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Get Hyped For The 24 Hours Of Le Mans With These Vintage Onboard Videos

Image: FIA
Image: FIA

Le Mans has a long history of attracting great cars, drivers, and manufacturers. This year, as last, many OEMs will compete for overall race victory, including Cadillac, Porsche, Ferrari, Toyota, Peugeot, BMW, Alpine, Lamborghini, and Isotta Fraschini. Porsche looks the favorite to win its 20th race in the event’s 92 starts.

In order to get amped up for this weekend’s racing festivities, I like to go back through the archives of motorsport history, YouTube, and watch some onboard videos of cars that have raced here before. There’s never a shortage of great videos and great cars, and these help tell the story of why the race is so great. Click through to see fifteen great onboard videos from the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Porsche 936/77 Spyder

By the mid-1970s Porsche had really figured out how to make turbocharged engines work well in racing. The 936 won Le Mans outright in 1976 and 1977 before getting shelved. In 1981 when the company needed a Le Mans racer, it pulled a few 936s out of the museum and put more powerful IndyCar engines in them, winning the race again in 1981.

Jaguar D-Type

Jaaaaaaaaaaag!

Porsche 956

Porsche’s 956 and later 962 were practically unbeatable at Le Mans, dominating the 1980s and early part of the 1990s. Those cars defined an era.

GT40!

You can’t beat a GT40 onboard.

Toyota TS050 Hybrid

Kamui Kobayashi really knows how to get around La Sarthe in a fast way. His 2017 pole position, shown here, is still the fastest lap since the track was reconfigured in 1990. It’s less than a second off the fastest time in history, Pedro Rodriguez ran a 3:13.90 in the Porsche 917 back in 1971, but he did it without the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight.

NASCAR Garage 56

Last year’s Garage 56 entry was perhaps the coolest thing NASCAR has ever done. I hope this car isn’t done racing, though I fear it is.

Audi R10 TDI

Remember when Diesel was the way to win at Le Mans? Man, the R10 TDI was a hell of a car.

Nissan R90CK

Nissan hasn’t ever won Le Mans, but it has tried a few times.

Porsche 911 GT1

Porsche’s GT1 is probably my favorite racing car in history. This short clip shows just how crazy it gets out there on the Mulsanne straight when you’re fighting for position.

Viper!

Dodge’s Viper made an incredible racing car in 1999. There hasn’t ever been a more American entry at Le Mans. Big motor in a small car? Yeah, that’s America.

Corvette!

How can you beat four hours of Corvette sounds? This LMGTE Pro-classed C6.R went on to win its class in 2011 with Olivier Beretta, Tommy Milner, and Antonio Garcia onboard. It finished 11th overall behind seven LMP1s and three LMP2s.

Mazda 767

A rotary engine at full throttle will always be great. This was before Mazda’s outright victory with the 787B.

Porsche 911 RSR

These GTE Porsches sounded great. I remember waking up from a trackside nap during the race and hearing them shout their flat-six wail at me. I’ll never forget it.

Panoz Esperante LMP1 Roadster S

This might be the best sounding onboard video of them all, honestly. The video camera technology wasn’t that great in 2002, but that big Panoz V8 sounds fantastic, and while the current closed-cockpit race cars are much safer, I kind of miss the open top machines I grew up watching.

Ferrari 550 Maranello

Okay, so this isn’t an in-period video, but the 550's built by Prodrive just sound so good. Such a great car.

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