The 87th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours takes place this weekend and features the largest grid ever seen, with organisers expanding the field to 62 cars for the biggest test of endurance in motorsport.
Toyota Gazoo Racing will look to successfully defend the Le Mans crown they won last year in what is the climax of the inaugural World Endurance Championship Super Season, 14 months after it started in May 2018.
With Toyota guaranteed to win the LMP drivers’ championship, all that remains to be decided is which one of their No 7 and No 8 cars takes the title, with ex-Formula One driver Fernando Alonso currently leading the way alongside teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in the No 8 TS050, while the two Rebellions battle it out for the best-of-the-rest third place.
However, the LMP2 fight will go down to the wire as Signatech Alpine Matmut and Jackie Chan DC Racing head into Le Mans separated by just five points between three cars in the teams’ championship and four points between the No 36 Alpine of Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet and the No 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing of Gabriel Aubry, Ho-Pin Tung and Stephane Richelmi.
With Porsche already wrapping up the GT manufacturers championship, the No 92 car of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen - joined by Lars Vanthoor - will look to wrap up the drivers’ championship as only the sister No 91 of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz - along with Frederic Makowiecki - can stop them. To celebrate, two gold liveries have been unveiled by Porsche to celebrate the title triumphs.
The GTE Am battle remains very much alive, though the No 56 of Team Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Linsey and Egidio Perfetti hold a healthy 23-point lead over the No 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Francesco Castellacci, Giancarlo Fisichella and Thomas Flohr in both the drivers’ and teams’ championship battle, with the No 90 TF Sport Aston Martin, No 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche, No 98 Aston Martin and No 61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari all mathematically still in the title fight.
Here’s everything you need to know for the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Schedule (all times BST)
3pm-7pm: 24 Hours of Le Mans free practice
7:30pm-8.30pm: Road to Le Mans free practice 1
9pm-11pm: 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying
7.30am-8.30am: Road to Le Mans free practice 2
9am-9:45am: Ferrari Challenge free practice
10:25am-11:10am: Ferrari Challenge free practice 2
12pm-12:20pm: Road to Le Mans qualifying 1
12:35pm-12:55pm: Road to Le Mans qualifying 2
2pm-3pm: Ferrari Challenge qualifying
4.30pm-5:25pm: Road to Le Mans Race 1
6pm-8pm: 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying
9pm-11pm: 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying
8am-8:45am: 24 Hours of Le Mans warm-up
9:15am-9:50am: Ferrari Challenge race
10:30am-11:25am: Road to Le Mans race two
2pm: 24 Hours of Le Mans starts
2pm: 24 Hours of Le Mans finishes
Why are their 62 teams?
Three years ago, the ACO announced that the size of the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid would expand from 56 cars to 60 in order to accommodate the four Chip Ganassi Racing Fords that celebrated 50 years since the famous one-two-three-four of GT40s in 1966.
But that number has increased once again to 62, with two additional pitboxes installed at the end of the paddock that allows the No 20 High Class Racing and No 32 United Autosport LMP2 entries to join the grid.
Announcing the move, ACO president Pierre Fillon said: "In February, the selection committee faced a harder task than it has in many years. There were 75 applications - all of a high standard - and it was particularly difficult to choose 60, only 60 of them should I say.
"We quickly came to the conclusion that we had to find a way of accepting additional competitors, and our crews confirmed the feasibility of adding two garages to pit lane.
