Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday
The common pattern at Le Mans is for one manufacturer to bring its latest automotive development to the race and dominate for a number of years, before another manufacturer takes up the mantle and cements its place in endurance racing history. The 1920s undoubtedly belonged to Bentley, with four successive wins from 1927 to 1930, with Alfa Romeo then making its mark on the twice-round-the-clock classic with its own four wins in succession in the 1930s.
After the war, the Le Mans 24 Hours cemented its place as one of the most prestigious prizes in motorsport. The advent of the World Sportscar Championship in 1953, which combined the most popular sportscar events of the era, the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Mille Miglia, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Spa and the 1000km of the Nürburgring, only accelerated the process.
These races not only provided the ultimate test bed for automotive constructors, they also offered a platform to advertise their products. The motto “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” still holds to this day. Driver aids that most of us now take for granted, such as headlamps, windscreen wipers and disc brakes, were all first trialled in sportscar racing.