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Weird and wonderful facts from the Triple Crown

Your ultimate stat pack for the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco GP

Did you know that two cars have previously ended up in the up in the Mediterranean sea during the Monaco Grand Prix?  

Or how about, the longest completed distance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is equivalent to driving from London to New York in a straight line? 

And the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is so big that it could fit the “Churchill Downs, Yankees Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City” inside of it.  

The Indianapolis 500, the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans are the three most prestigious and historic races in the world, and so it’s no surprise that each is bursting with fascinating facts and unusual trivia.  

Ahead of the three races, we’ve picked out our favourite stats and facts from the three Triple Crown races…  

Triple Crown sticker in Monaco

McLaren is the most successful team at Monaco with 15 wins

The Monaco Grand Prix 

  • The first Monaco Grand Prix was held in 1929, making it the youngest of the three races 

  • Only 14 of the 34 F1 World Champions have won Monaco 

  • The likes of Nigel Mansell, Jim Clark, Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi, and James Hunt never won the race 

  • Our founder, Bruce McLaren, won the Monaco Grand Prix with Cooper in 1962 

  • Alain Prost won McLaren our first Monaco Grand Prix in 1984  

  • We have led more laps of the Monaco Grand Prix than any other team, completing 916 laps in first place 

  • We are the most successful team at the Monaco Grand Prix, with 15 wins 

  • Ayrton Senna has more wins than any other driver at Monaco, with six 

  • The Circuit de Monaco is 2.074 miles long, making it the shortest track on the F1 calendar. It has 19 corners and has remained pretty much unchanged since it was first used in 1929 

  • Due to its short length, the race is 78 laps long, which is the most on the F1 calendar  

  • The total distance covered is 161.887 miles, which is actually below the FIA’s minimum race length of 190 miles. An exception is made due to the history of the race 

  • Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap at 1m 12.909s  

  • Monaco holds the record in the modern era of F1 for the least number of cars to finish a race (four) 

  • Taken at only 30mph, Turn 6 is the slowest corner on the F1 calendar  

  • The Circuit de Monaco uses 20.5 miles of safety rails, 3600 tyres used for tyre barriers and 20,000 square metres of wire catch fencing 

  • Two cars have actually ended up in the Mediterranean sea during the Monaco Grand Prix: Alberto Ascari (1955) and Paul Hawkins (1965). Thankfully, both drivers were okay 

  • It takes six weeks to set up the Circuit de Monaco and three weeks to take it back down  

Borg Warner trophy

The Borg-Warner Trophy sits next to Johnny Rutherford's M16 Indy 500 winner

The Indianapolis 500  

  • The Indy 500 was first held in 1911, making it the oldest of the three races 

  • Johnny Rutherford won McLaren our first Indianapolis 500 as a factory team in 1974 

  • Rutherford’s 1974 Indy 500 victory came from a starting position of 25th, which was the furthest back since Louis Meyer in 1936. It took Rutherford just 24 laps to make it up to second place. Rutherford led from Lap 141 onwards 

  • The Indianapolis 500 is included in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship, but previously was awarded points as part of the Formula 1 World Championship

  • The Borg-Warner Trophy is 165cm tall and weighs 50 kg. It includes the portraits of 100 Indy 500 winners – Johnny Rutherford included - and was commissioned in 1935, costing $10,000. It is now valued at $1.3M, making it sport’s third-most expensive trophy 

  • Every car number from No. 1 to No. 99 has been used at least once in the Indy 500. As of 2022, 40 different numbers have won the race 

  • Most racing series actively avoid the use of Np. 13 on a car, but between 1926 and 2002, Indy 500 rules went as far as actually prohibiting its use. The last driver to race the No. 13 was Danica Patrick in 2018 

  • Although it has occasionally differed, there are typically 33 cars on the starting grid of the Indy 500. This is because the American Automobile Association ruled that circuits could only have one car for every 400 feet of track 

