The 82nd edition of this great spectacle is less than two weeks away.
A little over a week remains until the start of this year’s 24 Heures du Mans. Last weekend’s test day on the 13.629km Circuit de la Sarthe enabled most of the 56 competing teams to hone their preparations for motor sport’s most famous endurance race.
No 24 Heures du Mans is ever banal, but this year’s 82nd edition promises to be particularly engrossing. First and foremost, the quest for supremacy in LM P1 has reached fever pitch with a wide open three way battle forecast. Defending champion Audi, despite an impressive three car roster including Loïc Duval, Marcel Fässler and record nine-time winner, Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen, will face a stringent title defence owing to the determined challenges of rival manufacturers and drivers.
Each of the three manufacturers has selected a different technical approach for the 2014 race from choice of engine and fuel to aerodynamic package. Engineers have been given a creative licence to find the winning solution, taking into account the nature of the race which includes moments of dense traffic, changeable weather conditions and seven hours of night-time driving.
Eighteen cars will contest the LM P2 class, 28 in the GTE classes; nine in Pro, 19 in Amateur. 168 drivers from nearly 30 countries will take part. France is the most represented country (37 drivers), followed by the United Kingdom (27) and the United States (18). The LM P1 class contains eight former race winners.
The 15:00 CEST start on Saturday 14 June will be conducted by two legends of the sport. Recently retired Allan McNish, three-time winner of the race, will serve as Grand Marshal while Fernando Alonso, two-time Formula 1 world champion, will have the honour of unfurling the tricolour start flag.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans was founded and is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). Rolex has been Official Timepiece since 2001.
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