Tuesday 7 June 2016

24 Hours of Le Mans 2016 - "Americans at Le Mans" exhibition during race week

50 years after their outright win, Ford - the only US team so far to win outright at Le Mans - returns to the 24 Hours with their new Ford GT. To celebrate the comeback of Ford, an exhibition will be set up symbolising the involvement of Americans in Le Mans. 

16 cars that have raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours will appear in this exhibition devoted to the adventure of North American manufacturers and prominent figures in the Sarthe. They will be on display in a 1200m2 hall on the esplanade of the former museum.

From the first Le Mans 24 Hours to today these mythical cars will illustrate the great moments of the remarkable adventure of the Americans at Le Mans. From the Cunninghams arriving at Le Havre in 1952 to the sculptural IMSA cars of the 1970s as well as Ford’s triumph in 1966 and through men and makes, America has left its mark on the history on the greatest endurance race in the world. So a homage was called for.

16 exceptional cars that have left their “American” mark on the Le Mans 24 Hours including:

  • The three Ford GT40s that filled the first three places in 1966. It was an all-American podium with victory going to Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon! Ford made it a point of honour to end Ferrari’s domination of the Le Mans 24 Hours by giving its teams free rein.
  • The Porsche 908 Cam Car S of the famous actor and passionate motor sport fan, Steve McQueen. This car raced in the 1970 event and helped him to make his famous film, Le Mans.
  • Corvette Spirit of Le Mans. As a result of the petrol crisis and changing regulations there were fewer cars on the grid. The race organiser wanted to see John Greenwood’s incredibly powerful Corvette, which was a magnet for the media, on the grid and contacted the American to ensure that he would race in the 1976 event. Greenwood got his hands on a Corvette specially prepared for the IMSA championship. The beautiful American machine carries the colours of the bicentenary of the founding of the United States. This Corvette was entered in the NASCAR category thanks to the creation of the Daytona-Le Mans Trophy.
  • The Porsche 935 driven by famous actor Paul Newman who finished second overall on his one and only outing the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1979.
  • The Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S 2000: Don Panoz, a passionate fan of motor sport and Le Mans, is an emblematic figure of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Together with the ACO he created the Petit Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series, races representing the association between Le Mans and the United States on American soil. It was the first agreement signed to spread the Le Mans brand throughout the world.
  • The Corvette C7R entered by Corvette Racing is the latest model Corvette to race at Le Mans winning its category in 2015. The car on display is the reserve for the 2016 race.
  • And there is also a 1923 Model T Ford, a Cunningham C4-R from 1954, a Corvette entered by Briggs Cunningham in 1960, a 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra, a Ford Torino and a Dodge Charger from 1976, a 1998 Viper GTS C9 and a 2001 Chrysler LM P. 

All these cars will return to the legendary Le Mans 24-Hours circuit for a unique parade on Saturday 18th June at 12h35. 

Thanks to a carefully designed and well-researched scenography this exhibition will also highlight the stories of the people involved using portraits, film shows, a display of the overalls of drivers who have left their mark on the race, as well as works of the American Pop Art movement inspired by the Le Mans 24 Hours. The exhibition will be open to the public from Wednesday 15th till Sunday 19th June. 

Opening hours

Wednesday 15th June: 14h00 – midnight
Thursday 16th June: 15h30 – midnight
Friday 17th June: 10h00 – 13h00
Saturday 18th June: 15h00 – midnight
Sunday 19th June: 09h00 – 15h00