The 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to be one of the most competitive in recent memory as the LMP1 class welcomes back an old friend in the form of Nissan.
Audi will be out to defend the title that they took last year with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler at the wheel. However, Toyota are looking for their first ever victory around the Circuit de la Sarthe, while record 16-time winners Porsche will hope to secure a first win since they returned to the premier class.
The battle doesn’t end there though – far from it – as the LMP2 class promises even closer action, and if recent years are anything to go by, the fight at the front will go right down to the wire.
Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche are just some of the names that will feature in the GTE Pro and Am classes, and while the more familiar supercars don’t quite have the corner speed, downforce and acceleration of the prototypes, they can still reach similar top speeds on the famous Mulsanne straight.
When does it start?
The race will get underway at 3pm local time on Saturday 13 June, meaning a 2pm BST start in the UK. The field will make their way through the Ford Chicane in double-file, and will wait until the drop of the French national flag, with the Tricolour set to signal the start of the 24 hour race. Unsurprisingly, given the names of the race, drivers will race through the night until the chequered flag drops at 3pm local time (2pm BST).
How does it work?
Driver will work in teams of three, with each team sporting from one to four cars across the field. Each driver must complete at least four hours during the race, although they cannot driver for more than four hours inside a six hour period. The maximum time allowed behind the wheel during the race is 14 hours.
Unlike Formula One, cars that either crash out on the circuit or suffer mechanical issues will attempt to limp back to the pits and repair the car in order to get back out on track, giving that the length of the race and rate of attrition means strong finishes are still salvageable.
Who’s racing and where will they start?
Porsche will begin the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours with all three cars at the front of the grid after dominating the final dry qualifying session. Neel Jani put the No 18 Porsche on pole ahead of the No 17 – driven by Timo Bernhard – and the No 19 in the hands of Nick Tandy.
Audi will start line astern in fourth, fifth and sixth with the defending champions sandwiched in the middle, while Toyota will start seventh and eighth headed by the No 2 car.
The Nissans have improved their times as the week has gone on, meaning they will start behind the Rebellions in 12th, 13th and 15th.
The leading LMP2 car will be the No 47 KCMG Oreca Nissan of Richard Bradley, Matthew Howson and Nicolas Lapierre, who start among the Nissans in 14th. Aston Martin clinched GTE Pro pole as Richie Stanaway, Fernando Rees and Alex MacDowall will start the No 99 Vantage V8 in 34th, and the GTE Am leader will start just two places behind after Pedro Lamy powered the No 98 Aston Martin to pole along with Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, son of F1 world champion Niki Lauda.
Where can I watch it?
Eurosport will be providing around the clock coverage once again with their live show set to get underway at 1.45pm on Eurosport and Eurosport HD, running all the way through to the end of the race and the podium celebrations after.Reuse content