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2024 24 Hours of Le Mans: All You Need to Know for Next Weekend

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is just around the corner, and the excitement is palpable. This iconic endurance race, held annually at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France, is a true test of speed, strategy, and stamina.

Since its inception in 1923, the Le Mans 24 Hour has grown to become one of the most prestigious motorsport events in the world, drawing top teams, legendary drivers, and enthusiastic fans from across the globe. As we gear up for the 2024 edition, here’s everything you need to know to get ready for this thrilling weekend of non-stop racing action.

Here is the full broadcast of last year’s 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans race!

Event Details for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans promises to be a thrilling spectacle of endurance racing, attracting motorsport enthusiasts from around the globe. Here’s all you need to know about this iconic event:

Date and Time

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans race will take place over the weekend of June 15-16, 2024. The action starts at 3:00 PM CEST on Saturday, June 15, and concludes 24 hours later at 3:00 PM CEST on Sunday, June 16.

Location

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans race is held at the historic Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. This renowned track is known for its mix of closed public roads and specialist racing circuits, creating a challenging 13.626 km (8.467 miles) layout that tests both speed and durability.

Ticket Information

For those lucky enough to attend the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans in person, tickets are available for purchase on the official Le Mans website. Various packages are offered, ranging from general admission to VIP experiences, providing different levels of access to the circuit, paddock areas, and exclusive hospitality services.

Additional Events

The 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend is not just about the main race. It includes a variety of support races and events that add to the excitement:

  • Road to Le Mans: Featuring GT3 and LMP3 cars, this race is a significant part of the European Le Mans Series and provides thrilling action as a precursor to the main event.
  • Classic Le Mans: A showcase of historic race cars that have previously competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, offering a nostalgic glimpse into the rich heritage of the race.

Fan Experience

Le Mans offers a unique and immersive fan experience. Attendees can explore various fan zones, enjoy live music and entertainment, visit the famous Village area with shops and displays, and participate in autograph sessions with drivers. The atmosphere is electric, making it a must-visit for any motorsport fan.

For more detailed updates and information, visit the official 24 Hours of Le Mans website and the FIA World Endurance Championship website.

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How to Watch 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans in South Africa

Fans around the world can catch the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans through various broadcast and streaming options:

  1. Television: Major sports networks such as Eurosport and MotorTrend TV (in the U.S.) typically provide extensive coverage, including live race broadcasts and in-depth analysis. In South Africa, DSTV Supersport will have a channel dedicated to broadcasting the entire 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  2. Streaming: The official FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) website offers live streaming options, along with their dedicated WEC app. Additionally, the Le Mans website often provides live updates and streaming services.
  3. Social Media: Follow the official Le Mans and FIA WEC social media channels for live updates, behind-the-scenes content, and real-time race highlights.
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The Circuit de la Sarthe

The Circuit de la Sarthe is one of the most iconic and challenging racing tracks in the world, hosting the legendary 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans. This 13.626 km (8.467 miles) circuit is renowned for its combination of closed public roads and dedicated racing sections, providing a unique test of speed, endurance, and strategy for teams and drivers.

Track Layout and Features

  • Length: The full length of the circuit is 13.626 km (8.467 miles), making it one of the longest tracks used in motorsport.
  • Key Sections:
    • Mulsanne Straight: Known as the Hunaudières Straight, this section is famous for its high speeds, where cars can exceed 300 km/h (186 mph). Chicanes have been added over the years to reduce speeds for safety reasons.
    • Tertre Rouge: A crucial corner leading onto the Mulsanne Straight, requiring precise handling to maintain speed onto the straight.
    • Indianapolis and Arnage: A pair of challenging corners that test braking and acceleration skills, often proving pivotal in race strategy.
    • Porsche Curves: A series of fast, sweeping corners that demand maximum concentration and car stability.
    • Ford Chicane: The final set of turns before the start-finish straight, critical for setting up overtaking maneuvers and lap times.

Challenges of the Circuit

  • Varied Terrain: The mix of public roads and race track surfaces offers a diverse range of grip levels, demanding adaptability from drivers.
  • Night Racing: Nearly half the race takes place in darkness, adding a significant challenge as drivers navigate the circuit with limited visibility.
  • Weather Conditions: The weather at Le Mans can be unpredictable, with sudden rain showers adding to the difficulty of maintaining optimal performance.
  • Traffic: With multiple classes of cars racing simultaneously, managing traffic and avoiding incidents with slower cars is a constant challenge.

