Endurance racing (motorsport)
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Endurance racing is a form of motorsport racing which is meant to test the durability of equipment and endurance of participants. Teams of multiple drivers attempt to cover a large distance in a single event, with participants given a break with the ability to change during the race. Endurance races can be run either to cover a set distance in laps as quickly as possible, or to cover as much distance as possible over a preset amount of time.
One of the more common lengths of endurance races has been running for 1,000 kilometres (620 mi), or roughly six hours. Longer races can run for 1,000 miles (1,600 km), 12 hours, or even 24 hours. Teams can consist of anywhere from two to four participants per event, which is dependent on the driver's endurance abilities, length of the race, or even the rules for each event.
At club level racing, a race taking either 30 minutes or 1 hour could be considered as an endurance race.
Origins of endurance racing 
Coppa Florio was an Italian car race started in 1900, and renamed in 1905 when Vincenzo Florio offered the initial 50 000 Lira and a cup designed by Polak of Paris. The Brescia race visited the route Brescia-Cremona-Mantova-Brescia. In 1908, the race used the Circuito di Bologna: Bologna-Castelfranco Emilia-Sant'Agata Bolognese-San Giovanni in Persiceto-Bologna. Since 1914 most of the Coppa Florio was co-organized with the Targa Florio near Palermo, Sicilia, running four or five laps, 108 km each.
The Targa Florio was an open road endurance automobile race founded in 1906- the track length of the last decades was limited to the 72 kilometres of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, which was lapped 11 times.
The Mille Miglia was an open-road endurance race which took place in Italy 24 times from 1927 to 1957.
The first 24 hour race to take place on a closed course was at Brooklands, eleven days after its opening in 1907. This incurred the wrath of local residents and would lead to the Double Twelve race. This format meant the race took place for 12 hours each between 8am to 8pm and between it, the cars were locked up overnight to prevent maintenance work from being performed on them.
Automobile endurance racing 
In the beginning of formalised endurance racing, the races tended to be for sports cars while the Grand Prix cars of the era began to evolve into the open wheel racing cars of today and ran over shorter distances. Over time sports cars began to evolve away from their roots as a production based alternative to pure-bred racing machines of Grand Prix cars, which led to the creation of GT and touring car racing classes, and these classes continued to embrace the endurance format. Multiple drivers per car was an early adaptation as the rigors of endurance racing quickly overcome the abilities of most racing drivers to compete solo, although solo attempts on 24 hour races like Le Mans would continue into the 1950s.
The various endurance formats were appealing to manufacturers, not only as alternatives to the expense of Grand Prix racing, but also because of its increased relevance to road going models.
Triple Crown 
In automobile endurance racing, three events have come to form a Triple Crown. They are considered three of the most challenging endurance races over the decades: the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hans Herrmann was the first in 1970 to win the three races, and Timo Bernhard the most recent (2010). No driver has won the three events in the same year, although Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert have won the three races at least twice each.
Bold on year indicate at which race the driver achieved his Triple Crown.
|Driver||Total Wins||Year Completed||24 Hours of Daytona||12 Hours of Sebring||24 Hours of Le Mans|
|Phil Hill||6||1964||1964A||1958, 1961||1958, 1961, 1962|
|Hans Herrmann||4||1970||1968||1960, 1968||1970|
|Jacky Ickx||9||1972||1972C||1969, 1972||1969, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982|
|Hurley Haywood||10||1977||1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1991||1973, 1981||1977, 1983, 1994|
|A. J. Foyt||4||1985||1983, 1985||1985||1967|
|Al Holbert||9||1986||1986, 1987||1976, 1981||1983, 1986, 1987|
|Andy Wallace||6||1992||1990, 1997, 1999||1992, 1993||1988|
|Mauro Baldi||4||1998||1998, 2002||1998||1994|
|Marco Werner||7||2005||1995||2003, 2005, 2007||2005, 2006, 2007|
Endurance racing championships 
Strong spectator figures, media interest and television coverage of endurance racing's Triple Crown events (24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and 24 Hours of Le Mans) has led to the establishment of several endurance racing series - thereby giving teams the opportunity of running their cars in Championship events throughout the year.
The FIA World Endurance Championship is an international sports car racing series organized by both the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). It supersedes the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup run in 2010 and 2011, and uses similar rules to the ALMS and ELMS below. The series features both Le Mans Prototypes and GT cars. 24 Hours of Le Mans is included as a feature race. The other races are 6 hours long and take place in countries all over the world such as Japan, Bahrain and Brazil. The WEC is considered a revival of the defunct World Sportscar Championship which ended in 1992.
