Le Mans 2021: Long, legendary ... and live!

One of the greatest races in the world of motorsport begins tomorrow: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The facts and figures surrounding the classic race are almost as numerous as the possible scenarios at the end of the race - and the fans at the track. A guide for all those interested, including info on the TV broadcast.
Text Marko Knab
Photo Toyota Gazoo Racing

The course:

13.6 kilometers and 38 curves: that's the »Circuit des 24 Heures.« Also known as the »Circuit de la Sarthe«, the track runs primarily along French country roads. Only the finish chicane and the first three turns are shared with the national circuit, which goes by the name of Circuit de Bugatti. Some of the sections of the circuit are as legendary as the race itself: once, of course, the Hunadieres Straight, where speeds of 400 kilometers per hour were once reached-but also the Porsche Curves, which were so named even before the German brand's 19th overall victory in 2017.

The race

The 24-hour race of 2021 is already the 89th edition of the classic, the first having taken place in 1923. The race traditionally starts on Saturday afternoon with the French national flag and ends exactly one day later on Sunday when the checkered flag falls. This year, the long-distance classic starts at 4 pm. This will be the second time that the night will be longer than usual, because the race will once again not be held in mid-June following the Corona-related postponement in 2020. However, it will not remain dark as long as last year, when the race was not held until September.

»You can't win Le Mans, Le Mans lets you win,« they say. The strongest favorites for the highly coveted prize are once again to be found in the top class this year, that of the »Hypercars«.

The starting point

»You can't win Le Mans, Le Mans lets you win,« they say. The strongest favorites for the highly coveted prize are once again to be found in the top class this year, that of the »hypercars«. Starting there: Automotive giant Toyota with two arrow-quick GR010s, the American Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus with two historically-inspired SCG007 LMHs and the French sports car powerhouse Alpine with an LMP-1 bolide adapted to the new regulations. After qualifying, the case seems clear: Toyota has the Alpine under control, while Glickenhaus follows close behind.

In the extremely tight LMP2 field of smaller prototypes, little can be predicted - just as in the GT classes (GTE-PRO and GTE-AM). The only certainty is: The Porsche 911 RSRs starting from pole are among the favorites here. Alongside the Ferrari 488 GTB and Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. In terms of weather, by the way, the experts expect mild conditions with up to 20 degrees during the day, to keep with tradition, rain is not excluded. But one thing is certain: In 24 hours and with a total of 62 starters, a lot is possible.

The live broadcast

What applies to the cars and their technology on the race track can also be said about the live broadcast of the endurance classic: Double is better. Viewers in Germany can choose from a double package on Eurosport and the RTL offshoot NITRO. Both stations will broadcast the entire race distance on conventional TV without interruption, with the exception of commercial breaks. Those who want to follow the race in an online stream either need the paid Eurosport Player or follow the marathon broadcast on RTL's TVNow portal. There, the iconic race is broadcast free of charge.

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