The Great 24 Hours of Le Mans Pilgrimage

For June, the London Morgan X John Sandoe book recommendation is inspired by one of the greatest endurance races; 24 Hours of Le Mans. In homage to this historic 24 hour race, our June book is Pilgrimage by Derry Brabbs.


We have chosen this book at the risk of being profane. The pilgrimage is associated with the sacred or religious perhaps, but with “life” at its heart we hope to be excused for a personal appropriation.


In the week before the Vingt Quatre Heurs du Mans there is a reverence to the presentation of the cars in the square beneath the Cathedral in Le Mans. It is a reflective, orderly atmosphere full of an intention that began many months, years before perhaps. For us, the backdrop of the Cathedral towering above us as the cars were pushed forward over the gravel towards the scrutineers was a reflective moment of significance. Later, during the race, there would be less of an opportunity to reflect.


A Morgan Motor racing car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1962


A quarter of a million people travel to this small town in North West France for this weekend. They come to watch the unfolding of a story and to see hopes manifest or dissipate between 3 O’clock on Saturday and 3 O’clock on Sunday. Not exactly a lifetime but a focus that, like a pilgrimage, brings an honesty to one’s proceedings.


The exposure to the elements, the passing of the day into evening and then night. The sense of a place moving around and about it, and coming back into day through the dawn. There is an intimacy to living and witnessing this, an intimacy which descends with Pilgrimage and leaves everyone, if not sated, at least a little more connected with life.


Notable Morgan Motor appearances at Le Mans:


1938: Morgan 4/4– Prudence Marjorie Fawcett was the first person ever to drive a Morgan at the Le Mans 24 Hours. She paired up with Geoffrey White to form an all-British team that finished thirteenth overall after covering 2,210 kilometres.


1962: Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports -Success was achieved again at the 24 hours endurance race at Le Mans. A Plus Four Super Sports prepared by the company and Christopher Lawrence, competed and won the 2 litre class.


2002, 2004: Morgan Aero 8– The new Aero 8 made two outings at Le Mans and although forced to retire in 2002, it managed to finish the race in 2004.


The book is available to purchase from the London Morgan section of John Sandoe Books.