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24 Hours of Le Mans preview: the show must go on!

17.09.2020

After a delay of over three months due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time for the biggest race in the world to make its return. This weekend the engines will once again roar over the Mulsanne straight, all day and all night! Yes, that’s right, it’s time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the race being held behind closed doors, we look ahead at what will probably be the strangest ever edition of the legendary endurance race. 

Thanks to rigorous policies around testing and safety precautions, the world of motorsport has been revamped. The season is being played in fast forward, with many race weekends being held back-to-back all over the world. After being postponed from June, this weekend it’s the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ turn.

24 Hours of Le Mans preview: the show must go on!

It deemed impossible to organise an event…

In the previous months, the ACO tried everything to make it possible for spectators to attend this iconic event. But given the sanitary laws and regulations, and to ensure the health of all spectators, it was deemed impossible to organise an event, even with a limited number of spectators. This meant the race has to be held behind closed doors, much like the 24 Hours of Motos, held a few weeks ago. However, as the famous bon mot goes, “the show must go on”.

On Saturday afternoon, at 14:30, 59 cars will roar towards the Dunlop Chicane. With only a few cars less than previous iterations. Given the global situation, that number can only be called spectacular. While a lot of big teams have withdrawn cars, such as Porsche cancelling its CORE-Autosport managed IMSA team, and Corvette, which unfortunately is not taking the brand new C8R to La Sarthe this year. However, there was a big increase in the LMP2 field, which makes up 23 cars of the 59-car field. That’s three more than last year!

It deemed impossible to organise an event…

The grand return of the Dragonspeed team

Among the LMP2 contenders, there are some heavy hitters and, with only five LMP1 cars on the grid, it’s fair to say that the biggest action is to be expected from LMP2. Here, we will see the grand return of the 24 Hours of Daytona winners, Dragonspeed. They are returning to Le Mans with a two-car effort, bringing a second Oreca 07 to Le Mans. The all-black sister car of the #27 will field none other than formula one driver and double Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, alongside IMSA stars Memo Rojas and Timothé Buret.

For the first time this season, there will also be two G-Drive cars, one run by the TDS racing team (as usual), who also manages the Racing Team Nederland car, and a late second entry by the Algarve Pro squad. If you look at the names of the drivers behind the wheel of the LMP2 field, it will quickly become clear that almost two-thirds of the LMP2 participants are former race winners or outright Le Mans winners – and around 15 cars will be fighting for that LMP2 crown.

The grand return of the Dragonspeed team

All LMP2-cars are powered by Motul and Gibson Technology

All of the LMP2 cars (and both Rebellion and ByKolles LMP1 cars), whether they are Oreca, Aurus, Ligier or Dallara, will be running a Gibson engine, which is developed to run Motul 300V exclusively. This means that, by default, no less than 26 cars, nearly half of the starting grid, will be powered by Motul racing oil.

This once again proves why the 24 Hours of Le Mans makes the best proving ground for Motul imaginable. It’s therefore no coincidence that Motul will return its Dakar-proven Motul Racing Lab in the paddock to assist the engineers throughout the race week.

© Picture credits: Clement Marin, FIAWEC, MPS Agency

This weekend's race schedule:

This weekend's race schedule:
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