A kind of hybrid between the purism of open-wheelers and the familiarity of touring car racing, this racing is forever associated (and owes its continued existence) to the annual Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, one of the oldest motor races still in existence.
The prestige of Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Aston Martin derives in part from success in sports car racing. Road cars sold by these manufacturers have in many cases been very similar to sportscars raced, both in engineering and styling.
Back in the 1950s, these cars were also used for open-road endurance races across Europe such as the Mille Miglia, Tour de France and Targa Florio, but the high casualty rate eventually forced the end of this undeniably romantic but also dangerous form of motor sport.
See also: Auto racing