There are two types of cars at Le Mans — tuned-up sports cars and one-of-a-kind, single-seat prototypes. "These prototypes are probably the most high-tech race cars in the world," says Stuart Codling, author of Art of the Le Mans Race Car: 90 Years of Speed. The manufacturers experiment with systems that store and redeploy energy throughout the cars and other ways to make the cars more fuel efficient, thus leading to fewer stops. It's not a cheap race, though how expensive it can get is often unknown since team budgets are held close to the vest. "Nobody owns up to exact figures, and the manufacturers are very good at burying them in the accounts," says Codling, who pegs the top team budgets around $100 million. The money is used by manufacturers to research cutting-edge technology, rent private circuits to test away from prying eyes, and crew the cars with the world's best drivers. The draw to spend that kind of cash has been the same since the beginning. "The company that wins brands itself as the best car in the world in terms of engineering," Baime says. Porsche has won 16 times, Audi 13, and Ferrari nine to make them the three most successful vehicle brands at Le Mans.