Book Review: 100 Years of Legends: The Official Celebration of the Le Mans 24 Hours

For the last few months, I have had the pleasure of reading this book and the graphs, infographics.  What a book this is.

Published in collaboration with the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest), organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, this official book celebrates the centenary of what some will say is the world’s greatest sports car race. Besides recalling the most memorable moments in the event’s history, the book takes an imaginative thematic approach in examining a huge range of topics to give a complete picture of the entire period, right up to Ferrari‘s victory in the centenary year. All the important subjects have their place, including the great drivers and cars, and are presented in an appealing style with plenty of thought-provoking angles. Technical evolution receives particularly enlightening coverage, with emphasis on the innovations and curiosities so evident at Le Mans over the years. Extensive period illustration blends with ‘infographics’, diagrams, poster artwork and memorabilia to provide a visually vivid presentation. This is the complete story of the Le Mans 24 Hours, told from the inside. So cool.

I have to put my hands up and admit I have yet to make it to a Le Mans 24 Hour race. It is on my long Bucket list of things to do, so hopefully I will get there in the coming years. This book has inspired me to get there and experience the event live.

Key book content

  • The drivers: the greats, topped by nine-time winner Tom Kristensen; the rookie winners; pioneering women drivers; tales of exceptional personal endeavour and adversity.
  • The manufacturers: Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Ferrari, Jaguar, Ford, Porsche, Matra, Peugeot, Audi and Toyota have been the predominant names over the 100 years, and all get their share of attention.
  • The cars: the famous winners, from 1923 3-litre Chenard & Walcker to 2023 Ferrari 499P Hypercar, are featured, plus the eccentric machinery that has added fascination over the years.
  • The technology: aerodynamic advances and speed landmarks; pioneering engines, including turbine, rotary, diesel, electric and hybrid; tyre and safety developments, and more.
  • Numerous other themes: records, trophies, regulations, circuit changes, safety improvements, race organisation, art cars, spectating, atmosphere and curiosities.

The Authors

This book has been compiled by four French co-authors. During Gérard Holtz’s 45-year television career he has covered the world’s greatest sporting events, including the Tour de France, World Cup, Roland-Garros, Olympics, F1 and Le Mans. His son Julien Holtz is a consultant and software designer who has co-written many sports books with his father. Basile Davoine is a sports journalist and content manager for the website motorsport.com. Denis Bernard is an audio-visual director, automotive journalist and driver who has scripted many comic-strip books about Le Mans.

Our verdict/ conclusion

If you love motorsport, if you love any sort of competition and storyline, if you love or have an interest in the Le Mans 24 Hour race then this book is a must have. A comprehensive look as one of the worlds most iconic and toughest motorsport races. Buy a copy for yourself or the motorsport fan in your life.

More details

Authors: Denis Bernard, Basil Davoine, Julien Holtz and Gérard Holtz

Published: November 2023

UK price: £70.00

ISBN:978-1-910505-88-5

Format: 300x260mm hardback

Page extent: 336 with over 600 images

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