24 Hours of Le Mans trophy

GENEVA -- The 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race has been run annually since 1923. Taking place on a road course around the French town of Le Mans, it is an extraordinary challenge for drivers and cars. Although speed and handling are important, fuel efficiency and durability also play a huge part in giving cars a competitive edge.

The 2014 Geneva auto show included an exhibit of the actual cars that competed, and in most cases won, this legendary race.

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Chenard & Walcker "Sport"

Victorious in the first-ever 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the "Sport" reached a top speed of 93 mph and boasted 98 horsepower.

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Bentley Speed Six

With its 6.5-liter straight-six engine making 84 horsepower, the Bentley Speed Six finished second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1930, hitting a top speed of 84 mph. It was cars such as this that made the racing reputation of the Bentley Boys.

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Alfa Romeo 8C

With a top speed of 124 mph, this Alfa Romeo 8C won victories at Le Mans in 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1934.

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Chenard and Walcker 'Tank'

Competing at Le Mans in 1925 and 1937, the "Tank" would not be as successful as Chenard and Walcker's Sport.

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Ferrari 166 MM

1949 saw the beginning of Ferrari's racing success at Le Mans. The 166 MM (Mille Miglia) featured a V-shaped engine, a compact configuration allowing 12 cylinders, although only displacing two liters.

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Jaguar D-type

The Jaguar D-type dominated Le Mans in 1955, 1956, and 1957, although the car shown here was to come in second, behind its teammate, in each of these races. Making 250 horsepower from its six-cylinder engine, it could hit 162 mph and showed an evolution in aerodynamics.

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Ferrari 250 TR

This Ferrari 250 TR (Testa Rossa) was a purpose-built race car. Competing in the 1957 Le Mans, it lost out to the Jaguar D-type. However, other 250 TRs would win Le Mans in 1958, 1960, and 1961.

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Ford GT 40 MK II

With a massive 7-liter V-8, this Ford GT 40 MK II won Le Mans in 1966, beginning a four-year reign for the American race car.

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Porsche 917 K

Porsche won its first Le Mans competition in 1970 with this 917 K race car, which used a 12-cylinder flat engine.

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Matra MS670C

This French-built Matra MS670C won the 1974 Le Mans, continuing a string of victories for the company.

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Sauber-Mercedes C9

Team Mercedes-Benz took first place in the 1989 Le Mans run with the Sauber C9. Its 5-liter V-8 boasted twin turbochargers and a fuel-injection system.

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Rondeau M379

Champion in 1980, the Rondeau M379's 455 horses were produced with a Ford-Cosworth V-8 engine.

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Mazda 787B

In 1991, Mazda proved a Japanese carmaker could compete successfully at Le Mans with the 787B.

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Peugeot 905B Evo

Peugeot's victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in came in 1993 with this 905 model.

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Audi R8

Audi began a decade and a half of dominance at Le Mans in 2000 with this R8, winning all but two races in the new century.

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Peugeot 908 HDI FAP

With its 5.5-liter turbocharged V-12 producing 740 horsepower, this Peugeot 908 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009.

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Audi R18 E-tron Quattro

Last year, this R18 E-tron Quattro model finished first at Le Mans. The car showed the superiority of a hybrid diesel-electric drivetrain and all-wheel-drive to race for 24 hours on the legendary Le Mans circuit.

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