Le Mans 2017: Circuit, Start Time, TV Schedule and More

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2017

New Zealand driver Earl Bamber drives his Porsche 919 Hybrid N°2 ahead of Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi on his Toyota TS050 Hybrid N°8 during a free practice session of the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race in Le Mans north-western France on June 14, 2017.

Sixty cars with 180 drivers will participate on June 17 and 18 June at the 85rd 'Le Mans 24-hours' endurance race.  / AFP PHOTO / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER        (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/Getty Images

The greatest endurance race on the planet is back as the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins on Saturday in France.

This year's edition has much to live up to as Porsche captured the title on the final lap 12 months ago, beating Toyota at the Circuit de la Sarthe by the smallest margin.

The 85th year of the race has witnessed the exit of Audi, forcing the main event to be reduced to only six cars for the LMP1 class.

Here is how you can catch the action:

      

Date: Saturday, June 17

Time: 2 p.m. (BST)/ 9 a.m. (ET)

TV: Eurosport, BT Sport, ITV4 (all UK)/ Fox Sports (U.S. only)

Stream: Eurosport on Sky GoBT Sport AppITV Hub

     

Preview

Argentina's Jose María Lopez drives his Toyota TS050 Hybrid N°9  during a free practice session of the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race, on June 14, 2017 in Le Mans, northwestern France.
Sixty cars with 180 drivers will participate on June 17 and 18 June a
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/Getty Images

ByKolles' single car entry is joined by three Toyotas and two Porsches for this year's premier battle, with others waiting until 2018 to make a full challenge.

Toyota gained much respect for their amazing effort last year, and they will be hoping to avenge their recent defeat with a climb to the top of the podium.

Audi have dominated in recent years, but their exit from the FIA World Endurance Championship has opened the door for other teams.

Porsche have struggled this season with Toyota finding success at Silverstone and Spa ahead of the classic endurance encounter.

England's pilot Anthony Davidson drives his Toyota TS050 Hybrid N°8 during a free practice session of the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race in Le Mans north-western France on June 14, 2017.
Sixty cars with 180 drivers will participate on June 17 and 18 June
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/Getty Images

Toyota's TS050 Hybrid has been imperious in recent times, and racing fans will be expecting a huge performance from the two models in the race.

The Circuit de la Sarthe continues to be one of the most iconic tracks in the world and spans over 13 kilometres.

The French circuit is designed to be raced at top speeds, and the mental fatigue for drivers can be severe as they are tested to the limits.

Reliability remains central to success at Le Mans, but the lack of vehicles in this year's edition opens the field up to a potential surprise.

Toyota showed off their vehicle ahead of the race via social media:

Heat will be a factor as temperatures are expected to soar over the weekend, and eyes will drift to the action in the LMP2 class, with potential entrants for next year's premier race in attendance. All-new chassis and Le Mans-specific aero kits make their debuts in the secondary class, with speeds set to rise after a recent change of rules.

This is Toyota's race to lose, and it appears only a surprise drop in reliability will stop them from beating the small opposing pack.

Porsche will be desperate to regain their crown, but their form is nowhere near the required standard before Saturday's battle kicks off.