According the very prestigious magazine, the National Geographic, in 2012 the Le Mans 24 Hours will again be the no.1 sporting event in the world - one which all sports aficionados should see at least once in their lives. "The Super Bowl in the United States is no. 4 on our list of the 10 major sporting events in the world".This is what the very serious National Geographic Company, founded in 1888, told its fans on the pages of its Facebook site on 5th February when it repeated the classification before the final of the American Football Championship.
And what event is still in the no. 1 spot since 2010 - one which any self-respecting sports fan must attend according to the National Geographic? The Le Mans 24 Hours!
The race, which celebrates its 80th anniversary on 16-17 June of this year, is in front of the Olympic Games, the Football World Cup, the Super Bowl, the NBA Final (basket-ball), the Masters (golf), the Argentinean Open (Polo), the Wimbledon Tournament (Tennis), the World Series (Baseball) and the Grand National (Steeple Chase) in England.
It is perhaps a very North American classification, but one in which the Le Mans 24-Hours race is not only the sole motor race, but also the only French sporting event! And if you exclude the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, which are peripatetic by definition, one of the three held in Europe.
This is how the National Geographic justifies its choice: "Skill, speed and stamina are the three s’s that mark the world’s best automobile race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The event, organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, bridges past and present on the automotive circuit.
The competition is set on a non-permanent track at the Circuit de la Sarthe near the city of Le Mans on the Sarthe River. Roughly 56 cars start the race in a series of classes that include prototype high-performance vehicles, dedicated race cars, and street cars. The diversity of autos gives the race a mix of old-fashioned and modern competitors. The winner is the car driven by a team of three drivers that covers the greatest distance in 24 Hours".