The fabled 24 hours of Le Mans takes place this weekend (June 16-17 2018). The 2018 Le Mans race has attracted heightened interest because of the increased participation of Formula 1 drivers, past and present, led by the irrepressible Fernando Alonso.
Formula 1 drivers at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours
Le Mans will take place twice as part of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) Super Season from May 2018 to June 2019, the second and last race of the season. Alonso is committed to driving in all the races of this super season, even as he participates in the 2018 Formula 1 season.
The Le Mans 24 Hour race has been run in various formats since 1923 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The race joined the FIA WEC championship in 2012. The race starts on Saturday afternoon and runs for 24 hours until Sunday.
The LMP1 (LE MANS Prototype 1), LMP2 (LE MANS Prototype 2), LMGTE PRO (LE MANS Grand Touring Endurance Pro) and LMGTE AM (LE MANS Grand Touring Endurance Amateur) categories are part of this race. Each category is regulated by the Rules and Regulations of the FIA.
Fernando Alonso and Toyota Start Favorites
In the LMP1 class, the two Toyota Gazoo Racing (Toyota TS050 HYBRID) entries, Car #7 and #8, will be favorites to win. The Japanese manufacturer is the only manufacturer left in LMP1 after the exit of Audi and Porsche from the series.
Fernando Alonso’s Car #8 will start on pole. The two-time Formula 1 World Champion (2005, 2006) is joined by ex-F1 drivers Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Buemi is a former WEC Champion (2014) and Formula E Champion (2015-2016). The Swiss driver spent three seasons (2009-2011) with Toro Rosso in F1. Nakajima drove for Williams for three seasons (2007-2009).
Alonso leads the brigade of F1 drivers at the race this year. The Spaniard is intent on joining Graham Hill as a “triple crown winner” (Monaco GP, Le Mans, Indy500 winner). He has taken on a heavy schedule driving for McLaren in F1 and the super season of the WEC in parallel.
Alonso made his 300th GP appearance at the Canadian GP last weekend. He will be competing at his first Le Mans, before returning to race in F1 at the French GP next weekend. A very challenging schedule indeed !!
In the sister Toyota #7, another former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi leads the way. Kobayashi spent five seasons in F1, mainly with the Sauber F1 team (2010-2012).
Jenson Button Debuts at Le Mans
Jenson Button, former F1 World Champion (2009) and former teammate of Alonso at McLaren, makes his debut at Le Mans this year. The now retired Button (306 F1 races) will drive for SMP Racing (BRE-AER BR1) Car #11. One of his teammates is Vitaly Petrov, another former F1 driver. Button is also currently racing in the Japanese Super GT Series.
F1 reject, Bruno Senna, is driving for one of the strongest privateer teams, Rebellion Racing (Rebellion-Gibson R-13), in the LMP1 class. His teammate Andre Lotterer made a solitary start for Caterham F1 in 2014.
Formula 1 drivers in the LMP2 class
Juan Pablo Montoya is a 7-time race winner in F1 (2001-2006). After the maverick Colombian left F1, he has made a name for himself over a long and distinguished career in the IndyCar and NASCAR series in the USA. Montoya has won the Indy500 (2000, 2015) and the Monaco GP (2003), two-thirds of the triple crown.
Montoya will be driving for the United Autosports (Ligier-Gibson JSP217) team’s Car #22. Former Force India F1 driver, Paul Di Resta will be driving for the sister car of this team. Will Stevens, former driver for Marussia F1, will be driving for the Panis Barthez Competition team in the same class.
G-Drive Racing (ORECA-Gibson 07), the Russian entrant, has fielded Jean-Eric Vergne in Car #26. Vergne spent three seasons (2012-2014) with Scuderia Toro Rosso. The Frenchman moved to the new Formula E series and leads the drivers’ championship in the current season (2018-2019).
Pastor Maldonado, former Williams and Lotus F1 driver, will be driving for the DragonSpeed (ORECA-Gibson 07) racing team. Maldonado was known for his many mishaps in F1. The Venezuelan is a one-time race winner winning the Spanish GP in 2012.
Giedo van der Garde, former Caterham F1 driver, will be driving for the Racing Team Nederland (Dallara-Gibson P217) this year. The Dutchman left F1 after a dramatic court case against the Sauber F1 team and an out of court settlement that ended his F1 career.
Felipe Nasr, another ex-Sauber driver, will complete the team of former F1 drivers in the LMP2 class. The Brazilian will be driving for the Cetilar Villorba Corse (Dallara-Gibson P217) team. He participates in the IMSA racing series also.
Formula 1 drivers in the GTE class
Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber F1 reserve driver, has made two starts for the Sauber team in F1. The Italian junior Ferrari driver will drive for the Ferrari AF Corse team in the GTE Pro class.
