On This Day 26 May

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-05-26
From 10 hours and 56 minutes to climb Mt Everest in 2003 to the first 24h du Mans in 1923

1923 - 24 Heures du Mans

Le 24 Heures du Mans has been held annually since the 26th of May 1923 and has been called the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency. This was due to the fact that it focused on endurance rather than speed and was the opportunity for automobile manufacturers to show their ability to produce sporty and reliable cars.

Le Mans is a city in the Loire region having been first mentioned by Ptolemy and known as Vindinium at the time, subsequently seized by the Romans in 47BCE. Le Mans was also the birthplace of Henry II of England who was born there in 1133. Le Mans currently has a population of about 148 thousand people (based on the 2017 census).

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Competitors cover over 5000km with drivers in the teams typically going for about 2 hours before a relief driver takes over; in fact the current regulations state that there must be 3 drivers in each team to cover the duration of the race.

Teams compete in classes as well as for a place in the overall race and there are about 60 competitors. One of the rules that the competitors must follow is to ensure that cars are turned off during pit stops as they are being refuelled. As mentioned before, Le Mans is not just about speed but also efficiency and endurance and switching off during the pit stop is yet another proof of reliability as the manufacturers must make sure that the cars are able to restart many times during the race.

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Le Mans was also the first race where the winning driver sprayed champagne instead of drinking it. It had been predicted by some individuals that the winning drivers in 1967 would have had a disaster; when they proved the nay-sayers wrong and spotted them in the crowd the drivers shook the bottle and sprayed them.

Other events on this day

  • 1798 - 10% income tax introduced in the UK for all incomes over £200
  • 1805 - Napoleon crowned King of Italy</li>
  • 1828 - Kaspar Hauser discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg
  • 1896 - Dow Jones Industrial Average first published</li>
  • 1897 - Dracula was published by Bram Stoker
  • 1908 - first major commercial oil strike in Middle East made
  • 1913 - first woman magistrate in Britain - Emily Duncan
  • 1923 - 24 hours of Le Mans first held
  • 1927 - last Model T Ford produced
  • 1943 - Jews riot against Germany in Amsterdam
  • 1998 - first National Sorry Day held in Australia
  • 2003 - Sherpa Lakpa Gelu climbs Mt Everest in 10 hours and 56 minutes
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