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Skoda Is Back at Le Mans After 72 Years for the Annual Classic Race

The Le Mans Classic is an event where cars of different ages built between 1923 and 1981 run a number of laps over 43 minutes and the course of a race weekend.
SKODA Sport at Le Mans 7 photos
SKODA Sport back at Le MansSKODA Sport back at Le MansSKODA Sport back at Le MansSKODA Sport back at Le MansSKODA Sport back at Le MansSKODA Sport back at Le Mans
For some manufacturers, this event was more memorable. Take Skoda, for example, who returned to the legendary Le Mans track after 72 years of absence, which is important for their motorsport department.

Drivers Michael Velebny and Stanislav Kafka took turns driving the historical #44 Skoda Sport model that participated only once at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, back in 1950. Unfortunately, after 13 hours of racing, the vehicle had to be retired due to a cracked piston clip.

As a little piece of history, the Sport model was based on the 1946 Skoda 1100 "Tudor" production car. The power of the 1.1-liter four-cylinder engine almost doubled after the modifications for the endurance race. The 1100 "Tudor" delivered 32 hp, while the racing car had a power output of 50 hp. Besides, the chassis was lighter, and the Czech engineers changed the placement of the steering wheel and pedals as well.

For the 2022 classic event, the Czech crew finished 47th out of 74 cars in the 1949-1956 category. Besides, when recalculated according to the coefficient influenced by power and engine capacity, Skoda finished 43rd.

"We were reaching high speeds on long straights and the engine was cooled by the airflow more than necessary," said Stanislav Kafka during a changeover. "So we covered part of the radiator area for the following runs. The car was able to deal with the busy weekend thanks to the usual meticulous maintenance and we avoided any major technical problems. For our 73-year-old car, this is an amazing performance."

Check out the whole process of the Skoda Sport getting back in Le Mans after 72 years.

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