24 Hours of Le Mans entry list
1. Rebellion Racing (Rebellion R13-Gibson): Neel Jani (SWI), Andre Lotterer (GER), Bruno Senna (BRA)
3. Rebellion Racing (Rebellion R13-Gibson): Nathanael Berthon (FRA), Thomas Laurent (FRA), Gustavo Menezes (USA)
4. ByKolles Racing Team (ENSO CLM P1/01-Gibson): Tom Dillman (FRA), Paolo Ruberti (ITA), Oliver Webb (GBR)
7. Toyota Gazoo Racing (Toyota TS050 Hybrid): Mike Conway (GBR), Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Jose Maria Lopez (ARG)
8. Toyota Gazoo Racing (Toyota TS050 Hybrid): Fernando Alonso (SPA), Sebastian Buemi (SWI) Kazuki Nakajima (JAP)
10. DragonSpeed (BR Engineering BR1-Gibson): Ben Hanley (GBR), Henrik Hedman (SWE), Renger van der Zande (NED)
11. SMP Racing (BR Engineering BR1-AER): Mikhail Aleshin (RUS), Vitaly Petroy (RUS), Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL)
17. SMP Racing (BR Engineering BR1-AER): Edor Orudzhev (RUS), Stephane Sarrazin (FRA), Sergey Sirotkin (RUS)
20. High Class Racing (Oreca 07-Gibson): Dennis Andersen (DEN), Mathias Beche (SWI), Anders Fjordbach (DEN)
22. United Autosports (Ligier JS P217-Gibson): Filipe Albuquerque (POR), Philip Hanson (GBR), Paul Di Resta (GBR)
23. Panis Barthez Competition (Ligier JS P217-Gibson): Rene Binder (AUT), Julien Canal (FRA), Will Stevens (GBR)
25. Algarve Pro Racing (Oreca 07-Gibson): John Falb (USA), Andrea Pizzitola (FRA), David Zollinger (FRA)
26. G-Drive Racing (Aurus 01-Gibson): Roman Rusinov (RUS), Job van Uitert (NED), Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA)
28. TDS Racing (Oreca 07-Gibson): Loic Duval (FRA), Francois Perrodo (FRA), Matthieu Vaxiviere (FRA)
29. Racing Team Nederland (Dallara P217-Gibson): Frits van Eerd (NED), Giedo van der Garde (NED), Nyck de Vries (NED)
30. Duqueine Engineering (Oreca 07-Gibson): Romain Dumas (FRA), Nico Jamin (FRA), Pierre Ragues (FRA)
31. DragonSpeed (Oreca 07-Gibson): Anthony Davidson (GBR), Roberto Gonzalez (MEX), Pastor Maldonado (VEN)
32. United Autosports (Ligier JS P217-Gibson): Alex Brundle (GBR), Ryan Cullen (IRE), Will Owen (USA)
34. Inter Europol Competition (Ligier JS P217-Gibson): Nigel Moore (GBR), Jakub Smiechowski (POL), James Winslow (GBR)
36. Signatech Alpine Matmut (Alpine A470-Gibson): Nicolas Lapierre (FRA), Andre Negrao (BRA), Pierre Thiriet (FRA)
37. Jackie Chan DC Racing (Oreca 07-Gibson): David Heinemeier Hansson (DEN), Jordan King (GBR) Ricky Taylor (USA)
38. Jackie Chan DC Racing (Oreca 07-Gibson): Gabriel Aubry (FRA), Stephane Richelmi (MON), Ho-Pin Tung (NED)
39. Graff (Oreca 07-Gibson): Vincent Capillaire (FRA), Jonathan Hirschi (SWI), Tristan Gommendy (FRA)
43. RLR M Sport Tower Events (Oreca 07-Gibson): John Farano (CAN), Arjun Maini (IND), Norman Nato (FRA)
47. Cetilar Racing Villorba Corse (Dallara P217-Gibson): Andrea Belicchi (ITA), Roberto Lacorte (ITA), Giorgio Sernagiotto (ITA)
48. IDEC SPort (Oreca 07-Gibson): Paul-Loup Chatin (FRA), Paul Lafargue (FRA), Memo Rojas (MEX)
49. ARC Bratislava (Ligier JS P217-Gibson): Henning Enqvist (SWE), Miro Konopka (SLO), Konstantin Tereshchenko (RUS)
50. Larbre Competition (Ligier JS P217-Gibson): Nicholas Boulle (USA), Erwin Creed (FRA), Romano Ricci (FRA)
51. AF Corse (Ferrari 488 GTE Evo): James Calado (GBR), Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA), Daniel Serra (BRA)
63. Corvette Racing (Chevrolet Corvette C7.R): Antonio Garcia (SPA), Jan Magnussen (DEN), Mike Rockenfeller (GER)
64. Corvette Racing (Chevrolet Corvette C7.R): Marcel Fassler (SWI), Oliver Gavin (GBR), Tommy Milner (USA)
66. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK (Fort GT): Billy Johnson (USA), Stefan Mucke (GER), Olivier Pla (FRA)
67. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK (Fort GT): Jonathan Bomarito (USA), Andy Priaulx (GBR), Harry Tincknell (GBR)
68. Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA (Fort GT): Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Joey Hand (USA), Dirk Muller (GER)
69. Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA (Fort GT): Ryan Briscoe (AUS), Scott Dixon (NZL), Richard Westbrook (GBR)