Historical Significance

The Circuit de la Sarthe has been the venue for the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1923. Over the years, it has witnessed countless legendary performances, technological innovations, and dramatic moments. The track is not only a test of speed but also a proving ground for endurance and reliability, making it a revered battleground for manufacturers and drivers.

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Teams and Drivers to Watch at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to feature a stellar lineup of teams and drivers, all eager to leave their mark on this prestigious endurance race. As the anticipation builds, here are the teams and drivers to keep an eye on:

Top Teams

  1. Toyota Gazoo Racing
    • Overview: Toyota has been a dominant force in recent years, consistently performing at the highest level in the Hypercar class.
    • Drivers: Look out for seasoned drivers like Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José María López, who have formed a formidable trio in previous races.
  2. Team Peugeot TotalEnergies
    • Overview: Peugeot’s return to endurance racing has been highly anticipated. With their hybrid-powered Hypercar, they aim to challenge Toyota’s dominance.
    • Drivers: Drivers like Loïc Duval, Kevin Magnussen, and Gustavo Menezes bring a wealth of experience and talent to the team.
  3. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus
    • Overview: Known for their passion and innovative engineering, Glickenhaus has become a fan favorite. Their dedication to the sport is evident in their competitive performances.
    • Drivers: Keep an eye on drivers like Romain Dumas, Richard Westbrook, and Franck Mailleux.
  4. Ferrari AF Corse
    • Overview: Ferrari’s return to the top tier of endurance racing with their Hypercar entry has generated significant excitement. Their rich history at Le Mans makes them a team to watch.
    • Drivers: Key drivers include Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Davide Rigon.

Notable Drivers

  1. Sebastien Buemi (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
    • Achievements: A multiple-time winner at Le Mans, Buemi’s expertise and consistency make him a crucial asset for Toyota.
  2. Brendon Hartley (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
    • Achievements: Hartley has proven his skill in endurance racing, contributing to Toyota’s successes with his versatile driving style.
  3. Alexander Lynn (United Autosports)
    • Achievements: Competing in the LMP2 class, Lynn’s experience in various motorsport disciplines makes him a formidable competitor.
  4. Tom Kristensen (Retired Legend)
    • Overview: Although retired, Kristensen’s record nine wins at Le Mans set the benchmark for all drivers. His legacy continues to inspire the current grid.

New Entries and Significant Changes

  • Cadillac Racing is set to make a strong entry in the Hypercar class, adding more competition at the top. Their drivers include Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, and Richard Westbrook.
  • Alpine will continue their participation in the LMP2 class with an eye on transitioning to the Hypercar class in the future. Their drivers, including Nicolas Lapierre and André Negrão, have consistently shown strong performances.

Expectations for 2024

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans promises to be a thrilling race with several top teams bringing new technology and strategies to the forefront. The competition in the Hypercar class is expected to be intense, with Toyota, Peugeot, and Ferrari leading the charge. In the LMP2 class, United Autosports and Alpine will be the teams to beat, while the GTE Pro and Am classes will showcase close battles among Porsche, Aston Martin, and Corvette.

The diverse field of competitors, combined with the challenging nature of the Circuit de la Sarthe, ensures that the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans will be a spectacular display of endurance racing at its finest.

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Classes and Cars at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans will feature a diverse array of classes and cars, showcasing cutting-edge technology and engineering excellence. Here’s an overview of the different classes and the types of cars that will be racing in this iconic event.

Hypercar Class

The Hypercar class represents the pinnacle of endurance racing in 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, featuring the most advanced and powerful cars. These vehicles are built to push the limits of speed and performance, incorporating hybrid technology and state-of-the-art aerodynamics.

Notable Entrants:

  • Toyota GR010 Hybrid: Toyota Gazoo Racing’s entry, combining a powerful internal combustion engine with electric motors for enhanced performance.
  • Peugeot 9X8: Peugeot’s innovative Hypercar, known for its distinctive design without a rear wing, relying on ground-breaking aerodynamic concepts.
  • Ferrari 499P: Ferrari’s return to the top class with a sleek and competitive Hypercar, aiming to add to their illustrious Le Mans history.
  • Cadillac V-LMDh: Cadillac’s debut in the Hypercar class, blending traditional power with modern hybrid technology.

LMP2 Class

The LMP2 class in 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is known for its competitive racing and close battles. These cars are slightly less powerful than Hypercars but are designed for high performance and reliability.

