10 factors that help explain what sets the two endurance races apart


The 60th edition of the Daytona 24 Hours had a thrilling finale, with the first four cars over the finishing line inside of a mere 6-second interval. The Acura driven by Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud took the win 3.028 seconds ahead of its twin, both cars equipped with Brembo braking systems.​


This is Brembo’s sixth Daytona win in a row, a sensational run but still some way off the one for the Le Mans 24 Hours: cars equipped with Brembo calipers have triumphed in no fewer than 16 consecutive editions of the French endurance race from 2004 to 2018.​


To try and understand the two most famous 24-Hour races of the third millennium a little better, we’ve turned to a list of ten factors that bring their particular characteristics into sharper focus.​


1) Circuit 

The Le Mans 24 Hours is held at the Circuit de la Sarthe, in north-west France. It was 17.26 km (10.72 mi) to begin with, but the track was gradually shortened until it reached a length of 13.629 km (8.47 mi) in 2018. Some sections are made up of roads that are usually open to traffic during the year. It has 17 turns.​

The Daytona 24 Hours is held at the Daytona International Speedway, in the state of Florida. The endurance race uses the modified oval course, Sports Car Course, the 5.729 km (3.56 mi) variant that heads inwards after the finish line rather than towards Tturn 1. It has 12 turns.​


2) Speed 

At 8.46 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, 1988, Roger Dorchy at the wheel of the Peugeot WM-P88 prototype (group C) reached a speed of 405 km/h (251.66 mph) on the 6 km (3.73 mi) straight. It’s the highest speed ever achieved in the Le Mans 24 Hours, an unbeaten record thanks to the addition of two chicanes to the Mulsanne Straight in 1990. 

The Daytona speed record is 358.837 km/h (222.97 mph), which Colin Braun set in a Ford in 2013, powered by a 3.5-liter V6. But the speeds are lower on the 24 Hours track. In the 2019 edition, Simon Pagenaud with Acura, Renger v​an der Zande with Cadillac and Oliver Jarvis with Mazda got up to 321.9 km/h (200.02 mph). ​ ​


3) Lap time 

The lap time race record for the Le Mans 24 Hours is 3 minutes 17.297 seconds, set on the fourth lap in 2019 by Mike Conway in a Toyota TS050 Hybrid with Brembo brakes – his average was 248.6 km/h (154.47 mph). In qualifying, on the other hand, the record belongs to Jackie Oliver, who managed a lap of 3′13″6 with a Porsche 917 in 1971.​ ​


The Daytona 24 Hours qualifying lap record stood for 26 years before it was beaten in 2019 by Oliver Jarvis. His Mazda, again with Brembo brakes, stopped the clock at 1 minute 33.685 seconds with an average speed of 220.1 km/h (136.76 mph). On the 125th lap of the 2022 race, on the other hand, Alex Palou got as low as 1′33″724 with Cadillac, 220.06 km/h (136.74 mph).​


​4) Distance  

Thanks to the higher speeds, the cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours cover a lot more ground: also thanks to Brembo brakes, the record in the French competition was taken in 2010 by the threesome of Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas with the Audi R15+ TDI, notching up a whopping 397 laps, or 5,410.713 km (3362.06 mi). ​


At the Daytona 24 Hours, the lower speeds and shorter course make overtaking more difficult and make for a lower overall distance. The record is held by Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger van der Zande, who in 2020 with the Cadillac DPi-VR, again equipped by Brembo, completed 833 laps, or 4,772.48 km (2965.48 mi). ​


5) Leads 

Even if the lap is particularly long, only once in the latest 10 editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours have the winners not lapped all of their rivals: it happened in 2019 when the team in second place came in 16″972 behind. On four occasions there was a one-lap gap, two laps twice, 3 laps another two times and in 2020 no fewer than 5 laps. 

