No car has the sought-after #24 this year, but the grid of the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans comprises 24 drivers who have raced at least one Formula One Grand Prix. Although some will be racing Le Mans for the first time, others have already written several chapters in the history of the race.
Let’s begin this series with an overview of the 24 in question, in alphabetical order: Fernando Alonso, Olivier Beretta, Sébastien Bourdais, Gianmaria Bruni, Sébastien Buemi, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta, Giancarlo Fisichella, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kamui Kobayashi, Jan Lammers, Pedro Lamy, André Lotterer, Jan Magnussen, Pastor Maldonado, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kazuki Nakajima, Felipe Nasr, Vitaly Petrov, Stéphane Sarrazin, Bruno Senna, Will Stevens, Giedo van der Garde and Jean-Eric Vergne.
- Only two of the 24 have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Jan Lammers in 1988 and André Lotterer in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
- Seven others have 18 victories between them: Olivier Beretta (6), Jan Magnussen (4), Gianmaria Bruni (3), Giancarlo Fisichella (2), Sébastien Bourdais (1), Pedro Lamy (1) and Will Stevens (1).
- Will Stevens is reigning champion of LMGTE Am along with Rob Smith and Dries Vanthoor. He won the class with JMW Motorsport which fields a Ferrari 488 GTE.
- Five of the 24 drivers have started the 24 Hours of Le Mans in pole position. In chronological order: Stéphane Sarrazin (3 poles), Sébastien Bourdais (1), André Lotterer (1), Kazuki Nakajima (1) et Kamui Kobayashi (1). Lotterer is the only one to have won a race from pole position (2012).
- After Jacky Ickx in 1981, 1982 and 1983, Stéphane Sarrazin is the second driver to have taken three consecutive pole positions (2007, 2008 and 2009).
- In 2014, Kazuki Nakajima became the first Japanese driver to take pole position at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
- In 2017, Kamui Kobayashi established a new record for the fastest pole position time, clocking a lap in 3:14.791 (average speed of 251.882 kph) and beating Hans Joachim Stuck’s 1985 record with Porsche.
- Giedo van der Garde was 2016 LMP2 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) drivers’ champion with teammates Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell.
- Nine of our 24 Formula One drivers will be teammates for the 86th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: André Lotterer-Bruno Senna (#1 Rebellion R13-Gibson LMP1), Fernando Alonso-Sébastien Buemi-Kazuki Nakajima (#8 LMP1 Toyota TS050 HYBRID LMP1), Jenson Button-Vitaly Petrov (#11 BR Engineering BR1-AER LMP1) and Jan Lammers-Giedo van der Garde (#29 Dallara P217-Gibson LMP2).
-Juan Pablo Montoya and Paul Di Resta will be racing their first 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2 in the same team (United Autosports), but not in the same car. Montaya will be sharing with Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer (#32 Ligier) andDi Resta with Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque (#22 Ligier).
-Marino Franchitti, who was part of the crew of the 2012 Nissan-DeltaWing, is Paul di Resta’s cousin.
The names Jean-Eric Vergne and Fernando Alonso were both bandied around as possibles for a seat in the Porsche 919 Hybrid for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the end, Nico Hülkenberg shared the winning car with Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber. Nico Hülkenberg is the last driver to have won the 24 Hours while still competing in Formula One.
Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), PLACE DE LA REPUBLIQUE, LE MANS 24 HOURS, SUNDAY 11 JUNE 2018, SCRUTINEERING. Like his father Satoru, Kazuki Nakajima has competed in Formula One. He will be racing for Toyota at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.