Key Features:

  • Standardized Engines: All LMP2 cars use a Gibson GK428 V8 engine, ensuring a level playing field and emphasizing driver skill and team strategy.
  • Top Contenders: United Autosports, Alpine Elf Team, and JOTA are among the leading teams in the LMP2 class, each bringing their expertise and finely-tuned vehicles to the race.

GTE Pro Class

The GTE Pro class in 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans features professional factory teams racing high-performance GT cars. These vehicles are based on road-going sports cars but are extensively modified for racing.

Notable Manufacturers:

  • Porsche 911 RSR-19: Porsche’s entry, known for its balance and handling, is a formidable competitor in the GTE Pro class.
  • Ferrari 488 GTE Evo: Ferrari’s GTE Pro car, combining speed and agility with Ferrari’s racing heritage.
  • Aston Martin Vantage AMR: Aston Martin’s contender, bringing British engineering and racing pedigree to the GTE Pro class.

GTE Am Class

The GTE Am class in 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is similar to the GTE Pro class but features a mix of professional and amateur drivers. This class emphasizes the spirit of endurance racing, allowing less experienced drivers to compete on the world stage.

Key Participants:

  • Team Project 1: Known for their consistent performance and competitive spirit in the GTE Am class.
  • AF Corse: Ferrari’s partner team, fielding competitive entries and leveraging their extensive experience in endurance racing.

Technological Advancements

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans will also be a showcase for technological advancements in motorsport. From hybrid powertrains in the Hypercar class to innovative aerodynamic solutions and advanced materials, the race serves as a testing ground for new technologies that often make their way into road cars.

Sustainability Initiatives

Le Mans is not just about speed and endurance; it’s also a platform for promoting sustainability in motorsport. The 2024 edition will continue to emphasize green technologies, including the use of renewable fuels and hybrid systems, aligning with global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental sustainability.

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans will feature a fascinating mix of classes and cars, each bringing its own set of challenges and excitement to the race. From the cutting-edge Hypercars to the fiercely competitive GTE Pro and GTE Am classes, every aspect of this event is designed to test the limits of technology and human endurance. As we approach race weekend, the anticipation continues to build for what promises to be an unforgettable showcase of motorsport excellence.

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Race Schedule for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans promises to be an action-packed weekend filled with non-stop racing excitement. Here’s the detailed schedule for the race weekend to help you keep track of all the key events:

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Free Practice 1:

  • Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM CEST
  • Description: The first opportunity for teams to get their cars on the track, fine-tuning setups and making necessary adjustments.

Qualifying 1:

  • Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM CEST
  • Description: The initial qualifying session to set preliminary times, crucial for securing a good grid position.

Night Practice:

  • Time: 10:00 PM – Midnight CEST
  • Description: Practice session under night conditions, essential for preparing drivers for the challenges of night racing.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Free Practice 2:

  • Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM CEST
  • Description: Another chance for teams to optimize their cars and strategies.

Qualifying 2:

  • Time: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CEST
  • Description: Final qualifying session, determining the starting grid for the race.

Drivers Parade:

  • Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM CEST
  • Description: A fan-favorite event where drivers parade through the town of Le Mans, giving fans a chance to see them up close.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Warm-Up:

  • Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM CEST
  • Description: Last-minute practice session to ensure everything is ready for the race.

Pre-Race Ceremonies:

  • Time: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM CEST
  • Description: Includes the grid walk, national anthem, and other ceremonial activities leading up to the race start.

Race Start:

  • Time: 3:00 PM CEST
  • Description: The iconic start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where cars line up on the grid and embark on the grueling 24-hour race.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Race Finish:

  • Time: 3:00 PM CEST
  • Description: After 24 hours of intense racing, the checkered flag waves to signal the end of the race, and the winners are crowned.

Supporting Races and Events

Road to Le Mans:

  • Race 1: Friday, June 14, 2024, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CEST
  • Race 2: Saturday, June 15, 2024, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM CEST
  • Description: These support races feature GT3 and LMP3 cars, providing additional excitement and showcasing emerging talent.

Classic Le Mans:

  • Time: Various times throughout the weekend
  • Description: A display of historic race cars that have competed at Le Mans, offering a nostalgic glimpse into the race’s rich history.

Key Timings to Watch:

Night Racing:

  • Description: Nearly half of the race takes place under the cover of darkness, a true test of endurance and concentration for drivers.
  • Key Hours: From dusk on Saturday until dawn on Sunday, approximately 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM CEST.

