The 77th edition of the 24h of Le Mans, the most fascinating and famous endurance race in the world, will officially begin today with the first free practice sessions.

Matteo Bobbi will be at his first experience on the circuit de la Sarthe, despite his numerous participations to other famous 24hour races like Daytona and Spa. The Italian driver will be behind the wheel of a Lola B09/08 LM P2 lined up by team Racing Box, together with his usual crew-mates in the Le Mans Series: Thomas Biagi and Andrea Piccini.

The Circuit de la Sarthe, is a semi-permanent race track located in the Sarthe county in France and hosts every year the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With a total length of 13,629 km the circuit is one of the longest one in the world and throughout the years it underwent several changes to raise its security standards. Its endless main straight is famous, a part of the Route Nationale 138, whereby the top speed is crucial for the final braking. The track is a tough test-bench both for drivers and for mechanical parts, the car is full throttle for more than 70% of the lap.

Le Mans has always been a speed temple, and at the end of '80s this was impressive: in 1988 a WM P88 powered by a Peugeot V6 Turbo reached 405 km/h in the race, whole the following year a Suber C9 reached 400 km/h during practices.

At that point FISA decided that cars were too dangerous and two chicanes were added before the 1990 race. At the time, towards the end of the straight the Mulsanne's hillock was present, on which the Mercedes-Benz CLR of Mark Webber took off and tipped over in 1999. The hillock was successively made smaller for security reasons.

The roll of honour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is full of names that made the history of motor racing, such as Tazio Nuvolari, Henri Pescarolo, Jacky Ickx, Klaus Ludwig, Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Emanuele Pirro. Among winning constructors we can cite Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, Jaguar, BMW and Audi.

Matteo Bobbi:
"Racing at Le Mans is gonna be a new emotion for me. The team did a very accurate preparation work and we hope this to be the winning point of the race: reliability played a crucial role in previous editions and it will be important first to get under the chequered flag. In terms of competitiveness I am fairly confident: we already won a race in the LMS, the car is performing and our team is one of the strongest. Premises are therefore definitely positive".

-credit: mb