The two most famous endurance races on four wheels are the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, named for the Florida and French towns that host them. Professional reputations have been made and lives lost during these two historic races. However, as Bloomberg Pursuits in its Spring 2014 issue, the money required to compete has more lately favored deep-pocketed amateurs who pay to play, often financing entire teams. (Multiple drivers are mandatory, so hobbyists typically join up with pros.) As America’s winningest professional endurance driver, Hurley Haywood, puts it: “Many of these so-called gentlemen racers are every bit as fast as the pro guys. They just happen to bring the money to the table.” So ... Florida or France? See the highlights and hazards of each below.
The Ferrari 458 takes the Mulsanne Straight at 180 miles per hour, a lime-green streak through the fastest section of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which ranks alongside the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix as one of auto racing’s pre-eminent jewels. About 240,000 fans ring the 8.5-mile track on this sunny day in mid- June.
A photo in Christian von Koenigsegg’s office shows one of the 41-year-old Swede’s limited-edition supercars -- a 2011 Agera R, in fire-engine red -- alongside a sparkly gold abomination that looks like it drove off the set of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” The latter is a recreation of the car von Koenigsegg first saw at age 5 in a stop-motion Norwegian film called “Flaklypa Grand Prix,” which tells the story of a small-town bicycle repairman who builds a race car from scrap parts and -- in the face of doubt and ridicule from established automakers -- goes on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Toyota driver Anthony Davidson will remain in the hospital until tomorrow for a precautionary check after his car running in third place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans flipped over and smashed into a tire barrier.
A Ferrari that competed in the 1953 Le Mans 24-hour race and another that John Lennon bought just after passing his driving test are coming up for auction as prices rise for classic models by the Italian maker.
When Ignis Asset fund manager David Clark first heard of Snoozebox, portable hotels made of stackable containers that have housed fans at events such as the Le Mans 24-hour car race, he wanted to kick himself. Instead, he made sure Ignis was the biggest investor.