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Thursday 5th October
Le Mans 2023

10 of the wildest Le Mans 24hr records

Most retirements? Longest stint a driver has done? All that and more answered here

Le Mans gallery wildest records
  1. Fastest lap

    Fastest lap

    3m 17.297s – Mike Conway / Toyota TS050 Hybrid

    Despite the many changes that the Circuit de la Sarthe has undergone over the years, the fastest ever lap set during the 24-hour race was by Mike Conway in 2019. The imperious Toyota TS050 Hybrid was even able to beat the fastest pre-chicane lap of 3m 18.4s set by Jackie Oliver in a Porsche 917 LH.

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  2. Highest top speed

    Highest top speed

    253mph (407kph) – Roger Dorchy / WM P88

    Speaking of pre-chicanes, back in 1988 the Welter-Meunier P88 rocked up at Le Mans with the sole aim of breaking the 400kph mark on the Mulsanne Straight. Barely bothering with qualifying (as winning the race was never the goal), the 910bhp P88 started 36th on the grid and eventually clocked a top speed of 407kph (253mph) before it retired, although the advertised figure was lowered slightly as WM’s founders – Gerard Welter and Michel Meunier – were Peugeot engineers and their bosses thought 405kph would help to sell the then-new 405 saloon.

  3. Longest stint

    Longest stint

    24 hours – Eddie Hall / Bentley

    Only one man has ever finished the Le Mans 24hrs having driven solo for the whole race. That man was Eddie Hall in 1950, who completed a remarkable 236 laps (around 2,000 miles) in a 16-year-old Bentley. You’ve got to feel for his co-driver Tom Clarke, who watched the whole thing from the pit lane as Hall finished an impressive eighth overall. 

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  4. Most wins - manufacturer

    Most wins - manufacturer

    19 – Porsche

    You could have guessed which manufacturer had won outright at Le Mans the most times, couldn’t you? Even still, Porsche’s record of 19 titles is mightily impressive. Want to nerd out with the specific years? Here goes: 1970-71, 1976-77, 1979, 1981-87, 1994, 1996-98, 2015-17.

  5. Most wins - driver

    Most wins - driver

    Nine – Tom Kristensen

    You don’t get the nickname ‘Mr Le Mans’ for nothing. Kristensen has stood on the top step at the Circuit de la Sarthe a bonkers nine times, with all of his wins coming between 1997 and 2013, mostly at the wheel of Audis.  

  6. Most podiums before a win

    Most podiums before a win

    Six – Toyota

    Toyota may be the dominant force in endurance racing right now, but it took a while to get there. In fact, the Japanese manufacturer managed six podiums (and a last-lap breakdown from the lead in 2016) before finally bagging its first win in 2018.

  7. Youngest ever driver

    Youngest ever driver

    16 years and 117 days – Josh Pierson

    American Josh Pierson set a new record for the youngest ever driver at Le Mans in 2022. He was just 16 years and 117 days old when he took to the track in the United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibson LMP2 car. What were you doing at that age?

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  8. Oldest ever driver

    Oldest ever driver

    75 years and 269 days – Dominique Bastien

    Dominique Bastien set his record in 2021 when he started the 24-hour slog at 75 years old and drove a Porsche 911 RSR to finish in 42nd place. Good effort. 

  9. Most retirements – driver

    Most retirements – driver

    18 – Henri Pescarolo

    Given that he also holds the record for the most starts at Le Mans (a whopping 33), it’s perhaps no surprise to hear that Frenchman Henri Pescarolo (third from left, above) has also suffered the most retirements. Still, not finishing on 18 separate occasions has got to hurt. 

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  10. Fewest finishers

    Fewest finishers

    Six – 1931

    The 1931 running of the Le Mans 24hrs only kicked off with 26 cars, and yet thanks to tyre issues and a 2:30am thunderstorm only SIX eventually finished. The race was won by Brits Earl Howe and Sir Henry Birkin in an Alfa Romeo 82-2300 LM.

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