Le Mans circuit is best known for hosting endurance races that are held over a 24-hour period. These include motor racing. Alongside this, motorbike competition has also taken on a considerable dimension. Its worldwide reputation is well established and it attracts more and more enthusiasts. This year 2020 will mark the 43rd edition, which will take place on 18 and 19 April on the Bugatti circuit.
History and origin of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Motorcycle Race
The first motorbike race organised on the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans took place in 1912. It is a circuit full of history, memories and passions.
In its early days, this event was created to compete with the Bol d’Or, the other mythical endurance race, both being typically French races. The first edition of this race was held on 22 and 23 April 1978, at the end of which Jean-Claude Chemarain had won the race on a Honda.
As for the Bugatti circuit, it has known many configurations like its length, which has evolved over the years. The track currently used is 4,185 km long and this has been since 2008.
A scene of intense battles, as was still the case in 2019, Le Mans 24 Hours of Motorcycling ranks among the most difficult and demanding competitions in the world.
An event not to be missed for major manufacturers and enthusiasts
The great success of this endurance race also lies in the fact that it is one of the flagship events of the FIM EWC World Endurance Championship, along with the Bol d’Or and the 8 Hours of Suzuka. This is why mechanics and drivers do their utmost every year to try and make it part of their prize list.
On the other hand, it is also an excellent opportunity for the biggest manufacturers such as Honda and Kawasaki to demonstrate the reliability and performance of the machines that come out of their factories. In the same way, the little-known preparers try to make a name for themselves among the most reputable.
Off the track, this event is also considered a festive appointment that attracts nearly one hundred thousand enthusiasts every year with fan zones, concerts, shops, funfair and exhibitions of all kinds.
Existing categories on the 24 Hours of Le Mans Motorcycle Race
Three categories are present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first is the EWC or Endurance World Championship and the Premier Class, which is also among the most prestigious rounds of the World Endurance Championship in the world. In this category, a great deal of freedom is given to manufacturers to increase the performance of their engines and to change certain equipment.
There is also the Superstock category which is considered the most accessible. In this category, modifications are more restricted and the engine must remain in its original configuration. Nevertheless, the machines remain very efficient on the tracks.
Finally, there is the Experimental category which emphasizes the technical and innovative interest of the motorbike and admission is only made after deliberation by the Selection Committee. All in all, it is an event that must be attended at least once in a lifetime. It is aimed at a very wide audience and does not require a large budget.