OK, so I'll incur the wrath of many Americans and say that the 24 Heures du Mans is the worlds most famous motor race. The Indy 500 comes close but Le Mans is just ... special.
The official circuit name is Circuit de la Sarthe. Le Mans refers to the nearby town - the original race took place on the road between Le Mans, Arnage and Mulsanne. The circuit has gradually changed over the years - the current circuit is CIRCUIT N° 16!
The 1st race was held in 1923 and the 1st dominant manufacturer was Bentley with 5 wins up until 1930 when they withdrew, saying that they'd learnt enough about speed and reliability. When the race resumed after WWII in 1949, Ferrari became the dominant manufacturer, challenged in turn by Aston-Martin, Jaguar and Mercedes - Until the 1960's.
In 1955, a major crash caused large fragments of debris (like most of a car!) to fly into the crowd, killing 83 spectators and French driver Pierre Bouillin (who raced under the name Pierre Levegh) and injuring nearly 180...