The 87th edition of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place this weekend at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.
Formula One legend Fernando Alonso is back in the Toyota No. 8 car with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima as they look to take victory for the second year running in the iconic race.
There will be 62 cars lining up on the grid for Saturday's start to the 2019 Le Mans, making it the biggest field in the race's history:
24 Hours of Le Mans @24hoursoflemans
And here we have it, ladies and gentlemen : The official photograph of all 186 drivers ready to make history at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans! 📷 #LeMans24 #WEC #SuperFinale #Motorsport #LeMans #Picoftheday #Endurance #France #Racing #sport #Cars #auto https://t.co/xkRMRpcIEw
Here are all the scheduling and viewing details for one of the most gruelling tests in motor racing:
Date: Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16
Start Time: 2 p.m. (BST), 9 a.m. (ET)
TV Info: Eurosport 1 (UK), MotorTrend Network (U.S.)
Alonso, 37, won Le Mans at the first time of asking last year to end Toyota's long wait for a maiden title.
It also secured the second leg of motorsport's triple crown for the Spaniard, adding to his two triumphs at the Monaco Grand Prix. He now needs to win the Indianapolis 500 to join Graham Hill in achieving the remarkable treble.
Alonso was left hugely frustrated at this year's Indy 500 in May as he failed to qualify with his McLaren team. He will hope to wipe out that memory this weekend by earning another victory in Le Mans 24.
The World Endurance Championship is also effectively in Alonso and his team-mates' hands at the season finale, as a top-seven finish will guarantee his team the drivers' title thanks to their 31-point lead over their sister Toyota Gazoo Racing crew.
Alonso made it clear ahead of the race, though, that nothing is guaranteed at Le Mans, per Luke Smith of Crash.net:
"In Le Mans, it's possible that you don't finish the race, and if you don't finish the race, it's bye-bye to the championship. It's a little bit out of our hands. Le Mans chooses who wins, and also in a way who wins the championship this year. Hopefully we did enough to deserve it."
And he is right. Le Mans 24 is a brutal race. In 2018, only 41 of the 60 cars that started made it to the finish.
Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima combined to complete 388 laps of the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in victory last year, two more than Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway did in the other Toyota that came second.
It would be no surprise to see those two cars, Nos. 7 and 8, at the front again this year, but nothing is certain.
Le Mans offers a unique challenge, and a lot can go wrong over 24 hours and 3,000 miles.