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 |  Feb 10 2012, 8:31 PM

National Geographic rated the 24 hours at Le Mans race the greatest sporting event in the world, beating the Olympics, Superbowl and the World Cup for the top spot. Who ever said driving wasn’t a “real sport”?

The race at Le Mans started in May of 1923 and has been an annual event ever since. The idea behind starting the race was to push manufacturers and race teams to put a car together with not just the fastest engine, but also a reliable engine capable of running for a full 24 hours. Each car has a team of at least three drivers who run parts of the race, with stints of two hours of more. But the race at Le Mans is about more than just three pilots and is truly a team sport when you consider the mechanics, the manufactures, the crew chief and everyone else who works on creating a winning race car.

While it seems that the easy choice would be the Olympics or the World Cup, National Geographic took the road less traveled and decided to back a truly grueling contest that tests man and machine. Bravo National Geographic, Bravo.