Quentin Spurring’s authoritative history of the world’s
biggest and most prestigious endurance race is a must for fans.
The post-war period saw a real flourishing of the 24 Hours
of Le Mans as major manufacturers started to realise the commercial opportunities
offered by a win on the Circuit de la Sarthe.
As many as 15 ‘factory’ teams turned up at the height of the
rivalry, speeding the development of the cars.
As the technology rapidly improved, performance leapt and
crowds swelled to previously undreamed of sizes.
Nearly half a million spectators turned out for events
during the 1950s to watch as Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ferrari, Porsche and
Maserati battled for supremacy.
They weren’t all golden years, though, and 1955 will live on
in memory as the year of the worst accident motorsport as Pierre Levegh’s
Mercedes W196 ploughed into the crowd on the start/finish straight.
This fascinating book tells the stories of these
increasingly potent racing cars and conveys the punishing nature of an
incomparable event – the ultimate test of the mental and physical abilities of
the fragile individuals who make up racing teams, be they drivers, engineers,
strategists or mechanics.
The thorough statistics in the book result from fresh research,
and there are more than 400 evocative photographs, many of them – including
very rare colour images – never published before.