Porsche won its first Le Mans race on 14 June 1970. Since then, the sports cars make has won 16 victories in the world's most prestigious endurance race.

Hans Herrmann (DE) and Richard Attwood (GB) were first across the finishing line in the legendary Porsche 917 KH. They did 4 607.811 kilometres - 343 laps. Second were Gerard Larrousse and Willy Kauhsen in the Martini Porsche 917 LH and third Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko in the Porsche 908/02. That was a staggering triumph for Porsche in 1970 - they took the first three places on the ladder.

Porsche 917 made its debut in 1969, when 25 Porsche 917s were approved by the  motor racing homologation commission. The cost of materials alone exceeded DM 5 million. The car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The car was something unseen - total weight of 800 kg, powered by 4.5-litre 12-cylinder engine developing astonishing 580 hp at 8400 rpm. This enabled the long-tail version to reach speeds approaching 400 km/h (248 mph) on the 5.8 km Hunaudières straight at Le Mans.

Porsche 917 40 Years Anniversary, 1 of 8
Porsche 917 40 Years Anniversary, 2 of 8
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The second victory of Porsche was in 1971, when in a unique 917 with a lightweight magnesium chassis, Gijs van Lennep and Dr. Helmut Marko drove to victory on a still largely chicane-free circuit. They set an incredible record, which has never been broken. The Porsche 917 made 5 335.313 kilometres - 397 laps in 24 hours, clocking up an average speed of 222.304 km/h (138.140 mph), despite all of the pit stops and the long night. The fastest lap in the race was achieved by Jackie Oliver's Gulf-liviered 917, with an unbelievable 244 km/h (151.6 mph) average speed, while the 917 long-tail Coupé of Elford/Larrousse was clocked at a maximum speed of 386 km/h (239.8 mph) along Hunaudières in 1971.

In 1976 and 1977 the Porsche 936 was victorious, while in 1981 it won again driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell with a new turbo engine. Belgian driver Ickx won at Le Mans six times, four of them in a Porsche. In 1982 he was yet again part of the winning team in a triple victory that represented the first milestone for the most successful racing car of all time, the Porsche 956. Up to 1994, different variants of the 956/962 won at Le Mans seven times. 148 of these were produced  by the Porsche Motorsport Department in Weissach.

Faced with the strongest ever field to line up at Le Mans in June 1998, Porsche racing director Herbert Ampferer spoke at the time of the "race of the century". Porsche was represented with two new 911 GT1 race cars and achieved a stunning double victory for the factory in the world's most important endurance race, in front of a crowd of 250,000 thrilled spectators. This was the 16th and most recent overall victory for Porsche at the Sarthecircuit.

From 10 to 11 July 2010, Porsche will be celebrating this special motor sports anniversary in suitable style by taking part in the "Le Mans Classic", an event which is only held every two years.

Around 400 historic racing cars will gather to relive their old racing triumphs once more.
Among them will be some of the overall winners from the Porsche Museum, which will lead an anniversary parade on the race track. Many famous drivers including Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood will also be taking part and will be available for autograph sessions.

Porsche victories in Le Mans

  • 1970
    Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood
    Porsche 917 KH
  • 1971
    Helmut Marko/Gijs van Lennep
    Porsche 917 KH
  • 1976
    Jacky Ickx/Gijs van Lennep
    Porsche 936
  • 1977
    Jacky Ickx/Jürgen Barth/Hurley Haywood
    Porsche 936
  • 1979
    Klaus Ludwig/Bill Whittington/Don Whittington
    Porsche 935 K3 Kremer
  • 1981
    Jacky Ickx/Derek Bell
    Porsche 936 81
  • 1982
    Jacky Ickx/Derek Bell
    Porsche 956
  • 1983
    Al Holbert/Hurley Haywood/Vern Schuppan
    Porsche 956
  • 1984
    Klaus Ludwig/Henri Pescarolo
    Porsche 956 Joest
  • 1985
    Klaus Ludwig/Paolo Barilla/John Winter
    Porsche 956 B Joest
  • 1986
    Derek Bell/Al Holbert/Hans-Joachim Stuck
    Porsche 962 C
  • 1987
    Derek Bell/Al Holbert/Hans-Joachim Stuck
    Porsche 962 C
  • 1994
    Yannick Dalmas/Mauro Baldi/Hurley Haywood
    Dauer-Porsche 962 LM
  • 1996
    Manuel Reuter/Davy Jones/Alexander Wurz
    TWR Joest-Porsche WSC95
  • 1997
    Michele Alboretto/Stefan Johannson/Tom Kristensen
    TWR Joest-Porsche WSC95
  • 1998
    Allan McNish/Laurent Aiello/Stéphane Ortelli
    Porsche 911 GT1 98