At 4pm on Saturday 10 June, the French flag will be waved to herald the start of the Centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans, the fourth round of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship. After outlining the programme of festivities last December, it is now time to present the grid!
Once again, there will be 62 cars competing on track. The line-up comprises 16 Hypercars, 24 LMP2s, 21 LMGTE Am cars and one Innovative Car. There are ten teams on the reserve list. In the top tier, this is the highest number of race entries since 2011 (17 LMP1s)! Although the list of 186 drivers is not yet complete, we know that there will be 12 former outright winners among them, plus five women.
Seven manufacturers will have their eye on the prize in the premier class: Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot, Cadillac, Vanwall, Glickenhaus and Toyota. The Japanese marque will be aiming for a sixth consecutive win but will have its work cut out against some iconic and highly experienced rivals. Porsche will be aiming for its 20th overall victory, while Ferrari returns to the top tier at Le Mans after a 50-year hiatus. The luxury Italian carmaker can draw on almost 75 years of expertise in the discipline and will be keen to add a tenth Le Mans victory to its list of achievements. After a promising start on the other side of the Atlantic, Cadillac will line up three cars, hoping to maintain its momentum. Peugeot, which made its Hypercar début at Monza last year, followed by races at Fuji and in Bahrain, will be looking to add a fourth Le Mans victory to its record. Glickenhaus stepped on to the Le Mans podium for the first time in 2022 and will benefit from the experience garnered over the last two years. Finally, Vanwall is a newcomer to this level at Le Mans and will no doubt hope to cause a stir. So, who will lift the unique trophy created especially for the Centenary?
There will be 24 teams on the LMP2 grid, eight of which will be driven by a mix of professional and amateur drivers. This class is highly competitive and, year after year, keeps spectators on tenterhooks right up to the final moments of the race. Many of the teams have a real chance of winning. Alpine, due to return to the premier class next year, will launch a two-prong attack to try and claim the crown back from Jota.
The LMGTE Am grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans features 21 cars. This class will run in the French endurance classic for the final time this year, before it is replaced by LMGT3 in 2024. It is open to amateur drivers teamed with professionals. Four prestigious marques will battle it out on the track: eight Porsche 911 RSR-19s, seven Ferrari 488 GTE-EVOs, five Aston Martin Vantage AMRs and one Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. They will all be keen to make history by becoming the final name on the winners roster. The Iron Dames, an all-female trio, will be competing again this year.
Garage 56, reserved for an innovative car running outside the official classification, will host a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entered by the Hendrick Motorsports team, on its maiden appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This will be a modified version of the Next Gen car that competed in the 2022 Cup Series, Nascar’s main championship. The car is a sign of the ever-closer friendship between France and the United States in endurance racing and will be entrusted to an all-star team: Jenson Button, former Formula One World Champion, Mike Rockenfeller, 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and Jimmie Johnson, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: The 24 Hours of Le Mans is poised to celebrate its 100th anniversary in June, in what will be the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. In addition to the extraordinary entertainment programme, the Centenary will also be celebrated on track, where we can expect a series of spectacular clashes. To witness the Centenary of such an iconic race is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Few events can boast such longevity and offer what promises to be one of the greatest sporting occasions in history.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA President: The 24 Hours of Le Mans race is one of the biggest and greatest motor sport events in history as well as the traditional focal point of the FIA World Endurance Championship season. With the race celebrating its centenary and owing to the incredibly strong entry, it will be even more special this year. I would therefore like to wish the event organisers, the promoter, the fans, the competitors and teams; and all the FIA staff involved the best of luck with what will surely be an event to remember!
Richard Mille, FIA Endurance Commission President: The build-up for this year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts today and the entry promises that there’s plenty to look forward to. The Hypercar class reached and impressive 16 cars, which is the highest seen in the top class at Le Mans in over a decade. This is exactly what we envisaged in the early days of developing the Hypercar concept. I cannot wait for the event to start with the traditional parade in the old town at Le Mans. This will be a very unique celebration of motor sport and endurance racing.
Frédéric Lequien, FIA WEC CEO: The entry list for this year’s centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which forms round four of the FIA WEC, is incredible. The history, passion and atmosphere at Le Mans is truly unique and we are excited to celebrate 100 years of this iconic race alongside the ACO. It is always a highlight of the WEC calendar for our teams and drivers to compete at Le Mans and this year will be very special indeed.