The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest sports car race in the world and remains one of the biggest on the racing calendar.
It is the ultimate test of endurance as drivers hare round the French racetrack for a full day and night. Pit crews have to be at their most efficient to ensure that if there any problems with the vehicle are dealt with quickly and within rule regulation. Thousands of people flock to the town of Le Mans every year to see the best of the best pit their wits against each other and take home the coveted title at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The event first took place on May 26th and 27th 1923 where racers would use public roads around Le Mans to compete for the Rudge-Whitworth Triennial Cup. The accolade was originally designed to be awarded to the racer who could travel the furthest over three consecutive 24 Hours races. In its early inception the competition was dominated by competitors from France, Italy and Great Britain with Bugatti, Bentley and Alfa Romeo being the vehicles of choice.
While the sport has evolved significantly over the years, with the likes of Tom Kristensen and Marcel Fassler now household names within the sport, it is the origins of the 24 Hours races that has caught the imagination of the public. Mamod created a scaled model of a Le Mans racer akin to that frequently seen during the 1930s.
The 1411 Le Mans Racer LM1 was a full working steam version of the racers and was available in both red and blue. Mamod described the model as one that "captures the glory" of the 24 Hours race and was a unique product as it was curved while other models in the company's portfolio were more angled.
Due to its intricate design it required Mamod to bring in a specialist company to laser cut and bend the body of the model to the correct requirements. Sadly, the external firm hit financial difficulties and was forced to close its doors, without a direct replacement it left Mamod with the tough decision to discontinue the model.
Since then there has been a surge in interest in the Le Mans models, the company explains that it receives numerous inquiries about whether the 24 Hours replica will be making a comeback in the future. As the classic saying goes – you don't know what you've got until its gone. Not only does this display the popularity that the old Le Mans racers have but also notes that there is a growing market for previously discontinued Mamod models.
However, the future still remains uncertain for this racer as Mamod concedes that the possibility of it making a comeback is "unlikely". It would require the company to find an external firm that would be able to get the right laser cut which the model needs to bring it back to its full authenticity once again.
While the Le Mans 24 Hours continues to thrive, it may be a long time until the racer model is seen again.