Le Mans is looking for the winner of its 89th edition. The 24 hours started with a rain battle. Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso made history before the race. We've collected the images of the classic through day and night.
When Fernando Alonso steered his Formula 1 racing car over the track, it was still dry. The Spaniard, who won the endurance classic with Toyota in 2018 and 2019, returned to La Sarthe. This time with Alpine, but only for show and for the delight of the fans. 50,000 spectators should be admitted to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.
They experienced a premiere. For the first time ever, a Formula 1 car completed a full lap at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Alonso was given this honor. F1 teammate Esteban Ocon was also active for his employer. However, the winner of the Hungarian GP did not climb into a single-seater, but into the A110 GT4.
61 cars at the start
The rain started after the dry runs. And presented the drivers with a special challenge. It had stayed dry all week, now they had to get used to the slippery ground within a short time. The race director helped. Ferrari CEO John Elkann opened the race, but the 61 cars first slowed down two laps behind the pace car to allow the starting drivers to approach.
At the wheel of the pace car sat Derek Bell, who won the biggest endurance trophy in motorsport five times in his career (1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987) and is active as Grand Marshal in the 89th edition. When Bell slid off the track, the field finally roared. Because of touching. It cracked in several places. In his Glickenhaus Hypercar, Olivier Pla cleared the Toyota GR010 Hybrid driven by Sebastien Buemi (start number #8) in the first chicane. It was not the only incident in a turbulent start phase.
It didn't take long for the 13.626-kilometer race track to dry up again. The lap times tumbled. The teams fight for the victories in four classes. Five cars will start in the hypercar category: Toyota, Glickenhaus and Alpine. In LMP2 there are 24 of them. In LMGTE Pro there are eight cars and in the GT amateur class there are 23. There is also the number 84 Association SRT41 racer, which competes in the "Innovative Car" class. Here, three drivers with physical disabilities share the workload over 24 hours.