Tennis-ace Rafael Nadal to be race starter for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans

Tuhin Guha Updated: May 18, 2018, 04:17 PM IST

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 86th edition of the famed endurance race, will be flagged off by tennis great Rafael Nadal. This year's race will have over sixty participants in various classes taking to the start line at 15.00 on June 16.

While Toyota is the only works entry this year in the top-tier LMP1 category, other notable privateer outfits are ByKolles, CEFC Manor, Dragonspeed, Rebellion Racing, and SMP Racing. Drivers to look forward to are F1 greats Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who is looking for a Motorsport Triple Crown.

The GTE-Pro category will also see a lot of action, with new cars from BMW and Aston Martin, while others like Porsche, Ford, Corvette Racing, and Ferrari should remain competitive.
Other categories are LMP2, which sits between LMP1 and GTE-Pro, and GTE-Am. The LMP2 category is the is the most populous with 20 entrants like Dallara, Ligier, and Oreca. The GTE-Am is a mix of semi-professionals and newbies fielding cars like a Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the more significant events in the motorsport calendar. Held since 1923 at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France, it is the oldest sports car endurance race and has been the benchmark for most teams and drivers since. Notable winners have been Porsche, Jaguar and Ferrari among many others.

Rafael Nadal is a Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked world No. 2 in men's singles tennis. He has won 16 Grand Slam singles titles, a record 31 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, a record 20 ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles.

Speaking on this development, Rafael Nadal said that he knows the French Open very well and he's always proud to be there given that its the most important tournament of his career. This year he will have the honour of giving the start of the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world's greatest motor races and looks forward to getting to know more about this spectacular sport, the drivers and everyone involved. Rafael went on to say that he shares a common competitive spirit and a habit of seeking new challenges with the drivers. He is delighted to have this opportunity and when he waves that flag to start the race, it will be with the greatest pride and exhilaration.


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