It takes a special type of crazy to drive more than 3,000 miles in a single day. But since 1923, that's exactly what teams have done at France's annual 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
It's the oldest still-active auto competition of its kind. When it kicks off this weekend, 60 teams of three drivers will cover nearly 3,300 miles — roughly the same distance from Seattle to the southern tip of mainland Florida — testing the limits of science and sanity.
All day. All night. Man versus machine.
Despite the physical and technological challenges, the race format is fairly simple: Drive a car for 24 hours and complete as many laps as possible.
The famed Circuit de la Sarthe — a combination of permanent track connected to public streets — is roughly 8.5 miles long. The 2015 winners went around it 395 times, marking the second-most laps in the race's history. That year, the drivers were behind the wheel of a high-tech, prototype Porsche, going an average speed of 140 miles per hour.
This Saturday, at the start of the 84th running, the same three men won't be defending their title as a team. Porsche, however, will be defending its spot at the top of the podium. That's because for manufacturers, Le Mans is all about reputation.