An Iconic Race. An Iconic Jacket.: Le Mans

An Iconic Race. An Iconic Jacket.: Le Mans


First run in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active endurance-focused sports car race. Held near the town of Le Mans, France, it’s rich in history and heritage. It’s also all about the long game. Unlike fixed-distance races whose winner is determined by minimum time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is won by the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours. Thus, craftsmanship is king.



In June, 2021, the Glickenhaus team won their first Le Mans. Photographer/creative director Ted Gushue attended the race as a guest of the Glickenhaus team. He told us this story—

“I was there with friends who’re all big boosters and supporters of Jim Glickenhaus and they said, ‘Hey, come by the paddock and meet everybody.’ And I’m very familiar with Jim’s story. What Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is doing is really just over-the-top incredible. Nobody expected them to finish because these guys are making their own car. No one has done what Jim has done in a long time, to own a race team, develop a car himself. There's plenty of other race teams, of course, but they're buying chassis from Porsche. They're buying Le Mans prototypes from Dallara. Whatever it might be, they're buying pre-made cars and then working on them. This guy is making his own car.



So I showed up there and these guys are all wearing Birdwell! And I thought, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ So I pulled Jim Glickenhaus aside and I said, ‘Jim, I love the look. But why is everyone wearing a Birdwell jacket?’ He goes, ‘Well, Steve McQueen wore Birdwell while filming in Le Mans.’ And as he said this to me, I looked around, and not only is everyone wearing Birdwell, but he also has original memorabilia from the time when Ford was racing at Le Mans in 1966. So on his left arm, he has the mechanics’ pit pass, which is an armband that gave him pit access in 1966 when Ford first won at Le Mans. So I was really just blown away. I thought it was the coolest thing.

At the end of the day, I’m not too shocked because of the pedigree of Birdwell. Obviously, people like McQueen wore it, so I understand a bit of the fandom, let’s say, around everything that that guy touched. So within car culture, if I see a guy wearing a Birdwell jacket I’m not shocked. But to see a whole race team, racing professionally, having bought these jackets, and then embroider the race team logo on there, and having made their own patches, totally customized them all themselves, that was super cool.” 

On September 20, in homage to 98 years of the Le Mans race, and in celebration of the 2021 Glickenhaus victory, we are excited to relaunch the Fed Blue Le Mans jacket