Test Day, held on Sunday 2 June, is mandatory for first-time Le Mans drivers but seasoned drivers and experienced teams take the opportunity to take to the 13.626-km circuit.
The 43 teams fielding the 62 cars on the grid are split into four classes: eight in LMP1, 20 in LMP2, 17 in LMGTE PRO and 17 in LMGTE Am. The 33 rookies all completed their mandatory ten laps, five of which had to be officially timed.
Testing involves everything from tyre compounds, to pit stop operations and fuel consumption as well as checks on reliability. Drivers were also introduced to a few slight alterations to the circuit: a resurfaced area, rumble strips in new angles, narrower passages and areas with more rubber deposits than before.
The new Full Course Yellow procedure was also tested so Race Control could ensure the rules were fully understood.
Top of the time sheets were:
LMP1, the Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on 3:19.440
LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 Oreca 07 on 3:28.504
LMGTE Pro, the Corvette Racing #63 Corvette C7R on 3:54.001
LMGTE Am, the WeatherTech Racing #62 Ferrari 488 on 3:56.862.
This year is the 87th edition of this most famous of races and it will decide two FIA world championships and multiple WEC championship titles. Before racing can begin the cars were required to attend the traditional Scrutineering and Administrative checks or ‘Pesage’ held on Sunday 9 and Monday 10 June.
All drivers and cars entered for the twice-round-the-clock race on 15 and 16 June attend the event at the Place de la République in the centre of Le Mans. The drivers’ equipment and licences were examined and the cars carefully measured by the scrutineers to ensure that they comply with regulations.
The event provides a unique opportunity for fans to get a close-up look at the cars and the competitors who will be on the grid for the most legendary endurance race in the world.
The Le Mans 24 Hours is also an opportunity to remember and celebrate some of the many classic victories and anniversaries associated with the race including; the Bentley centenary, the 50th anniversary of Jacky Ickx’s victory and the 60th anniversary of Aston Martin’s triumph.
The Bentley centenary: The 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum is celebrating the occasion by showcasing two Bentleys that left their mark on the history of the legendary endurance race: the Bentley Speed 8 that won in 2003 with Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Guy Smith at the wheel, and the Bentley 3 Litre Sport, the British marque’s first model to take the honours in 1924. A section of the Rue de Laigné near the museum will also be renamed “Rue des Bentley Boys” at 14:15 on Thursday 13 June.
Seventy years ago, the return of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: The 1949 race was a special vintage as it was the first post-war edition after a ten-year hiatus. It was also the year that Ferrari scored its maiden Le Mans victory with Peter Mitchell-Thomson and Luigi Chinetti sharing the wheel of a 166MM.
1959 – Aston Martin’s red-letter day: This year, Aston Martin will be popping the champagne corks to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its one and only outright Le Mans win. Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori drove the DBR1 to victory in 1959.
Fifty years since the Ickx rebellion: This was the year that Jacky Ickx ambled across the track to his Ford GT40 to draw attention to the safety issues posed by the traditional Le Mans-style start. His protest didn’t prevent the Belgian ace shading the race ahead of Herrmann and Larrousse’s Porsche.
A significant win for Sauber: In 1989, Sauber joined forces with Mercedes to clinch victory at Le Mans with the Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz seeing off Jaguar and Porsche. Thirty years later, it remains a landmark win for the Swiss outfit and its founder, Peter Sauber.
BMW made its mark... two decades ago: In 1999, Pierluigi Martini, Yannick Dalmas and Joachim Winkelhock drove a BMW V12 LMR to victory – the Bavarian manufacturer’s only outright Le Mans win to date. To mark the occasion, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has opened a new exhibition, entitled “Art and Victory” that the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum will host until 6 October 2019. It reviews 80 years of BMW history at Le Mans and features six authentic vehicles with different designs that took part in the French endurance classic: the 328, the CSL, the famous Lichtenstein 320i, the M1 Procar, the Jenny Holzer V12 and the McLaren F1 painted by César.
Iconic win for the Peugeot 908: In 2009, Peugeot Sport managed to outmuscle Audi with the 908 HDi FAP driven by David Brabham, Marc Gené and Alexander Wurz. It was to be this diesel prototype’s only triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Quite a feat it was too as the French manufacturer gained revenge over its German counterpart, unconquered in La Sarthe since 2004. By Melissa Warren
2019 Le Mans 24 Hours entries
No. Class Team Car Drivers
1 LMP1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R13-Gibson Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Bruno Senna
3 LMP1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R13-Gibson Thomas Laurent, Nathanael Berthon, Gustavo Menezes
4 LMP1 ByKolles Racing Team ENSO CLM P1/01-Nissan Tom Dillmann
7 LMP1 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 HYBRID Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
8 LMP1 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 HYBRID Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso
10 LMP1 DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1-Gibson Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley, Renger van der Zande
11 LMP1 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin, Jenson Button
17 LMP1 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER Stephane Sarrazin, Egor Orudzhev, Sergey Sirotkin
20 LMP2 High Class Racing ORECA 07-Gibson Andres Fjordbach, Dennis Anderson
20 LMP2 United Autosports Ligier JSP217-Gibson Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque
26 LMP2 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson Romain Rusinov
28 LMP2 TDS Racing ORECA 07-Gibson Francois Perrodo, Matthieu Vaxiviere, Loic Duval
29 LMP2 Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217 07-Gibson Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde, Nyck de Vries
31 LMP2 DragonSpeed ORECA 07-Gibson Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Anthony Davidson
26 LMP2 Signatech Alpine Alpine A470-Gibson Nico Lapierre, Andre Negrao, Pierre Thiriet
37 LMP2 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07-Gibson David Heinemeier Hansson
38 LMP2 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07-Gibson Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi, Gabriel Aubry
43 LMP2 RLR M Sport ORECA 07-Gibson John Farano
50 LM2 Larbre Competition Ligier JSP217-Gibson Erwin Creed, Romano Ricci
51 GTE Pro AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Daniel Serra
66 GTE Pro Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla
67 GTE Pro Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
71 GTE Pro AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, Miguel Molina
81 GTE Pro BMW Team MTEK BMW M8 GTE Nicky Catsburg
82 GTE Pro BMW Team MTEK BMW M8 GTE Augusto Frafus
91 GTE Pro Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR Richard Lietz, Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Makowiecki
92 GTE Pro Porsch GT Team Porsche 911 RSR Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor
95 GTE Pro Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen
97 GTE Pro Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR Maximie Martin, Alex Lynn
54 GTE Am Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci, Giancarlo Fisichella
56 GTE Am Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, Egidio Perfetti
61 GTE Am Clearwater Racing Ferarri 488 GTE Luis Perez Companc, Matt Griffin, Matteo Cressoni
62 GTE Am Weathertech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Cooper Macneil
70 GTE Am MR Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Motoaki Ishikawa, Olivier Beretta, Eddie Cheever
77 GTE Am Dempset-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR Matt Campbell
88 GTE Am Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR Satoshi Hoshino, Gianluca Roda, Matteo Cairoli
99 GTE Am Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR Patrick Long
78 GTE Am Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR Chen
84 GTE Am JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE Jonny Cocker
85 GTE Am Keating Motorsports Ford GT Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Felipe Fraga
86 GTE Am Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker
90 GTE Am TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage Salih Yoluc, Eaun Alers-Hankey, Charlie Eastwood
98 GTE Am Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda
60 GTE Am Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Claudio Schiavoni