MAY 15, 2014
A mere month remains before the start of the 82nd edition of the 24 Heures du Mans, which commences on Saturday 14 June at 15:00 CEST.
One of world’s most iconic sporting contests, made famous by the glittering array of drivers and automotive marques who have made their impression throughout the years, celebrated in popular culture, and attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators, is set for one of its most dramatic editions in recent times.
The 2014 line-up of manufacturers and drivers is stunning. Like any great sporting contest, this year’s 24 Heures du Mans will be defined by rivalry, particularly the battle for supremacy in LM P1. Returning to the class for the first time since 1999, Porsche is seeking to end reigning champion Audi’s current supremacy (12 victories in the last 14 races) on the Circuit de la Sarthe and in the meantime extend its record number of race victories which stands at 16. Toyota, too, has ambitious plans. Still to triumph in Le Mans, the manufacturer has been in the most impressive form in the first two rounds of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, leading the competition after winning both races.
Toyota line up with two-time 24 Heures du Mans winner Alexander Würz from Austria and British driver Anthony Davidson in its two car team; Porsche can count on former Formula 1 star Australian Mark Webber, who is returning to Le Mans for the first time since 1999, among its stellar two car cast, while the three car Audi line-up includes the greatest 24 Heures du Mans driver of all time:record nine-time race winner and Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen.
Kristensen remains completely driven to triumph; his motivation is not governed by pursuing individual goals more helping his co-drivers realise their potential. “In 2014, we have a new teammate, Lucas di Grassi, a Brazilian driver. It is my biggest wish that Brazil, such a motorsport nation, has its first outright winner of the race.”
Like all drivers in the LM P1 class, Kristensen and di Grassi will not only face some epic duels during the 24-hour endurance race, but must manage the recent rule changes regarding fuel efficiency. “It will be a different year,” admits Kristensen, “the big regulation developments have changed the way we drive, as you now only have a certain amount of energy to use per lap. The teams are working very hard and it’s a great challenge for them.”