The 24 Hours of Le Mans is always big news. It has been like that ever since Bentleys and Alfa Romeos started sweeping their French opponents off the podiums back in the 1930s. But this year’s edition is truly special. Porsche is coming back to reclaim its crown, Toyota is more reliable than ever and, to top it off, Audi is still struggling to find its rhythm.
This can only mean one thing: the LMP1-H is finally a three-way battle, something that hasn’t happened since 1999, when BMW was still racing at Le Mans and right before Audi became frustratingly dominant. It’s also the first race to gather three top automakers relying on hybrid technology. We’re talking about different powertrains and different approaches, ranging from Toyota’s 3.7-liter V-8 to Porsche’s puny, 2.0-liter V-4.
Of course, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is no longer about displacement. Gone are the days of 1976 when John Greenwood got a $55,000 check just to bring his nasty, 7.0-liter, V-8-powered C3 Corvette to France. It’s all about fuel efficiency and about squeezing extra power from braking nowadays. Le Mans was never lacked cutting-edge technology, but no other edition seemed so packed with state-of-the-art mechanics and electronics as the one we’re about to enjoy.
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