The 24 hours of LeMans, the World's oldest endurance event will be contested this weekend. The competition takes place at Circuit de la Sarthe in France and would see an unprecedented 62 cars taking part in a race of attrition, pace, durability, and prestige.
LeMans, considered to be one of the triple crowns alongside the Indy 500 and Monaco Grand Prix, is one of the most prestigious races in the world. Last year we saw Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima, and Sebastian Buemi take the win in a dominant display by Toyota. This year again it does seem like it's going to be a similar story as the Toyota car is even more refined and has no visible competitor in sight.
The best thing that attracts one towards Lemans is the depth of talent and star power on the grid. With so many former F1 drivers switching guard and moving to the elite endurance racing it makes LeMans one of the spectacles of racing. This year as well there are many of them taking part in this race. Let's go through some of the top F1 names that would be taking part in LeMans
#1 Fernando Alonso
Could there be a bigger name attached to LeMans? Alonso won the race last year and he boasts of an amazing resume. Being a 2 time Formula One driver's champion he is arguably one of the best drivers in the world. He is going to be the star attraction in this race as he defends the crown he won last year.
Driving the Toyota around this track, Fernando is going to be the favorite to win this one. More importantly, though, this race could be the last one for Fernando in WEC as he might turn his focus towards Indy to secure the triple crown.
#2 Sebastian Buemi
Sebastian Buemi was part of the Torro Rosso unit and Red Bull driver academy before he was deemed not good enough to drive for the Red Bull team. Ever since Buemi has competed admirably in the Formula-E series.
First with the Renault and currently Nissan team while at the same time enjoyed great success in WEC as he won the LeMans last year. As Alonso's teammate, he goes into the race as an out and out favorite to win
#3 Kamui Kobayashi
A driver that brought the Japanese Daredevil nature to overtaking in F1, Kamui Kobayashi was a great addition to the Formula One grid while he was a part of it. He drove great races in the midfield and used to pull off some great overtakes.
He would be driving the dominant Toyota alongside Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez. If something does happen to the trio of Alonso, Buemi, and Nakajima his team will be there to pick up the pieces.
#4 Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna, carrying forward the legendary Senna name in motorsports will be driving alongside Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer for Rebellion Racing in LMP1 category. He's shown great promise and speed while he's been part of the Rebellion team. He would be hoping for the Toyota Team to encounter some issues some problems with their cars so that Rebellion can pick up the pieces and maybe do the improbable and beat the Japanese Giants for the win.
#5 Stoffel Vandoorne
After getting discarded by McLaren Stoffel Vandoorne has been experimenting and driving in different series. He is considered by many as a standout driver in the Formula-E series. Coming into LeMans will just be another feather in the cap for the talented youngster whose career did get off the rails a bit while he was driving for McLaren.
He would be driving for SMP racing alongside Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov in LeMans in LMP1 and would try to snatch maybe a podium if the others trip over each other.
#6 Jean-Eric Vergne
JEV, as he's fondly called by everyone, will be taking part in LeMans with G-Drive racing alongside Roman Rusinov and Job Van Ultert. It's almost a bit of a travesty that Vergne doesn't make it to the F1 grid. He's the reigning champion in Formula-E and the currently he's the championship leader for this year as well despite having a tumultuous start to the year.
Other than that he was just barely beaten by Daniel Ricciardo during their time together at F1 and Ricciardo is the guy who's currently among the top drivers in F1 right now. Yet, Jev keeps striving and achieving his best in other categories and he'll try his hand in LeMans as he drives in the LMP2 category.
#7 Sergey Sirotkin
Sergey Sirotkin would be taking part in LeMans after driving for Williams last year. He would be driving for SMP racing in LMP alongside Egor Orudzhev and Stephane Sarrazin. Trailing behind the dominant Toyotas in his SMP, Sergey would be looking to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to him in the race. After facing a bit of slack and getting termed a "Pay Driver" at various stages by the media and paddock insiders Sergey would be looking at this opportunity to make an impact while taking part in one of the biggest races of the year.
#8 Giedo Van Der Garde
Giedo has kept himself relevant with the Formula One fan by consistently trolling the on-track action in Formula One. But side by side after his ouster from F1 he's been competing in various series. The 34-year-old Dutch used to race the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in junior categories. He has been racing in WEC for a long time now and has been a regular at LeMans. Giedo would be racing for "Racing Team Nederland" alongside Nyck De Vries and Frits Van Eerd.
#9 Giancarlo Fisichella
Giancarlo Fisichella had a storied career in Formula One. He has race wins, podiums, pole positions under his belt and when he finally achieved his dream of driving for Ferrari he bid adieu to the F1 grid. Fisichella had raced for championship winning teams like Renault.
He drove his last F1 race like a Ferrari driver and in his last F1 season he secured a pole position for none other than Force India. You can't ask for a better farewell from F1. In LeMans, he would be driving the Ferrari 488 GTE alongside Francesco Castellaci and Thomas Flohr in GTE Am.
#10 Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado was both notorious and famous in F1. He was notorious for his propensity to cause crashes in races and he was famous for the kinds of speed he used to display behind the wheel most of the time. Ever since his ouster from the Formula One grid he has been racing around the world in different categories and has acquired a decent amount of experience in driving these cars.
He would be racing in the packed LMP2 field with as many as 20 cars with alongside Roberto Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson. He would be behind the wheel of the Dragon Speed, trying to stand out in a crowded LMP2 field. It would be really interesting to see how much he has evolved over the years and how much of difference does experience bring to his driving.