Formula 1 may often be compared to the World Cup but that's only in terms of the number of spectators that watch it at any given time. To authors Nathaniel and Andrew Lande, the only motorsport event that's comparable to football's World Cup or even the Olympic Games is the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In their travel guide, The 10 Best of Everything,†published by National Geographic, the Landes list the legendary 24-hour endurance race as the top sporting event, with the Olympic Games coming in second and the World Cup following in third.
"Skill, speed, and stamina are the three s's that mark the world's best automobile race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans," the authors said in the book, noting that the event "bridges past and present on the automotive circuit."
Held every year--save for a 10-year hiatus just before and shortly after World War II from 1939 to 1949--at the Circuit de la Sarthe near the town of Le Mans, France, since 1923, the 24-hour endurance race sees cars in different classes--from high-performance prototype cars to street cars homologated for racing--vying to cover the most number of kilometers within 24 hours. According to the authors, the diverse cars that run the race give it "a mix of old-fashioned and modern competitors."