The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place this coming weekend, August 21-22. No fewer than 62 teams will compete in the 89th edition of the famous endurance race that takes its name from the small town south west of Paris.
Le Mans is also the fourth round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship (WEC). There are double points on offer for the teams competing on the 13.6km track, so there is plenty to play for when the flag falls on Saturday afternoon.
Toyota will be aiming to add to its hat-trick of overall victories. The Japanese automaker will contest the recently instituted hypercar category with a pair of all-new cars. Several other manufacturers have confirmed entry into the new class from 2022 onwards, including Audi, Peugeot, Porsche and Ferrari.
Drivers of the new Toyota GR010 Hybrid, which has won all the previous rounds of the 2021 WEC season, will have stiff competition from Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. The American outfit has been competing in other endurance events in Europe for many years and has finally stepped up into the WEC with a pair of SCG 007 LMH hypercars. Also challenging for overall victory and hypercar honours is a single Alpine A480 Gibson.
The three teams were covered by just one second during the official test session held last Sunday, which bodes well for the race. As always, speed is just one element of the equation with reliability over 24 hours an even more important requirement.
The endurance event is a highlight for SA racing fans. This year there is added motivation to tune in to the race as two South Africans will be making their debut on this world stage: Jonathan Aberdein and David Perel.
The two rookies are from Cape Town and both have cut their teeth in the top levels of motorsport in Europe over the past few years.
They will add to the list of well-known local drivers who have previously competed at Le Mans including Sarel van der Merwe, George Fouche, Grant Orbell and Jack Gerber, among others.