Pit Stop Strategy:

  • Description: Teams must carefully plan their pit stops for refueling, tire changes, and driver swaps. Efficient pit work can significantly influence the race outcome.
  • Key Moments: Frequent throughout the race, especially during transitions between day and night.

Final Thoughts on 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans Race Schedule

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to deliver a weekend of unparalleled excitement and drama. With a packed schedule of events, there will be no shortage of action on and off the track. Make sure to tune in or attend in person to witness one of motorsport’s most legendary races.

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Past Highlights of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is steeped in history, filled with legendary moments, dramatic battles, and remarkable achievements. As we look forward to the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, let’s take a moment to revisit some of the most memorable highlights from past races that have cemented Le Mans as the pinnacle of endurance racing.

The Birth of a Legend: The First Race in 1923

The inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans race took place in 1923, establishing a tradition that would grow to become one of the most prestigious motorsport events in the world. Held on a mix of public roads and purpose-built sections, the race was designed to test the endurance and reliability of cars, a principle that remains central to the event today.

Ford vs. Ferrari (1966)

One of the most famous rivalries in motorsport history reached its climax at Le Mans in 1966. Ford, determined to beat Ferrari at their own game, entered the GT40, a car specifically designed to dominate the endurance race. The dramatic showdown saw Ford achieve a historic 1-2-3 finish, breaking Ferrari’s winning streak and marking a significant moment in Le Mans history. This epic battle was later immortalized in the film “Ford v Ferrari.”

Porsche’s Dominance in the 1980s

Porsche’s success at Le Mans is legendary, particularly during the 1980s when the Porsche 956 and 962 models were virtually unbeatable. In 1982, Porsche achieved an impressive 1-2-3 finish, and over the decade, the German manufacturer solidified its reputation as a dominant force in endurance racing. Porsche holds the record for the most overall victories at Le Mans, with 19 wins.

Mazda’s Rotary Engine Triumph (1991)

Mazda made history in 1991 by becoming the first Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Mazda 787B, powered by a unique rotary engine, defied expectations and outlasted its competitors to take the checkered flag. This victory was a landmark achievement, showcasing the innovation and reliability of Mazda’s engineering.

Audi’s Era of Innovation (2000s)

The 2000s were marked by Audi’s dominance at Le Mans, with the R8, R10 TDI, and subsequent models showcasing the brand’s commitment to technological advancement. Audi introduced diesel engines to the race, with the R10 TDI becoming the first diesel-powered car to win Le Mans in 2006. Audi’s innovative approach and consistent performance resulted in 13 overall victories between 2000 and 2014.

Toyota’s Perseverance and Triumph (2018)

After several years of near misses and heartbreaking losses, Toyota Gazoo Racing finally secured their first overall victory at Le Mans in 2018 with the TS050 Hybrid. This win marked a significant milestone for Toyota, showcasing their dedication to endurance racing and their hybrid technology’s prowess. Toyota has since established a strong presence at Le Mans, continuing to compete at the highest level.

Tragic Moments and Heroic Feats

Le Mans has also seen its share of tragedy and heroism. The 1955 disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 83 spectators and driver Pierre Levegh, led to significant changes in safety standards and regulations. Despite the risks, the race has continued to inspire acts of bravery and resilience, with drivers and teams pushing the limits of human and mechanical endurance.

Records and Milestones

  • Tom Kristensen: Known as “Mr. Le Mans,” Tom Kristensen holds the record for the most wins by a driver, with nine victories between 1997 and 2013.
  • Jacky Ickx: A six-time winner, Jacky Ickx is celebrated for his exceptional driving skills and strategic brilliance, particularly his legendary performance in the 1969 race.
  • Longest Distance Covered: In 2010, the winning Audi R15 TDI covered a record distance of 5,410 km (3,362 miles), demonstrating the incredible endurance capabilities of modern race cars.

These highlights are just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of stories that make up the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As we approach the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, we anticipate new legends being forged and more unforgettable moments being created. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the sport, the history of Le Mans is a testament to the enduring spirit of motorsport.

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Predictions and Expectations for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

As the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans approaches, anticipation is building for what promises to be one of the most thrilling editions of this iconic race. Here are some predictions and expectations for this year’s event, focusing on potential winners, team performances, and key factors that could influence the race outcome.

