Another gem from the Life archive are these shots from the famous endurance race Le Mans. Unlike Formula 1 where you rarely see anyone overtaken and the cars are as fragile as crystal stemware, Le Mans is the ultimate test of speed and reliability. I can only imagine the what it would be like to drive around for 24 straight hours at those speeds, without a windscreen or cockpit. (See sixth photo.)
Update: Check out Truth in 24 (and download for free). Many thanks to reader Drew for the tip.
More LIFE posts here.