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Compiled by Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Anticipation building: What to expect from the 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 92nd running of the world's oldest and famous endurance race will see 62 cars take part, including a field of 23 in the top-tier Hypercar class.

Having witnessed the first overall victory for Ferrari since 1965 last year, the 92nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend will create more history at the drop of the French tricolour on Saturday at 16h00.

New era in GT racing

The fourth round of this year’s World Endurance Championship, the event marks the first time that the GT class will be contested by the cars adhering to GT3 regulations as opposed to the previous year’s LMGT.

A decision that opens-up a broader range of manufactures, this year contested not only by Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Chevrolet as in previous years, the regulation change sees the return of BMW and Ford with its new M4 and Mustang GT3 respectively, Lamborghini with two Huracans, and for the first time, Lexus and McLaren.

Who is who?

South Africa represented

Significantly, the event will also see involvement from South Africans, namely brothers Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde in the GT and top-tier Hypercars categories.

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Although very much still part of the Abt Sportline Audi team in the DTM series, older brother Kelvin will race for the Akkodis ASP Team alongside Russia’s Timur Boguslavskiy and Frenchman Arnold Rubin in a Lexus RC F GT3.

BMW DTM factory driver Sheldon will meanwhile pair-up with Germanys’ Rene Rast and Dutchman Robin Frijns in one of the two factory supported M WRT BMW M Hybrid V8s.

Full field of Hypercars

In total, 62 cars with three drivers each will compete in three classes, the biggest attraction after GT3 being the mentioned Hypercar class.

While dominated in recent years by Toyota and Porsche, the category this year sees the arrival of Alpine with two A424’s, Lamborghini with a pair of SC63’s and the privateer Isotta Fraschini with a single Tipo-6C.

Returning are reigning champions Ferrari with three 499Ps, Peugeot with a brace of 9X8s and Cadillac with a trio of V-Series.R’s.

In total, five Porsche 963 will feature in the top-class, three being the factory supported Penske cars, while two versions of the latest evolution of the Toyota GR010 Hybrid will try and secure the manufacturer its first victory since 2022.

Although thought to be outlawed from 2024, the LMP2 class will make its likely final outing La Sarthe this year with all 16 cars being identical Oreca 07 Gibsons run by different teams.

Last change

As in previous years, the event will be streamed live on the World Endurance Championships’ YouTube page, and shown in South Africa on SuperSport from beginning to end at 16h00 on Sunday.

Supplied by event organisers, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the full line-up of teams and drivers can be viewed in the document below, although it must be noted that after a cycling accident last week, two-time winner Mike Conway won’t be racing despite still being listed in the official spotter’s guide.

In his place, Toyota will field Jose Maria Lopez in the no. 7 GR010, the Argentinian supposed to have raced in the second Akkodis Lexus alongside Japan’s Takeshi Kimura and former Formula Regional European Championship driver Esteban Masson.

Taking his place is Brit Jack Hawksworth, who races for Lexus in the American IMSA series where Honda’s upscale division, Acura, also fields a Hypercar programme co-run by South African-born Wayne Taylor and the Andretti Group under WTRA banner.

24 Hours of Le Mans entry list

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