In the last 10 editions of the Daytona 24 Hours, the second-placed drivers haven’t come one or more laps behind the winners even once. The biggest lead was 1′10″544 in 2018, but on eight​ occasions it was less than half a minute, and in five cases under 5 seconds. In 2017, a mere 671 thousandths of a second separated the first two Cadillacs, both with Brembo brakes. ​


6) Entrants 

A maximum of 62 cars, including the “Garage 56”, a particularly innovative car invited by the organizers that races outside of the official competition, can take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours. 61 cars were on the starting line in the 2021 edition, as in 2019. There were instead 60 in 2018 and 2017, and 59 in 2020. ​ ​


61 cars were on the starting line at the 2022 Daytona 24 Hours, a considerable increase compared to the previous two years: in 2021 there were 49 and in 2020 as few as 38. Two years ago, thanks precisely to the low numbers, entriesneutralizations were at a historic low. In 2019 there were 47 entrants, in 2018 50 and in 2017 no fewer than 55. 


7) Back-and-forth​ 

In the latest edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours (as in 2019) the leading positions in the race changed over 11 times, thanks mostly to the two Toyotas, with the exception of the Alpine A480-Gibson that took the lead for a lap. In LMP2 there were 28 first place changeovers, in LMGTE Pro 18 and in LMGTE Am no fewer than 29. 

The Daytona 24 Hours is distinctly harder-fought, with no fewer than 76 leadership changes between the Acuras and Cadillacs, all with Brembo brakes in the 2021 edition: the longest wait between changeovers up front was between laps 119 and 195. There were no fewer than 73 first-place changeovers in LMP2, even if they all involved the Oreca 07s. 30 in LMP3, 71 in GTDPRO and 58 in GTD.


8) Pit stop 

The Toyota GR010 Hybrid that won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2021 made 33 pit stops, staying there for 44 minutes and 18 seconds. Its twin, on the other hand, made no fewer than 37, for a total of 48 minutes and 6 seconds, while the Alpine A480 that came in third stopped just 31 times, losing 44 minutes and 10 seconds. 

The Acura that won the 2022 Daytona 24 Hours stopped in the pits 42 times, for a total of 39 minutes and 7 seconds. Its second-placed twin instead made 39 pit stops, losing 39 minutes and 14 seconds, or 7 more, which went on to prove decisive. There were 40 pits stops for the first Cadillac, the third car with Brembo brakes to cross the finish line. ​


​9) Changes 

Each Le Mans 24 Hours team has a maximum of three drivers. The last edition won by a car with just two drivers taking turns at the wheel was in 1982 with Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx in the Porsche 956 . The first win by a threesome dates back to 1977, with Ickx, Jurgen Barth and Hurley Haywood.​


Many teams at the Daytona 24 Hours prefer to switch between four drivers: of the first 15 cars to cross the finish line in the 2022 edition, only the team that took fourth place was a trio. In the last 15 editions, a three-man team has only won in 2014 and 2018. No fewer than seven​ drivers took turns in the winning car in 1997.


10) Flags 

The safety car came onto the track four times at the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours. It stayed on for a total of 33 minutes and 10 seconds. Added to that were another four cases of full course yellow, for 8 minutes and 15 seconds. The race ran regularly for 22 hours 19 minutes and 24 seconds. 

There were a total of 17 neutralizations at the 2022 Daytona 24 Hours, so that flags flew for 6 hours 1 minute and 5 seconds of the race. The longest came after fewer than three hours into the race and lasted 31 minutes and 55 seconds. On the morning of the second day, in contrast, there were no problems for 4 hours and 53 minutes running. ​


Bonus) The brakes 

Bonus) The brakes After all these differences, we’d really like to stress a recurring element that distinguishes the cars – no matter how different – that triumph at both Le Mans and at Daytona: the braking system, almost always Brembo. 

Innovations introduced by Brembo in endurance have also involved carbon discs. As early as 2001, Brembo allowed the Audi R8 of the Joest Team driven by Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen to end the race in first place without changing the brake discs or pads even once. 

Another innovation made by Brembo is the attachment between the bell and braking band, with the bushing drag system replaced by splines from 2008. Brembo also successfully optimized the disc and pad measurements, allowing for weight reductions that are decisive when it comes to lowering lap times. ​ ​