List: Ten Great 24 Hours Of Le Mans Cars

By Brandon Turkus

June 09, 2011


10. 2009 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP: Designed as a response to the dominant diesel entries from Audi, the 908 had its first Le Mans start in 2007. While it performed well, it would be two more years before Peugeot would claim it’s first Le Mans title in over a decade, when it beat the brand new Audi R15 in 2009.


9. 2006 Audi R10 TDI: The R10 was the successor to the dominant R8, and marked the beginning of the diesel era at the Circuit de la Sarthe. During its career, it’s racked up an impressive 36 wins in 48 races, with three consecutive wins at Le Mans.


8. 1999 BMW V12 LMR: A collaboration between BMW and WilliamsF1, the V12 LMR is BMW’s only overall winner at Le Mans. It won on its first outing at the 1999 12 Hours of Sebring, before going to Le Mans and edging Toyota for the race win. BMW ended the program in 2000 to focus on its Formula 1 efforts, and left the V12 LMR to run one season in the American Le Mans Series.


7. 1991 Mazda 787B: Besides being the first and only rotary-powered cars to win at la Sarthe, the 700-horsepower 787B is notable for winning from a distant nineteenth-place starting position, beating out the Mercedes-Benz C11 (and driver Michael Schumacher) as well as the Jaguar XJR-12.


6. 1970 Porsche 917K: The legendary 917 first appeared in 1969, before earning Porsche its first overall win in 1970. Besides being a two-time Le Mans winner, it was also a movie star, having been piloted by Steve McQueen in the car guy classic Le Mans. So versatile was the 917 that it competed until 1981, when it ran Le Mans for the last time.


5. 1966 Ford GT40: Don’t cross Henry Ford II. Enzo Ferrari learned this the hard way in 1966. After Enzo pulled out of a deal to sell his company to Ford in 1963, The Blue Oval built the GT40 with the express purpose of beating the Italians at Le Mans, which it did four times in a row, from 1966 to 1969.


4. 1959 Aston Martin DBR1: Piloted by Carrol Shelby, the DBR1 was the first Aston Martin to win at Le Mans, beating out its nearest competitor by 25 laps. Besides Shelby, the DBR1 was also driven by legends Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jack Brabham, and Jim Clark. Did we mention it’s drop-dead beautiful?


3. 1955 Jaguar D-Type: Although its first Le Mans win was marred by a tragic accident involving a Mercedes-Benz SLR, the D-Type went on to a successful career, winning Le Mans again in 1956, at the hands of a privateer. It also doesn’t hurt its cool factor that notable gearhead Steve McQueen was known to race a D-Type up and down Mulholland Drive.


2. 1949 Ferrari 166MM: Besides being Scuderia Ferrari’s first Le Mans winner, the 166 is notable for winning both the Mille Miglia (twice) and the Targa Florio, ushering in the era of Ferrari dominance in road racing. (Photo Credit: Dave Hamster)


1. 1929 Bentley Speed Six: Bentley’s most successful racing model, the Speed Six won Le Mans in 1929 and 1930, marking five wins in seven years for the British manufacturer. By adding a pair of cylinders to the winning Bentley 4.5-liter four-cylinder, displacement jumped to 6.5 liters, and the more powerful Speed Six went on to lead an all Bentley podium at the 1929 24 Hours.

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This weekend marks one of Winding Road’s favorite summer traditions, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This legendary endurance race will see entries from Peugeot, Audi, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Chevrolet, and Porsche among others. While we wait for the green flag to drop, we decided to look back on some of the cars that have won overall in the past. This list is hardly comprehensive though, so feel free to chime in in the comments section with your favorite cars that have conquered Le Mans.