The Brits to look at at Le Mans 2024

le mans 2023

le mans 2023

Because the first race 101 years in the past, a complete of 34 Brits have been a part of the profitable crew

It’s official: British racing drivers have received probably the most on the Le Mans 24 Hours over the previous century.

Because the first race 101 years in the past, a complete of 34 Brits have been a part of the profitable crew on the world’s biggest endurance race, racking up 45 victories between them. The following closest is the French: 28 drivers for a tally of 42 house wins.

However look down the checklist since 1923, and from the Nineteen Sixties onwards British winners develop into an elite membership – particularly while you break it down additional to these with a number of wins. There aren’t many. So who’re the almost certainly contenders to wave the Union flag as soon as extra come Sunday afternoon?

Jenson Button, Will Stevens, Callum Ilott, Phil Hanson

A quartet grouped collectively as a result of all of them have two issues in widespread: one, none of them has an general Le Mans win to their title; and two, all of them drive for British privateer Jota.

The Kent-based crew runs a pair of Porsche 963s in a placing Hertz livery and is completely in with a shot of scoring the producer’s record-extending twentieth Le Mans win.

Proof of that was thrown up on the earlier World Endurance Championship spherical, the Spa 6 Hours, when Stevens and Ilott delivered Jota its first general win at this stage – additionally a primary for any buyer crew on this period.

Sure, a dose of luck was concerned, however in such a aggressive Hypercar area opportunism is the secret.

Stevens is an ex-Formulation 1 driver now established as one of many most interesting endurance racers on the planet, and Ilott is juggling Indycar with a transition to the lengthy recreation. They share the #12 entry with Frenchman Norman Nato.

Within the #38 963, Hanson is the prime instance of an more and more widespread breed: a younger driver who has targeted on sports activities automobiles since his teenagers.

Button wants little introduction: can the 2009 F1 world champion echo Fernando Alonso and add a Le Mans win to his glittering profession? Hanson and Button share with quick Dane Oliver Rasmussen.

Nick Tandy

Tandy, like the opposite contenders right here chasing a second Le Mans win, is a trusted pair of arms throughout the Penske run Porsche works crew. However the 39-year-old has spent a lot of his frontline sports activities automotive profession in GTs fairly than top-class prototypes.

After a gritty grass-roots profession that started in Ministox on Britain’s short-track ovals, Tandy rose to the worldwide ranks via sheer laborious graft.

He landed an enormous likelihood in a 3rd 919 Hybrid LMP1 at Le Mans in 2015 and received, sharing with Nico Hülkenberg – making a well-timed cameo from F1 – and Earl Bamber.

Now crewed with Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet and Brazilian Felipe Nasr in Penske’s #4 963, Tandy has each proper to fancy his probabilities.

James Calado

Final 12 months, Calado grew to become solely the second Brit to win Le Mans for Ferrari – and his predecessor Peter Mitchell Thomson (aka Lord Selsdon of Croydon) solely drove for 72 minutes in 1949, so he barely counts.

This 12 months, within the 499P’s sophomore season, 34 year-old Calado will bid to hitch Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Kind ace Ron Flockhart as a British consecutive two time winner.

Ferrari ought to be within the combine as soon as once more, as Calado shares the #51 entry with fellow 2023 winners Alessandro Pier Guidi and Antonio Giovinazzi.

James Cottingham

As profession paths go, James Cottingham has taken a novel one to achieve Le Mans. Most racing drivers transition to historic racing as soon as they develop just a few gray hairs and start to wind down. However this 40-year-old is doing all of it again to entrance.

“Should you’d requested me three and a half years in the past what I’d be doing now I’d have mentioned extra of the identical: driving historic racing automobiles,” says Cottingham. “Should you’d instructed me I’d be doing not solely Le Mans however the entire of the WEC, I’d have thought you have been kidding.”

He’s the son of David and Kate Cottingham, co-founders of DK Engineering, one of many world’s foremost traditional Ferrari specialists – therefore the muse in historic racing. Nonetheless DK’s managing director, Cottingham selected to have a crack at trendy GT racing and final 12 months completed runner-up within the British GT Championship. Now he’s a part of United Autosports’ full WEC line-up because the Leeds-based crew takes McLaren again to Le Mans with a brace of 720Ss within the new LMGT3 class.

“It’s been a studying expertise with the automotive,” says the bronze-rated driver, “however having performed the Asian Le Mans Sequence over the winter in a McLaren is a large benefit and has actually given me a head begin. I’m having fun with it; I’m not daunted in any respect.”

A category win first day out is an extended shot. However preserve an eye fixed out for Cottingham all the identical.

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