The 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans is rapidly approaching, making this the perfect time to highlight some of the top contenders competing in the event.
While Audi has been practically unbeatable at the Circuit de la Sarthe over the past decade-plus—it has won 11 of the last 13 and is a favorite to win once again this year—there are a few other teams looking to prove their mettle in endurance racing.
With Louis Vuitton putting together a snazzy new case to house the massive trophy, marking the 90th anniversary of this legendary race, you can expect the stakes to be raised even further.
Let’s take a look at a few of the contenders that are hoping to win this race, which starts on June 22 and concludes on June 23.
The Japanese automaker may finally have the right vehicle to best Audi, with an upgraded TS030 Hybrid prototype looking better than ever.
While two of these crashed during what would be a tough 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans for Toyota, the TS030 Hybrid has been getting some much-needed experience over the past few months by competing the 2013 World Endurance Championship.
Testing has gone well during the practice runs, according to Nelson Ireson of MotorAuthority.com, with two cars doing more than 80 laps each and checking everything from aerodynamics to suspension.
Per Ireson, the TS030 Hybrid uses a super capacitor-based system to add an additional 300 horsepower to an engine that already boasts a 530-horsepower 3.4-liter V-8. Those are just ridiculous figures and should provide the Toyota racers with the vehicle they need to outlast the other competitors at Le Mans.
Aston Martin may not be a historically successful participant at Le Mans, but that could change this year.
According to Viknesh Vijayenthiran of MotorAuthority.com, the company is sending five cars to compete in the race, all variants of the latest Vantage GTE vehicle. This is a bold and ambitious move, but one that could pay dividends.
Aston Martin just returned to competitive racing in 2012, finishing a respectable third with the GTE Pro at last year’s Le Mans.
With so many entrants and a bit of experience under the belt, Aston Martin promises to be a major player in this year’s star-studded event.
This is the German car manufacturer’s 15th time competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it has a great chance at winning it all for the 12th time in that span.
Tom Kristensen, the world record holder with eight wins in this race—including six consecutive from 2000 to 2005—will be in the driver’s seat, with teammates Loic Duval and Allan McNish ready to lend a hand.
Which team will win?
As per Motorsport.com, this team has already won the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, and it looks primed to repeat that success while driving the Audi R18.
Marc Gene, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi will be manning the other R18 e-tron quattro. It's an experienced group of proven winners with a great chance of claiming the trophy.
With the sheer amount of experience and power in its stable, the four rings brand has an incredible chance of emerging with yet another victory at Le Mans next week.