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Porsche and the Triple Crown of endurance racing

1970 Le Mans - Porsche’s first victory in the French endurance race
Le Mans 24 Hours, 13-14 June 1970: A jubilant Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood are given a ride on the back of a truck as they celebrate Porsche’s first victory in the French endurance race

There are three Sports Car endurance races that have been run over the past sixty-plus years that have been referred to as the ‘Triple Crown’. Arguably, some can say other races should also be included, but these three have withstood the test of time, and they are the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, and the Daytona 24 Hours.

Porsche’s first overall win at Sebring in the USA in 1960
12 Hours of Sebring, 26 March 1960: Porsche’s first overall win at Sebring in the USA was achieved by Olivier Gendebien and Hans Herrmann driving a 718 RS 60 Spyder

The Le Mans 24 Hours started in 1923, and apart from a brief hiatus for the Second World War, it has been going ever since. The 12 Hours of Sebring was started in 1952 (it ran as a 6-hour race in 1950 and 1951) by Alec Ulmann on a World War II vintage US Air Force base, in Sebring Florida, making use of some disused runways to create a 5.2-mile circuit. Daytona, the youngest of the three races, started out of course as a NASCAR stock car track in 1957. In 1962, the France family added an International sports car race to the schedule, and the 24 hours of Daytona was born, although the first two races were 3-hour races, and then 1964 and 1965 they were 2000 km events. In 1966, the first 24 hours was run, only taking a hiatus in 1974 when, due to the oil crisis, the race was cancelled. There was an additional oddity in 1972 when the race only ran to a 6-hour distance due to the fragility of the 3.0-litre cars of the day.

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