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2024 24 Hours of Le Mans: What you need to know

The most packed race...so far

The most prestigious endurance race will be happening this weekend. PHOTO FROM 24 HEURES DU MANS

The 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race is happening this coming Father’s Day weekend, starting at 4pm (or 10pm Philippine Time) on Saturday (June 15) and culminating on Sunday (June 16, exactly 24 hours after).

While we’ve written about the race many times in the past, what makes this year’s race exciting is the enormous entry list at the top Hypercar category of 23 cars, while the LMGTE production-based sports car class is replaced by the LMGT3 class, opening up the event to many more manufacturers.

This year's Hypercar field will see several new manufacturers join the fray. PHOTOS FROM 24 HEURES DU MANS

To put that in perspective, the Hypercar class was often a three-brand (or -team) category with six cars competing for overall victory in the past decade or so: Porsche, Toyota, and Alpine.

Today, thanks to the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) and Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) technical regulations, we finally see BMW, Peugeot, Lamborghini, Cadillac, Isotta Fraschini, and last year’s fairy-tale winner Ferrari making for the hugely impressive grid.

That’s nine manufacturers with 23 individual entries, making up over a third of the grid instead of the usual 10% in the past.

The LMGTE class was replaced by the LMGT3 class, which should allow more entries in the future. PHOTOS FROM 24 HEURES DU MANS

LMGTE was also almost exclusively a three-brand category in the past with Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. Manufacturers found it costly to develop a race car conforming to Le Mans LMGTE technical regulations that would see very limited use elsewhere.

There were years when the Americans would participate with Dodge, Chevrolet, and Ford, but it was sporadic. Today, the much more varied LMGT3 class sees BMW, McLaren, Chevrolet, Ford, Lexus, and Lamborghini join the field.

GT3 class racing is such a universally accepted racing category that sees action on all continents and in all regions of the globe, making it a viable investment for manufacturers as customer teams the world over would buy parts and spares for their cars.

The possibility of your favorite manufacturer joining next year's race is much higher. PHOTO FROM 24 HEURES DU MANS

It’s also attractive for big racing teams competing primarily in Asia, Japan, Australia, and the US to ship their cars over to France and compete just for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A total of nine brands with 23 individual GT3 race cars will ensure that the racing is tight and exciting in this category.

The changes that Le Mans and the FIA started introducing in 2019 in the LMH and LMDh categories, and in 2022 for the LMGTE transitioning to the LMGT3 class are finally happening to help bring costs down and make Le Mans more attractive to more teams to participate in, making the field more varied and the racing more exciting.

The LMP2 class soldiers on with the Oreca 07 chassis. PHOTO FROM 24 HEURES DU MANS

Interestingly, due to the huge rise in popularity of the Hypercar and LMGT3 classes, the LMP2 category was very much forgotten this year in the larger FIA World Endurance Championship, of which the 24 Hours of Le Mans is part.

But it returns just for Le Mans with 16 teams using the sole Oreca 07 chassis. With LMP2 being evenly matched, it is hard to determine who the favorite is.

Who will reign supreme this year? There's only one way to find out. PHOTO FROM 24 HEURES DU MANS

Nine manufacturers within the top Hypercar category, and nine brands in LMGT3. A grand total of 62 cars with 186 drivers across three categories racing a mixed field on the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe.

This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be a truly epic and unforgettable year even before the green flag drops.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.