71. AF Corse (Ferrari 488 GTE Evo): Sam Bird (GBR), Miguel Molina (SPA), Davide Rigon (ITA)
81. BMW Team MTEK (BMW M8 GTE): Nick Catsburg (NED), Philipp Eng (AUT), Martin Tomczyk (GER)
82. BMW Team MTEK (BMW M8 GTE): Antonio Felix da Costa (POR), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Jesse Krohn (FIN)
89. Risi Competizione (Ferrari 488 GTE Evo): Pipo Derani (BRA), Jules Gounon (FRA), Oliver Jarvis (GBR)
91. Porsche GT Team (Porsche 911 RSR): Gianmaria Bruni (ITA), Richard Lietz (AUT), Frederic Makowiecki (FRA)
92. Porsche GT Team (Porsche 911 RSR): Michael Christensen (DEN), Kevin Estre (FRA), Laurens Vanthoor (BEL)
93. Porsche GT Team (Porsche 911 RSR): Earl Bamber (NZL), Patrick Pilet (FRA), Nick Tandy (GBR)
94. Porsche GT Team (Porsche 911 RSR): Mathieu Jaminet (FRA), Sven Muller (GER), Dennis Olsen (NOR)
95. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin Vantage AMR): Marco Sorensen (DEN), Nicki Thiim (DEN), Darren Turner (GBR)
97. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin Vantage AMR): Jonathan Adam (GBR), Alex Lynn (GBR), Maxime Martin (BEL)
54. Spirit of Race (Ferrari 488 GTE): Francesco Castellacci (ITA), Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Thomas Flohr (NOR)
56. Team Project 1 (Porsche 911 RSR): Jorg Bergmeister (GER), Patrick Linsey (USA), Egidio Perfetti (NOR)
57. Car Guy Racing (Ferrari 488 GTE): Kei Cozzolino (JAP), Takeshi Kimura (JAP), Come Ledogar (FRA)
60. Kessel Racing (Ferrari 488 GTE): Claudio Schiavoni (ITA), Sergio Pianezzola (ITA), Andrea Piccini (ITA)
61. Clearwater Racing (Ferrari 488 GTE): Luis Perez Companc (ARG), Matteo Cressoni (ITA), Matt Griffin (IRE)
62. WeatherTech Racing (Ferrari 488 GTE): Cooper MacNeil (USA), Robert Smith (GBR), Toni Vilander (FIN)
70. MR Racing (Ferrari 488 GTE): Olivier Beretta (MON), Eddie Cheever II (ITA), Motoaki Ishikawa (JAP)
77. Dempsey-Proton Racing (Porsche 911 RSR): Julien Andlauer (FRA), Matt Campbell (AUS), Christian Ried (GER)
78. Proton Competition (Porsche 911 RSR): Vincent Abril (MON), Louis Prette (MON), Philippe Prette (MON)
83. Kessel Racing (Ferrari 488 GTE): Rahel Frey (SWI), Michelle Gatting (DEN), Manuela Gostner (ITA)
84. JMW Motorsport (Ferrari 488 GTE): Rodrigo Baptista (BRA), Wei Lu (CAN) Jeff Segal (USA)
85. Keating Motorsports (Ford GT): Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Felipe Fraga (BRA), Ben Keating (USA)
86. Gulf Racing (Porsche 911 RSR): Ben Barker (GBR), Thomas Preining (AUT), Michael Wainwright (GBR)
88. Dempsey-Proton Racing (Porsche 911 RSR): Matteo Cairoli (ITA), Satoshi Hashino (JAP), Giorgio Roda (ITA)
90. TF Sport (Aston Martin Vantage GTE): Charlie Eastwood (IRE), Euan Hankey (GBR), Salih Yoluc (TUR)
98. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin Vantage GTE (Paul Dalla Lana (CAN), Pedro Lamy (POR), Mathias Lauda (AUT)
99. Dempsey-Proton Racing (Porsche 911 RSR): Niclas Jonsson (SWE), Tracy Krohn (USA), Patrick Long (USA)
1. LMP2: Eurasia Motorsport (Ligier JS P218-Gibson)
2. LPM2: IDEC Sport (Ligier JS P218-Gibson)
3. LMGTE Am: TF Sport Red River Sport (Aston Martin Vantage GTE)
Can you still buy tickets?
Yes, tickets for the race alone are available through the official Le Mans website and priced from 84 euros (£75). Accommodation must be purchased on top of the ticket entry fee.
How to watch
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be shown live on Eurosport, along with a number of other sessions during the week.
3:45pm-7:20pm (Eurosport 2) - Qualifying
8:50pm-11:15pm (Eurosport 2) - Qualifying
5:50pm- 11:10pm (Eurosport 1) - Qualifying
7:55am-9am (Eurosport 1) - Warm-up
1pm (Eurosport 1) - On the grid with Tom Kristensen
1:45pm (Eurosport 1) - Race starts
Coverage is then uninterrupted on Eurosport 1 for the entire race, with post-race analysis ending at 2:45pm on Sunday. The race can also be watched online by subscribing to the Eurosport Player.
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