A pivotal year before the centenary

A pivotal year before the centenary

The 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place this weekend, and this legendary car competition kicks off a special edition as its centenary approaches, which the motoring world will open in 2023.

Freed from health metrics, the 2022 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans runs Wednesday through Sunday, with everything from the pivotal race a year before the competition’s centenary and the return of the historic manufacturers.

The legendary endurance car race returns to its full audience this year, after the closed door in 2020 and last year’s health bar, and the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Endurance enthusiasts and people of Le Mans (…) will once again be able to celebrate 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Pierre Fillon, President of the Auto Club de l’Ouest (ACO), welcomes the race organizer. The return of the downtown weight and parade of pilots All activities designed for the audience are an event in itself..

Hence the return of the spectators, but not from the big names in motorsport: Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, BMW, Cadillac… Everyone will start the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2023 and meet at Sarthe a hundred years after the first race.

The French manufacturer Peugeot, which wanted to ensure that it had a reliable, first-class supercar, would not take the championship until 24 hours after Le Mans.

Favorite Toyota

In their absence, Toyota dominated the race, finally got rid of its legendary misfortune, and won the last four editions at Le Mans.

This year again, the Japanese team is the favorite to succeed itself with its N.7 supercar led by Britain’s Mike Conway, Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi and Argentina’s Jose Maria Lopez, which finally won last year after several misfortunes.

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The main competitor to the Toyota N.7 should be the … Toyota N.8 led by Swiss Sebastien Buemi, New Zealander Brendon Hartley and Japan’s Ryo Hirakawa.

However, after two races, the manufacturer has yet to top the WEC Championship, led by the French Alpine team, thanks in particular to the supercar’s 1,000-mile victory for Andre Nagrao, France’s Nicolas Lapierre and Mathieu Växvere. From Sebring (USA).

“After two races, the title struggle in the hypercar class is still very open and the Le Mans event can determine the direction the championship will take,” notes Richard Mille, chair of the FIA ​​Endurance Committee.

In addition to Toyota and Alpine, the American team Glickenhaus, which takes its name from its founder, director and producer in New York James Glickenhaus, will once again enter two hypercars, which will attempt to defy the odds during this historically unpredictable race.

Sebastien Ogier premiere

In all, 62 cars will ply the Sarthe circuit, like last year. In addition to the five supercars, there will be 27 LMP2 (more modular and slower), seven LMGTE Pro (derived from production sports cars) and 23 LMGTE Am (which can be driven by amateurs for special teams).

Among the interesting things about this edition, the presence of eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier will be especially scrutinized. In his first endurance race, the Frenchman explained in January to AFP that he was approaching a “relaxation” race, with the desire to “Let’s see how (he) progresses and how close (he) gets to the best”.

Together with fellow countrymen Charles Melici and Lilo Wadox, 21, he will form one of the three mixed teams in the competition, on the LMP2 wheel for Team Richard Mille.

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A female crew will also compete in the LGMTE Am: Iron Dames class, with Switzerland’s Rachel Frey, Denmark’s Michael Gatting and Belgium’s Sarah Bovey at the wheel.

Among the amateur pilots in attendance this year is German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender who will be the eye-catcher at the Proton Competition N.93 (LGMTE Am).

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