Le Mans 24 2014: Race Schedule, Live Stream and Top Drivers to Watch

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Le Mans 24 2014: Race Schedule, Live Stream and Top Drivers to Watch
Michel Spingler/Associated Press

The 2014 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place in the weekend of 14-15 June, and this year's edition of the pinnacle of endurance racing is shaping up to be one of the best the sport has seen in years.

Porsche will be making their return to the iconic French track for the first time in 16 years, and they will join Audi as the two constructors with the best chance of giving Toyota their first loss of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

New regulations mean new tactics and potentially new outcomes to the race, and the uncertainty of how the 2014 Le Mans 24 will play out only adds to the excitement fans must be feeling.

 

Race Schedule

Date Time Event
June 11 3 p.m. BST Free Practice Session
10 p.m. BST Qualifying Practice Session
June 12 8 a.m. BST Pit Walk
7 p.m. BST Qualifying Practice Session
10 p.m. BST Qualifying Practice Session
June 13 5.30 p.m. BST Driver's Parade
June 14 9 a.m. BST Warm-Up
3 p.m. BST Le Mans 24 Start
June 15 3 p.m. BST Le Mans 24 Finish

24h-lemans.com

 

Live stream: The entire 24-hour race will be streamed live on Fox Sports Go (for U.S. viewers) and the Eurosport Player (for UK viewers).

 

Top Drivers to Watch

There's no getting round the dominance of Toyota in 2013-14, with the trio of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi taking top honours in the first two races of the season, at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps.

The Circuit de la Sarthe is long and wide open, with plenty of long straits for the Toyota to take advantage of its superior straight-line speed. At roughly 1,000 bhp, the car had no issues with the new fuel guidelines set up by the event organisers, easily running while using 30 percent less fuel than last year.

The drivers looked confident during Toyota's media day on Wednesday, answering questions submitted by the fans. Lapierre was asked about the most difficult moment of the Le Mans race, and the team posted his answer on their website:

I would say when you exit the night, from the early morning until the end of the race. When you exit the night, at around 6.00am, you think the race is finished but there is still seven hours to go. Those seven or eight hours are very long and really tough!

Confidence is high amongst the Toyota drivers, and rightfully so. Last year's winners and main rivals, Audi, have struggled with mechanical issues all season, preferring to use the race at Spa-Francorchamps as a testing moment to get the car ready for Le Mans.

The Japanese manufacturer's superior power is a big advantage, but Audi know the Le Mans better than anyone, and the reliability of their engines has often made the difference in the past.

Michel Spingler/Associated Press

Experienced former rally driver Loic Duval leads a team also containing Luca Di Grassi and Tom Kristensen, and after their retirement at Silverstone, they greatly impressed in their return to the track in Belgium, finishing second.

The Toyota was already more powerful last season, but Audi are the kings of Le Mans, and their record there in the modern era is beyond impressive. Kristensen, in particular, rules this track, with a record nine total wins to his name.

The Dane showed fans (and gamers) all over the world how to perform a perfect lap on the iconic track:

The biggest question mark going into the weekend will be Porsche, who still hold the record for most wins by a single manufacturer in the Le Mans 24. Mark Webber headlines their team, the Australian veteran supported by Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.

Webber was signed by Porsche with one goal in mind—Le Mans. For the longest time this was their race, and since the turn of the century, it has been Audi's. Toyota may be the slight favourites coming into the weekend, but the big battle will be between the two German constructors.

All three teams timed within 1.7 seconds of each other during the Test Days, and all three were just experimenting with setups in an attempt not to give their rivals too much information.

Audi may have dominated this race for the past decade, but the competition has never been as fierce as it will be in 2014. Fans better buckle up (pun intended), for this year's Le Mans 24 will be one of the best they've ever seen.

 

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