The race was created in 1923 and the 24-hour event was designed to allow car makers to showcase efficiency and reliability.
The circuit was originally on barely-made public roads, and the course ran into the town centre, taking in a hairpin before the cars set off on the Mulsanne straight.
The full track ran until 1928, when the town centre hairpin was truncated. In 1932, a purpose-built section was built which included the Dunlop Curve, the Esses and it rejoined the public road at Tertre Rouge.
After the tragedy in 1955, when Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes flew in to the crowds and killed more than 80 fans, the start area was widened. A new section of track was built incorporating the Porsche Curves in 1972. In 1990, the FIA decreed that it would no longer sanction any circuit that had a straight longer than two kilometres, and so two chicanes were added to the Mulsanne. MJ