  • Despite being the most common last name in America, no driver with the surname Smith has ever qualified for the Indy 500 

  • The 200-lap, 500-mile distance was decided upon as the race’s founders wanted action to begin in mid-morning and finish in the late afternoon  

  • The winner of the first Indy 500 in 1911 averaged a speed of 74.602mph. The record average speed was set in 2021, clocked at 190.69mph 

  • The fastest single lap in the race was 236 mph, set in 1996 by Eddie Cheever 

  • In 2004, the Indy 500 took a mammoth eight hours and 22 minutes to complete 

  • The record for lead changes was set in 2012, with 68  

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway features its own golf course 

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is 253 acres, and the circuit once declared that it could fit “Churchill Downs, Yankees Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City” all inside of it 

  • In the early 1900s, the track was paved with bricks – hence the nickname, “Brickyard.” This is no longer the case, but a 36-inch strip of bricks remains, which the winners kiss. This tradition was started by Dale Jarrett and Todd Parrott, at the 1996 Brickyard 400 in NASCAR

  • The winner of the Indy 500 drinks milk in victory lane, a tradition started by Louis Meyer when he had buttermilk in 1936 

  • If all of the Indy 500 hot dogs and bratwurst sold on race day were placed end-to-end, they would circle the 2.5 mile long oval more than three times  

Le Mans 1966

Bruce and Chris Amon celebrate their Le Mans win on the podium in 1966

The 24 Hours of Le Mans 

  • The 24 Hours of Le Mans was first held in 1923  

  • The race is 24 hours long because this was considered to be the “ultimate test of man and machine,” proving “durability, reliability, quality and performance”   

  • The longest 24 Hours of Le Mans distance was 3361.618 miles, or 397 laps, set in 2010. This is equivalent to driving from London to New York in a straight line and is almost 621.371 miles longer than the width of America. It is also more than 20 times the distance covered in the Monaco Grand Prix  

  • The Circuit de la Sarthe is 8.467 miles long, with 38 turns. Up to 85% of the lap is spent at full throttle 

  • There have been 14 different layouts of the Circuit de la Sarthe 

  • Our founder, Bruce McLaren, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Ford in 1966 

  • Our 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans victory was among the wettest in history, with around 17 hours of steady rain  

  • Our 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans victory was the first for a Finnish driver (J.J. Lehto) and the first for a Japanese driver (Masanori Sekiya)

  • The lap record is 3m 17.297s, set by Mike Conway in 2019 

  • In weather as wet as the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, and at speeds of more than 300km/h, drivers will often need to count the time in their heads along the straights to know when to brake for an approaching corner 

  • The podium champagne shower that is now tradition across all of motorsport was started at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 by winner Dan Gurney, a good friend of our Indy 500 winner, Johnny Rutherford 

  • The average speed of the 24 Hours of Le Mans winner is 225 km/h 

  • The speed record in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is 405 km/h, set in 1988 by Roger Dorchy  

  • Until 1963, the 24 Hours of Le Mans did not have a traditional qualifying. Instead, the order was set by engine size, from largest to smallest  

  • In 1984, Porsche won with only two drivers. Teams must now field three drivers, who cannot drive for longer than 14 hours each. In the 1950’s, some drivers even attempted the entire race on their own 

  • Until 1969, drivers used to run across to their cars to the start of the race  

So why are we telling you all of this? With the help of our partners, Arrow Electronics, NTT DATA, and SmartStop, we’ll be celebrating all three victories throughout our 60th anniversary year as part of #McLaren60: Johnny Rutherford’s 1974 Indianapolis 500 victory in the McLaren M16C/D, Alain Prost’s 1984 Monaco Grand Prix victory in the McLaren MP4/2, and our 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans victory, won by the #59 McLaren F1 GTR, at the hands of JJ Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya.  

This is just the beginning, and we can’t wait to share the heritage content we’ve got in store for you. Download the McLaren App and follow our social media channels to keep up to date with everything we’re planning.  

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