Journal: These 7 Films Will Get You Pumped Up For Le Mans

These 7 Films Will Get You Pumped Up For Le Mans

By Michael Banovsky
June 17, 2016

The true Christmas for car enthusiasts spans a full 24 hours, is held in June, and you’ll have to get to France to make it happen: but the 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the greatest spectacles in racing (and worthy of booking some holiday time for). Why?

It’s a race with real history, and a real connection to events, people, and cars that have made news. Whether it it’s the Top Gun-esque speeds Group C cars were doing down the unrestricted Mulsanne Straight or the innovative machines that have attempted to win, there’s so much footage of this race that it’s difficult to whittle it down.

Here are seven clips that we’ve been watching, with the purpose of getting even more excited about the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans…and it’s been working.

Want to get excited for 2016? The Porsche 919 has just set the fastest ever time at the track, with Neel Jani absolutely flying around La Sarthe.

McLaren at Le Mans: Pursuit of Perfection is a fantastic period documentary that shows exactly what you hope it does: the McLaren F1 being turned into a Le Mans-winning machine.

Yes, we’ve featured this period documentary about the Chevrolet Corvette at Le Mans in 1960. If you haven’t watched it yet, get to it!

More onboard, this time a Porsche 956. I should remind you that when this car raced, there were no chicanes—we figure the car was touching 220+ mph on nearly every lap.

Narrated in German, this time it’s a qualifying lap from 1977, in a Porsche 936/77 Spyder. Nice sound on this film.

While not restricted to just Le Mans, A Year To Remember follows the Gulf-Porsche 917 team over the 1970 season—including, of course, Le Mans.

Mike Hawthorn, in a Jaguar D-Type—with “cameras and recording gear”—tackles the track in period. It’s a wild ride, for sure, especially with a bit of road traffic and mopeds to contend with!

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5 years ago

Did Mike Hawthorn, say “Flat out at 175mph”.
Back in those cars in the mid fifties.
Holly hell, that is seriously moving.
And without much safety gear.

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss(@itsnicolas)
5 years ago

If you have access to the Audi “Truth In 24” documentaries, they are definitely worth a watch.

5 years ago
Reply to  Nicolas Moss

They’re on YouTube and definitely worth a watch:

Truth in 24:

TRUTH IN 24 II – Every Second Counts:

Gary Drew
Gary Drew(@ggd)
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicolas Moss

Another vote for the two Audi LeMans films – fantastic close-up look at the fascinating events of the two races.

One other thing that stood out for me: the drivers and team principals come across as very open, mature and intelligent, as apposed to the shrugging, PR-speak-spouting drivers in F1.

5 years ago

Restored Mazda 787B demo lap:

In conjunction with the Wankel engine article I thought this video was appropriate. In 2011 Mazda restored their 1991 winning car and had Johnny Herbert give it a demo lap and give waves at the podium. He was not able to do the waving in 1991 due to collapsing out of the car from exhaustion, so he spent the victory celebration at the infirmary.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson(@pdxbryan)
5 years ago

In the words of Opus-“Good lord ‘n butter!
That fastest lap with the Porsche 919 is unreal! Is LeMans still held on this planet?