The 83rd running of the historic endurance race takes place this weekend at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe in France.
The green flag hails the start of the 24-hour race on June 13th at 9:00 am EST.
Unfortunately, if you live here in North America like I do, your only option for live coverage is FOX Sports. As I live in Canada and don’t have access to the specialty channel, I will be resigned to searching for a reliable stream online.
Coverage starts at 8:30 am EST with a 30-minute pre-race show on FOX Sports 1 hosted by veteran broadcaster Bob Varsha. After 4:00 pm, the feed switches to FOX Sports 2 over the prime-time slots. FS1 takes over again at 1:00 am Sunday and provides coverage until deferring to FS2 at 7:30 am through to the checkered flag. The entire race is streamed live on FOX Sports GO.
The main talking point at the front of the grid is if Audi can continue its domination of Le Mans that it has enjoyed this past decade. Audi has only lost once since 2004, when Peugeot claimed victory in 2009.
Audi managed this feat despite changing regulations and cutting fuel consumption by over a third. This year, its cars run a 4.0-litre diesel V6 with an electric motor adding a significant amount of horsepower.
Audi’s challengers this year are Porsche, Toyota and Nissan.
Porsche has posted the fastest lap times at the opening two rounds of the World Endurance Championship. Its three cars use a 2.0-litre V4 turbo powering the rear wheels while an electric motor turns the fronts.
Last year’s WEC winner, Toyota, combine a 3.7-litre V8 and a pair of electric generators to produce more horsepower than Audi. It is hoping that the technical problems that cost it last year’s Le Mans win don’t return this year.
Nissan is the wildcard on the grid. It took a different approach as its car is effectively front-engine, front-wheel drive. This apparently allows for better aerodynamics and the drive system is capable of producing over 1,000 bhp – which should certainly be enough. The question though, is whether the whole package will work well together.
While the LMP1 class steals all the headlines, the other classes also boast intense racing. LMP2, LM GTE Pro and LM GT Am feature a lot of passing and often some door banging.
Where will you be watching this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans? Can Audi keep its streak going?