24 Hours Stories: Porsche's specially-placed ignition

24 Hours Stories: Porsche's specially-placed ignition

Throughout this month, we will bring you a very special Advent calendar dedicated to remarkable stories and anecdotes from the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Today, here is a look back at 1951 and Porsche's first participation, including one of the marque's unique features, the ignition key at left.

Seventy years ago, Porsche took its rookie start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the initiative of the marque's French importer, Auguste Veuilletrque, who teamed up with local Edmond Mouche. They shared a Porsche 356 with streamlined wheel arches for better air penetration.

Winner in its class for its first participation, the 356 had another special feature found on all of the manufacturer's subsequent models, the ignition to the left of the steering wheel, though usually placed to the right on road cars.

Precious ergonomics for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Inspired by Porsche's involvement in competition where ergonomics are fully optimized, this arrangement is also proved valuable in the context of the 24 Hours in general and Le Mans start in particular.

Until the rolling start ended that procedure in 1971, the left ignition was perfectly place for a Porsche driver's left hand to turn while his right grabbed the steering wheel, quickly taking off down the track in a clockwise direction.

Porsche leaves nothing to chance in competition, expecially when it comes to the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the constructor holds both the overall win and class win records.

PHOTOS (Copyright - ACO ARCHIVES): LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS 2018 & 1951. What is the common denominator between the 911 RSR of Kévin Estre/Michael Christensen/Laurens Vanthoor (at top), LMGTE Pro winner in 2018 for the marque's 70th anniversary, and the 356 of Edmond Mouche/Auguste Veuillet (above), class winner in 1951? The ignition placed to the left of the steering wheel, the same placement as today on all models, from the 911 to the Macan to the Cayenne.