Spanish photographer Pipe Caparrós has provided us with a set of images showing the action at Le Mans 24 Hour Race 2011, and has also included the background information below..
The full day of this championship include several phases of classification. For those who do not know this endurance test very well, it is a competition that takes place in a semi-permanent circuit which in its current configuration is 13,650m long and uses mainly road sections that remain open to the public all year. Through the years several sections of specific purpose have been built to replace normal road sections, highlighting the Porsche curves and replacing the dangerous 'Maison Blanche' section. The Bugatti circuit provides permanent facilities at the beginning and end.
Typically, about 50 vehicles compete simultaneously in different classes and categories, from prototype dedicated to production cars, the overall winner being the one vehicle to cover the greatest distance in 24 hours of constant running. In 1966 this rule resulted in an unexpected result. At the end of the race, the two Ford GT40 Mark II crossed the finish line at the same time, but the car that was slower in practice time was the winner, having begun the official race in a position further back in the grid, and thus having traveled further in the 24 hour period. To qualify at the end of the race, you have to cross the finish line after 24 hours of racing. This means that damaged vehicles sometimes leave the pits for a final lap of the circuit, or even stop near the finish line and after 24 hours continue for the few meters missing (a maneuver used in 2007 by the Peugeot team to achieve the so-called publicity photo crossing the finish line a few meters ahead of Audi and thus winning the race).
In recent years, every car has a team of three drivers. Before 1970, only two drivers were allowed per vehicle, and originally only one was allowed. Until the early 1980s most teams competed with teams of two riders. In 1950, Louis Rosier won the race with his son Jean-Louis Rosier, who led for two laps. In 1952, Frenchman Pierre Leveugh (who would die later in the Le Mans disaster in 1955) raced alone and came close to being the victor, but an error during the last minute gave the victory to a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
The photographer Pipe Caparrós can be contacted direct by any publishers who would be interested in licensing his images of 24 Hours of Le Mans 2011.
Professional photographer Pipe Caparrós, began his studies in Higher Technical Image in Granada in 1992. In 1994, he received a grant from the Film Archive of Andalusia in Madrid in producing IMTEV productions, making documentaries such as "El Toro Bravo", "The Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos" for TVE, Canal Sur and TVG. He has also worked in the prestigious Malaga CEDECOM producer, working as a video assembler on "Theses", a cultural programme which broadcasts South Channel 2 TV.
During 2005 Pipe worked in the library's board of the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada, cataloguing numerous photographs and gelatinobromuros of century XIX and XX. He works as a freelance for several photo agencies and image banks in different countries.