Toyota Gazoo Racing: The Team to Beat

Toyota Gazoo Racing has been the dominant force in recent years, and they enter the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans as the favourites. Their GR010 Hybrid Hypercar has proven to be both reliable and fast, and with experienced drivers like Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José María López, Toyota is well-positioned to defend their title. Expect Toyota to leverage their technological prowess and strategic expertise to maintain their edge.

Peugeot’s Strong Challenge

Team Peugeot TotalEnergies is making a strong comeback in 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans with their innovative 9X8 Hypercar. The team has invested heavily in developing a car that can compete at the highest level, and their lineup, including drivers like Loïc Duval and Kevin Magnussen, is highly competitive. Peugeot’s return to Le Mans is one of the most anticipated stories of the year, and they are expected to challenge Toyota fiercely for the top spot.

Ferrari’s Return to the Top Class

Ferrari’s entry into the Hypercar class with the 499P in the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans has generated significant excitement. With a rich history at Le Mans and a strong driver lineup including Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Davide Rigon, Ferrari aims to make a powerful statement. Their performance in the build-up races has been promising, and they are expected to be strong contenders.

Cadillac’s Bold Entry

Cadillac Racing is entering the Hypercar class with the V-LMDh in the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, adding another layer of competition. Drivers like Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn bring experience and skill, making Cadillac a potential dark horse. Their success will depend on how quickly they can adapt to the unique challenges of Le Mans and leverage their car’s strengths.

United Autosports and the LMP2 Battle

In the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class, United Autosports remains a formidable force. With drivers like Alexander Lynn and Filipe Albuquerque, they have the talent and the car to dominate. However, competition from teams like Alpine and JOTA means the LMP2 race will be closely contested and highly entertaining.

GTE Pro and Am Classes: Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin

The GTE Pro and Am classes of 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans will feature intense battles between manufacturers like Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. In the GTE Pro class, Porsche’s 911 RSR-19 and Ferrari’s 488 GTE Evo will likely be the cars to beat. In GTE Am, teams like Team Project 1 and AF Corse will be fighting for top honors, making these classes highly competitive and unpredictable.

Factors Influencing 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

  • Weather Conditions: Le Mans is known for its unpredictable weather. Rain can drastically change track conditions, making tire strategy and driver adaptability crucial.
  • Night Racing: Nearly half the race takes place in darkness, which tests drivers’ endurance and concentration. Teams with drivers experienced in night racing will have an advantage.
  • Pit Stop Efficiency: Quick and efficient pit stops are essential. Teams must balance the need for speed with the precision required to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Traffic Management: With multiple classes on track simultaneously in 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, managing traffic and avoiding incidents with slower cars is a critical skill. Teams that excel in this area will have a significant advantage.

Expert Opinions and Analysis of 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

  • Sebastian Buemi (Toyota Gazoo Racing): “Our team has worked incredibly hard to maintain our performance edge. The competition is fierce this year, but we are confident in our car and strategy.”
  • Kevin Magnussen (Peugeot): “We’ve made great strides with the 9X8. Le Mans is always unpredictable, but we’re ready to give it our best shot.”
  • James Calado (Ferrari): “Returning to the top class with Ferrari is a dream. We’ve prepared meticulously, and we believe we can compete for the win.”

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be a spectacular event with numerous strong contenders across all classes. While Toyota Gazoo Racing remains the team to beat, fierce competition from Peugeot, Ferrari, Cadillac, and others promises to make this one of the most exciting races in recent memory. Fans can look forward to 24 hours of intense racing, strategic battles, and unforgettable moments.

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Get Ready for an Unforgettable Race Weekend!

As the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans approaches, the excitement and anticipation are at an all-time high. This year’s race promises to be a spectacular showcase of endurance, speed, and strategic brilliance. With top-tier teams like Toyota Gazoo Racing, Peugeot, Ferrari, and Cadillac all vying for glory, the competition will be fierce across all classes.

From the grueling challenges of the Circuit de la Sarthe to the unpredictable weather and intense night racing, every moment of the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans race will test the limits of both man and machine. Fans can expect thrilling battles, dramatic twists, and historic achievements as the world’s best drivers and teams push themselves to the absolute limit.

Whether you’re attending in person or following along from home, the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is an event you won’t want to miss. Mark your calendars, prepare your viewing setups, and get ready to witness one of the greatest spectacles in motorsport history. Also, check our WEC category for more news. This year’s race is set to deliver unforgettable moments that will be talked about for years to come. Let’s race!

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