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May 27, 1923 – The winner of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans is…

1923 #1 #2 #5 #6 #8 #9

The inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans ended on this day in 1923. This first of its kind automobile endurance race, held in Le Mans, France, began the day before with 33 cars on the track. All but three would still be driving when the race came to an end. The winners of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans race were Frenchmen André Lagache and René Léonard, who drove a Chenard-Walcker Sport. They completed 128 laps, while second place finished at 124. 

Above: The #10 Chenard-Walcker of Dauvergne and Bachmann
Top: The start of the 1923 24 Hours of Le Mans

The winner of the race was originally to be determined after three years of competition, combining the distance traveled at the race each year. This idea was abandoned after the first three year period. The race has been held every year since 1932, except in 1936, and between the years 1940 to 1948, due to WWII.

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