type XKD: The 1956 overall winner, second of three consecutive overall wins for the D-Type
* 1965 Ferrari 250 LM: The last Ferrari to capture overall honors
* 1966-69 Ford GT40s: That American machines that dominated, winning overall 1966-69
* 1984 Mazda Lola T616: The first class winner for Mazda
* 2005 Audi R8 LMP1: Overall winner and part of the string of Audi performance mastery
* 2007 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP: The most recent French overall winner displayed
Augmenting the 50-plus Le Mans cars in the Heritage Display will be nearly 400 authentic, historic and period-correct racing cars competing in the Rolex Reunions 14 race groups. Spanning from oldest to newest is the 1909 Locomobile Model “I” with its 40-horsepower engine, to the 2007 Pescarolo LMP1 that produces 700 horsepower. The range of cars—and they will all be on track—truly is an evolution of motor racing history.
“Bringing the best of the best together for visitors to experience these incredible cars at speed is a mind-blowing experience,” said John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “These are not static displays but moving museum treasures whose owners enjoy sharing.”
The four-day celebration, which begins on Wednesday, Aug. 17, and concludes on Saturday, Aug. 20, is preceded by two days of the Monterey Pre-Reunion, Aug. 13-14, where many of the same cars compete.
For more information, click HERE.