Sport: New Record at Le Mans

The loudspeaker droned out the final seconds, ". . . trois ... deux ... un .. ." The flag dropped, and 60 helmeted drivers dashed across the road to their glistening cars. With a sputter, a roar, a clash of gears, they were off, tearing down the road in one of auto racing's top events: the Le Mans 24-hour race, a telling test of driver endurance* and engine durability.

As expected, the speedy Italian entries took the early lead. Italy's World Champion Alberto Ascari, driving a 4.5-liter Ferrari, whirled one lap (about 8½ miles) at a record 111.5 m.p.h. American Johnny Fitch,...

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