Jan Magnussen, former F1 driver and father of current F1 driver Kevin Magnussen, will drive for the Corvette Racing team.
The Ford Chip Ganassi team will have Sebastian Bourdais driving for them. The Frenchman partnered with the future four-time F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel, at Toro Rosso in 2008. A mid-season exit in 2009 saw Bourdais go to IndyCar racing and he has had a long career there.
Giancarlo Fisichella will be driving for the Ferrari 488 GTE team in the GTE Am class. Fisichella is a three-time race winner in F1 and had a long career (1996-2009) in the sport making over 230 appearances.
Alonso starts Le Mans from Pole position
Alonso, Nakajima, and Buemi have qualified on pole in the Toyota Car #8. They will be joined by sister Car #7 in the front row. Alonso will hope to emulate fellow F1 driver, Nico Hulkenberg, who won Le Mans in 2015 with the Porsche team. A large number of F1 fans will follow Le Mans this year to track the fortunes of Alonso and all the other F1 drivers driving at this historic motorsport race.
|1||LMP1||S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, F.Alonso||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Toyota||3m15.377s||–|
|2||LMP1||M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Toyota||3m17.377s||2.000s|
|3||LMP1||A.Lotterer, N.Jani, B.Senna||Rebellion Racing||Rebellion/Gibson||3m19.449s||4.072s|
|4||LMP1||S.Sarrazin, E.Orudzhev, M.Isaakyan||SMP Racing||BR Engineering/AER||3m19.483s||4.106s|
|5||LMP1||T.Laurent, M.Beche, G.Menezes||Rebellion Racing||Rebellion/Gibson||3m19.945s||4.568s|
|6||LMP1||H.Hedman, B.Hanley, R.van der Zande||DragonSpeed||BR Engineering/Gibson||3m21.110s||5.733s|
|7||LMP1||V.Petrov, M.Aleshin, J.Button||SMP Racing||BR Engineering/AER||3m21.408s||6.031s|
|8||LMP1||O.Webb, D.Kraihamer, T.Dillmann||ByKOLLES Racing Team||ENSO CLM/NISMO||3m22.505s||7.128s|
|9||LMP1||O.Rowland, A.Brundle, O.Turvey||CEFC TRSM Racing||Ginetta/Mecachrome||3m23.757s||8.380s|
|10||LMP2||P.Lafargue, P-L.Chatin, M.Rojas||Idec Sport Racing||ORECA/Gibson||3m24.842s||9.465s|
|11||LMP2||R.Gonzalez, P.Maldonado, N.Berthon||DragonSpeed||ORECA/Gibson||3m24.883s||9.506s|
|12||LMP2||R.Rusinov, A.Pizzitola, J-E.Vergne||G-Drive Racing||ORECA/Gibson||3m25.160s||9.783s|
|13||LMP2||F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, L.Duval||TDS Racing||ORECA/Gibson||3m25.240s||9.863s|
|14||LMP1||C.Robertson, M.Simpson, L.Roussel||CEFC TRSM Racing||Ginetta/Mecachrome||3m25.268s||9.891s|
|15||LMP2||T.Buret, J.Canal, W.Stevens||Panis Barthez Competition||Ligier/Gibson||3m25.376s||9.999s|
|16||LMP2||N.Lapierre, A.Negrao, P.Thiriet||Signatech Alpine Matmut||Alpine/Gibson||3m26.681s||11.304s|
|17||LMP2||V.Capillaire, J.Hirschi, T.Gommendy||Graff-SO24||ORECA/Gibson||3m26.701s||11.324s|
|18||LMP2||P.Hanson, F.Albuquerque, P.Di Resta||United Autosports||Ligier/Gibson||3m26.772s||11.395s|
|19||LMP2||H-Pin Tung, S.Richelmi, G.Aubry||Jackie Chan DC Racing||ORECA/Gibson||3m27.120s||11.743s|
|20||LMP2||J.Jaafar, N.Jeffri, W.Tan||Jackie Chan DC Racing||ORECA/Gibson||3m27.226s||11.849s|
|21||LMP2||J.Allen, J.Gutierrez, E.Guibbert||G-Drive Racing||ORECA/Gibson||3m27.280s||11.903s|
|22||LMP2||R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto, F.Nasr||Cetilar Villorba Corse||Dallara/Gibson||3m27.993s||12.616s|
|23||LMP2||F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, J.Lammers||Racing Team Nederland||Dallara/Gibson||3m28.111s||12.734s|
|24||LMP2||H.de Sadeleer, W.Owen, J.P.Montoya||United Autosports||Ligier/Gibson||3m28.159s||12.782s|
|25||LMP2||V.Shaytar, H.Newey, N.Nato||SMP Racing||Dallara/Gibson||3m28.629s||13.252s|
