History – Start of a race in the 1920s at Le Mans

Creation of the World Sportscar Championship

The desire to race remained. In 1906, the Automobile Club de France held the first-ever grand prix on closed public roads around the city of Le Mans. Modern motor racing was born. This sparked an explosion of interest in track-based racing, with circuits such as Brooklands, Indianapolis and Monza built before the start of the first world war. On-track battles in those early days of circuit racing weren’t much different to the modern-day equivalent. Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Bentley all built their brands by putting their automotive technology to the test and racing their peers.

The breakthrough in terms of organised endurance racing came in 1923, with the inaugural 24 Heures du Mans, or Le Mans 24 Hours. It would mark the start of almost 100 years of endurance racing history around the Circuit de la Sarthe, and the first running of the race that is, of course, today part of the FIA World Endurance Championship.