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24 Hours of Le Mans: Titanic battle between titans of motorsport

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A great Le Mans 24 Hours race is on the cards this weekend, as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Is living a Golden Era with the field heaving and heavy with potential winners.

The premier Hypercar class includes Toyota, Porsche, Ferrari, Alpine, Lamborghini, Cadillac, Peugeot, Isotta Fraschini, and BMW. In the GT3 category are Aston Martin, BMW, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Lexus, and McLaren.

The LMP2 class is a one-make series with 16 Oreca powered by Gibson in the field which is no longer part of the WEC, but organisers ACO did not close the door on the category.

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In the multi-car ranks, all the manufacturer teams will fancy their chances even though the likes of Ferrari (last year’s winners), Toyota (WEC title holders), Porsche, Cadillac and Peugeot powerhouses with real chances should fate be kind to them.

Porsche have an incredible 36 victories at Le Mans (Audi is second with 15 wins) and this year are potent force yet again and victory #37 is on the cards. They lead both the IMSA and WEC championships. They are the team to beat but it is ridiculously close to call.

Worth noting, with today’s bullet-proof reliable cars, Hypercars in particular can run flat-out for 24 hours which has turned modern Le Mans contests into endurance sprint races. Anything is possible as last-lap wins and other dramas have spiced up the great race in recent years.

Porsche topped Le Mans free practice earlier last Sunday

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Both three-hour running sessions as part of the official Le Mans test day are complete for the 62-car field entered at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of FIA WEC.

Quickest overall was the No. 6 Porsche Penske entry, the 963 Porsche Hypercar challenger clocking a time of 3:26.907 in the second test session.  It bettered last year’s best Test Day time which was set by the AF Corse No. 51 Ferrari 499P Hypercar by just under three seconds.

Second fastest was the No. 4 Porsche Penske entry, 0.473s quicker than the No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid Hypercar.  They were followed by the No. 5 Porsche 963 and rounding out the top five was the AF Corse No. 50 Ferrari 499P.

During the morning session, the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid fielded by Toyota Gazoo Racing put in the best lap time [3:28.467]. Porsche Penske and BMW M Team WRT ranked second and third with the No. 6 Porsche 963 on 03:29.270 and the No. 20 BMW M Hybrid V8 clocking 03:29.433.

GT3 racing for the first time as a class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

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2023 was the last year of LMGTE regulations, replaced by the globally booming GT3 regulations running to Pro-Am specifications with cars obliged to include one Bronze and an extra Bronze or Silver-rated driver in their line-ups.

The Le Mans 24 Hours marks the annual highlight on the FIA WEC calendar. The first running of the race was in 1923 to showcase automotive innovation, durability and performance.

The only time the classic was not contested was in 1936 due to a general strike in France as well as during WWII and the reconstruction between 1940 and 1948. The famous 24 Hours of Le Mans will be contested at the Sarthe for the 92nd time this year.

The No. 82 TF Sport entry was fastest overall – the Corvette Z06 LMGT3.R setting a time of 3:59.883. The top three LMGT3 cars were incredibly close, the second and third fastest crews – Heart of Racing and Team WRT – posting the same lap time [3:59.520].

Zinedine Zidane will flag off the race on Saturday afternoon local time

le bron james le mans 2023 official starter

Living icon French football legend Zinedine Zidane will be the official starter for June’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) said in a statement: “Hailed as one of France’s greatest sportsmen and one of the finest footballers in the history of the game, Zinedine Zidane has been named as the Official Starter of the 92nd 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The 1998 World Cup winner joins a storied list of VIPs given the honour of waving the French national flag to signal the start of the endurance race, including Rafael Nadal in 2018, Steve McQueen in 1971 and LeBron James last year.

Zidane said: “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is beyond compare. It is an iconic race for anyone who loves motorsport, for people all around the world. It is a source of immense pride for France. My mind is full of images of the race, the legendary drivers, the amazing stories… although these are images from TV or movie scenes!”

2024 Le Mans 24 Hours Information

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2024 Le Mans 24 Hours Entry List

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2024 le mans entry list 1