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24 Hours of Le Mans

Le Mans preview: Two drivers vying for second leg of 'triple crown'

Two drivers are vying to complete their second leg of the triple crown at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Toyota Ferrari Le Mans
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

The 92nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway at 15:00 BST, which is 16:00 local time today, 15 June 2024. As the name suggests, it will end 24 hours later.

Located near the town of Le Mans, France, the Circuit de la Sarthe plays host to the third point of the trident that is the known as the Triple Crown of Motorsport, alongside the Monaco Grand Prix in F1 and the Indianapolis 500.

Whilst only one driver has ever claimed the illustrious accolade, Graham Hill, there are two drivers in the field this weekend looking to complete their second leg: Jenson Button, winner of the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix and Scott Dixon, winner of the 2008 Indy 500.

Both are competing in the Hypercar class, which will draw most attention over the 24 hour race. There will be a number of recognisable names for viewers, with high profile drivers who race in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) joined by peers from single-seater disciplines, such as Formula E, IndyCar and a swathe of former F1 drivers.

In the Hypercar class, 18 of the 69 drivers from the 23 entries have raced in F1, and even more have experience from the so-called pinnacle of motorsport.

Boasting an impressive nine different constructors, including Alpine, BMW, Lamborghini and Isotta Fraschini - who have all been added to the entry list since the 100th anniversary edition of the race last year - there will be plenty to get your teeth into. Will any of those manufacturers be able to better Ferrari, who took a historic victory 12 months ago?

LMP2 and LMGT3

Behind the Hypercar entries will be the LMP2 class. Although no longer active full-time in WEC, the class retains its place at Le Mans, with entries from European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the American IMSA class making up the 16 Oreca 07 car entries of the entire field of 62.

There are a number of former F2 drivers competing in LMP2, including current Mercedes reserve driver and 2023 season runner-up Frederik Vesti. There are also a number of Pro-Am entries to look out for.

Then there is the revamped GT3 class (LMGT3), which the old GTE AM and GTE PRO entries have made way for. With WEC adopting GT3 regulations, new manufacturers will be on offer in the category, such as: Lamborghini, Lexus, Ford, McLaren and BMW, which can all be found amongst the 23 entries of LMGT3.

Within that field is Valentino Rossi - and he has already caused a stir. The legendary nine-time MotoGP world champion is making his Le Mans debut this year, having competing in sports car racing since 2022. He races for Belgian team WRT and will be driving the appropriately numbered #46 car.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Weather, pole and where to watch

Weather is almost always a factor during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Not only is the chance of rain at some point usually high, due to the duration of the event always, the vastness of the circuit means that on one side it can be completely dry, whilst on the other side there can be a torrential downpour. Showers are also forecast for this weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday.

The #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport entry secured hyperpole for the race, and will therefore line up first, with Kevin Estre setting the fastest lap time of 3:42.634. Although, pole is understandably somewhat less of a factor in a 24 hour endurance race.

In the UK and Europe, the best places to watch Le Mans are on Eurosport or subscription service Discovery+. In the United States and Canada, MAX, MotorTrend and CTV have you covered.

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