The Endurance Racing Legend support race rounded off the 2023 edition of Le Mans Classic, a sensational event which attracted more than 235,000 spectators (200,850 in 2022)! The day was marked by sublime parades of prestigious car brands. On this last day open to the public, the village and the dedicated areas of the Bugatti circuit welcomed enthusiasts as well as families who had come to spend a convivial Sunday.
On Sunday July 2, the public in Le Mans were able to watch the final performances of more than 800 cars divided into six grids, along with a wide variety of other activities. Since 4pm on Saturday, the drivers have been outdoing themselves at the wheel of their cars from six different eras. The Talbot AV105 1937 #2 (Gareth BURNETT/Michael BIRCH) completed the Grand Slam after winning all three rounds of Grid 1. During the night, the #15 Jaguar C-Type (Nigel WEBB/Chris WARD) shone in Grid 2 but was unable to repeat the feat on Sunday morning. Indeed, the #16 1954 Jaguar D-Type(Niklas and Lukas HALUSA), a three-time winner from 1955 to 1957, got the better of the series in its final outing at Le Mans Classic 2023. The second round of Grid 3 was also dominated by a 1957 Jaguar D-Type #49 driven by ‘Andy’ Wallace. The Briton has already taken the top step of the podium in la Sarthe at the 1988 edition, where he won in a… Jaguar. In the afternoon, it was another 24 Hours winner who stood out in the same category; Emanuele PIRRO, with five successes on these grounds, won alongside Hans HUGENHOLTZ in the 1959 Lister Jaguar Costin #65.
The Ford GT40’s outrageous domination of Grid 4 continued right to the end of the event. Just 40 inches high -hence its name -the American model that became legendary for its confrontation with Ferrari gave the other competitors no chance. Diogo FERRAO’s 1965 Ford GT40 #74 won the last two rounds.It was a similar story in Grid 5, with three Lola T70 Mk.3Bs at the top of their game in all three outings. The first heat was won by a narrow margin bythe #18 Lola driven by Steve Brooks, while the other two were largely controlled by the #63 Lola driven by David and Olivier HART. The British manufacturer, known for its creations at Le Mans and in Formula 1, continues to write its legend.The fame of these chassis continues in Grid 6, which includes cars from 1972 to 1981. Maxime GUENAT’s 1976 Lola T286 #50 finished first in the first round, but in the early hours of the morning, Yves SCEMAMA’s 1976 TOJ SC304 #17 took revenge. In the final round, Yves SCEMAMA looked to be on course for another victory, but a mechanical problem with the Toj #17 took all his hopes away. In the end, it was Maxime GUENAT, driving the #50 Lola, who took the flag first in the final stage race.In other series, the final GroupC Racing race took place at dawn. The deployment of a safety car did not prevent the 1990 Porsche 962 C #7 of Ivan VERCOUTERE and Ralf KELLENERS from winning this second round. The German car is no stranger to Le Mans, having won here twice in 1986 and 1987. She was followed by the 1991 Mercedes-Benz C11 #31 in the hands of Kriton LENDOUDIS, who crossed the line just a few tenths ahead of the 1992 Lola T92/10 #4 of David and Olivier HART. It was an exceptional finish, widely acclaimed by the crowd.In theafternoon, the Endurance Racing Legends series was the last to take on the track. Right from the start, Emmanuel COLLARD, who has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 23 times, started to attack at the wheel of his 2006 Pescarolo C60 #23. In this emblematic car of the 2000s, he took his second victory in as many rounds, ahead of François PERRODO in the 1999 Toyota GT-One #1. The duo of David and Olivier HART, in the 2005 Courage C60 #34, were third.All the activity on the track was complemented by a host of events in the villages, with the various exhibitions providing plenty of entertainment for the spectators, as did the acrobats of the Wall of Death GypsyandDust Trial Motor Show. Kokoa & the Sweet Pops provide the ‘rhythm’n blues’ soundtrack to round off this year’s festival just as it began: in a festive way.