Imagine, as a Phoenix Valley resident, sipping a cafe’ in a small French hill village, setting out upon rugged cobble stone streets, and surrounded by ancient town walls and medieval homes. Then imagine a succession of souped up race cars speeding past you at over 200 mph, the drivers trained to the teeth, with cars running almost nonstop for 24 hours. What you have just imagined is called the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it happens every summer in Le Mans, France.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of endurance, it is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and runs on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant not only to test a car and driver’s ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24-hour period. Multiple categories of cars compete simultaneously during the race, for victory within their group as well as overall. Constructors enter teams that may have more than one car. Multiple drivers share the driving of each car.
Since 2001, the ACO has allowed the Le Mans Legend event to participate on the full Circuit de la Sarthe during the 24 Hours week. These exhibition races involve classic cars which had previously run at Le Mans or similar to ones that had. Each year, a set era of cars is allowed to participate, with the era changing from year to year. Though mostly amateur drivers, some famous drivers have appeared to race cars they had previously run, such as Stirling Moss.
Round trip air fair from Phoenix Valley Sky Harbor Airport to Paris is starting at just $1250. From Paris, it is just a short drive or train ride to Le Mans. the town has been hosting the event since 1923 and thus is well equiped with any needed comfort and accomodation. If Le Mans is too crowded or hectic, then Paris is always a short train ride away.