Stat attack: 24 Hours of Le Mans
In only one week’s time, the flag will be dropped to signal the start of round four of the FIA WEC, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Thirty-three WEC entries will be competing at the 89th edition of Le Mans, and to celebrate the occasion – below are ten fun facts about the WEC’s most prestigious event on its calendar.
With thanks to Alex Harrison @WECData for providing us with some of the key figures.
1. This year’s Le Mans will occur in August for the first time ever! It is scheduled on the 21st/22nd of a month for only the third time in history, with the 1930 and 1958 editions also falling on these days.
2. 62 cars are set to participate at Le Mans next week. If all 62 start, it will be a new Le Mans record for the most starters, exceeding 2019’s current record of 61.
3. 12 Porsche 911 RSR-19 on this year’s Le Mans entry list is the most for the marque in the WEC era, and two cars more than their 10 entries in 2020. Eight different teams representing five countries are set to run the car in France.
4. The United Kingdom is the most represented nation on the 2021 Le Mans grid, with 31 British drivers set to participate. They include two in Hypercar, 15 in LMP2, 3 in GTE Pro and 11 in GTE Am.
5. In 2019, Kessel Racing’s Michelle Gatting, Manuela Gostner and Rahel Frey became the 24th all-female crew in history to start the great race. Gatting and Frey return in 2021, as full-season WEC entrants with Iron Lynx, joined this time by debutant Sarah Bovy.
6. Eight cars feature in GTE Pro, the same total as in 2020. All eight cars include a driver who has scored a Le Mans outright or class win in the WEC era. Serra, Bamber and Bruni have all won twice since 2012, whilst 12 other drivers have one win. Garcia also has three wins prior to 2012.
7. TF Sport’s GTE Am victory at Le Mans 2020 was the 30th in class by a British-flagged team.
8. In 2018, Signatech Alpine’s No. 36 defended its victory from the previous year to seal the WEC LMP2 titles for the season. It was the perfect location to seal Oreca’s 40th win in class – the eighth under the ‘Alpine’ banner.
9. Toyota claimed its third Le Mans win in a row by the No. 8 TS050 Hybrid in 2020. The Japanese marque became only the second in race history to both end and begin a decade with victory, after Bentley achieved this winning from 1927 through 1930.
10. Of the 17 drivers to have won #LeMans24 outright in the WEC era, eight are racing in 2021 – Duval, Bamber, Tandy, Dumas, Jani, Hartley, Buemi and Nakajima.