2022 Le Mans 24 Hours preview

06th June 2022
Ben Miles

It’s just a matter of days until over 60 racing cars set off to attack the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans at Le Mans for two trips around the clock. So we thought it time to gather everything you need to know about this year’s event, from the start time, to how to watch, to just who is competing.


What is the Le Mans 24 Hours?

Just for those slightly less initiated, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an endurance motor race based in the Loire region of central France. It has been running since 1923 and in its current form sees up to 61 cars in four different classes race for a full day around a circuit made up in part of ordinary public roads.

It is also a part of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and will be the third round of the 2022 championship. Double points are on offer to all WEC cars at the end of the race, so you finishing position at La Sarthe can make or break your season.


What cars race at Le Mans in 2022?

There are four classes of cars at Le Mans in 2022, in line with those that race in the WEC. At the top, and the main cars expected to challenge for victory, is the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class. For LMH, this year is a transition year, with only three manufacturers taking part while we await a large influx arriving in 2023. Four of the cars in the class are built to the latest LMH regulations – a pair of Toyota GR010s and two Glickenhaus SCG007s – while the fifth car in the class is an old Rebellion LMP1 car racing under the Alpine banner. The cars in the LMH class are balanced to ensure competitiveness through a complex Balance of Performance system that involves weight changes and power restrictions. To add more intrigue into the mix, the Toyotas are hybrids, running a four-wheel-drive system.

The second class in LMP2, a lower level of prototype racers, and reasonably close to a spec series. Twenty six of the 27 cars in the class are Oreca 07s, with a single Ligier JSP217 racing for CD Sport in the mix. There are actually four allowed LMP2 chassis, all running an identical Gibson V8 engine, but the Oreca quickly proved to be the fastest and those running Dallara, Riley or Ligier chassis mostly dropped them soon after the introduction of the latest regulations.

The final two classes are road car-based, with GTE Pro and GTE Am both racing in similar machinery. GTE Pro races with the latest machinery and the drivers are all top-level pros, while GTE Am uses slightly older cars with each car requiring one bronze and another bronze or silver rated driver. In the Pro category Ferrari 488s and Porsche 911s will be joined by the Corvette C8.R, while in the Am class the Ferraris and Porsches race against Aston Martin Vantages.


Who is racing at Le Mans in 2022?

As usual, the entry list is somewhat of a who’s who of motorsport. Ex-F1 drivers litter the grid, with Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley all racing in LMH with Toyota. Also in LMH are Goodwood Hill outright record holder Romain Dumas as well as IndyCar race winners Ryan Briscoe and Mike Conway.

There are former F1 stars in the LMP2 category too, including Robert Kubica, Esteban Gutierrez, Sebastien Bourdais, Felipe Nasr and Will Stevens. Other star drivers include Alex Brundle, Alex Lynn, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Sophie Floersch and Pietro Fittipaldi. Meanwhile, seven-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier will make his Le Mans debut.

The star drivers aren’t just clustered in the prototype categories though. Nick Tandy, James Calado, Alexander Sims, Sam Bird and Shane Van Gisbergen are all racing in GTE Pro, while pros jumping into the GTE Am class include Nick Cassidy, Renger Van der Zande and Giancarlo Fissichella. Alongside them, racing a Porsche 911 for his Le Mans debut, will be Hollywood A-lister Michael Fassbender.


When is the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours?

This year’s race takes place over the weekend of 11th/12th June, but the event is much more than just a weekend. Scrutineering took place in the centre of the city of Le Mans last weekend (4th June) before the test day on Sunday (5th June). The practice and qualifying sessions begin on Wednesday (8th June). The majority of the grid will be set on Wednesday evening, before Hyperpole sets the top places on Thursday evening in a half an hour session at 9pm CET (8pm BST). Friday is a day off for the track while the drivers take part in the traditional parade through the centre of the city.

What time does the Le Mans 24 Hours start?

The race has varied its start time on several occasions over the years, but this year it will begin at its more traditional starting time of 4pm CET (3pm BST).


How do I watch the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours?

The main method is through the official app or website. It costs £8.49 in the UK for access to all sessions that are broadcast and the full race, but is not available in the US.

Alternatively in the UK the whole race will be broadcast on Eurosport, and this year the Eurosport feed should come with the official commentary team rather than its own commentators. That means the excellent trio of Martin Haven, Graham Goodwin and Anthony Davidson should be on offer to all. Eurosport is available through Sky, BT, Now TV, Amazon Prime or through the Eurosport player, but all will require a subscription.

Eurosport owner Discovery has signed a wide-ranging deal for the rights to the 24 Hours, so the coverage will also be available on Discovery+. If you have not signed up to Discovery+ a month’s free trial is available via Amazon Prime right now, with a cost of £7.99 afterward.

In the US coverage of Le Mans is exclusively available via MotorTrend+ and MotorTrend TV, including a multi-camera option throughout the race. A MotorTrend+ subscription starts at $4.99 per month.

Other countries can watch via the below:

  • France: Eurosport, France 3,
  • Germany: Eurosport, Sport1
  • Belgium:, rtbf auvio
  • Denmark: TV2
  • Finland: Viasat Sport (Viafree)
  • Norway: Viasat Sport (Viasport+)
  • Sweden: TV10
  • Netherlands: RTL 7
  • Pan-Europe: Eurosport
  • Australia: Eurosport, Fox Sports (Highlights)
  • New Zealand: Sky
  • Japan: JSports
  • Canada: Discovery Velocity
  • Pan-Africa: SuperSport

Is there an entry list for this year’s race?

Yes, you can see it right here.

Who will win Le Mans this year?

Our final question on this year’s race is probably the hardest to answer and is harder than it has been for many years. While we’re pretty certain it will be a Le Mans Hypercar that takes the victory, which one will depend almost entirely on the Balance of Performance for the race. In the last few seasons BoP changes have come as late as Friday of the race week, after qualifying.

Toyota has dominated the race ever since Porsche and Audi quit the World Endurance Championship at the end of 2016 and 2017, but with a stronger BoP for its rivals in 2022, as the FIA and ACO get more used to pegging cars back, it hasn’t had it all its own way this season so far. While the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez – the reigning champions – won the last WEC round at Spa, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Toyota, with the other car retiring after a mechanical issue. At Sebring, the first round of the season, it was the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 that emerged victorious and Alpine currently tops both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. The win at Spa might actually push Toyota even further back in BoP, especially if it shows its hand a little too much in the early stages of the week.

That means this year will be an intriguing contest, with a decent chance for any of the three teams to win should they manage a clean race. And this year, a clean race may be even more important than ever.


Where are Ferrari and Peugeot?

A decent question, Peugeot’s 9X8 was due to make its Le Mans debut this year, but due to a delayed homologation the team has decided not to race until Monza, the WEC round after Le Mans. That means it will make its debut at Le Mans in 2023.

Also set to make their debuts in 2023 are a whole host of new teams, with a mixture of LMH cars and the now eligible IMSA LMDh machines. Ferrari’s LMH will be the biggest news of 2023, while a return of Porsche with an LMDh car will run it close. Cadillac and Acura could also join the grid for that first season in 2023 while BMW and Lamborghini are possibilities for 2024. Alpine will also finally switch from its grandfathered LMP1 car into a brand new machine.

Whatever happens the 2022, 2023 and 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours all have pretty strong narratives building, don’t miss out.

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • Le Mans

  • 24 Hours of Le Mans

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