The Rolex Sports Car Series, organised by the Grand American Road Racing Association is a championship for Daytona Prototype and GT cars. The season begins with the 24 Hours of Daytona, traditionally held in the last weekend of January or the first weekend of February. There then follows a further 11 races, typically of 250 miles distance. This formula has led to the Rolex Sports Car Series having a large number of competitors at most events, mostly due to the ease of use and low cost of the cars in either class - while the Grand American Road Racing Association has been able to keep the competition equalized. The series will be replaced by United Sports Car Racing in 2014.
The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is a sports car racing series based in the United States and Canada that has been running with Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) backing since 1999, but is run by IMSA. It consists of a series of endurance and sprint races, and was created in the spirit of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Teams compete in one of five classes: P1, P2, and PC for Le Mans Prototypes, and GT and GTC for Grand Tourer-style cars. Race lengths vary from 2 hours, to 12 hours. The 12 Hours of Sebring in March opens the season and the Petit Le Mans in October closes it. The series often runs double-header events with IndyCar, most notably at the street races. The series will be replaced by United Sports Car Racing in 2014.
The European Le Mans Series (ELMS) is a European sports car racing endurance series run by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). It is similar to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The ELMS is seen as a rebirth of the old European Le Mans Series which was created by IMSA and the ACO, but only ran in 2001. LMS champions and runners-up in all four categories receive an automatic entry to the following year's Le Mans 24 Hour Race. All races used to be 3 hours long, but the format was changed to 3 hours in 2013. With the debut of the World Endurance Championship in 2012, the series has dropped LMP1 and now features LMP2 as its premier category, in addition to LMPC and GT categories.
The Japan Le Mans Challenge was an endurance sportscar series based in Japan, which ran from 2006 to 2007, and featured the Fuji 1000 km, which was eventually replaced by the Asian Le Mans Series which started with the 2009 1000 km of Okayama. The series no longer operates but it will be replaced in 2013 by the re-launched AsLMS.
The Blancpain Endurance Series (BES) is a European sports car racing endurance series run by the Stéphane Ratel Organisation. It is similar to the ELMS, but it uses performance valanced GT3 cars instead of GTE cars or prototypes and holds 3-hour races instead of 6-hour races. The series is centered around the 24 Hours of Spa. One of the key emphases of the series is being friendly for amateur and gentlemen drivers, and there are numerous non-pro classes in addition to the premier GT3 Pro class. The series began in 2011 and saw increased involvement in 2012.
In popular culture 
Endurance motor racing has proven a popular subject for depiction in videogames, and on film. The Lee H. Katzin film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen, used real race footage, and enjoys cult status. The 1986 arcade game WEC Le Mans was the first to portray endurance racing in a videogame, while Gran Turismo 4 extended this to a real-time simulation of 24 hour events.
Motorcycle endurance racing 
In the early days of endurance racing cars and motorcycles raced side by side, but the two were soon separated.
The most famous motorcycle endurance race, the Bol d'Or, was first run on the circuit of Vaujours, near Paris in 1922. Only one rider was permitted per bike and there was no stopping other than for refuelling.
Motorcycle endurance racing began to expand after the second World War as new races began to emerge, among them the 24 Hour Race in Warsage, Belgium in 1951, the 24 Hours of Montjuïc in Barcelona in 1957, 24 hours in Monza, Italy in 1959, and the Thruxton 500 mile endurance race at Thruxton in 1960.
The popularity of motorcycle endurance racing increased in the 1970s with the arrival of four-cylinder machines from Japan. In 1976 the FIM Endurance Cup became the European Championship and in 1980 a World Championship.
Notable motorcycle endurance races 
Motorcycle endurance classics:
Motorboat endurance racing 
Notable motorboat endurance races 
Note: both of these take place on the Seine River
Other forms 
- In addition to the annual car and motorcycle race, the Circuit de la Sarthe also holds 24 hour races in cycling, karting, trucks and road skating.
- An eccentric event involving an endurance race between lawnmowers takes place in the United Kingdom, called the "BLMRA 12 Hour Race".
See also 
- 24 hour mountain bike races
- Endurance World Championship
- Gran Turismo (racing)
- Rally raid
- Sports car racing
- ^A Was known as the Daytona 3 Hour Continental, upto 1964.
- ^B Was known as the Daytona 2000, up until 1965 before becoming a 24 hour race following that year.
- ^C The race was shortened to 6 hours, partly over concerns that the 3 liter formula one engined prototypes were not reliable enough for the entire 24 hours.
- "Brooklands creates a new "double twelve"". Daily Telegraph. 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Ryan, Nate (2011-06-08). "Joey Hand goes for sports-car Triple Crown in Le Mans". USA Today.
- By Alex Nunez RSS feed. "Hybrid Toyota Supra Wins Tokachi 24-Hour race". Autoblog.com. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "Les Courses − Calendrier LE MANS, WEC, ELMS, ALMS". Lemans.org. 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "Lawn Mower Endurance Race Drives English Sports Fans Crazy". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 March 2013.