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Everything you need to know about the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

Written by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri


62 cars, 24 hours, and one prize of victory - the ultimate test of man and machine will be arriving in a few days time. So buckle up as we prepare ourselves with this beginner’s guide to the world’s oldest active endurance race.


Credit: Harry Parvin/FIA WEC

What is the 24 Hours of Le Mans?


A jewel of the Triple Crown of Motorsport (the other two being Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500), the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an endurance event that takes over the screens every mid-June. The prestigious race will be held in Circuit de la Sarthe. France. 


The longest race in the WEC series, its unique layout combined with echoes of a century of prestige and history makes it one of the biggest events in the campaign.  A year has passed after the Centenary edition of Le Mans, hence this will be a motorsport weekend filled with anticipation and excitement.



How does it work?


Unlike the conventional way of winning a race by completing the fixed laps given in the shortest amount of time, the car that drives the most distance in, you guessed it, 24 hours is declared the winner. 


This might seem like a simple challenge at a glance, however, the main obstacle was more than just overcoming unprecedented weather. It’s also about balancing the ability of the car to survive on track with the demands of the speed in that period of time without mechanical difficulties, or while maintaining mechanical integrity, overall stabilising efficiency and performance.


Qualifying sessions are split into two parts, with the first lasting up to 12 minutes.


There will be at least three drivers in each competing car. To prevent fatigue, each driver is allowed to drive up to four hours within a six-hour time period, before passing the baton to their teammate. Although, a single driver is not allowed to spend more than 14 hours in the car. A half an hour minimum of break is given before resuming the race. 


As for the vehicle, pit stops are strictly used for refuelling, changing tyres and drivers. 


The 24 Hours of Le Mans is also a points heaven for all competitors, where double the usual points will be up for grabs for only the top 10 places. But fret not, for the ones finishing outside 10th, one point will be awarded for each competing vehicle in the overall classification.


Who’s taking part?


This year’s competitors of the La Sarthe classic are 23 Hypercars, 16 LMP2 cars, and 23 LMGT3 cars. 

The cars are typically raced in groups, known as classes. Participating manufacturers consist of established names in the automotive industry, including Lamborghini, Ford, Porsche, Cadillac, and of course last year’s winner Ferrari.


Each class has its own unique engineering designs as long as it meets the technical regulations respective to their categories. To create fair and balanced races for these different designs, the BoP (Balance of Performance), a key component in WEC, is used in making technical adjustments involving power output and weight.



Hypercars

This sports prototype machinery is considered the premier category, being the fastest and most technologically advanced, thus the most frequent to win the French enduro. This can be built under the regulations of LMH(Le Mans Hypercar) or LMDh (Le Mans Daytona) cars.


Teams fielding hypercars:



  • Porsche Penske

  • Toyota Gazoo  

  • Cadillac

  • BMW M Team WRT

  • Lamborghini Iron Lynx

  • Hertz Team Jota 

  • Isotta Fraschini

  • Alpine

  • Ferrari 

  • Whelen Cadillac

  • Proton Competition

  • Peugeot TotalEnergies

  • AF Corse



LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) 

This class makes a one-off appearance in Le Mans, despite being dropped from the 2024 calendar. This second tier prototype category includes a mixture of professional and amateur drivers (Pro/Am). This also serves as a great platform for the fresh talents to prove their prowess in endurance racing, and climb up to join the Hypercar category.


As the entire LMP2 field uses Gibson-powered cars built by ORECA, If these drivers and teams can perform well in this class, that would be enough to shine among others.


Teams participating in LMP2:



  • Vector Sport

  • AO by TF  

  • United Autosports (UK & USA)

  • Proton Competition

  • Algarve Pro Racing

  • Duqueine 

  • Nielsen

  • IDEC Sport

  • Inter Europol Competition

  • Crowdstrike Racing by APR

  • Panis Racing

  • Cool Racing

  • DKR Engineering

  • AF Corse



LMGT3 (Le Mans Grand Touring 3)

The all-new entry is a replacement for the GTE class, which was removed from this season. These normally consist of modified editions of mass-produced road cars that are being manufactured and sold during the homologation period.


Teams participating in LMGT3:



  • Vista AF Corse

  • United Autosports

  • Iron Dames

  • Proton Competition

  • Algarve Pro Racing

  • TF Sport

  • Team WRT

  • Heart of Racing Team

  • Akkodis ASP Team

  • Manthey EMA

  • Spirit of Race

  • Inception Racing

  • D’Station Racing

  • JMW Motorsport

  • Iron Lynx

  • GR Racing

  • Manthey PureRxcing



As long as their names are listed by FIA, drivers from any corner of motorsport are eligible to enter. This is evident in this year’s star-studded grid, with the likes of drivers and former world champions across the motorsport realm, namely Jenson Button, Alex Palou and Nyck de Vries.


In an unfortunate turn of events, Toyota driver and Le Mans winner Mike Conway alongside Iron Dames driver Doriane Pin will not be taking part in Le Mans as stated in a last-minute announcement, both citing recovering from a rib-related injury which forced them to withdraw.


Find out more on the complete list of entrants right here



Where’s it held?


As previously mentioned, the race will be held in Circuit de la Sarthe, made up of a series of semi-permanent race-specific sections mixed with several public roads which are closed solely for this event. As the race covers both day and night time, these will bring up the light and noise near the city of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. 


Hosted since 1923, this 13.626 km (8.467 mile) track has stood the test of time, as a tangle of triumphs and tragedies take place in this iconic circuit, such as the 1955 Disaster and Ferrari’s 2023 win after its last race in 1964. 



What's new for 2024?

There are several changes in the regulations exclusively for the latest edition of the Le Mans race, some of them include:


  • Hypercar and LMGT3 classes are prohibited to use tyre warmers, much to their dismay.


  • Initially planned for implementation in 6 Hours of Imola a while ago, the two-stage power system in BoP is set to adjust the car’s maximum speeds above a certain speed level to equalise the acceleration of the entire grid.




Where to watch?


The first qualifying session will commence on Wednesday, 12th June (6 p.m. BST), while the official race will be starting on Saturday, 15th June (3 p.m. BST). This is definitely a race not to be missed! Channels to watch the race listed below are based on regions.Also, do head over to our website for LIVE coverage of 24 Hours of Le Mans!


Region

Channels

Global

WEC TV

EU, UK, Australia

Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2

Non-EU

Max, MotorTrend TV (US)

Supersport (Sub-Saharan Africa)




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