|26||LMP2||R.Taylor, C.Ledogar, D.H.Hansson||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Ligier/Gibson||3m29.474s||14.097s|
|27||LMP2||A.Bertolini, N.Jonsson, T.Krohn||Eurasia Motorsport||Ligier/Gibson||3m33.585s||18.208s|
|28||LMP2||D.Cheng, N.Boulle, P.Nicolet||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Ligier/Gibson||3m35.237s||19.860s|
|29||LMP2||E.Creed, R.Ricci, T.Dagoneau||Larbre Competition||Ligier/Gibson||3m38.206s||22.829s|
|30||LMP2||M.Patterson, A.D.De Jong, T.Kim||Algarve Pro Racing||Ligier/Gibson||3m39.518s||24.141s|
|31||GTE Pro||R.Lietz, G.Bruni, F.Makowiecki||Porsche GT Team||Porsche||3m47.504s||32.127s|
|32||GTE Pro||M.Christensen, K.Estre, L.Vanthoor||Porsche GT Team||Porsche||3m49.097s||33.720s|
|33||GTE Pro||S.Mucke, O.Pla, B.Johnson||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Ford||3m49.181s||33.804s|
|34||GTE Pro||A.P.Guidi, J.Calado, D.Serra||AF Corse||Ferrari||3m49.494s||34.117s|
|35||GTE Pro||J.Hand, D.Muller, S.Bourdais||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Ford||3m49.582s||34.205s|
|36||GTE Pro||P.Pilet, N.Tandy, E.Bamber||Porsche GT Team||Porsche||3m49.589s||34.212s|
|37||GTE Pro||R.Briscoe, R.Westbrook, S.Dixon||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Ford||3m49.761s||34.384s|
|38||GTE Pro||R.Dumas, T.Bernhard, S.Muller||Porsche GT Team||Porsche||3m50.089s||34.712s|
|39||GTE Pro||J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, M.Rockenfeller||Corvette Racing – GM||Chevrolet||3m50.242s||34.865s|
|40||GTE Pro||D.Rigon, S.Bird, M.Molina||AF Corse||Ferrari||3m50.246s||34.869s|
|41||GTE Pro||A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, T.Kanaan||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Ford||3m50.429s||35.052s|
|42||GTE Pro||A.Farfus, A.F.da Costa, A.Sims||BMW Team MTEK||BMW||3m50.579s||35.202s|
|43||GTE Pro||M.Tomczyk, N.Catsburg, P.Eng||BMW Team MTEK||BMW||3m50.596s||35.219s|
|44||GTE Am||M.Cairoli, K.Al Qubaisi, G.Roda||Dempsey-Proton Racing||Porsche||3m50.728s||35.351s|
|45||GTE Pro||O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler||Corvette Racing – GM||Chevrolet||3m50.952s||35.575s|
|46||GTE Pro||T.Vilander, A.Giovinazzi, P.Derani||AF Corse||Ferrari||3m50.957s||35.580s|
|47||GTE Am||M.Wainwright, B.Barker, A.Davison||Gulf Racing||Porsche||3m51.391s||36.014s|
|48||GTE Am||M.Campbell, C.Ried, J.Andlauer||Dempsey-Proton Racing||Porsche||3m51.930s||36.553s|
|49||GTE Am||T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella||Spirit of Race||Ferrari||3m51.956s||36.579s|
|50||GTE Pro||A.Lynn, M.Martin, J.Adam||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||3m52.486s||37.109s|
|51||GTE Am||J.Bergmeister, P.Lindsey, E.Perfetti||Team Project 1||Porsche||3m52.985s||37.608s|
|52||GTE Am||S.Yoluc, E.Hankey, C.Eastwood||TF Sport||Aston Martin||3m53.070s||37.693s|
|53||GTE Am||F.Babini, C.Nielsen, E.Maris||Ebimotors||Porsche||3m53.402s||38.025s|
|54||GTE Am||Mok W.S., M.Griffin, K.Sawa||Clearwater Racing||Ferrari||3m53.409s||38.032s|
|55||GTE Am||L.Griffin, C.MacNeil, J.Segal||JMW Motorsport||Ferrari||3m53.439s||38.062s|
|56||GTE Pro||M.Sorensen, N.Thiim, D.Turner||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||3m53.523s||38.146s|
|57||GTE Am||P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||3m53.817s||38.440s|
|58||GTE Am||B.Keating, J.Bleekemolen, L.Stolz||Keating Motorsports||Ferrari||3m54.000s||38.623s|
|59||GTE Am||P.Long, T.Pappas, S.Pumpelly||Proton Competition||Porsche||3m54.720s||39.343s|
|60||GTE Am||M.Ishikawa, O.Beretta, E.Cheever||MR Racing||Ferrari||3m54.951s||39.574s|
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